Shepherd Express - Film Reviews http://shepherdexpress.com/articles.sec-443-1-film-reviews.html Wed, 16 Aug 17 00:00:00 -0500 en hourly 1 'Inconvenient' Climate for Al Gore's Sequel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30234-inconvenient-climate-for-al-gores-sequel.html   ]]> 'Detroit' on Fire in Kathryn Bigelow's Historic Drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30188-detroit-on-fire-in-kathryn-bigelows-historic-drama.html
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'13 Minutes' Brilliantly Restages the Plot to Kill Hitler http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30140-13-minutes-brilliantly-restages-the-plot-to-kill-hitler.html   ]]> A Most Unusual 'Ghost Story' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30117-a-most-unusual-ghost-story.html   ]]> 'Dunkirk' a War Film Like No Other http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30100-dunkirk-a-war-film-like-no-other.html   ]]> Who Will Win the 'War for the Planet of the Apes'? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30058-who-will-win-the-war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes.html   ]]> Sofia Coppola's Captivating Remake of Civil War Drama 'The Beguiled' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-30015-sofia-coppolas-captivating-remake-of-civil-war-drama-the-beguiled.html   ]]> 'It Comes at Night' a Spellbinding Tale of Family and Survival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29976-it-comes-at-night-a-spellbinding-tale-of-family-and-survival.html   ]]> 'Cars 3' in the Running for First Place in Summer Blockbusters http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29940-cars-3-in-the-running-for-first-place-in-summer-blockbusters.html   ]]> Wondering About Rachel Weisz as 'My Cousin Rachel' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29892-wondering-about-rachel-weisz-as-my-cousin-rachel.html
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Wonder Woman's Strength in Battle and Box Office http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29866-wonder-womans-strength-in-battle-and-box-office.html   ]]> On the Road to Paris in Eleanor Coppola's Comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29826-on-the-road-to-paris-in-eleanor-coppolas-comedy.html   ]]> What's Coming to the Multiplex This Summer? - A look ahead at blockbusters and minor threats http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29799-whats-coming-to-the-multiplex-this-summer-a-look-ahead-at-blockbusters-and-minor-threats.html   ]]> Mother and Daughter are 'Snatched' in LOL Comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29744-mother-and-daughter-are-snatched-in-lol-comedy.html   ]]> 'The Dinner' Falls Short of Five Stars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29720-the-dinner-falls-short-of-five-stars.html   ]]> In Search of ‘The Lost City of Z’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29691-in-search-of-%25E2%2580%2598the-lost-city-of-z%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Sightseeing 'On Location' Where Movies are Made http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29692-sightseeing-on-location-where-movies-are-made.html   ]]> 'The Promise' of Love, Murder and Survival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29632-the-promise-of-love-murder-and-survival.html   ]]> Latin-American Films Showcased in Series at UWM Cinema http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29617-latin-american-films-showcased-in-series-at-uwm-cinema.html Movies can be entertaining but they can also serve as windows onto worlds beyond our experience. Throughout its 39-year history, UW-Milwaukee’s Latin American Film Series has opened a window to Mexi]]> Movies ‘Like Crazy’ at Italian Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29618-movies-%25E2%2580%2598like-crazy%25E2%2580%2599-at-italian-film-festival.html   ]]> Milwaukee Muslim Film Festival Challenges Stereotypes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29561-milwaukee-muslim-film-festival-challenges-stereotypes.html   ]]> Jessica Chastain’s Memorable Performance as ‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29523-jessica-chastain%25E2%2580%2599s-memorable-performance-as-%25E2%2580%2598the-zookeeper%25E2%2580%2599s-wife%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Documentary Shows that James Baldwin was No One’s ‘Negro’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29492-documentary-shows-that-james-baldwin-was-no-one%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598negro%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> 'T2' a Homecoming for Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29465-t2-a-homecoming-for-ewan-mcgregor-and-danny-boyle.html   ]]> Postwar Cruelty in Oscar-nominated 'Land of Mine' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29411-postwar-cruelty-in-oscar-nominated-land-of-mine.html   ]]> For Love and Country in 'A United Kingdom' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29372-for-love-and-country-in-a-united-kingdom.html ]]> Hugh Jackman Returns as Wolverine in ‘Logan’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29335-hugh-jackman-returns-as-wolverine-in-%25E2%2580%2598logan%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> In 'Toni Erdmann,' Values and Generations are in Conflict - Germany's mischievous Oscar nominee opens in Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29281-in-toni-erdmann-values-and-generations-are-in-conflict-germanys-mischievous-oscar-nominee-opens-in-milwaukee.html ]]> The Passion of Pedro Almodovar - ‘Julieta’ is a moving melodrama from the Spanish director http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29257-the-passion-of-pedro-almodovar-%25E2%2580%2598julieta%25E2%2580%2599-is-a-moving-melodrama-from-the-spanish-director.html   ]]> Iranian Film at Milwaukee’s French Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29251-iranian-film-at-milwaukee%25E2%2580%2599s-french-film-festival.html   ]]> French Film Festival Spans the World http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29253-french-film-festival-spans-the-world.html   ]]> Robert De Niro as 'The Comedian' - Harvey Keitel, Danny DeVito and other veteran actors co-star in an often hilarious comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29146-robert-de-niro-as-the-comedian-harvey-keitel-danny-devito-and-other-veteran-actors-co-star-in-an-often-hilarious-comedy.html ]]> Martin Scorsese Ponders the 'Silence' of God http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29112-martin-scorsese-ponders-the-silence-of-god.html ]]> ‘20th Century Women’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29062-%25E2%2580%259820th-century-women%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Ben Affleck Tries to ‘Live By