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When the World Comes Apart

Movies: ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’

The film “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is about that moment when a child realizes that the world is not the eternally stable, safe place it once seemed, and that the infallible parent who takes care of everything might not always be there.
Filmed in a richly detailed visual style, with touches of magical realism and fantasy, and starring an extraordinary cast of first-time actors, “Beasts” creates an entrancing and terrifying world.

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Boy Gets Bitten, Fights Evil ,. . . . . Makes Entertaining Movie

Movies: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

At long last, just what we’ve always needed, a movie made for those of us who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder or can barely remember what we ate for lunch yesterday!
Ten years after the Spider-Man franchise launched, and a mere five after “Spider-Man 3,” comes this “reboot,” with a new cast and much the same story as the Jurassic “Spider-Man”: Boy gets bitten, develops cool superpowers, dons suit, fights the other superpowers of evil.
And you know what? 
We are entertained.

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A New Life With Drums, Ice Cream and Conviction

Movies: ‘Sweet Dreams’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

This documentary, “Sweet Dreams,” is about Ingoma Nshya, a women’s drumming troupe formed in Rwanda as a response to the 1994 genocide that killed as many as a million people. The film centers around Kiki Katese, founder of the drumming group, who explains matter-of-factly that, while traditionally only men were drummers, a trip to the National Museum revealed no particular reason for this. Katese says one person at the museum suggested it was because the drums are heavy.
“Well, let’s see how heavy they are,” she laughs.

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A Messy Dish, Good Laughs on the Side

Movies: ‘To Rome With Love’

If Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” was an Italian restaurant dish, it would be a mélange of every leftover in the chef’s refrigerator. But it’s a movie, and Allen has dumped story ideas, time, characters, cinematic styles, most of his own neurotic tics and tropes and a gaggle of actors into a film that wanders around the city looking for cohesion and meaning, which it never finds.

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Inventive and Delightful, “Brave” Is Fun

Movies: ‘Brave’

Reinventing fairy tales and princess stories to have a strong heroine is nothing new. Merida, the spunky, independent princess in “Brave,” insists she doesn’t want to marry one of the dopey princes she’s being presented with, but that’s not where the film breaks new ground. The innovation is in its depiction of Merida’s mother, and the relationship between the two of them.

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Good Try, But . . .

Movies: ‘Bernie’

In 1996, a murder occurred in the backwoods city of Carthage, Texas. A man named Bernie Tiede, who had arrived some years before to take a job as assistant director in the city’s funeral home, shot a rich, 81-year-old widow, Marjorie Nugent, whom he had befriended at her husband’s funeral.
The peculiar story of this killing and the city’s character is told in the indie film “Bernie,” directed by Richard Linklater and based mainly on a 1998 article by Skip Hollandsworth in Texas Monthly, “Midnight in the Garden of East Texas.”

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Dark, Eerie And Familiar

Movies: ‘Prometheus’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

I saw “Alien” when it came out in 1979 at the fancy Uptown Theater movie house on Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C. It was a great barn of a place, with an enormous screen and all the bells and whistles — Dolby sound, speakers everywhere and a decidedly liberal policy about smuggling in your own libations. They didn’t even mind if you smoked a little reefer in the alley.
So when the alien thing popped out of the guy’s stomach, it was, er, memorable. More so than it is at age 50, sipping herbal tea and watching the Netflix stream on a laptop, that’s for sure.

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Exotic, of Course, and Touching Too

Movies: ‘Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

This has been a good season for feel-good movies. I felt good after watching “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” pretty good after watching the “Five Year Engagement,” and not bad at all after seeing “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” I would have felt better if I hadn’t seen the preview a handful of times. All the best jokes, and there were many, were spoiled by seeing them so many times. Is there anything we can do about that?

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So, What’s Not To Like?

Movies: ‘The Dictator’

Like President Obama, Sacha Baron Cohen is evolving.
The British comic began in the early 2000s with “Da Ali G Show” on TV, using a faux interview format to dupe real-life pooh-bahs and rednecks into making embarrassing candid-camera admissions of foolishness.
From there, he went to the big screen with two of his fake TV characters — “Borat,” the newsman from Kazakhstan, and Brüno, the fey German fashion reporter. The humor became broader, the smashing of sacred cows noisier.
The pointed satire resembled less a skewering than a firing squad execution of easy targets.

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Love, Paisley And the Fanged Life

Movies: 'Dark Shadow'
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” doesn’t quite make it. Based loosely on the goofy ABC soap (which ran from 1966-1971), the film starts off with a whole bunch of plot and flashback that’s mostly necessary.
Long story short: Johnny Depp is Barnabas Collins, scion of the Collinsport, Maine, fishing baron family, who declines to fall in love with Angelique Bouchard, one of the maids, played with great bosoms, I mean aplomb, by Eva Green).
Barnabas is a bit of a cad. He’s OK with doing the whap-a-dang with the maid, but his heart belongs to another.

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