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Loved the Movie . . .

Movies: ‘Jane Eyre’

Certain books are incredibly difficult to turn into movies. Readers love the characters so fiercely, and are so protective of them, that no screen depiction could possibly do justice to the way we see and hear the characters in our mind. “Jane Eyre” is such a book.
Yet it’s been filmed perhaps more often than any other novel — 22 times at least. Perhaps it’s because filmmakers are passionate about the plain mousy Jane, the doomed and tormented Mr. Rochester, and the love that nearly consumes them, that they just can’t let them alone.

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About (and for) American Families

Movies: ‘Win Win’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

It has everything, “Win Win,” everything you want in a feel-good movie: a familiar uplifting story, note-perfect dialog, warmth and — important in a sports film — heart. Oh, it also has Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan in terrific, controlled yet intensely human performances.

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Maybe a New Life For McConaughey

Movies: 'The Lincolnn Lawyer'

Matthew McConaughey has played variations on the bronzed shirtless man-child in mediocre rom-coms for what seems like decades.
Now, in a fine career move, he has channeled his smooth charm, pearly white teeth and honeyed twang into a semi-shady defense lawyer, Mick Haller, in the entertaining new courtroom thriller, “The Lincoln Lawyer.”
Haller is a showman who works out of the back seat of his luxurious Lincoln Town Car — a logical move since most of his clients can be most easily found on the street.

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Seeking Beauty In a Time of Tragedy

Movies: ‘Biutiful’

In “Biutiful,” Javier Bardem plays Uxbal, a man desperately clinging to life at the margins of society in Barcelona. This is not the upscale city of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” Woody Allen’s comedy in which Bardem was a suave lady’s man. In the hands of the great Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Babel,” “21 Grams”), we see the teeming, hustling, multicultural, and poverty-stricken underside of contemporary urban Europe.

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A Fine Thriller

Movies: 'The Adjustment Bureau'
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

In the beginning of George Nolfi’s “The Adjustment Bureau,” David Norris (Matt Damon), a young, charismatic politician, loses his U.S. Senate bid but meets the girl of his dreams, dancer Elise (Emily Blunt).
   Unhappily for the couple, the agents of the Adjustment Bureau have orders to prevent the two from getting together, as it is contrary to the plan of the mysterious “Chairman.”

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Of History and Irony

Film Works Forum: 'We Still Live Here'

Every American child knows the tale of the first Thanksgiving, where the Pilgrims thanked the Indians who helped them survive their first winter. But those Indians — the Wampanoag — are a strangely invisible part of the story. Where did they go? What was their fate?

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Just Memorable

Movies: ‘Barney’s Version’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Paul Giamatti is the anti-pretty-boy movie star: Balding, exophthalmic, slightly bowed and flabby, he specializes in curmudgeons — the garrulous oenophile in “Sideways”; the pessimist in “American Splendor”; the fussy, self-aggrandizing, intellectual John Adams. But he can also do tender, caring. Why else would Abigail Adams (especially as portrayed by a luminous Laura Linney in the HBO series) love and respect him so much?

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Come Back, Liam, We Miss You

Movies: 'Unknown'

Where have you gone, Liam Neeson, Liam Neeson? With your deep-set, blazing silver-blue eyes and your rugged good looks? Your gravelly voice tempered by soft, rolling Irish tones? We loved you for your self-effacing heroism as Oskar Schindler and marveled at your gentle turn as the widowed father in “Love Actually.”
Do you really want to trade all that in for the chance to say — no, growl — lines like “I haven’t forgotten how to kill you, [expletive]!”?

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Filmworks Forum

Mystery Surrounds the Ghost Bird

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A Wrenching And Disturbing Tale

Movies: ‘Animal Kingdom’

You may not have seen “Animal Kingdom,” the extraordinary film about an Australian crime family that won a Grand Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Nor will you have heard of Jackie Weaver, quite rightly nominated for best supporting actress at the Academy Awards, Feb. 27.

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