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Jan 25th
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Film

Reviews and Times

Cold Comfort

Cold Comfort'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' an admirable, chilly thriller 

In keeping with today's topic, Cold War espionage, let me start off with a full disclosure: I am not the ideal audience for spy thrillers. The rules of the genre—the "McGuffin" everyone is searching for, the traitor in the ranks, the dispassionate trust-no-one isolation—are not issues I find especially compelling. For me, there has to be some pretty stylish filmmaking, engaging characters, or a profoundly felt moral dilemma to make it all worthwhile.
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Reviews and Times

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With The Dragon TattooFor the majority of English-speaking readers who devoured Stieg Larsson's international bestselling crime thriller trilogy in translation, but never saw the 2009 Swedish film version, this Hollywood reboot from director David Fincher is reasonably compelling. Kudos to Fincher and scriptwriter Steven Zaillian for maintaining the story's setting in Sweden (not relocating it to, say, New York or L.A.), and assembling an excellent cast.
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Reviews and Times

It's a Wrap

It's a WrapMovie stories light up the screen in 2011

Big surprise: movies about movies shot to the top of the list of films I loved in 2011. Movies about art, writing and Paris also earned a place in my Top 10, along with the usual assortment of strange bedfellows—Werner Herzog, Almodóvar, Harry Potter. Aside from those films still playing in town (which you should run out and see on a big screen right this minute), this list should give you some eclectic ideas for your post-holiday Netflix queue.
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Reviews and Times

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 29th

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec. 29th

Films This Week
Check out the movies playing around town.
With: Reviews, 
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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 ,
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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.
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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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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

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Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

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