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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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It’s Nice — Also Comic, Violent and Funny

Movie: "The Nice Guys"

This is Los Angeles in the 1970s: a city sprawled under a choking blanket of brown smog. Even the opening shot in Shane Black’s “The Nice Guys” is from behind a Hollywood sign in tatters. This is the world of private detectives like Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe, now all flabby flesh, the size of an Army Humvee and just as dangerous) and Holland March (Ryan Gosling, deadbeat in a shiny suit) who scavenge for business.

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A Gorgeous Film About Friendship, Family, Acceptance

Movie: 'Finding Dory'

For a little lost fish, the ocean is a daunting place. Beautiful, yes: giant, bioluminescent squid glide around sunken ships; skyscraper-tall kelp forests bend in the changing currents; colorful creatures of all sizes swim endlessly.

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Just Say ‘No’ to Number 3

Movies: ‘Now You See Me 2’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Watching Jon Chu’s “Now You See Me 2,” and wondering if it was ever going to end, it occurred to me that one thing successful magicians know about is timing.
If the audience is getting antsy, the illusion isn’t going to work.
And this audience was definitely restless.

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Imaginative, Comic And Not Quite Satisfying

Movies: ‘The Lobster’

The woman tells her husband, David, that she is leaving him. He asks, “Does he wear glasses or contacts?” This is unwelcome news for near-sighted David (a remarkable Colin Farrell, complete with paunch, great dust-broom of a mustache, rimless eyeglasses, calm aspect), who must now move into a high-security hotel where he has 45 days to find another, unattached partner or be transformed into an animal of his choosing.

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Reaching the Limit with Comic Book Movies

Movies: ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’

Warning: This review is full of spoilers for movies old and new.

The folks making comic book movies these days are running into an inflation problem. They all want to make their movie bigger and better than the previous one. This means that, dramatically speaking, the stakes have been getting higher and higher and, visually speaking, the special effects have been getting more and more eye-popping and mind-boggling.

Unfortunately, there is an upper limit on both.

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Getting a Historic Film To New Audiences

It’s sad, but the fact is, making art, like any endeavor, requires cash. Handbag manufacturers, software inventors, moviemakers, recording musicians, photographers — all kinds of people are looking  to fund a project they can’t swing alone. And lots of these people are turning to crowdfunding, getting large numbers of donors to contribute small amounts of money to pay for big, sometimes very big, ventures.

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