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This Uplifting Film Tells a Hero’s Story

With marketing genius — some would call it cynicism and crassness — Warner Bros. chose to release “Sully” two days before the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Certainly some viewers will shudder or close their eyes as “Sully’s” jetliner shrieks low by buildings. But this is the story of heroism and stoic competence, just as so much of the 9/11 story was about the courage and dedication of first responders.

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Discovering Life Lessons with an Improv Troupe

Movie: 'Don't Think Twice'

Devotees and casual watchers of late-night television know that many of the performers on shows like “Saturday Night Live” get their start in improv comedy groups like Second City and Upright Citizens Brigade. 

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The Best Film of the Year (So Far)

Movies: ‘Hell or High Water’

The camera pans across a wall of anti-bailout, anti-bank graffiti.  We get the feel of a time and a sun-bleached, dusty place on life support. Soon two masked men armed with guns storm into the branch of the Texas Midlands Bank and grab a few thousand dollars in small bills — none traceable.The only customer retrieves his own gun — the men have left it on a counter — and blasts at the escaping robbers.

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In Which the Slump is Broken

Movies: 'War Dogs'

In the manner of a baseball player who, after being mired in an 0-for-47 slump, gets a base hit because the shortstop tripped on a shoelace, I count Todd Phillips’ “War Dogs” as a successful film.

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A Gorgeous Period Piece With Humor — and Streep

Stephen Frears is a canny director. Now 75, he understands the formula for attracting an older audience, an apparently lucrative demographic group: Choose an adult subject, sign a star — preferably female — and support her with a strong cast, give your film a beautifully realized sense of time and place on a reasonably modest budget and do not stint on emotion. 

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Make Your Own Movie Title, It Will Be More Entertaining

Movie: ‘Jason Bourne’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Here’s a neat parlor game you can play instead of going to see “Jason Bourne,” the fifth installment of the Bourne film series.
It’s called “Robert Ludlum Titles.”
Many of the late Ludlum’s novels had titles with a name and a noun. 
Such as: “The Chancellor Manuscript.” 

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Heartbreaking, Funny and Terrific

Movie: 'Captain Fantastic'

Viggo Mortensen is one of those actors who commands attention by his contradictions. He is both hard and surprisingly reasonable, resolved yet doubtful of the rightness of his decisions. Even in his 2007 Oscar-nominated role as a Russian gangster in David Cronenberg’s terrific “Eastern Promises,” he was a man questioning the violence and ruthlessness of his boss’s orders with his eyes and body language.

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Flying Fast, Furious Through Space

Movies: 'Star Trek Beyond'

Before you head into the theater to watch “Star Trek Beyond,” make sure you stop by the snack bar and purchase a big tub of popcorn with extra butter. This flick — the third in the franchise’s rebooted film series — is the epitome of a fun summer popcorn movie. There’s action. There’s humor. And there are plenty of explosions. 

Who You Gonna Call? Not the Ticket Booth

Movies: 'Ghostbusters'
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Summer blockbuster season trundles along with this week’s entry, a gazillion-dollar remake of 1984’s “Ghostbusters,” cleverly titled “Ghostbusters.”
I have a question: Is everybody in Hollywood drunk? How else to explain “Dirty Grandpa” and “The Legend of Tarzan”? And now this.

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Still Spies, But Enemy’s New

Movies: ‘Our Kind of Traitor’

How John le Carré must miss the Cold War, the conflict between the Soviet Union and the West that produced his greatest characters. Upper middle class, sometimes aristocratic, these Cambridge and Oxford men ran Britain’s spy networks like good-old-boy clubs. They believed the enemy wanted to destroy their democracy, their class-based British way of life, and they looked for Soviet moles to turn while uncovering their own internal traitors. 

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