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Alison’s Blog

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Film

March 18, 2015 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

In reviewing films these days, it is almost impossible to focus solely on what is on screen rather than the hubbub brewing around them. Is “Boyhood” a magnificent, intimate epic about growing up or is it a glorified home movie patched together with a clever soundtrack? Is “American Sniper” a gripping portrayal of a boots-on-the-ground […]

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The November Man

August 28, 2014 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

Zipping between Montenegro, Switzerland, Serbia and Russia before you have time to say “90s espionage thriller”, this worn bundle of spy cliches races through its paces with minimum originality but lots of energy and pluck. Fans of the genre, or fans of Pierce Brosnan may get a kick out of seeing him handle a gun […]

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Conversation with “Philomena” Director Stephen Frears

April 11, 2014 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

“In the end it’s a fluke” says Frears referring to the 4 Academy Award nominations and the nearly one hundred million dollar worldwide gross of his most recent film “Philomena”. “You can’t legislate for this to happen but for a film like this to make that kind of money… it’s completely unpredictable”. Unpredictable, but hardly […]

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Movie Review of the Week “Enough Said” with James Gandolfini

September 20, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

The late James Gandolfini rarely got to show the different facets of his character in his movie roles. Too often he was cast as the tough guy, a variation on the mafioso/hitman/thug that got him noticed back in 1993 with “True Romance “. In “Enough Said”, Nicole Holofcener’s new chatty comedy, Gandolfini gets to show […]

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“Closed Circuit” Short-Circuits

August 28, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

A courtroom thriller set in the intricate world of the British legal system. An international terrorist on trial for a bombing. Two defense lawyers hiding their torrid affair. Seems like the perfect setup for thrills aplenty and some juicy shenanigans. And if you add Jim Broadbent and Ciaran Hinds as shady superiors in the labyrinthine […]

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Lee Daniels’ “The Butler”

August 20, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

Get out your Oscar ballots. It’s time to mark a clear winner. Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” will be catnip to the Academy; a sweeping historical canvas with an intimate personal story in the forefront. And unlike “The Help”, which also covered major historical events in the Civil Rights era, this one has African Americans front […]

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We’re the Millers

August 9, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

“We’re the Millers” rides the wave of recent R rated comedies that aim to shock and awe with risqué jokes, outré behavior and close-up shots of misshapen private parts. There are two anal sex references, a mother-lode of incest jokes and hints of a four-way orgy. Some of the smuttiness will make you laugh. Mostly […]

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Summer Movies 2013: Blue Jasmine

July 30, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

Woody Allen has always crafted rich female roles in his films. And he also chooses exceptional actresses who become synonymous with his work. Think of Diane Keaton as Annie Hall, Mia Farrow as Alice, Mariel Hemingway as Tracy in “Manhattan”. Now Cate Blanchett steps in front of his lens in “Blue Jasmine”, a desperately sad […]

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Summer 2013 Movies: The Conjuring

July 28, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

There is nothing in this familiar, but effective horror film that you haven’t seen before. It’s set in a secluded, creaky, old farmhouse. There is a boarded-up cellar full of cobwebby old furniture. Dogs bark at the house and refuse to enter. Doors creak open and slam shut of their own accord. Clocks stop. And […]

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Summer 2013 Movies: Fruitvale Station

July 12, 2013 by Alison Bailes No Comments divider image

Summer isn’t usually the time for socially driven dramas with political undercurrents, but The Weinstein Company is releasing “Fruitvale Station” as counter-programming to the onslaught of robots, monsters and sequels that are fighting over box office dominion. And it’s well worth investing your energy in this compelling, well made independent by first time writer/director Ryan […]

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