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Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015
San Andreas / *** (PG-13)
Posted Saturday, June 6, at 9:31 PM
Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film directed by Brad Peyton. Written by Carlton Cuse and Andre Fabrizio & Jeremy Passmore. Running time: 114 min. Rated PG-13 (for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language). The disaster flick is a cinematic summer pastime that goes back even further than Spielberg's supposed creation of the summer blockbuster with his movie "Jaws". ...

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Pitch Perfect 2 / *** (PG-13)
Posted Monday, June 1, at 10:29 PM

Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Elizabeth Banks. Written by Kay Cannon. Running time: 115 min. Rated PG-13 (for innuendo and language). So when "Pitch Perfect" was released in theaters in 2012, I'm guessing I wasn't alone in thinking, "Yeah, a movie about a cappella singing competitions? I'll catch it at home if it gets good reviews." The movie only made a little over $5 million on its opening weekend. ...

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Poltergeist / ** (PG-13)
Posted Saturday, May 30, at 12:06 PM

20th Century Fox and MGM present a film directed by Gil Kenan. Written by David Lindsay-Abaire. Based on the 1982 screenplay by Steven Spielberg. Running time: 93 min. Rated PG-13 (for intense frightening images, brief suggestive material, and some language)...

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Mad Max: Fury Road / **** (R)
Posted Wednesday, May 20, at 11:03 PM

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film directed by George Miller. Written by Miller and Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris. Running time: 120 min. Rated R (for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images). They say it is a fine line between genius and madness. ...

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Avengers: Age of Ultron / *** (PG-13)
Posted Saturday, May 16, at 2:40 PM

Walt Disney and Marvel Studios present a film written & directed by Joss Whedon. Based on the Marvel Comis characters created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby. Running time: 141 min. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of sci-fi action, violence and destruction, and for some suggestive comments)...

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Home / ** (PG)
Posted Friday, April 10, at 9:22 PM

DreamWorks Animation presents a film directed by Tim Johnson. Written by Tom J. Astle and Matt Ember. Based on the book "The True Meaning of Smekday" by Adam Rex. Running time: 94 min. Rated PG (for mild action and some rude humor). "Home" is a perfectly entertaining movie for children of a certain age. ...

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Chappie / ** (R)
Posted Thursday, March 12, at 10:14 PM

Columbia Pictures presents a film directed by Neill Blomkamp. Written by Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell. Running time: 120 min. Rated R (for violence, language and brief nudity). I've always been of the belief that expectation is an enemy of art. It closes off the mind to possibilities the artist may have envisioned that the viewer may not if they're anticipating something else. ...

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Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)
Posted Sunday, March 1, at 6:12 PM

When I was about six-years-old our family adopted a new dog named Blue. Blue's previous owner seemed a strange man. He claimed blue was the dog's favorite color and that "Star Trek" was his favorite show. I don't believe I'd ever heard of a dog having a favorite television show before. ...

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Favorite Films of 2014
Posted Saturday, February 7, at 8:37 AM

I find I'm having trouble putting 2014 away and moving on to 2015. That's one of the reasons my Top Ten list of movies for the release year is coming so late. It was the best year for movies I can remember since I've been doing this. Plus, there are so many movies I've yet to get to--most notably the Oscar nominated "Selma", "The Theory of Everything", "Whiplash" and "Foxcatcher". There are so many others I missed, but there were oh so many great ones I didn't...

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The Imitation Game / **** (PG-13)
Posted Sunday, February 1, at 9:26 AM

The Weinstein Company presents a film directed by Morten Tyldum. Written by Graham Moore. Based on the book "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges. Running time: 114 min. Rated PG-13 (for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking)...

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American Sniper / *** (R)
Posted Sunday, January 25, at 10:27 PM

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a film directed by Clint Eastwood. Written by Jason Hall. Based on the memoir by Chris Kyle and Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice. Running time: 132 min. Rated R (for strong and disturbing war violence, and language throughout including some sexual references)...

