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Thursday, Jun 19, 2014
By shuffling the songs off to the side, Clint Eastwood does the Four Seasons and Jersey Boys a grand disservice.

Is it a musical or a biopic? The standard definition for the former is a show or storyline which sees songs seamlessly merged with the dialogue. The typical requirements of the latter are an interesting story and some connection to real life events. Few properties have successfully merged both, though many consider the Broadway smash Jersey Boys as an excellent example of a behind the scenes look at the making (and breaking) of the famed Four Seasons pop act, complete with jovial jukebox designs regarding the showtunes.

Indeed, the group’s Hall of Fame sound and chart topping hits become part of the show, highlighting the ups and downs that came with being a pre/post Beatlemania phenomenon.

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Monday, Jun 9, 2014
This is a story for those who've never experience the effects of a terminal disease, a narrative aimed at the obvious naïveté of its young audience.

I’m no stranger to the tragic effects of cancer. Two years ago, my mother-in-law died of the disease and from 1985 until 1996, my father suffered from the lingering side effects of a massive brain tumor. Both of these aging individuals were strong and vital before their diagnosis. One passed after 11 short days. The other battled with prehistoric medications and equally dated medical care, resulting in strokes, incapacitation, and an incredibly low quality of life.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
At one time, Marvel was seen as taking risks in defiance of the bottom line. Those days are gone, apparently.

And it all seemed to be going so well…

It’s safe to say that no other brand has had as much unprecedented success as Marvel. Even with movies outside its strict purview, the comic book label has watched everything from X-Men to Spider-Man, and the various Avengers both gathered and solo, become the benchmark for the entire superhero genre. Sure, Christopher Nolan may have turned DC’s Batman into a legitimate dramatic character, but when it comes to what Hollywood really cares about—the bottom line—Marvel is the moneymaker to its competition’s more complex fortunes.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Just this past week, the cast of the new Star Wars film was "announced", and instead of taking the obvious pros and cons of the actors chosen in stride, the screeching Twitter outrage and blog bludgeoning began in full force.

A hundred years from now, when the history of the new millennium is written in regard to film, whatever passes for a future movie journalist (if such a thing even exists) will probably opine that the then supervising Hollywood studios discovered a brilliant subgenre cash cow—the superhero/comic book action fantasy—and then beat that poor allegorical animal ATM to death. They’ll go back to Richard Donner and Superman, Tim Burton and his Batman films, flip through the flops of a pre-Kevin Feige Marvel, and dissect the dumb way DC dealt with their potential properties and then declare both a Golden Age and a filmic Fall of Rome. In the end, they will argue over what actually led to the categories demise, and one phrase will stick out amongst the various causations: “the Internet and social media”.

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Monday, Apr 14, 2014
When the film's story showcases the turncoat nature of those in power, it doesn't have the impact -- or the ideas -- of the films from the '70s.

Sometimes, it seems like the entire social media collective has lost touch with reality. Now, that may seem like a given, but the truth remains that time, plus the rapidly decreasing window of available word of mouth publicity, demands a kind of critical shortcutting. We writers do it all the time. We begin aesthetic discussions with phrases like “imagine David Lynch on steroids…”, or “take one part Michael Bay, two parts John Woo, and a lot of CG gore…”, hoping that the reader will recognize the reference and do some of the analytic heavy lifting for us. In the case of the most recent Marvel movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the ‘70s shout outs have been almost deafening. Not every critic has made the inference (some are just too young to know), but many have tried to make the case that this latest slick, high action entry is more akin to the spy thrillers of the Me Decade than the slap dash splash of the current comic book epic.

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