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Dec 20th
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Film

Reviews and Times

Silence Is Golden

Silence Is Golden'The Artist' a witty, splendid homage to the silent film era 

You can't say filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius lacks the courage of his convictions. When he set out to make a movie that pays homage to Hollywood's silent era, not only did he film in vintage black-and-white, he dared to shoot the entire movie without audible dialogue, relying on only the occasional title card, music, and the actors' expressiveness to tell the story. The splendid result is The Artist, in which Hazanavicius wields the classic storytelling tools of the silent film era with fresh new exuberance. It may look and feel vintage, but The Artist is one of the most original movies of the year.
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Reviews and Times

Action!

Action!Now … what’s your motivation? 

Just as actors examine their motivation to portray Mr./Mrs. Everyman on the screen, (or sometimes, we hope, Neverman,) we as audience members need motivation to buy that increasingly pricey ticket and be a face in the dark. Defining that motivation is a billion-dollar industry, but individually, what drives us to the box office is very personal. What internal elements combine with Hollywood magic to create that perfect match? I’ve boiled my own cinema quotient down to four essential movie-food groups. Whether or not agree with my reasoning, you might consider similar examination when making your film choices, or more importantly, when someone suggests, “You really need to see Young Adult.”
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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 22nd

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 22nd

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews THE ARTIST ,
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Reviews and Times

Out with the new

Out with the new

Harmless, but predictable 'New Year's Eve' sings same old song 


Picture this: Times Square, New York City, New Year's Eve. Crowds have been amassing all day to see the giant glitter ball hoisted up to the top of its pole, to drop down again at the stroke of midnight. But as the festivities begin, and the ball starts to go up—oh no!—it gets stuck halfway up the pole. Will it get to the top in time? Can the new year begin if the ball doesn't drop? These are among the many burning questions posed in the ensemble romantic comedy, New Year's Eve, but audiences may be asking themselves a different question: what are a bunch of nice Oscar winners (and nominees) doing in a movie like this? 

The short answer is: collecting a paycheck. The ensemble romantic comedy Valentine's Day was a big enough hit back in 2010 that distributor Warner Brothers reunited director Garry Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate for this retread. It's not a sequel, there are no characters in common between the two movies, it's just the same formula transplanted from L.A. to New York, in which a vaguely interconnected group of folks try to realize their holiday expectations. Formulaic, too, is the quality of the storytelling. Well-meaning and eager to please, New Year's Day amounts to little more than a collection of sitcom gags, predictable romance, and inspirational speeches about love, hope, and second chances.

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec 15th

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec 15th

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews New Year's Eve,
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Reviews and Times

Claus and Effect

Claus and Effect

 

Santa's son saves holiday in sweet, funny 'Arthur Christmas'

From Aardman Studios, the deliciously nutty outfit behind the Wallace and Gromit movies, and Chicken Run, comes Arthur Christmas. This sweet, yet sly animated family comedy views the seasonal festivities from a particular insider's perspective—that of Arthur, Santa Claus' number-two son. Gauche, clumsy, and somewhat inept as he is, Arthur is nevertheless imbued with the most holiday spirit of anyone at the North Pole in this wry comedy of dynastic family dynamics. Directed by Sarah Smith, from an original screenplay she co-wrote with Peter Baynham, this tall tale supposes that Christmas Eve at the North Pole has become a high-tech enterprise.

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 8th

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 8th

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews Arthur Christmas,
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Reviews and Times

Celebrating Movie Magic

Celebrating Movie Magic

 

Scorsese salutes early cinema in charming, if uneven 'Hugo'

If you love silent movies, you'll love Martin Scorsese's new family-friendly film, Hugo. And if you're a fan of the delightfully nutty, hand-made fantasy movies of early French film pioneer Georges Melies, you're in for a special treat. Scorsese's film is not only an homage to the great Melies, but to the turn-of-the-century spirit of clockwork, hands-on inventiveness that spawned him. Best of all, it's an opportunity to see a fabulous montage of vintage, hand-tinted Melies footage as God intended—on a great, big screen. And, boy, does it look great!
Unfortunately, the downside of Hugo is that it seems to take forever for the magic to kick in. It's based on the wonderful novel,

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Reviews and Times

My Week With Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn

The 2012 Best Actress Oscar race begins with this miraculous performance by Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. We have yet to see Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, or Glenn Close in male drag in Albert Nobbs, but even those esteemed actresses will be hard-pressed to equal the alchemy with which the always intelligent and gutsy Williams transforms herself into that most dreamy, luscious, needy, and yet valiant of all Hollywood screen goddesses. Directed with grace and economy by TV veteran Simon Curtis, from a smart, touching script by Adrian Hodges, the film is adapted from the memoir,

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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 1st

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 1st

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, HUGO,
Movie Times click here.
Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

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