Night’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-29024-ben-affleck-tries-to-%25E2%2580%2598live-by-night%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> The Black Women Who Helped Put a Man Into Orbit - Measuring the ‘Hidden Figures’ of space travel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28993-the-black-women-who-helped-put-a-man-into-orbit-measuring-the-%25E2%2580%2598hidden-figures%25E2%2580%2599-of-space-travel.html   ]]> Natalie Portman as the Mysterious 'Jackie' Kennedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28968-natalie-portman-as-the-mysterious-jackie-kennedy.html ]]> The Magic of 'La La Land' - Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone star in a story of love and dreams http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28936-the-magic-of-la-la-land-ryan-gosling-and-emma-stone-star-in-a-story-of-love-and-dreams.html Magic is an overused word, especially when writing about movies, but La La Land is truly magical. It reunites Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for another round of young love following their success with C]]> Will Smith Finds Time, Death and Love in ‘Collateral Beauty’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28898-will-smith-finds-time-death-and-love-in-%25E2%2580%2598collateral-beauty%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Where the 'Nocturnal Animals' Roam - Amy Adams confronts the mistakes of an unhappy life in Tom Ford’s film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28865-where-the-nocturnal-animals-roam-amy-adams-confronts-the-mistakes-of-an-unhappy-life-in-tom-ford%25E2%2580%2599s-film.html
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Warren Beatty Steals the Scenes in ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ - Not much else happens in Beatty’s Howard Hughes tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28836-warren-beatty-steals-the-scenes-in-%25E2%2580%2598rules-don%25E2%2580%2599t-apply%25E2%2580%2599-not-much-else-happens-in-beatty%25E2%2580%2599s-howard-hughes-tale.html   ]]> The ‘Arrival’ of the Aliens - Amy Adams tries talking to the extra-terrestrials http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28784-the-%25E2%2580%2598arrival%25E2%2580%2599-of-the-aliens-amy-adams-tries-talking-to-the-extra-terrestrials.html   ]]> Breaking the Barriers in ‘The Eagle Huntress’ - Kazakh girl goes where no female has gone before http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28751-breaking-the-barriers-in-%25E2%2580%2598the-eagle-huntress%25E2%2580%2599-kazakh-girl-goes-where-no-female-has-gone-before.html   ]]> Mel Gibson’s ‘True Story’ - Bravery and conscience on ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28711-mel-gibson%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598true-story%25E2%2580%2599-bravery-and-conscience-on-%25E2%2580%2598hacksaw-ridge%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Suicide Live at 5 - ‘Christine’ recounts the tragic end of a news anchor http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28678-suicide-live-at-5-%25E2%2580%2598christine%25E2%2580%2599-recounts-the-tragic-end-of-a-news-anchor.html   ]]> What Happened on ‘The Night Of’? - Acclaimed HBO miniseries out on DVD and Blu-ray http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28602-what-happened-on-%25E2%2580%2598the-night-of%25E2%2580%2599-acclaimed-hbo-miniseries-out-on-dvd-and-blu-ray.html   ]]> Caregiver in a ‘Chronic’ Condition - Tim Roth stars in a drama about life and the end of life http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28562-caregiver-in-a-%25E2%2580%2598chronic%25E2%2580%2599-condition-tim-roth-stars-in-a-drama-about-life-and-the-end-of-life.html   ]]> ‘Queen of Katwe’ Cries ‘Checkmate!’ - A true story of an African child prodigy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28506-%25E2%2580%2598queen-of-katwe%25E2%2580%2599-cries-%25E2%2580%2598checkmate_%25E2%2580%2599-a-true-story-of-an-african-child-prodigy.html   ]]> A Modern Family Comedy - ‘The Hollars’ explores life, death, forgiveness and dysfunction with humor and insight http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28427-a-modern-family-comedy-%25E2%2580%2598the-hollars%25E2%2580%2599-explores-life-death-forgiveness-and-dysfunction-with-humor-and-insight.html   ]]> Slaughter of ‘The Innocents’ - A woman’s view of devotion under pressure in Franco-Polish production http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28401-slaughter-of-%25E2%2580%2598the-innocents%25E2%2580%2599-a-woman%25E2%2580%2599s-view-of-devotion-under-pressure-in-franco-polish-production.html ]]> Finding ‘The Light Between Oceans’ - Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander star in child-custody melodrama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28342-finding-%25E2%2580%2598the-light-between-oceans%25E2%2580%2599-michael-fassbender-alicia-vikander-star-in-child-custody-melodrama.html   ]]> ‘Equity’ Explores the Liabilities of High Finance - Anna Gunn stars as a woman in a man’s world http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28304-%25E2%2580%2598equity%25E2%2580%2599-explores-the-liabilities-of-high-finance-anna-gunn-stars-as-a-woman-in-a-man%25E2%2580%2599s-world.html   ]]> Come ‘Hell or High Water’ - Jeff Bridges stars in Texas-size tale of modern day outlaws http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28289-come-%25E2%2580%2598hell-or-high-water%25E2%2580%2599-jeff-bridges-stars-in-texas-size-tale-of-modern-day-outlaws.html   ]]> A Dragon’s Tale from Disney - Revisiting a ’70s children’s movie http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28260-a-dragon%25E2%2580%2599s-tale-from-disney-revisiting-a-%25E2%2580%259970s-children%25E2%2580%2599s-movie.html   ]]> Suicide Squad Semi-Squandered http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28232-suicide-squad-semi-squandered.html   ]]> From Hollywood to ‘Café Society’ - Jesse Eisenberg stars in Woody Allen’s 1930s comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28215-from-hollywood-to-%25E2%2580%2598cafe-society%25E2%2580%2599-jesse-eisenberg-stars-in-woody-allen%25E2%2580%2599s-1930s-comedy.html    ]]> ‘Life’ Like a Disney Cartoon - Overcoming autism through fantasy? