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Something rather quietly wonderful is happening these days. Enormously bright young actresses are deciding that if the world won’t offer them the roles they want, they’ll write them themselves.Their young queen is Lena Dunham – a sort of mini-Oprah by virtue of her prominence as the creator and star of “Girls” on HBO. And in Noah Baumbach’s recent “Frances, H…

It’s a good thing that bad Pixar is, at worst, just mediocre. Which means a bad Pixar movie is still an important rite in American movies. The reason is simple: American families need Pixar films. They need G-rated computer-animated features to which they can take the kids – ALL the kids – in perfect confidence.Which is going to make the newest Pixar “Monsters Univ…

From now on, every glowing profile of Joss Whedon will comment on how he followed his blockbuster to end all blockbusters “The Avengers” with a black and white, low-budget adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing,” opening here Friday. It was filmed at his Santa Monica home in just 12 days during an “Avengers” post-production break. Surely, the cult filmmaker and…

NEW YORK – It’s apocalypse season again, those fun few summer months when instead of wearing white the Hollywood movies are clad in artfully tattered rags. This June alone, in addition to Will and Jaden Smith’s “After Earth,” we have Brad Pitt leading us through the CGI carnage of “World War Z” and the maestro of world-ending mayhem himself, Roland Emmerich …

You don’t want to think of Superman as a bully. At least I don’t. But that’s what Zack Snyder’s “Man of Steel” is.No, I don’t mean the fictional character is a bully in the movie (though at odd moments when he’s not keeping his super powers hidden, his concern for vulnerable humans is worrisomely minimal). And no, I don’t mean there’s anything remotely …

It began 18 years ago. That’s in what we now quaintly call “real time,” i.e., the time that passes as the clock ticking (or humming) next to you registers the seconds and the minutes.The movie was called “Before Sunrise.” That’s when the two fictional lovers met on a train to Vienna. And couldn’t seem to part.Then, in 2004, came its sequel with the same actor…

I was 4, maybe 5. It was my first movie. The theater was the North Park.The name of the movie was “Dynamite!” – a “truth in packaging” title if ever there was one.My older brother and I had somehow arrived late so we had to sit in one of the first five rows. The movie began with a guy setting a dynamite charge on a mountain and getting his foot trapped between tw…

ORLANDO, Fla. – Nathan Fillion is the star of a popular TV show – “Castle.” And every show has its share of fanatical fans. He was on a soap opera for years, whose enthusiasts take “fan” to a “whole different level.” But that’s nothing compared to the devotion that comes from a TV show (“Firefly”) he briefly did with Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire …

You have to love Greta Gerwig to love Noah Baumbach’s “Frances Ha.” Certainly Baumbach did. You don’t need a New Yorker profile to tell you that whatever official “romance” was or was not going on when the film was being shot, the director was, at the very least, professionally smitten with his star and co-writer (who had previously been one of the bright spots…

If it is true that you can’t judge a book by its cover, then it also stands to reason that you shouldn’t judge a movie by its title.If you did, you might pass right over the limply named “Love Is All You Need,” figuring it for just some skimpy, formulaic rom-com starring the latest graduate of the Disney Channel. And if you did that, you would miss out on something…

They didn’t let the queen down. But then, how could they? When Daniel Craig and the International Olympic Committee somehow got the Queen of England to agree to a good-humored cameo as the grandest “Bond Girl” of all time – wherein doubles for her and Craig parachuted out of a plane to Bondian music into London’s Olympic Stadium – the Bond franchise couldn’t …

When the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival held its screening of "The Natural" Monday night, Robert Redford wasn't the star. The stars were the Western New Yorkers who helped make the movie 25 years ago, during the summer of 1983. Just over 100 people were in the Erie Ballroom of Adam's Mark Hotel, and about a quarter of them raised their hands when master of ceremonies …

The squealers weren't there every minute. It did sometimes seem that way, though. They'd stand outside War Memorial Stadium waiting for a glimpse of Robert Redford coming from his dressing room -- or a glimpse of a Redford walk from one place to another that would afford them a clear sightline. And when they got one -- or even better, enough physical proximity to ask…

It was just weeks before "The Natural" was to start filming, and the production was still lacking its primary location: a baseball stadium that "looked the way stadiums looked in the '30s." Location scouts searched the country -- Oregon, Alabama, Texas and Kentucky -- and even as far as Mexico and Puerto Rico to no avail. Little did they know that what they needed was a…