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Incredible? Yes, Inscrutable Too

Movies: ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

It’s a curious comedy, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.” It’s about magicians in Las Vegas, starring Steve Carell as the incredible Burt, Steve Buscemi as his partner, Anton Marvelton, and Jim Carrey as rival cable TV magician Steve Gray, Brain Rapist.
   That’s right. Steve Gray, Brain Rapist.

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Speaking Of the Dangers Within

Movies: ‘The Gatekeepers’

Near the beginning of “The Gatekeepers,” Dror Moreh’s riveting documentary film about Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, we witness a targeted assassination of Palestinian terrorist leaders. “There’s something unnatural about it, to take three lives,” former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter says softly.

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Adrift in Another World

Theater: ‘Adrift in Macao’

The place is Macao, a seedy island off the southern coast of China known for gambling, drugs and lost souls. The time, 1952, the same year that “Macao,” a Hollywood picture starring Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell about gambling, drugs and lost souls came to your local RKO.

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Where is Frank Baum When You Need Him?

Movies: ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’

The new prequel to “The Wizard of Oz” has a few moments of spirit, magic and heart; or perhaps I mean brains, heart and nerve, but it takes two dull dispiriting hours to get to them.

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A Vision of Hell

Movies: ‘Lore’

We will have to wait another 50 weeks until the next Oscars, but the German-Australian masterpiece “Lore” will certainly be in any discussion of best foreign-language picture, if not best picture, period.
It could well be the finest war movie ever made — not like a “Patton” or “The Hurt Locker,” but rather as a depiction of the horrors of war visited on ordinary people, families and children.

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Incredulity Reigns

But the club members get in some good fishing

I am a founding member of a club called Cinema, Angling and Culinary Appreciation, or CACA.
The other members are my attorney, Thos.; Kurt from Oregon; Dr. Chuck; and my cousin Dan. Other emeritus members drift in and out.
We meet at my cabin in the Catskills, fish for trout all day, and in the evenings eat great bowls of gas-inducing stew from the slow cooker and watch the World’s Worst Films.
We have watched — and survived — “Manos: Hands of Fate.” We analyzed “Zombie Lake.” We cheered the evil warlock Troxartes in “Deathstalker II.”

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The Same Only Different

Two movies with much in common: “Amour,” and “Quartet.” Both are about aging musicians who centered their lives on their careers. Both contain remarkable performances; and both are beautifully directed. But there similarities end.
“Quartet” takes place at Beecham House, a cozily elegant English retirement home for aging musicians modeled on Casa di Riposo per Musicisti, the musicians’ retirement home outside Milan founded by Giuseppe Verdi and his wife. Fittingly, the movie centers on Beecham’s annual fundraising concert held on Verdi’s birthday.

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Following the Plot, Jude Law Notwithstanding

Movies: ‘Side Effects’

Steven Soderbergh’s latest, and, possibly, last, movie (he’s announced his retirement to become a painter) is a pharmaceutical thriller. It dryly and matter-of-factly skewers our antidepressant hungry culture, asks who is at fault when a medicated patient goes haywire and allows the audience to indulge at length in the wonder that is Jude Law.

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Awesome, Terrifying And Tone Deaf

Movies: ‘The Impossible’

You may never, ever sit through a more harrowing 114 minutes than these.
Awkwardly titled, perhaps from translation problems of this mostly Spanish-made movie, “The Impossible” is the putative true story of a vacationing family in Thailand that gets caught in the 2004 tsunami.

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Immersed in British Suds? You’re Not Alone

Viewers of the hit PBS costume drama “Downton Abbey” received a rude shock last weekend when Sybil, youngest daughter of Lord and Lady Grantham, met an untimely demise to eclampsia after delivering a healthy baby girl.
There could not have been a dry eye among the legions of “Downton” fans. Sybil was the acknowledged “kindest and sweetest” of the three Crawley sisters; had ministered to the sick and wounded during WWI and identified with working-class struggles, rather too much for her traditionalist father when she married the household’s chauffeur.

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