Film & TV

The Curse of the Gothic Symphony Lingers On

Angelo Franco

A terrific portrayal of passion and perseverance, this film depicts a rather obsessive group of musicians – and an exasperated filmmaker – as they attempt to orchestrate the “Everest” of classical music. Reputed to be the largest, longest, and most complex composition ever written, Havergal Brian’s Symphony No. 1 “The Gothic” is a colossal piece of classical music requiring a number of musicians so vast that it has only been performed four times since its completion in 1927.

‘Philomena,’ ‘Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Frears’ movie departs substantially from the book while telling a fascinating tale of motherly love and indicting the Catholic Church’s operation of Magdalene laundries. These facilities, which were designed as rehabilitation centers for unwed mothers, often operated like prisons, and Philomena’s story puts a face to the tragedy many young women endured. In the film, Sixmith (portrayed winningly by Steve Coogan), a journalist, learns that the now elderly Philomena wants to find her lost son. 

Is Cinema Making a Comeback? The Plight of ‘American Hustle’

Mary Kinney

With so many critically acclaimed films out this winter—and a stacked awards season—it’s easy to make the argument for a new Golden Age of cinema: this season, American HustleWolf of Wall StreetTwelve Years a Slave and more films were garnering buzz for their nominations and reviews. Is this the sign of a new boom for cinema? Or does saying the art of film is back a self-fulfilling prophecy? American Hustle was a front-runner this award season and was initially met with fairly consistent acclaim, but with its 10 Oscar nominations, American Hustle left viewers empty-handed. 

‘August: Osage County,’ ‘The Hobbit’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Two films into the trilogy, Jackson’s vision has been vindicated, as his “Hobbit” movies, particularly “The Desolation of Smaug,” are nearly as exciting and well-rendered as his “Rings” interpretations. Jackson maintains the serious tone that he set in the “Rings” films, and he takes pains to tie the events of the two trilogies together. The result is a continuing Middle Earth epic that should delight both Tolkien aficionados and newcomers alike. 

The Reality Behind Reality TV

Karen Wright

Cut to present-day television viewing. Press the guide button on your TV remote and you will notice that the most popular genre of shows are now “Reality.” And while almost every person will declare that reality television is not real, a startling number of new shows are constantly being produced because there are viewers to receive them. Even as naysayers publicly castigate Juan Pablo Galavis, the latest bachelor on the hit ABC “reality” series, the franchise just wrapped up its 18th season, with the next bachelorette already selected to star in the hit spin-off. 

‘Anchor Man 2,’ ‘47 Ronin’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

“Anchor Man 2” ratchets up the silliness, moving the characters several years forward to the advent of 24-hour cable news channels. As the movie begins, former San Diego news anchor Ron Burgundy (Ferrell) is co-hosting a New York program with his now-wife Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate). Their seemingly sound relationship breaks down when Veronica is offered a slot on the coveted evening news and Ron is simultaneously fired. 

‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Frozen’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

In “The Wolf of Wall Street,” director Martin Scorsese presents a picture of Jordan Belfort that is so over the top and unapologetically vulgar that it’s easy to write the film off as exaggeration… until one realizes that Belfort says everything is true. Belfort is a former Wall Street swindler whose fraudulent actions cost investors approximately $200 million. By his own admission, he was also a sexually promiscuous drug addict at the time of his crimes. ​

'American Hustle,’ Mandela’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Every year, one movie, for one reason or another, grabs more critical acclaim than it deserves. In 2013, that film was “American Hustle,” a David O. Russell dramedy that – along with “Gravity” – was the most-nominated picture in competition during the 2014 Oscars. That “Hustle” failed to turn any of its 10 nominations to gold supports my contention that the movie’s parts are more noteworthy than its whole.  

Making Sense of a Chaotic Universe in ‘Particle Fever’

William Eley

Appropriately, and in accordance with the universe-sized endeavor of which Particle Fever documents, the film’s style is of a predictable, cinema verite formulation: enmeshing moments of planet-rattling scientific discovery with footage of its purveyors training for marathons along Swiss country roads, engaging in impromptu ping-pong matches under cruel, institutional lighting and, of course, confessing their concerns about the potential “end of Physics” via Skype. 

‘Inside Llewyn Davis,’ ‘The Book Thief’ Arrive on Home Video

Forrest Hartman

Filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Coen are treasures of modern cinema who somehow craft one great movie after another, regardless of the genre they explore. In 2010, they reinvigorated the Western with a beautiful adaptation of the 1968 Charles Portis novel “True Grit.” Their latest film, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” treads different territory but is just as compelling. Set in 1961, the film introduces viewers to Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a fictional folk singer struggling to make it in New York’s Greenwich Village. 

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