Tag Archives: Leonard G. Heldreth

The supernatural takes the stage in October

All of the films this month have science fiction plots; three of the four are sequels, and the fourth depends for its plot devices on earlier science fiction films. Alien: Covenant The latest film in the “Alien” franchise most closely resembles the first two films in the series. It brings back Ridley Scott as the […]

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Monsters, a Pulitzer-winning play, a musical round out July’s picks

By Leonard Heldreth A monster movie involving a child, a filmed prize-winning play from the ’80s, a retro musical—quite a cross-section for July. Do not be deceived. A Monster Calls is not a typical genre horror film, despite the fact that it contains a fiery 40-foot tall creature who can knock over a building with […]

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Home Cinema

by Leonard G. Heldreth The films this month come from three different countries and illustrate dramatically how world cinema differs from that of the English-speaking world. Under the Shadow Iranian director Babak Anvari sets his debut film, Under the Shadow, in Tehran, the city in which he was born. The time is 1988, the final […]

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Strong women give strong performances

by Leonard G. Heldreth The terms “middle age crisis,” “seven-year-itch,” and other phrases referring to a personal restlessness at a certain age are usually applied to men, but the films this month examine what happens to four women of a certain age as they review their situations, revamp their outlooks, and turn their lives in […]

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Ringing in 2017 with animations and westerns

by Leonard G. Heldreth The films this month include two radically different animation films and a neo-western. Kubo and the Two Strings Whatever the Oscars may indicate, Kubo and the Two Strings is the best animated film of the year. Travis Knight, first-time director and CEO of Oregon-based Laika films, continues the tradition created by […]

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Hail, Caesar

Hail, Caesar In 1991 Joel and Ethan Coen created Barton Fink, a film about what happened when a successful but innocent American playwright let himself be seduced into going to Hollywood and writing screenplays for Capitol Pictures. The result was madness, murder and destruction, with John Goodman as a demon calling up flames with a […]

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Leading ladies rule the silver screen

by Leonard G. Heldreth The films this month deal with a range of problems faced by women, whether in the United States today or during the recent past, or in the aftermath of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Room Based on a novel by Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue, who drew her inspiration from several actual events, […]

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Biopics, horrors and comedies, oh my

by Leonard G. Heldreth Two biographical films, two horror films and two comedies make up our list for this month. Before responding critically to the movie Steve Jobs, a viewer has to be aware of two pre-requisites. First, the film does not attempt to present an accurate, factual account of Jobs’ life, not even as accurate […]

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Spies and addiction create interesting plots

by Leonard G. Heldreth Maybe it’s the release of the new Bond film, but suddenly, there are spy DVDs all over the place. This column looks at three of them and also examines two films about addiction. Most viewers probably haven’t heard of this film written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It […]

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Films offer wide variety of plots, action

by Leonard G. Heldreth The films this month include a complex young adult film, the latest installments in two ongoing series of films and a genre film in the Coen brothers’ tradition. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl With its pulp fiction title, its potential sentimentality and its satire of classic films, this cinematic […]

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Adventurous women make up unusual plots

by Leonard G. Heldreth This month’s films look at the heating oil business in New York City, review the process of slipping into middle age, and examine the adventures of two very unusual women. A Most Violent Year This is the third impressive film by J.C. Chandor, after Margin Call and the Robert Redford tour […]

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And the Academy Award goes to…

by Leonard G Heldreth We examine a variety of films this month, from Academy Award winners to independent productions. Mr Turner Director Mike Leigh and leading actor Timothy Spall have worked together on six previous films, including Life Is Sweet, Secrets & Lies and Topsy-Turvy. During the filming of Topsy-Turvy in 1999 (a film about […]

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Animated features take center stage

by Leonard G Heldreth This month’s films include three family features using different styles of animation and a biopic of one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists in the world. Secret of Kells In 2009, Tomm Moore created the Oscar-nominated Secret of Kells, drawing upon Irish mythology and a unique visual style to make an […]

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Variety of cast sizes used to captivate viewers

by Leonard G. Heldreth Films can vary widely in the number of cast members necessary to bring their visions to the screen. One film this month shows only a single performer throughout; a second is dominated by one performer with supporting bit players; a third has two stars playing off against each other; and the fourth […]

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Films based on real events give viewers cause for thought

By Leonard G. Heldreth The films this month all are based on true events. Two have been nominated for one or more Academy Awards. Dallas Buyers Club Ron Woodroof was a foul-mouthed, homophobic, generally prejudiced heterosexual electrician from Texas who spent most of his free time riding bulls at rodeos, bedding prostitutes and taking drugs. […]

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