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28177-%25E2%2580%2598life%25E2%2580%2599-like-a-disney-cartoon-overcoming-autism-through-fantasy.html   ]]> A Highly Placed ‘Traitor’ - Ewan McGregor falls in with the Russian mob http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28073-a-highly-placed-%25E2%2580%2598traitor%25E2%2580%2599-ewan-mcgregor-falls-in-with-the-russian-mob.html   ]]> The Return of Tarzan (and Jane) - Many dull stretches plague ‘The Legend’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28021-the-return-of-tarzan-%2528and-jane%2529-many-dull-stretches-plague-%25E2%2580%2598the-legend%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Talking About Sports (and Expectations) - Johnny Simmons, Ethan Hawke star in ‘The Phenom’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-28015-talking-about-sports-%2528and-expectations%2529-johnny-simmons-ethan-hawke-star-in-%25E2%2580%2598the-phenom%25E2%2580%2599.html   ]]> Finding Family in Pixar’s Latest - Dory’s aquatic quest for home in heartwarming animated feature http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27994-finding-family-in-pixar%25E2%2580%2599s-latest-dory%25E2%2580%2599s-aquatic-quest-for-home-in-heartwarming-animated-feature.html   ]]> Attack of the Killer Orcs - Director Duncan Jones transforms the videogame into a compelling film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27966-attack-of-the-killer-orcs-director-duncan-jones-transforms-the-videogame-into-a-compelling-film.html   ]]> ‘Maggie’s Plan’ Revisits Manhattan - Greta Gerwig, Ethan Hawke in a New York art house comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27925-%25E2%2580%2598maggie%25E2%2580%2599s-plan%25E2%2580%2599-revisits-manhattan-greta-gerwig-ethan-hawke-in-a-new-york-art-house-comedy.html    ]]> A ‘Dark Horse’ of Their Own - How Welsh coal miners produced a racing thoroughbred http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27891-a-%25E2%2580%2598dark-horse%25E2%2580%2599-of-their-own-how-welsh-coal-miners-produced-a-racing-thoroughbred.html    ]]> The Man Who Wants to be a ‘Lobster’ - Colin Farrell makes the most of an insane situation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27850-the-man-who-wants-to-be-a-%25E2%2580%2598lobster%25E2%2580%2599-colin-farrell-makes-the-most-of-an-insane-situation.html   ]]> Meet ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ - Dev Patel stars as India’s genius of numbers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27832-meet-%25E2%2580%2598the-man-who-knew-infinity%25E2%2580%2599-dev-patel-stars-as-india%25E2%2580%2599s-genius-of-numbers.html    ]]> A Comedy of Boundaries Between Mother and Daughter - Susan Sarandon’s memorable performance in ‘The Meddler’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27780-a-comedy-of-boundaries-between-mother-and-daughter-susan-sarandon%25E2%2580%2599s-memorable-performance-in-%25E2%2580%2598the-meddler%25E2%2580%2599.html    ]]> ‘Civil War’ Among the Superheroes - Captain America v. Iron Man http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27743-%25E2%2580%2598civil-war%25E2%2580%2599-among-the-superheroes-captain-america-v-iron-man.html   ]]> ‘Elvis & Nixon’ Confer on America’s Future - Michael Shannon-Kevin Spacey’s comical meeting of minds http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27701-%25E2%2580%2598elvis-nixon%25E2%2580%2599-confer-on-america%25E2%2580%2599s-future-michael-shannon-kevin-spacey%25E2%2580%2599s-comical-meeting-of-minds.html   ]]> The ‘Criminal’ Mind - Kevin Costner’s head hurts in this techno thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27664-the-%25E2%2580%2598criminal%25E2%2580%2599-mind-kevin-costner%25E2%2580%2599s-head-hurts-in-this-techno-thriller.html   ]]> The Best of Italy - UWM Union Cinema Hosts Italian Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27665-the-best-of-italy-uwm-union-cinema-hosts-italian-film-festival.html   ]]> Melissa McCarthy is ‘The Boss’ - Comedy on the culture of celebrity and greed http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27651-melissa-mccarthy-is-%25E2%2580%2598the-boss%25E2%2580%2599-comedy-on-the-culture-of-celebrity-and-greed.html   ]]> Viewer Discretion is Advised - Twisted Dreams Film Festival plans to disturb the audience http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27582-viewer-discretion-is-advised-twisted-dreams-film-festival-plans-to-disturb-the-audience.html
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A Not So Super Movie - ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27542-a-not-so-super-movie-%25E2%2580%2598batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice%25E2%2580%2599.html  ]]> Hunting for ‘The Witch’ - Artful horror set in colonial New England http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27524-hunting-for-%25E2%2580%2598the-witch%25E2%2580%2599-artful-horror-set-in-colonial-new-england.html   ]]> Dreams of Olympic Gold - ‘The Bronze’ a mordant comedy of thwarted ambition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27481-dreams-of-olympic-gold-%25E2%2580%2598the-bronze%25E2%2580%2599-a-mordant-comedy-of-thwarted-ambition.html   ]]> Sweet Memories of ‘Only Yesterday’ - Beautiful animation from Japan’s Studio Ghibli http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27430-sweet-memories-of-%25E2%2580%2598only-yesterday%25E2%2580%2599-beautiful-animation-from-japan%25E2%2580%2599s-studio-ghibli.html   ]]> Blood, Gore, Explosions - ‘Triple 9,’ though packed with stars, fails to rise http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27392-blood-gore-explosions-%25E2%2580%2598triple-9%25E2%2580%2599-though-packed-with-stars-fails-to-rise.html Largely displacing the old Sicilian mafia in popular culture, the Russian mob has become the watchword for ruthless, sinister criminality. Triple 9 introduces the Russian Jewish mob wi]]> Searching for ‘Son of Saul’ - Hungarian Holocaust film nominated for an Oscar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27292-searching-for-%25E2%2580%2598son-of-saul%25E2%2580%2599-hungarian-holocaust-film-nominated-for-an-oscar.html   ]]> Félix and Meira’s Boundary-Breaking Love Story - Quebec film a highlight of Festival of Films in French http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27255-felix-and-meira%25E2%2580%2599s-boundary-breaking-love-story-quebec-film-a-highlight-of-festival-of-films-in-french.html    ]]> The Coast Guard’s ‘Finest Hours’ - Chris Pine and Casey Affleck star in maritime thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27190-the-coast-guard%25E2%2580%2599s-%25E2%2580%2598finest-hours%25E2%2580%2599-chris-pine-and-casey-affleck-star-in-maritime-thriller.html    ]]> 'Youth' and Old Age - Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel star as old pals in middling movie http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27119-youth-and-old-age-michael-caine-and-harvey-keitel-star-as-old-pals-in-middling-movie.html ]]> The Big Short - Financial Disaster Made Easy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27080-the-big-short-financial-disaster-made-easy.html Banking was once “like money in the bank.” It was stable verging on staid—until the late ’70s when Wall Street wise guys decided it was all too boring and that buckets of money could be reaped by playing fast and loose. While most Americans ]]> Carol - Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara star in Todd Haynes’ latest http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27081-carol-cate-blanchett-and-rooney-mara-star-in-todd-haynes%25E2%2580%2599-latest.html The electric train, circling a model town in the fancy Manhattan department store decorated for Christmas, evokes the classic film Holiday Affair. But although set in the same era and commencing in a department store crowded with ]]> Joy - Jennifer Lawrence stars as the woman behind the Miracle Mop http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27054-joy-jennifer-lawrence-stars-as-the-woman-behind-the-miracle-mop.html Joy’s childhood was happy and full of promise. She had a best friend, a benign half sister, loving parents and a doting grandmother. Joy was creative and imaginative, encouraged to expect a bright future. But the future fell far short of ]]> Star Wars: The Force Awakens - ‘The Force Awakens’ holds up to expectations http://shepherdexpress.com/article-27025-star-wars-the-force-awakens-%25E2%2580%2598the-force-awakens%25E2%2580%2599-holds-up-to-expectations.html The hype surrounding Episode VII of the Star Wars saga is deafening, but the enthusiasm is genuine. The anticipation for Star Wars: The Force Awakens dwarfs even Harry Potter because the phenomenon encompasses several generations of ]]> Brooklyn - Saoirse Ronan gets a Golden Globe nomination for her role as protagonist http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26991-brooklyn-saoirse-ronan-gets-a-golden-globe-nomination-for-her-role-as-protagonist.html America loves a good immigrant’s story, especially if it’s set in the past and stars a plucky protagonist with wide eyes and a strong work ethic. Throw in a love story, particularly one that crosses ethnic lines, and you have the formula for a hit]]> Spotlight - How reporters exposed a real-life scandal http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26956-spotlight-how-reporters-exposed-a-real-life-scandal.html Spotlight successfully revives that old Hollywood theme of courageous reporters bringing down a corrupt Goliath with the slingshots of facts exposed. Based on a true story, Spotlight should not be mistaken for a documentary on the pedophile ]]> The Good Dinosaur - Pixar’s latest comedy-adventure film for kids (and adults) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26917-the-good-dinosaur-pixar%25E2%2580%2599s-latest-comedy-adventure-film-for-kids-%2528and-adults%2529.html Sixty-five million years ago a meteor hurtled toward Earth and caught fire in the atmosphere before veering harmlessly into space. The grazing brontosauri below craned their necks to watch the light streak across the sky, never realizing ]]> Trumbo - Bryan Cranston stars as the blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26879-trumbo-bryan-cranston-stars-as-the-blacklisted-hollywood-screenwriter.html Bryan Cranston is marvelous as Dalton Trumbo, perhaps the most distinguished of all the Hollywood figures to suffer under the McCarthy-era blacklist. With cigarette holder clamped tightly between his lips and fingers pounding furiously]]> Suffragette - The Dangerously Radical Rights of Women http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26823-suffragette-the-dangerously-radical-rights-of-women.html The London police behaved in a most ungentlemanly manner to the ladies protesting for their right to vote. They were generous with their billy clubs and angry enough to push the protestors to the cobblestones and kick them when down]]> A Crowded 'Room' For Two - Gripping drama of a mother, a predator and her son http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26801-a-crowded-room-for-two-gripping-drama-of-a-mother-a-predator-and-her-son.html    ]]> Entering the 'Labyrinth of Lies' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26778-entering-the-labyrinth-of-lies.html    ]]> The 'Spectre' Haunting James Bond - 007 faces down his past, his nemesis in new installment of Bond series. http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26762-the-spectre-haunting-james-bond-007-faces-down-his-past-his-nemesis-in-new-installment-of-bond-series.html    ]]> 'The Deeper You Go' - Milwaukee filmmakers document the meaning of consciousness http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26744-the-deeper-you-go-milwaukee-filmmakers-document-the-meaning-of-consciousness.html Neuroscience is all over the news nowadays as technology has finally begun to offer new ways of monitoring what’s going on inside our heads. Yet the very definition of consciousness—and the basis for our self-awareness—remains ]]> Steve Jobs - Michael Fassbender stars as the man who put the bite in Apple http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26704-steve-jobs-michael-fassbender-stars-as-the-man-who-put-the-bite-in-apple.html The Steve Jobs who emerges in Steve Jobs is not a likable guy. Virtually no one in the film, except his faithful factotum Joanna Hoffman, likes him—and even she has her doubts. “I’m not well made,” he confesses in the end. Even then, he ]]> Truth - Cate Blanchett stars as the ‘60 Minutes’ reporter who challenged Bush’s service record http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26705-truth-cate-blanchett-stars-as-the-%25E2%2580%259860-minutes%25E2%2580%2599-reporter-who-challenged-bush%25E2%2580%2599s-service-record.html The ticking stopwatch of “60 Minutes” was once the gold standard for broadcast journalism. However, the CBS program was tarnished after producer Mary Mapes was fired after airing a 2004 story about George W. Bush’s Cadillac military ]]> Film Clips 10.29.15 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26718-film-clips-102915.html While this film squanders its promise, Sandra Bullock’s campaign strategist “Calamity” Jane Bodine, is an Oscar-worthy effort. Her character, modeled after James Carville, is a fictionalized take on a 2005 ]]> Bridge of Spies - The Cold War in Steven Spielberg’s lens http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26655-bridge-of-spies-the-cold-war-in-steven-spielberg%25E2%2580%2599s-lens.html As a child of the Cold War, Steven Spielberg probably went through the duck-and-cover drill. In those days, the 1950s, the U.S. government circulated instructional films telling kids that they could survive by ducking under their desks if the ]]> Crimson Peak - Mia Wasikowska stars in Guillermo del Toro’s gothic tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26656-crimson-peak-mia-wasikowska-stars-in-guillermo-del-toro%25E2%2580%2599s-gothic-tale.html With Crimson Peak, writer-director Guillermo del Toro embraces one of humanity’s oldest stories, the ghost story, in lavishly over-the-top gothic style. He has all the elements in place, starting with a dead mother’s warning to her 10-year]]> The Art Dealer - French