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Oscar Nominations 2015
Posted Thursday, January 15, at 12:26 PM

I've always found it confusing that it's the year after the release year being honored for the Oscars, but the 2015 Oscar nominations were announced this morning for the 2014 cinematic release year. As is often the case with the Oscar--bowing at the end of the awards season--there was more predictability with this year's nominees than surprises. The Academy never seems to get away with no surprises, however, and there are some notable omissions and inclusions in this year's batch...

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Unbroken / ** (PG-13)
Posted Thursday, January 1, at 3:16 PM

Universal Pictures presents a film directed by Angelina Jolie. Written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen and Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson. Based on the book by Laura Hillenbrand. Running time: 137 min. Rated PG-13 (for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language)...

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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies / *** (PG-13)
Posted Saturday, December 27, at 7:45 PM

New Line Cinema and MGM present a film directed by Peter Jackson. Written by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Jackson & Guilermo de Toro. Based on the novel "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien. Running time: 144 min. Rated PG-13 (for sequences of intense fantasy action violence, and frightening images)...

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Exodus: Gods and Kings / ** (PG-13)
Posted Tuesday, December 23, at 9:15 PM

20th Century Fox presents a film directed by Ridley Scott. Written by Adam Cooper & Bill Collage and Jeffrey Caine and Steven Zaillian. Running time: 150 min. Rated PG-13 (for violence including battle sequences and intense images). "I've never been certain whether the moral of the Icarus story should only be, as is generally accepted, 'don't try to fly too high,' or whether it might also be thought of as 'forget the wax and feathers, and do a better job on the wings."...

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay--Part 1 / *** (PG-13)
Posted Wednesday, November 26, at 11:32 AM

Lionsgate Films presents a film directed by Francis Lawrence. Written by Peter Craig and Danny Strong and Suzanne Collins. Based on the novel "Mockingjay" by Collins. Running time: 123 min. Rated PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence and action, some disturbing images and thematic material)...

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Interstellar / *** (PG-13)
Posted Monday, November 24, at 11:19 AM

Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures present a film directed by Christopher Nolan. Written by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan. Running time: 169 min. Rated PG-13 (for some intense perilous action and brief strong language). "You're familiar with the phrase 'man's reach exceeds his grasp'? It's a lie: man's grasp exceeds his nerve."...

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Mike Nichols (1931-2014)
Posted Friday, November 21, at 1:01 AM

If someone were to create a cineaste major for higher education (which may have been done), the introductory courses would most certainly contain a few movies from Mike Nichols. The renowned director redefined cinema with movies like "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), "The Graduate" (1967)--for which he won his Best Direction Oscar--and "Carnal Knowledge" (1971). In fact, Nichols's films would populate every level of such an education trajectory...

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Nightcrawler / **** (R)
Posted Monday, November 17, at 10:31 PM

Open Road Films presents a film written and directed by Dan Gilroy. Running time: 117 min. Rated R (for violence including graphic images, and for language). My wife and I watch the morning news just about everyday. It's the only newscast we watch regularly. ...

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St. Vincent / *** (PG-13)
Posted Tuesday, November 11, at 10:10 PM

The Weinstein Company presents a film written and directed by Theodore Melfi. Running time: 102 min. Rated PG-13 (for mature thematic material including sexual content, alcohol and tobacco use, and for language). Hollywood has done its best over the years to teach us that we need other people to point out our flaws and help us grow toward being better. ...

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A Penny in the Well
ANDREW D. WELLS
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Andrew is a professionally trained actor and stage director. He was a reporter for the daily newspaper The Marshall Democrat News. He has been critiquing film since Mr. Lucas released the first of his "Star Wars" prequels in 1999. His reviews can also be seen at his blog site.
Hot topics
San Andreas / *** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 9:31 PM, Jun 6)

Pitch Perfect 2 / *** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 10:29 PM, Jun 1)

Poltergeist / ** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 12:06 PM, May 30)

Mad Max: Fury Road / **** (R)
(0 ~ 11:03 PM, May 20)

Avengers: Age of Ultron / *** (PG-13)
(0 ~ 2:40 PM, May 16)