The Film Gang

Merchants of Doubt

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Listen above, to the review by Dennis Morton.

The Frank Matthews Story

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Some American few tropes that are universal. Among these are the cowboy and the gangster. With the former goes the lawman, referencing the great combat between lawmakers and lawbreakers. The popularity of The Godfather, the remake Scarface, Goodfellas and Boardwalk Empire are latter day reincarnations of classic genres of gangster fare like Public Enemy or The Roaring Twenties. These sagas both are inspired by and inspire emulation in which life endlessly imitates art.

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Wild Tales

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Listen above to the review by Dennis Morton.

Maps to the Stars

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Listen above, to the review by Dennis Morton – and read it below.

Maps To The Stars is a very strange film. It’s filled with subjects and situations that most of us don’t talk about, at least in public. It’s described as a comedy, and indeed, there are laughs. But the humor is almost unrelentingly dark. If I had to describe it in a sentence, I’d say the movie is a vicious satire on the self-obsession that sometimes accompanies fame. Unsurprisingly, it’s set in Hollywood?

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Mr. Turner

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Listen to the review by David H. Anthony, above.

Two Days, One Night

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Listen to the review by Dennis Morton, and read it below.

Two Days, One Night is a film by the Dardenne brothers, Luc and Jean-Pierre. They wrote and directed it. Its star is Marion Cotillard. She plays a woman named Sandra, an employee of a company that produces solar panels.

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2015 Oscar Nominated Shorts

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Listen above, and read David H. Anthony’s story below.

Each year the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes on short films in two categories, animated and live action. Last year’s entries were discussed
separately by me and my colleague, Dennis Morton. Today I assess some Oscar nominated animated entries.

The animated shorts were subdivided into two segments, animated shorts and additional animated shorts, totaling 10 films in all. Animated films represent a wide range of visual possibilities, from dazzling imagery to relatively simply sketched, plot-driven originals. There is something for everyone in this set, films awash in color and spare chiaroscuro creations, heavy on dark and light, using sequences evoking the era of black and white. Some have dialogue while others do not. Some feature human figures while others are like fables, with animals appearing with human characteristics, with or without words.

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Blackhat

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Listen to the review by Dennis Morton above, and read it below.

At the outset, let me say that I rarely attempt to review thrillers. Part of the reason is that there aren’t many thrillers that I end up appreciating, and generally, I only write about films that I like. I do admit, though, that the genre is a guilty pleasure and that I occasionally scratch the itch.

Which brings me to Blackhat. I left the theatre realizing that I’d been ‘glued’, as they say, to the screen for the full two hours and thirteen minutes of its duration. Yes, I was thoroughly entranced, but I wasn’t at all sure why. So, I went back two more times to find out, and each time, I realized I liked it more and more.

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Selma

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Listen to David H. Anthony’s review above, and read it below.

While technically a 2014 product, the mid-January release of Ava DuVernay’s Selma coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
As well as chronicling it, the film has already made history as the first film directed by an African-American woman to become a serious contender for major awards.

Selma stars Nigerian-British David Oyelowo as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at a pivotal and extremely vulnerable time in his public and private life. While the Civil Rights Movement is struggling in the trenches to implement the halting gains achieved principally in the streets, and most recently to actualize the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Dr. King, its pre-eminent spokesperson is set to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Meanwhile, the stress and strain of the movement has invaded every part of the King household. Coretta Scott King, played by Nigerian-Scottish Carmen Ejogo confronts Dr. King about charges of infidelity leaked through FBI wiretaps. The drama, therefore, operates on multiple levels throughout Selma.

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Into the Woods

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Listen to the review by Dennis Morton above, and read it below.

I had neither seen nor heard of Stephen Sondheim’s musical, Into The Woods, before I watched the film version of it. And I wasn’t terribly keen on watching the film, either, but my companion cajoled me into it. I am so grateful she did, because I haven’t enjoyed myself at the movies this much in a long time, not withstanding an uncomfortable moment when Johnny Depp’s Big Bad Wolf character envisions a deplorable act with Little Red Riding Hood.

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