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It would have been wonderful if the marketers of the unique and magnificent “All Is Lost” had been a tenth as artful and accomplished as the film’s director/writer J.C. Chandor and its sole actor, Robert Redford.When, on its first opening weekend in the biggest cities, the box office figures were far from tidal, it didn’t seem to have occurred to anyone that 1) Redford’s g…

Art

The story of Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, two civil servants who built a peerless collection of more than 4,000 small-scale works of art and stored them in their tiny Manhattan apartment, is one of the most irresistible tales to emerge from the art world in years.Herbert Vogel, a former postal clerk who died last summer at 89, and his wife, a Brooklyn librarian, were the unl…

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It seems to be a coincidence, no more, that the two extraordinary 2013 films that are truly primal moments in American movies – J.C. Chandor’s “All Is Lost” and Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” – are both opening here Friday. “All Is Lost” is a brain boggling man-against-nature tale. “12 Years a Slave” is the slave tale that finally upends and annihilates every egregious…

The premise of “About Time” – that an awkward young man can travel back to certain moments in his life and get a redo – sets up expectations of repeated gaffes and goof-ups that require the time zap patch. In the middle of it all, there would be ridiculous screw-ups that threaten the young hero’s well-crafted happiness – and demand a huge suspension of disbelief. Thankfull…

The name of David Thomson’s new book is “Moments That Made the Movies” (Thames and Hudson, 302 pages, $39.95).His basic premise in this beautifully illustrated book is sound – that it is moments from movies that we retain rather than the whole things. Or, as he puts it at the outset, “Can you recall the intricate plot of ‘Laura,’ or do you simply see Dana Andrews falling a…

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You can’t imagine how good it is for any viewer of “12 Years A Slave” to hear Chiwetel Ejiofor explode in a laugh. That’s what he did in response to my very first question when I interviewed him recently on the phone.What I’d asked, after begging his forgiveness for doing so, was “Before you appeared on screen in your first starring role in Spielberg’s ‘Amistad’ were there…

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“Last Vegas” is exactly what everyone expects it to be going in. As the Metamucil/Flomax version of “The Hangover,” it boasts a first-rate wall-to-wall TV sitcom crackle rather than “Can you top this?” raunch.Sure, it’s crude. And it gets a wee bit lost in sentiment. But no one in the audience will be tempted to retch. It’s what you do when you gather a bunch of lovable Os…

Art

Buffalo’s always-bustling visual arts scene is getting a whole lot of love lately from local documentarians, and some of that affection will go on display at 6 p.m. Friday in the Allendale Theatre (203 Allen St.) in a screening of three promotional films about the community.Two of those films are by John Paget, who has collaborated with the region’s tourist agency, Visit B…

A healthy film movement has sprung up in the Buffalo area over the last few years. To help guide the many area professionals, aspiring filmmakers, students and film lovers, the first Buffalo Film Expo is offering a day of panels, Q&A sessions with regional professionals and networking opportunities.Among the topics at the expo, sponsored by the upcoming Buffalo Dreams Fant…

Art

Buffalo’s always-bustling visual arts scene is getting a whole lot of love lately from local documentarians, and some of that affection will go on display at 6 p.m. Friday in the Allendale Theatre (203 Allen St.) in a screening of three promotional films about the community.Two of those films are by John Paget, who has collaborated with the region’s tourist agency, Visit B…

Featured

Slowly, they’ve turned step by step, as the burlesque comics might say. Don’t look now, but while people have been paying attention to other things, a truly great movie year seems to have crept up on us. It has already included “Captain Phillips,” “Gravity,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Blue Jasmine,” and the arrival of two of the very best and most important films of 20…

“Free Birds” is more proof, as if 2013 needed it, that Hollywood has almost killed the animated goose that laid the golden egg.No matter that in this case, the goose is a turkey. You didn’t need to be told that. But a year that has produced the clever and heartfelt “The Croods” and the passably amusing “Despicable Me 2” has also had a healthy dose of sausage factory about …

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In a future where families are encouraged not to overbreed, Ender Wiggin is “a third,” the third child born to his family. “An extra.”Skinny and pale, he is bullied at school. But he’s been observed, singled out by the state. How he problem-solves during video games, how he copes with bullies – his cunning, ruthlessness and measured compassion – are assets.“The world’s sma…

Movies

LOS ANGELES — This movie season, Michael Fassbender seems to keep getting lectured on the ways of the world. By an unlikely teacher.The German-born, Ireland-raised actor plays cruel plantation owner Epps in the period drama “12 Years a Slave,” in which Brad Pitt, as a morally scrupulous carpenter, admonishes him that a more enlightened way of thinking is about to leave him…

It remains one of the exemplary spewings of executive stupidity in Hollywood history. According to screenwriter William Goldman, a Hollywood producer once said of Robert Redford “he’s just another Hollywood blond – throw a stick at Malibu and you’ll hit six of them.”Because Goldman was the screenwriter of both “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting,” the best …