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Movies

Big and Showy, Yes, But Something’s Definitely Missing

Movies: 'Water For Elephants'
leong@lakevillejournal.com

This is not a bad movie, “Water for Elephants.” It's just dull, often boring, and hugely predictable. You know you're in trouble when teenage girls who have come to worship heartthrob Robert Pattinson turn on their smartphones and begin texting, and you don't even care.

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The World, As We Don’t Know It

Movies: ‘Rio’

The 21st century has resolutely arrived in our cinematic solar system. But are we better off for it?
The newly rechristened Cinerom Digital Entertainment Center in Torrington showed off its wares last Saturday with a 3D opening of the animated picture “Rio.”
They couldn’t have picked a more appropriate debut film for the occasion.

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Once Was Enough, Trust Me

Movies: ‘Arthur’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

There’s a semi-funny gag near the beginning of Jason Winer’s remake of “Arthur.”
There’s a fundraiser, see? At the Museum of Modern Art. The event is called “Modernism Against Poverty.” Ha ha.
Well, maybe you had to be there, and that would involve paying money to see this film. Never mind.
Somewhere, somebody thought it would be clever to team up Russell Brand and Helen Mirren, and put them in a remake, but “Batman and Robin” was already taken, as was “Oedipus the King” and “Night of the Living Dead.”

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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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