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Sep 02nd
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Film

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

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

Films This Week
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With: Reviews THE ARTIST ,
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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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Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec 15th

Film, Times & Events: Week of Dec 15th

Films This Week
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With: Reviews New Year's Eve,
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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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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.
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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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The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

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Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual