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It’s easy to feel jaded when it comes to CGI-heavy cinema, but every so often a film pushes the technical boundaries and succeeds. Case in point: Disney’s live-action reimagining of “The Jungle Book.” Jon Favreau’s family film is a roaring success, an entertaining, immersive and fun creation that may be a bit intense for the littlest viewers, but should please just about …

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It’s easy to feel jaded when it comes to CGI-heavy cinema, but every so often a film pushes the technical boundaries and succeeds. Case in point: Disney’s live-action reimagining of “The Jungle Book.” Jon Favreau’s family film is a roaring success, an entertaining, immersive and fun creation that may be a bit intense for the littlest viewers, but should please just about …

“Touched With Fire” is a heartfelt, admirable misfire about two poets with bipolar disorder who fall in love, struggle with their illness and the impact it has on their loved ones, and try to make a life for themselves. This is fascinating, fertile ground for cinema, in particular a love story. “Fire,” however, is not quite a fascinating film. In fact, its most noteworthy…

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Audiences might feel the urge to clap as Coast Guard drama “The Finest Hours” draws to a close, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. The story of a daring rescue attempt after an oil tanker split in half during a blizzard in 1952 certainly warrants such a reaction.But make no mistake, you are clapping for the real individuals, not the actors and filmmakers who brought the …

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It is year eight for the Historic Riviera Theatre’s “Big Lebowski Event,” a Dude-approved extravaganza on Jan. 16 centered around Joel and Ethan Coen’s iconic 1997 classic, “The Big Lebowski.”Riviera Director of Development Gary J. Rouleau said the initial idea came from a Riviera patron. By that time, the Coens’ story of a slacker (unforgettably played by Jeff Bridges), m…

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With World AIDS Day recently held on Dec. 1, the time is right for Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center’s presentation of the somber, passionate, and vitally important documentary “Let the Record Show.” The location is right, too, as Hallwalls has long been a bastion for art that documents and questions (semi) recent American history. The film screens at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5. …

Let’s get this right out of the way: The new German film “Victoria” is shot in a single, uninterrupted take. Interesting, no? “Victoria” is not the first film to pull off the legitimately-shot-in-one-take gambit – Alexander Sokurov’s “Russian Ark” accomplished this technical feat in 2002, to great effect – and probably not the last. (“Birdman” achieved the look of a one-ta…

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Ask a 30-something for thoughts on Steven Spielberg’s Peter Pan-as-grumpy-adult film “Hook” and they’re likely to rave. Ask most film critics or older folks about the 1991 sorta-hit and they’ll call it one of Spielberg’s worst.The latest offshoot of J.M. Barrie’s beloved story, “Pan,” is unlikely to have the financial or cultural impact of “Hook,” but it, too, will please …

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Is IMAX worth it? Paying extra money for 3-D is often a tough decision, and throwing down cash for IMAX is an even harder call. In general, I’d call both unnecessary. “Everest,” however, is ideal for IMAX. The new action-disaster epic doesn’t just justify the large screen – it makes it almost essential.It is hard, in fact, to recall a recent man vs. the elements flick with…

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The Cultivate Cinema Circle has become a cinephile must-attend in only a few months, screening such classics as Jean-Luc Godard’s “Contempt” and Satyajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy.” For its fall season, Cultivate has chosen to honor French New Wave icon Agnes Varda, a wonderfully fitting figure for a season-long focus. First up is 1962’s stunning “Cléo from 5 to 7.” Varda’s sec…

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It rained during the first weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival. And then it rained some more, soaking the long, long lines of ticket holders and celeb-watchers on the streets of TO. But amid the raindrops were a number of stunning films. There was even one next-level, hallucinatory masterpiece -- more on that in a moment. While many of the festival's early…

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Over the next few weeks, much will be written about “Everest,” the star-heavy (Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin) film about the tragic 1996 Mount Everest climb that formed the basis of Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air.”Early reviews have been strong – the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival – but “Everest” has some competition in the white-knuckle climbing derby. The docum…

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We are currently experiencing our share of public political grudge matches, mostly involving GOP candidate-who-must-not-be-named. But none has the feel of the intellectual heavyweight bouts between William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal.The 10 televised 1968 debates between the two men (now both deceased) are the subject of the wonderfully entertaining documentary “Best of Enem…

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There are at least three moments in the stunning, unforgettable post-World War II film “Phoenix” that will, quite literally, take your breath away. Two occur near the midpoint of director Christian Petzold’s story of a concentration camp survivor’s attempt to reconnect with the (non-Jewish) husband who believes she is dead, and to learn whether he betrayed her to the Nazis…

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Woody Allen’s 45th feature, “Irrational Man,” is Allen in every sense – for better or worse. (I say better.)For longtime fans, the Rhode Island set comedy-drama starring a delightfully potbellied Joaquin Phoenix and the endlessly charming Emma Stone is an agreeable trifle, a sun-drenched bit of noir with Allen’s de rigueur air of moral and ethical ambiguity. It’s a winking…