film about family secrets highlights this year’s Jewish Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26611-the-art-dealer-french-film-about-family-secrets-highlights-this-year%25E2%2580%2599s-jewish-film-festival.html Shorn of its particulars, The Art Dealer (L’Antiquaire) is a mystery driven by obsession. The mood is set by the recurring musical motif reminiscent of Bernard Herrmann’s score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. Like many French cineastes, the]]> The 30th Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival - A panorama of LGBT identities http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26612-the-30th-annual-milwaukee-lgbt-film_video-festival-a-panorama-of-lgbt-identities.html The 30th Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival will offer 33 features, documentaries and collections of shorts in 11 consecutive days from Oct. 15-25. Most are at the UW-Milwaukee Union ]]> Coming Home - China’s Zhang Yimou returns with his best film in years http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26572-coming-home-china%25E2%2580%2599s-zhang-yimou-returns-with-his-best-film-in-years.html Like many teenagers in any time or country, Dandan shouts to mom, “You’ll ruin everything!” But Dandan (Zhang Huiwen) is a girl in no ordinary time or place. She lives in China during the Cultural Revolution]]> Sicario - Riveting Tale of the War on Drugs http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26573-sicario-riveting-tale-of-the-war-on-drugs.html Traditionally, the term “war” refers to an armed conflict between geopolitical entities. It could be terminated by a declaration of surrender by the vanquished nation. However, the term has been appropriated. Now it is ]]> The Martian - Science-fiction adventure never takes off http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26529-the-martian-science-fiction-adventure-never-takes-off.html Like countless stories about shipwrecked mariners building signal fires or sending messages in bottles, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) desperately tried to alert the outside world that he’s alive and in need of rescue. But in The Martian, the ]]> The Intern - Contrived, far-fetched, anti-feminist http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26530-the-intern-contrived-far-fetched-anti-feminist.html Gone are the days when Robert De Niro could be relied upon to provide gritty performances in high caliber films. At this juncture, it seems pointless to bemoan his descent into Schmaltzville. De Niro seems to have taken up permanent ]]> Passport to Scandinavia - Milwaukee Film Festival’s Swedish Accent http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26498-passport-to-scandinavia-milwaukee-film-festival%25E2%2580%2599s-swedish-accent.html The kettledrums roll and a stark chorus chants like it’s Carmina Burana; a raven hovers in a lowering sky; a Crusader knight washes up on a rocky shore alongside a chess board; a pale figure cloaked in black appears and announces]]> Grandma - Lily Tomlin’s movie comeback http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26443-grandma-lily-tomlin%25E2%2580%2599s-movie-comeback.html Clocking in at less than 80 minutes, Grandma is a model of how to efficiently arrange a gamut of provocative, meaningful ideas within a single film without a moment wasted by the poor pacing that has ]]> The Visit - Once promising director crashes with horror-comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26444-the-visit-once-promising-director-crashes-with-horror-comedy.html What’s the worst film of 2015? There are still several months remaining, but right now, the leading candidate has got to be The Visit. It’s also a strong contender for another dubious distinction: it may end up ]]> Milwaukee Short Film Festival - Four-minute movies cut to the point http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26394-milwaukee-short-film-festival-four-minute-movies-cut-to-the-point.html Entering its 17th season, the Milwaukee Short Film Festival (MSFF) is a much different entity this year than in 2014. For one thing, the venue has shifted from its longtime home at the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Lubar Auditorium to ]]> ‘A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence’ - Art house comedy at the UW-Milwaukee Union Cinema http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26395-%25E2%2580%2598a-pigeon-sat-on-a-branch-reflecting-on-existence%25E2%2580%2599-art-house-comedy-at-the-uw-milwaukee-union-cinema.html A man wanders around a room in an old-fashioned natural history museum, a chamber containing a dinosaur skeleton and stuffed birds perched inside glass cabinets. Although he peers intently at each exhibit, he displays not one flicker of ]]> Meru - Documenting a dangerous expedition in the Himalayas http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26367-meru-documenting-a-dangerous-expedition-in-the-himalayas.html When Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay finally reached the summit of Mount Everest in 1953, the world greeted the news with almost as much excitement as it lavished on the first moon landing 15 years later. Everest may be the tallest ]]> We Are Your Friends - LA club life couldn’t be this dull http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26368-we-are-your-friends-la-club-life-couldn%25E2%2580%2599t-be-this-dull.html We Are Your Friends takes viewers inside the Los Angeles club scene. Cole Carter (Zac Efron), a 23-year-old from the San Fernando Valley, aspires to become a celebrity DJ]]> American Ultra - Stoner action comedy with a heart http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26331-american-ultra-stoner-action-comedy-with-a-heart.html The Manchurian Candidate (1962) popularized the premise of a sleeper agent. In that psychological thriller, a platoon of American infantrymen was captured during the Korean War. They are taken to Manchuria]]> No Escape - Owen Wilson, Pierce Brosnan run for the money http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26332-no-escape-owen-wilson-pierce-brosnan-run-for-the-money.html What if you and your loved ones are trapped in a foreign war zone? The title of the new action thriller, No Escape, is meant to convey that desperate sense of being ensnared in a strange place and surrounded by violence, facing the real ]]> The End of the Tour - Jason Segel stars as the author of ‘Infinite Jest’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26296-the-end-of-the-tour-jason-segel-stars-as-the-author-of-%25E2%2580%2598infinite-jest%25E2%2580%2599.html With a gift rare among recent writers, David Foster Wallace cut through the deadwood of jargon, hype and shallow enthusiasm. He restored life to language. At his best, his words were small miracles, peeling