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A Few Days Too Many

Movies: ‘One Day’

The day in “One Day” is July 15, when Emma and Dexter, about to graduate from college, tumble into bed, grope awkwardly but venture no further, and declare that they will “just be friends.” From there the date — St. Swithin’s Day, when the English look for signs of what their weather will be for the next 40 days of summer — becomes the film’s conceit: Emma and Dex will meet or talk every July 15.

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From Judy and Mickey To Finn and Rachel

Movies: ‘Glee: The 3D Concert Movie’

Every generation has its singing, dancing teenagers. Judy and Mickey, Frankie and Annette, Vanessa and Zac, seeking love and, often, stardom. For my generation it was the talented students of “Fame.” We wanted to be them, and we certainly tried to be like them, if my memory of dancing on the cafeteria tables while a student banged out “Hot Lunch” on the piano in 10th grade is accurate.

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Apes Misbehavin’

In the original B-movie “Planet of the Apes” of 1968, three astronauts travel far into the future to a planet and time when simians have enslaved people. The big reveal comes when a buff Charlton Heston stumbles upon the ruins of the Statue of Liberty, evidence of a civilization-ending World War III, and realizes he is on Earth.
The original became something of a cult classic, permanently stunted the career of Roddy McDowall, and spawned at least two sequels and a little-noticed 2001 remake.

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Cowboys, Aliens And a Headache

Movies: ‘Cowboys and Aliens’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

I had high hopes for Jon Favreau’s “Cowboys and Aliens.” Often these genre
combos can be quite entertaining, such as William Beaudine’s 1966
classic “Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter,” which was part of a drive-in double bill with “Billy the Kid vs. Dracula.”
Jean Rollin merged the wartime romance with the subaquatic Nazi zombie flick in 1981’s “Zombie Lake,” widely held to be one of the worst and most hilarious films of all time.
Heck, “Star Wars” is basically a Western, with space ships.

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Corny, Patriotic, Terrific

Movies: ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

In “Captain America: The First Avenger” our hero is so determinedly square, so uber-patriotic, that you may yearn for the good old days when the country was united against real enemies, say Nazis, and not fighting itself over debt ceilings and Medicare. It is an unembarrassed throwback to those World War II B movies that favored corniness over irony and made heroes of ordinary soldiers. It is also a terrific film.

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Good Bye Harry, Thanks for the Great Ride

Movies: ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2’

There has never been anything quite like the Harry Potter series of books and films. It’s a literary and cultural phenomenon. For some, “The Lord of the Rings” comes close, but though Tolkein may be a better writer than J.K. Rowling, I would argue that the power of the Potter series lies in its simplicity — a boy on a hero’s journey.

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Easy To Like, but Unconvincing

Movies: ‘Beginners’

Ewan McGregor stars as terminally sad Oliver, a single guy illustrator dealing with the demise of his aging and terminally ill father, Hal (Christopher Plummer), a widower who has just come out as a gay activist, and has taken a boyfriend (Goran Visnjic of “ER” fame).
Oliver is also trying to succeed in a relationship of his own with a flighty aspiring actress, Anna (Mélanie Laurent).

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Unrealistic, Yes, But So Is “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Movies: ‘Larry Crowne’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Tom Hanks’ “Larry Crowne” is a lightweight romantic comedy that hasn’t excited anybody because
a) nothing explodes,
b) there is no video game kung fu,
c) nobody says “motherbleeper.”
“But hold on there just a minute” you say.“How can it be a Hollywood movie if people aren’t karate-chopping each other while the room spins around and calling each other rude names between explosions?”
You can be Tom Hanks, that’s how. You can write your own script with Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”), add Julia Roberts, and direct it.

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Digging Into Our Past

Movies: ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’

From the moment the opening strains of its “2001”-style choral music are heard, Werner Herzog’s documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” announces its importance. We are in for something historical.
In 1994, three French explorers discovered a cave in southwestern France with Paleolithic drawings dating back as much as 32,000 years — nearly twice as old as those in the famous caves of Lascaux. Named Chauvet Cave after its lead discoverer, it was immediately sealed off; access has been restricted to researchers and, for a limited time, Herzog and a crew.

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Raucous and Really Funny

Movies: ‘Bridesmaids’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Be warned: “Bridesmaids” is raunchy, raucous, profane and sometimes gross. It’s also real — characters, story, situations — and really funny. From its Kama Sutra opening to its parodic final send-up of “Sex and the City 2,” this is a neo-Rabelaisian romantic comedy that soars far above dreck like the remake of “Arthur” or the tired bromance of “The Hangover Part II.”

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