Arts & Life

Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Historical Comedy That Hangs On The Details

Franklin Roosevelt (Bill Murray) greets Britain's Queen Elizabeth (Olivia Colman) and King George VI (Samuel West).
Nicola Dove Focus Features

In Hyde Park on Hudson — a sly, modestly subversive dramedy about a crucial weekend meeting between England's King George VI and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the eve of World War II — the diffident young monarch (Samuel West) confides his frustration over his lifelong stutter while the two men enjoy a postprandial drink expressly forbidden by their womenfolk.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Examining The Legacy Of A Legend In 'Wagner & Me'

Stephen Fry takes in the view from Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, one of the stops on a pilgrimage to explore his complicated feelings about the life and work of Richard Wagner.
First Run Features

British actor, writer and bon vivant Stephen Fry has loved the music of Richard Wagner since he first heard it played on his father's gramophone.

"It released forces within me," he explains early on in Wagner & Me, an exuberant and deeply personal documentary about the allure and the legacy of the German composer's work.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Fitzgerald Family' Does Dysfunction A Disservice

Nora (Connie Britton) and Gerry (Edward Burns) pursue a fledgling romance amid a chaotic holiday homecoming in The Fitzgerald Family Christmas, another home-for-the-awkward-holidays film.
Tribeca Films

There's nothing particularly special about Edward Burns' wry family drama The Fitzgerald Family Christmas –-- but that makes it something of a relief amid the avalanche of overlong, big-ticket prestige films that comes tumbling into theaters this time of year.

You've probably seen some version of this story before: A crotchety and unreliable old man, long estranged from most of his family, attempts desperately to reconnect with them on Christmas Day. It's urgent, because he's harboring a Secret with a capital S.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Sin City Comedy That Comes Up Snake Eyes

Jeremy (Joshua Jackson) and Beth (Rebecca Hall) enjoy the sun and sin of Las Vegas.
Frank Masi Radius, TWC

Based on Beth Raymer's memoir, Lay the Favorite has a cheeky, double-meaning title that sets up the story and the irreverent tone with impressive efficiency; the reference is both to the gambling practice of betting for the favorite and to the heroine's generous sexual proclivities.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Deadfall': Sibling Mischief In The Michigan Woods

Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) run for the Canadian border after a casino heist gone wrong.
Jonathan Wenk Magnolia Pictures

Everyone gets roughed up pretty bad in Deadfall, a pop-Freudian thriller set in Michigan's north woods. But nobody comes off worse than the out-of-towners: Australian star Eric Bana and Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

'Playing For Keeps,' But Without Much Panache

In Gabriele Muccino's romantic comedy, a former pro soccer player (Gerard Butler) starts coaching his son's soccer team — and reconnects with his ex-wife (Jessica Biel).
Film District

As Hollywood movies increasingly strive for immaculate blankness, they have come to resemble Rorschach ink blots. For example, Playing for Keeps, a new movie about a divorced couple who just might reunite: Is it a heartwarming romantic drama? Or a cynical sex and sports comedy? There is no wrong answer, dear ticket buyer.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

A Relationship Drama That's A Little Too 'Cheerful'

On the day of Dolly's (Felicity Jones) wedding, a former flame returns to stir up doubts about her decision.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 10:24 am

Something like deja vu takes hold during the opening shots of Donald Rice's debut feature, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding. With the insistent, urgent push of orchestral strings in the background, he offers up establishing shots of a bucolic English country manor, early 20th-century automobiles, and a bell ringing down in the servants' hall. That feeling of anticipation rising in many viewers' chests may be their hearts readying themselves for the tense post-Victorian drama of the popular TV series Downton Abbey, which is what that opening rather too directly recalls.

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Movie Interviews
12:27 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

In 'This Is 40,' Family Life In All Its Glory

"Were going to blink and be 90," Debbie tells Paul. "We have to make a choice to make things different."
Suzanne Hanover Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 5:22 pm

Since earning a cult following for his acclaimed television show Freaks and Geeks, writer, producer, and director Judd Apatow has become a brand name. He has a new movie out this month — This Is 40 — and also guest-edits the January "Comedy Issue" of Vanity Fair.

He's an executive producer for the HBO show Girls and previously wrote, produced and directed the 2005 comedy The 40-Year-Old Virgin.

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Arts & Life
9:16 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Lukas Nelson, Son Of Willie, Makes His Mark In Music

Lukas Nelson is the 23 year old son of music legend, Willie Nelson. "He’s very good at going with the flow," Lukas says of his father.
Joe del Tufo

It’s not unusual for Willie Nelson to share the stage. He has performed with some of the industry’s best voices including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, even Snoop Dogg.

But now Nelson has been performing with a new voice, one that sounds eerily similar to his own. It’s his son, Lukas Nelson, and he wrote several songs on his dad’s latest album.

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Best Books Of 2012
7:03 am
Thu December 6, 2012

Time Passages: The Year's Best Historical Fiction

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:04 pm

Long dismissed as genre fiction, the historical novel has now established itself in the literary mainstream, thanks in part to heavyweight authors like two-time Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel. For me, more than any other medium, historical fiction brings the past to life and makes it matter.

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