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DON’T WORRY, HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT

Joaquin Phoenix gives another incredible performance in this excellent new film from Gus Van Sant. The actor is a true chameleon and always believable. Here, he plays the late John Callahan, a talented cartoonist who was also a quadriplegic and an alcoholic. Wallowing in his misery, it takes him time to try attending a group meeting led by Jonah Hill, who lives in a mansion and seems to have no ambition except to help others in need. Slowly, Phoenix begins to absorb the 12-step program’s lessons and requirements. Hill reminds him that his problems won’t magically disappear when he completes the program; he will have to deal with them for the rest of his life. Van Sant never overplays his hand and offers a feeling…

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NEW AND NOTABLE FILM BOOKS – July 2018

As always, books show up on my doorstep at a pace I can’t keep up with. Therefore, the mini-essays below are based on skimming rather than careful reading, I readily concede…but I don’t think I’ve missed the mark in determining the significance of each volume.   ELEMENTARY ART: 100 YEARS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by William S. Major (Silver Screen Collectibles) This large-format paperback volume is not brand new but I hadn’t encountered it, or its author, until I attended the Cinevent over Memorial Day Weekend in Columbus, Ohio. I’m so glad I acquired a copy of Elementary Art, as it is brimming with rare, eye-catching reproductions of posters from the U.S. and abroad dating back a century. You’ll find John Barrymore, Clive Brook, Arthur Wontner, Reginald…

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DIE HARD (1988)

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by Jerry Saravia. When Bruce Willis first appeared in 1988’s masterful action film, “Die Hard,” there was little to no hope that Willis could carry an action film. After all, he was no Stallone or Schwarzenegger nor any kind of macho, musclebound hero – he wasn’t even Chuck Norris. Prior to “Die Hard,” he appeared in the wacky “Blind Date” and the shockingly awful “Sunset” with James Garner. Most knew him from TV’s inventive and witty “Moonlighting” but clearly audiences were getting tired of Willis’s smirk and jocose nature. “Die Hard” proved everyone wrong – it is a nail-biting, claustrophobic, suspenseful action picture that uses one designated place – the tall Nakatomi towers –…

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JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by James White. “…yeah, yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm For me, nothing summarizes Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom better than that quote.  When Jurassic Park (directed by Steven Spielberg) opened in 1993, I was mesmerized. Like most ten year olds on the planet, I loved dinosaurs. I read every book, watched every show and bought every toy I could get my hands on.  Seeing a Tyrannosaurus Rex “in real life” was a game changer. That was the first time I remember feeling the “magic” of film and asking “How? How did they make those…

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HARLAN ELLISON AND THE NECESSARY RAGE OF A BOY AND HIS DOG

This post is a part of our New Voices Section. Written by Brad Gullickson. No one had an easier time getting mad than Harlan Ellison. All he needed was a question, and the resulting answer would cut through any amount of “Maybe, Um” optimism. He had no time for concerns masked with pleasantries. The inquiries were of little consequence. Ellison raged because to do any less would be a betrayal to the passion that fueled him. There are many questions in his novella, A Boy and His Dog. All of them stirred forth from his disgust regarding humanity’s descending direction in 1969. Raised on the cynicism of The Time Machine, Brave New World, and 1984, Ellison relished in slapping his fellow man with a dark dose…

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