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Making a Home With a View

Movies: ‘Still Mine’

Actor James Cromwell has played menacing heavies, kindly grandpas, and a whole range of character roles, more than 160 and counting. Now, at age 73, he finally gets to play the romantic lead, 87-year-old Craig Morrison, in “Still Mine,” the story of an elderly farmer in New Brunswick, Canada.

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Life and Time as Art

Movies: ‘Museum Hours’

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, you may remember from Art History 101, was the late-period medieval artist known for sprawling canvases of peasant life and grotesquery. “Museum Hours” makes an intriguing attempt to translate Bruegel’s sensibility to film. It is infused with countless observations of small details, images of the everyday as well as masterpieces of art, the old, new, ugly and beautiful.
That it succeeds on those terms owes as much to Jem Cohen’s talent as a cinematographer as to his directorial attributes.

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A Joy for Us All

Movies: ‘20 Feet From Stardom’

Morgan Neville’s wonderful documentary “20 Feet From Stardom” is a joyous paeon to talent and to the joy of making music. Focusing on a cross section of female backup singers — including Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer, Tata Vega, Claudia Lennear and Judith Hill — the film explores why these startlingly gifted singers never became stars in their own right.

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About Boston, Big Ambitions And Buddies

Movies: ‘The Heat’

There are three laughs in “The Heat,” an action-comedy film directed by Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold.
The first comes when FBI Special Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is interrogating a low-level drug dealer named Rojas (Spoken Reasons) and recycles the mispronunciation of “breasts” that was one of the more successful bits of the “In Living Color” TV sketch comedy show from the various members of the Wayans family. (Marlon Wayans plays another FBI agent, incidentally.)
The second is a variation on the “pahk the cah” riff on Boston accents.

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No Zombies Here!

Like a welcome, cooling breeze after a heatwave, “What Maisie Knew” is an adult movie somehow squeezed into a season of zombies, comic book heroes and ominous creatures from outer space. The film’s distributor, Millennium, must have hoped adults, tired of summer blockbusters, would see a picture based on a Henry James novel.

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A Plague and Other Problems

Movies: ‘World War Z’

Lured by ubiquitous trailers showing masses of people moved by some unseen force, scenes of mayhem and destruction, and Brad Pitt’s crystal eyes, I decided to check out “World War Z.”
Here’s what I got: zombies.
Now then, I’ve gone and said it. Perhaps I’ve spoiled it for you. Or perhaps I’m the only idiot on the planet who didn’t know what the “Z” stood for when I walked into the theater.

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Special Equipment Required For Latest Superman Flick

Movies: ‘Man of Steel’

It occurred to me, as I staggered out of the theater, that the first thing the moviegoer needs to make it through all two hours and 23 minutes of “Man of Steel” is a butt of iron.
Zack Snyder’s update of the Superman story is loud and long, with kung fu galore, plus tornadoes, spaceships, intergalactic politics, and people named El.
Seriously. 

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Refusing To Settle For Less

Movies: ‘Frances Ha’

This is an exuberant film, “Frances Ha,” about youth, friendship and the search for an adult life on one’s own terms. Directed and co-written by Noah Baumbach and his star, Greta Gerwig (they are a couple in real life), it is a glorious showcase for Gerwig, whose quirky physicality and camera-ready instincts are supported by a topnotch cast.

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Still a Relationship, After All These Years

Movies: ‘Before Midnight’

If your relationship is at all rocky, you might not want to go see “Before Midnight,” the third in the series about Celine and Jesse, directed by Richard Linklater. Its excavation of a relationship that may not be aging well is excruciatingly honest.

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Not a Fresh Idea Among All Those Stars

Movies: ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’

That headline pretty much sums up J.J. Abrams’ second “preboot” (that’s a prequel and a reboot, see?) of the franchise, “Star Trek Into Darkness.” The universe in 24-something appears to be devoid of anything new, and the title of the movie seems to have had a colonectomy along the way.
It doesn’t even take us very far into darkness, unless by darkness the producers meant the murky labyrinth of inscrutable and inane storytelling. (My punning 11-year-old would like something scrutable, but she won’t find it here.)

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