off the ]]> You’re a Lebowski, I’m a Lebowski - Achievers bring Lebowski Fest back to Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26297-you%25E2%2580%2599re-a-lebowski-i%25E2%2580%2599m-a-lebowski-achievers-bring-lebowski-fest-back-to-milwaukee.html There are dozens and dozens of cult film favorites, but with the exception of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, few rival the level of celebration of the Coen brothers’ 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski. “Achievers]]> The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Guy Ritchie tells the old story in a new way http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26259-the-man-from-uncle-guy-ritchie-tells-the-old-story-in-a-new-way.html In the 1960s, television’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” lasted only four seasons, but it took Hollywood 12 years to bring the film version from green light to silver screen. Enough actors, writers and directors were attached to the film project to ]]> Fantastic Four - These Film ‘Four’ are Hardly ‘Fantastic’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26260-fantastic-four-these-film-%25E2%2580%2598four%25E2%2580%2599-are-hardly-%25E2%2580%2598fantastic%25E2%2580%2599.html Is it already time for a reboot of Fantastic Four? After all, it’s been only a decade since the previous Fantastic Four was adapted for the screen and a mere eight years since its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. In the interim]]> The Stanford Prison Experiment - The psychology of power and imprisonment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26220-the-stanford-prison-experiment-the-psychology-of-power-and-imprisonment.html The Stanford Prison Experiment dramatizes the dangerous 1971 study conducted at Stanford University by psychologist Philip Zimbardo. Recreating a prison environment, Zimbardo hired a cast of students to act as]]> Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation - ‘Mission: Impossible’ has never been better http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26221-mission-impossible%25E2%2580%2594rogue-nation-%25E2%2580%2598mission-impossible%25E2%2580%2599-has-never-been-better.html Back in 1996, Tom Cruise was already a successful actor who had proven himself with a string of hits. What would it take for Cruise to buttress his status as an international superstar? He and his producing partner]]> Irrational Man - Woody Allen’s Critique of Pure Reason http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26182-irrational-man-woody-allen%25E2%2580%2599s-critique-of-pure-reason.html Abe Lucas (Joaquin Phoenix) is a sad sack—a philosophy professor whose life is running downhill and on empty, his inspiration exhausted and optimism shattered by experience. He has accepted a position at one of the Ivy League’s little ]]> Southpaw - Boxing Film with no Punch http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26183-southpaw-boxing-film-with-no-punch.html Films about professional boxers are a well-established genre, having a built-in narrative trajectory with the potential for a climactic bout. Boxing movies are often based on real-life pugilists. By contrast, Southpaw involves a fictional character]]> Mr. Holmes - Ian McKellen’s brilliant turn as the aged sleuth http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26148-mr-holmes-ian-mckellen%25E2%2580%2599s-brilliant-turn-as-the-aged-sleuth.html Ian McKellen stars as an aged Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes]]> Ant-Man - The smallest superhero rises in film version http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26149-ant-man-the-smallest-superhero-rises-in-film-version.html If superheroes, by definition, are larger than life, then something is a bit odd about Ant-Man. The smallest character in the Marvel comics universe has the ability to physically shrink while growing in strength. Size doesn’t always matter]]> Minions - Spinoff film is fun (at least for kids) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26104-minions-spinoff-film-is-fun-%2528at-least-for-kids%2529.html Minions are little yellow creatures with high-pitched voices that are totally unintelligible. They seem altogether adorable. In Despicable Me, the minions were lackeys to Gru, the supervillain voiced by Steve Carell. The gibberish-spouting simpletons proved ]]> Newspapers on Film - Great movies from inside the newsroom http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26105-newspapers-on-film-great-movies-from-inside-the-newsroom.html For many years, newspaper movies were a Hollywood staple. I made my own career choice largely due to three great newspaper movies: Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent (1940) with Joel McCrea; Come Fill the Cup (1951) with James Cagney; and]]> Amy - Sex & drugs & jazz & tragedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26071-amy-sex-drugs-jazz-tragedy.html Amy Winehouse, among the most promising singers to emerge in the ’00s, was drawn to performing from an early age—if the camera-mugging home video from her 14th birthday party that opens Amy is any indicator. Asif Kapadia’s documentary has attracted ]]> Magic Mike XXL - Another sequel falls far short of the original http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26072-magic-mike-xxl-another-sequel-falls-far-short-of-the-original.html As an 18-year-old, long before he became a full-fledged movie star, Channing Tatum worked as a male stripper in Tampa, Fla., and later pursued making a film based on his experience. Such was the inception of Magic Mike (2012), directed by Steven Soderbergh]]> Dope - Coming of age as a geek on the streets http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26037-dope-coming-of-age-as-a-geek-on-the-streets.html Dope might be described as an urban, coming-of-age film for the post-hip hop generation. The tagline for the film is, “It’s hard out here for a geek.” Breezily paced, Dope opens with an omniscient narrator (Forest ]]> The 100-Year-Old Man who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared - Story of a life spent in blowing things up http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26003-the-100-year-old-man-who-climbed-out-of-the-window-and-disappeared-story-of-a-life-spent-in-blowing-things-up.html Allan is wizened and slack-jawed, but his mind clicks and his body still obeys, albeit slowly. He’s about to turn 100 at a retirement home staffed by dim nurses’ aides and wants no part of it. Clambering onto the ledge of his room, Allan jumps]]> Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - A touching teen weepy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-26004-me-and-earl-and-the-dying-girl-a-touching-teen-weepy.html The cancer-themed Me and Earl and the Dying Girl revolves around three adolescent