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Movies

From Folk to Baroque With Mozart in Between

The Music Scene

So much good music is happening this weekend, you’d think we had skipped ahead to the spring season, which we have, sort of.
To begin with, this weekend’s concert by Matching Orange, which is part of the Dewey Hall Folk Music Series in Sheffield, MA. This youthful and relatively new band, just two years old, brings together an appealing mix of traditional Celtic, Appalachian and Cape Breton music, as well as other folk genres. 

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It Takes a Special Audience . . .

Movies: ‘Star Wars Episode One -The Phantom Menace’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

My mind wandered a lot during the two hours and 23 minutes of the 3D revamp of George Lucas’ “Star Wars Episode One — The Phantom Menace.”
For starters, I am not entirely clear as to what “phantom menace” refers to. The menace seemed pretty above-board to me — all these little droid soldier things everywhere, plus the two Trade Federation guys with no noses.
And the fellow with the red-and-black face paint job.
Not one of these was a phantom.

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Terror in a Familiar Locale

Movies: 'The Innkeepers'
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Ti West’s “The Innkeepers” is a nice horror flick. That means that we’re not talking gallons of blood, severed limbs, gratuitous nekkidity, no plot getting in the way of the story and a choir chanting gibberish Latin.
Which is a shame, sort of, because it would have been fun to watch the audience at the Warner Theatre reacting to drive-in stuff in an Art Deco setting.
West, who shot much of “House of the Devil” in Lime Rock a few years ago, made this film entirely in Torrington.

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The Pleasure of Short, Beautiful Tales

Movies: Animated Shorts

I’ve never managed to see all the Academy Award-nominated films or performances in any category — I make my calls on Oscar night based on personal bias, just like everyone else. But this year I was able to see every nominated film in one category, animated short, because they are playing as a bill at several theaters for a short run.

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Magical and Inventive, What Film Can Be

Movies: ‘The Artist’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

In a time of bigger and louder, “The Artist” takes us to the simpler world of silent movies.
Director Michel Hazanavicius’s confection is a sweetly satisfying mix of wit, lavish production values and superb performances.

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Sometimes, A Cigar Is Just a Cigar

Movies: ‘A Dangerous Method’

 
 
Scene: Somewhere in the Tri-corner area, the offices of Sigmund Fred, renowned movie (psycho) analyst.  Enter David Cronenberg, director of “A Dangerous Method.”
  “Come in, Herr Direktor.  What seems to be the problem?”
  “Well, Doc, I heard you didn’t care much for my movie.  Is it true?”
  Stage whisper: “Didn’t care much?  Seriously?” 
Aloud: “This is about you, not me. But since you ask, it was, as we say, not so hot. Or, as you say, eine rotten tomato.”

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On a Tricky Subject

Movies: ‘Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” is an interesting film, part adventure story, part coming of age story, and all tearjerker.

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Streep Is Fine, And Note Perfect, In a Flawed Production

Movies: ‘The Iron Lady’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Meryl Streep gives what, for any other actress, would be the performance of a lifetime in “The Iron Lady,” a superficial, unfocused film about Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s iconic prime minister throughout the 1980s.
Hitting every line with note-perfect accent and emphasis, coiffed in Thatcher’s upswept style, moving from small-town English dowdy into, eventually, Chanel, and playing Thatcher over the 40-year span of her rise from backbencher to head of government to the throes of dementia, Streep is superb.

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So Cool, So Fresh, So Very British

Movies: ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’

The Circus, the top echelon of the British intelligence service circa 1973, has been infiltrated by a mole, a spy working for the Russians who has infiltrated the inner circle.
The head of the service, Control (John Hurt), sends Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong) to Hungary to meet with an agent who may be able to reveal the name of the mole, but their cover is blown and Prideaux is shot. As a result of the botched operation, both Control and his top deputy, George Smiley (Gary Oldman), are forced into retirement.

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Joey and Snowy, Take a Bow

Movies: ‘War Horse,’ ‘The Adventures of Tintin’

Taking in two end-of-year releases directed by Steven Spielberg, I was reminded of Spielberg’s enormous cinematic range and appetites, and why he continues to be a seminal influence on the art and business of moviemaking.
Of “The Adventures of Tintin” and “War Horse” — both outstanding achievements — I preferred the former. This animated film, based on a classic series of 20th-century comic books by the Belgian artist known as Hergé, is light, loose, and terrifically entertaining.

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