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The various young blood suckers of “Vampire Academy” belong to warring clans, with a royal family, “guardians” of those royals, silver daggers they use to kill each other and varying degrees of sensitivity to the harsh light of day.And just in case there’s still confusion: “They don’t sparkle, either.”It’s a self-aware horror/action comedy, first in a possible franchise (s…

Ahmad has no idea what he’s getting into.After four years back home in Tehran, he has flown to France to finalize his divorce decree from his ex-wife to be. Or so he thinks.She has somehow neglected to make the hotel reservation he’d asked her to make, so he’ll have to stay in their old house together. Before he has even entered it, he sees a strange new boy in the yard na…

Ahmad has no idea what he’s getting into.After four years back home in Tehran, he has flown to France to finalize his divorce decree from his ex-wife to be. Or so he thinks.She has somehow neglected to make the hotel reservation he’d asked her to make, so he’ll have to stay in their old house together. Before he has even entered it, he sees a strange new boy in the yard na…

Movies

In a 1998 episode of “The Simpsons,” forever-12-year-old Bart was spellbound by a television show seemingly created by the Gods of Product Placement: “The Mattel and Mars Bar Quick Energy Chocobot Hour.” It was a gloriously astute parody of the kind of boardroom-crafted “entertainment” that all too often bludgeons children into submission. You would be forgiven for thinkin…

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No, as they used to tell Charlie the Tuna in the great ancient TV ads. They don’t want tuna with good taste; they want tuna that tastes good.You have to admire George Clooney’s taste all through “The Monuments Men.” Everything that, no doubt, is likable, tasteful, noble and amiable about Clooney as a human being bursts out of his new movie “The Monuments Men,” opening Frid…

Art

In the Hollywood version of “The Monuments Men,” Matt Damon, George Clooney and John Goodman portray art professionals-turned-soldiers who searched for and recovered treasures that the Nazis looted in Europe during World War II.If filmmakers were searching for additional men who performed that role, they could have looked to three soldiers from Buffalo. Andrew C. Ritchie, …

Art

In the Hollywood version of “The Monuments Men,” Matt Damon, George Clooney and John Goodman portray art professionals-turned-soldiers who searched for and recovered treasures that the Nazis looted in Europe during World War II.If filmmakers were searching for additional men who performed that role, they could have looked to three soldiers from Buffalo. Andrew C. Ritchie, …

Something terrible happened to Dylan Farrow. Profoundly terrible – way beyond the borders of ordinary middle-class calamity.The trouble is that none of us is ever likely to know exactly what.Either she was sexually assaulted by Woody Allen at age 7 in the attic while she kept her eyes riveted to a toy train. Or she was brainwashed by her mother, Mia Farrow, and coached to …

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You could joke with Philip Seymour Hoffman.Which is to say nothing about him seemed like you were talking to one of the greatest living actors in American movies – not the paunchy, everyday-looking schlub he looked like or the easy, candid, often jolly way he talked, either.When he laughed, he laughed hard – the big booming laugh of a man who loved to enjoy life as much as…

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NEW YORK – Philip Seymour Hoffman, perhaps the most ambitious and widely admired American actor of his generation, died Sunday at an apartment in Greenwich Village, apparently from a drug overdose. He was 46.Hoffman was found in the apartment by a friend, David Bar Katz, who became concerned after being unable to reach him.Investigators found a syringe in his left forearm,…

Movies

“So” is how “That Awkward Moment” begins every “awkward moment.” As in “So, what are we doing here?” Or “So, where do you see this relationship going?”That’s the dating man’s lesson of “That Awkward Moment,” that “For girls, nothing good ever comes after ‘So.’ ” It’s a chatty romantic comedy in the modern mode – rude, nude and crude – with some funny, writerly riffs on rel…

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Joyce Maynard won’t let me finish a question.Since avidity has characterized the writer’s 60 years on earth, why should a 15-minute telephone conversation be any different?This, after all, was once an indefatigable student writer who now reports taking buses from New Hampshire to New York at the ripe old age of 14 to discuss her professional future with the editors at Seve…

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It was a friend of film critic Molly Haskell – whose book about female roles in movies “From Reverence to Rape” remains definitive decades later – who explained the weird paradox of “rape fantasies” being prominent in female fantasy romances.The name is something of a misnomer, says Haskell. Such fantasies seldom if ever involve real violence or defiling horror, said Haske…

Walt Disney may have missed out on an Oscar nomination for the surprisingly ignored “Saving Mr. Banks” – err, Tom Hanks, I mean – but Mickey Mouse did not. In fact, Mickey’s latest cartoon, “Get a Horse!,” which runs before the smash hit “Frozen,” is the likely winner in the animated short film category.“Get a Horse!,” a clever, surprisingly bold film that is best describe…

Movies

The most obvious thing to say about Paolo Sorrentino’s “The Great Beauty” (“La Grande Bellezza”) is that it is usually considered the leading candidate to snag an Oscar for best foreign film in March.And that is a great injustice. But then the Oscar for best foreign film is a great continuing scandal that no one seems to have the slightest inclination to change. The scanda…