characters whose lives intersect in unanticipated ways. The young adult vehicle made a splash at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, winning both the Grand ]]> Inside Out - Emotions unravel in Pixar’s 3D extravaganza http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25969-inside-out-emotions-unravel-in-pixar%25E2%2580%2599s-3d-extravaganza.html Emotions are the stars of Pixar’s latest 3D animated feature, occupying more screen time than the protagonist inhabited by those feelings. In Inside Out, 11-year-old Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias) sinks into a confusion of roiling, contending]]> Jurassic World http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25970-jurassic-world.html Twenty-two years ago, Steven Spielberg pandered to our fascination with dinosaurs, turning Michael Crichton’s bestseller, Jurassic Park, into an international cinematic blockbuster. Jurassic Park was set on ]]> ‘I’ll See You in My Dreams’ - Blythe Danner stars in bittersweet comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25929-%25E2%2580%2598i%25E2%2580%2599ll-see-you-in-my-dreams%25E2%2580%2599-blythe-danner-stars-in-bittersweet-comedy.html At 6 a.m. each morning, Carol (Blythe Danner) and her bed partner, Hazel the dog, are awakened by the digital beep of her alarm clock. Carol’s midcentury modern house is tidy, tasteful and otherwise empty; a few old pictures afford a ]]> "Spy" - Hilarious genre spoof features female empowerment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25930-spy-hilarious-genre-spoof-features-female-empowerment.html Epitomized by Sean Connery and his successors in the role of James Bond, screen spies have typically been played by suave, dashing men. Can you imagine frumpy, corpulent Melissa McCarthy pressed into duty as a CIA field agent? That ]]> I’ll See You in My Dreams - Blythe Danner stars in bittersweet comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25905-i%25E2%2580%2599ll-see-you-in-my-dreams-blythe-danner-stars-in-bittersweet-comedy.html At 6 each morning, Carol (Blythe Danner) and her bed partner, Hazel the dog, are awakened by the digital beep of her alarm clock. Carol’s midcentury modern house is tidy, tasteful and otherwise e]]> Saint Laurent - A lush life of beauty and self-destruction http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25861-saint-laurent-a-lush-life-of-beauty-and-self-destruction.html “Decadence attracts me,” Yves Saint Laurent once said, explaining that for him, decadence meant something new being born from decay. The French film dramatizing the rise and summit of his career in fashion, Saint Laurent, is infused with]]> Sunshine Superman - New documentary on BASE jumper Carl Boenish http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25814-sunshine-superman-new-documentary-on-base-jumper-carl-boenish.html Carl Boenish never saw an obstacle too high to scale. Best known as the driving force behind one of the first extreme sports, BASE jumping, Boenish parachuted from mountaintops and skyscrapers—until a final leap from Europe’s tallest ]]> Who Came First? - ‘Lambert & Stamp,’ the minds behind a great ’60s band http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25788-who-came-first-%25E2%2580%2598lambert-stamp%25E2%2580%2599-the-minds-behind-a-great-%25E2%2580%259960s-band.html 3.5/4 stars Rated RDirected by James D. Cooper The Beatles gained their recording contract with the help of Brian Epstein, but no one credits their manager with inspiring their music. For The Wh]]> 'Tomorrowland' - George Clooney and Britt Robertson race for the future http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25765-tomorrowland-george-clooney-and-britt-robertson-race-for-the-future.html The future wasn’t supposed to look so dark, with decaying roads and bridges, a pop culture led by grim superheroes and their snarling superfoes and a political culture in gridlock. The 1964 New York World’s Fair, the setting for an early scene ]]> ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ - Beautifully compelling adaptation of literary classic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25722-%25E2%2580%2598far-from-the-madding-crowd%25E2%2580%2599-beautifully-compelling-adaptation-of-literary-classic.html The latest adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd captures the author’s fascination with class structure, social mores and the role of destiny in rural Victorian England. Hardy explored many of the same issues and ]]> Recovering the ‘Woman in Gold’ - Helen Mirren faces the ghosts of the past http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25659-recovering-the-%25E2%2580%2598woman-in-gold%25E2%2580%2599-helen-mirren-faces-the-ghosts-of-the-past.html Woman in Gold begins with a brief scene of Gustav Klimt composing an almost-Byzantine mosaic in gold leaf and paint on canvas. The face of Adele, sitting for this portrait, registers an enigmatic note of anxiety]]> Under the ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25660-under-the-%25E2%2580%2598clouds-of-sils-maria%25E2%2580%2599.html For many people, growing older is a harrowing prospect. Imagine if you were a middle-aged actress. No matter how talented you might be, you will inevitably be confronted with the dread reality of the industry’s]]> The Avengers are Back! - Superheroes in action against the ‘Age of Ultron’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25613-the-avengers-are-back_-superheroes-in-action-against-the-%25E2%2580%2598age-of-ultron%25E2%2580%2599.html In Hollywood, a big success almost inevitably breeds a big sequel. With Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Disney Studio has a movie that works as a sequel to at least three or four predecessors: the 2012 Avengers to be sure, but also Captain ]]> Kenosha Celebrates the Centennial of Orson Welles http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25614-kenosha-celebrates-the-centennial-of-orson-welles.html He was voted the greatest director in film history, directed and starred in what is widely considered the greatest film of all time, and was an innovator in radio and the theater. He could read at 2 years old, play the violin at 7, and was doing ]]> ‘True Story’ Skirts the Truth - Lies of a bad reporter magnified in screen treatment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25586-%25E2%2580%2598true-story%25E2%2580%2599-skirts-the-truth-lies-of-a-bad-reporter-magnified-in-screen-treatment.html 2.5/4 Stars Rated RStarring: Jonah Hill and James FrancoDirected by Rupert Goold If you are a hotshot journalist and are caught confabulating a story, it’s a long fall from grace. That is the]]> ‘Ex Machina’ or the Human Race? - Love, lies and artificial intelligence http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25571-%25E2%2580%2598ex-machina%25E2%2580%2599-or-the-human-race-love-lies-and-artificial-intelligence.html