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Dan Jardine
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Diner (Barry Levinson, USA, 1982) This talk-heavy comedy, set in 1950s Baltimore, marked  Barry Levinson 's directorial debut. Filled with excellent dialogue (the screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award) and star-making performances, the largely-unkno...

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City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, USA, 1931) Many critics consider  City Lights  to be  Charles Chaplin 's finest film, no small accomplishment considering his long string of great films.  The film is a  Chaplin  tour-de-force, as he has his hand in almost ever...

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Captain's Courageous (Victor Fleming, USA, 1937) Rudyard Kipling 's well-known novel enjoys an excellent adaptation in  Victor Fleming 's splendidly directed film.  There are some well-directed action sequences that get the heart pounding, but the core of t...

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Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, Denmark/France, 1987) The sophisticated and subtle screenplay for  Babette's Feast , adapted by director  Gabriel Axel , is based on a story written by Isak Dinesen, the writer memorably played by  Meryl Streep  in the biopic ...

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Amarcord (Fellini, 1974, Italy) " Amarcord " is the phonetic translation of the Italian words "Mi Ricordo" (I remember) as pronounced in the dialect of Emilia-Romagna, the birthplace of director  Federico Fellini  and the setting of this wonderful film. Lit...

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Frank (USA, 2014, Lenny Abrahamson) Ben Livant: To be
frank, I do not think much of Frank.  Honestly, do we really require a
whole movie starring the advertising mascot for the Jack In The Box burger
chain?  But seriously, are we supposed to take Frank seri...

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The Theory of Everything (UK, 2014, James Marsh) Ben Livant: I am not a huge fan of bio-pics, preferring instead a documentary.  I am particularly suspicious of bio-pics about people who are still alive... on whose memoir the movie is based... whom the make...

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Get on Up (USA, 2014, Tate Taylor) Ben  Livant: Having gotten it up to review The Theory of Everything, I am now getting it up to review Get On Up.  My treatment of TTOE was quite mean-spirited.  I neglected to mention that Eddie Redmayne's performance as S...

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Olive Kitteridge (USA, 2014, Lisa Cholodenko) Ben Livant: After I watched the first part of this four-part program, I was impressed by how unsympathetic I found the title character.  I had to wonder if the protagonist was going to be some sort of anti-hero;...

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The Firemen's Ball (Czechoslovakia, 1967, Milos Forman) Ben Livant: Sometimes teachers
for whom I substitute provide me with passwords so I can access their
files.  I am presently covering for a
teacher whose political point of view I have always respected....
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