Ex Machina’s young protagonist, Caleb (Domhnall Glesson), is a bright if nerdy programmer at one of the world’s most powerful high-tech firms. He is given a dream opportunity when chosen among all employees for a one-week session with the firm’s Steve Jobs, its founder-genius, Nathan]]> Photographing ‘The Salt of the Earth’ - Sebastiao Salgado’s mission in light and shadow http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25507-photographing-%25E2%2580%2598the-salt-of-the-earth%25E2%2580%2599-sebastiao-salgado%25E2%2580%2599s-mission-in-light-and-shadow.html ]]> ‘The Longest Ride’ - Nicholas Sparks’ novel turns melodramatic mess on screen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25508-%25E2%2580%2598the-longest-ride%25E2%2580%2599-nicholas-sparks%25E2%2580%2599-novel-turns-melodramatic-mess-on-screen.html ]]> ‘My German Friend’ - Love, secrets and tragedy at Latin American Film Series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25464-%25E2%2580%2598my-german-friend%25E2%2580%2599-love-secrets-and-tragedy-at-latin-american-film-series.html When the personal becomes political in My German Friend, the inability of the young lovers to separate those facets of their lives has tragic results. Sulamit (Celeste Cid) and Friedrich (Max Riemelt) meet as adolescents in an upper-middle-class Buenos Aires neighborhood, sharing]]> ‘Danny Collins’ - The rocky road towards redemption http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25465-%25E2%2580%2598danny-collins%25E2%2580%2599-the-rocky-road-towards-redemption.html Danny Collins, starring Al Pacino as a septuagenarian rock star, is a largely fictional film. However, it was inspired by an actual event. In 1971, Steve Tilston was an up-and-coming singer-songwriter and guitarist in the folk genre. Then 21, the Liverpool native had just recorded his]]> ‘Merchants of Doubt’ - Big business, bad science and big lies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25342-%25E2%2580%2598merchants-of-doubt%25E2%2580%2599-big-business-bad-science-and-big-lies.html ]]> ‘Get Hard’? - Limp comedy is hard to take http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25343-%25E2%2580%2598get-hard%25E2%2580%2599-limp-comedy-is-hard-to-take.html Is Will Ferrell’s blubbery, naked body really all that funny? By now, hasn’t it already been overexposed in a litany of other movies? Does an opening scene featuring repeated shots of Ferrell prancing about enhance ]]> ‘The Gunman’ misses the target - Sean Penn misfires in action thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25300-%25E2%2580%2598the-gunman%25E2%2580%2599-misses-the-target-sean-penn-misfires-in-action-thriller.html It’s been a full decade since 2005’s The Interpreter. In it, Sean Penn played opposite Nicole Kidman under director Sydney Pollack. That was the last time that Penn headlined a multiplex vehicle. Penn has often played characters with a macho edge to them. However, he has never appeared ]]> A Charming ‘Cinderella’ - Lily James is radiant as the fairy tale princess http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25245-a-charming-%25E2%2580%2598cinderella%25E2%2580%2599-lily-james-is-radiant-as-the-fairy-tale-princess.html ]]> ‘Run All Night’: Top-notch Noir Crime Drama - Liam Neeson gets beyond ‘Taken’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25252-%25E2%2580%2598run-all-night%25E2%2580%2599-top-notch-noir-crime-drama-liam-neeson-gets-beyond-%25E2%2580%2598taken%25E2%2580%2599.html ]]> ‘Wild Tales’ of Revenge - Six stories from the Oscar-nominated foreign picture http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25200-%25E2%2580%2598wild-tales%25E2%2580%2599-of-revenge-six-stories-from-the-oscar-nominated-foreign-picture.html ]]> Another ‘Exotic Marigold Hotel’? - Sequel manages to be fun and engaging http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25201-another-%25E2%2580%2598exotic-marigold-hotel%25E2%2580%2599-sequel-manages-to-be-fun-and-engaging.html
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Red Army Hockey - The system behind Russia’s winning team http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25163-red-army-hockey-the-system-behind-russia%25E2%2580%2599s-winning-team.html
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Leviathan - Russia’s contender at this year’s Oscars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25105-leviathan-russia%25E2%2580%2599s-contender-at-this-year%25E2%2580%2599s-oscars.html ]]> McFarland, USA - Feel-good Latino sports film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25106-mcfarland-usa-feel-good-latino-sports-film.html ]]> ‘Kingsman’: Homage or parody? - Colin Firth adds touch of class to a low-end spy flick http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25057-%25E2%2580%2598kingsman%25E2%2580%2599-homage-or-parody-colin-firth-adds-touch-of-class-to-a-low-end-spy-flick.html ]]> Julianne Moore is ‘Still Alice’ - Actress gives Oscar-worthy performance as a linguist struggling with Alzheimer’s http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25014-julianne-moore-is-%25E2%2580%2598still-alice%25E2%2580%2599-actress-gives-oscar-worthy-performance-as-a-linguist-struggling-with-alzheimer%25E2%2580%2599s.html ]]> ‘Jupiter’ Ascends to Excellence - Challenging epic from the Wachowski siblings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-25015-%25E2%2580%2598jupiter%25E2%2580%2599-ascends-to-excellence-challenging-epic-from-the-wachowski-siblings.html ]]> ‘Black Sea’: Drama Beneath The Surface http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24890-%25E2%2580%2598black-sea%25E2%2580%2599-drama-beneath-the-surface.html ]]> Festival of Films in French - Drama, documentaries, cartoons and comedy and more http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24794-festival-of-films-in-french-drama-documentaries-cartoons-and-comedy-and-more.html
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‘A Most Violent Year’ - ’80s New York is setting for a taut crime story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24795-%25E2%2580%2598a-most-violent-year%25E2%2580%2599-%25E2%2580%259980s-new-york-is-setting-for-a-taut-crime-story.html
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Mr. Turner - Mike Leigh’s biography of a towering painter http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24753-mr-turner-mike-leigh%25E2%2580%2599s-biography-of-a-towering-painter.html
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Paddington - Nicole Kidman plays villainess in English children’s story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24754-paddington-nicole-kidman-plays-villainess-in-english-children%25E2%2580%2599s-story.html
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Selma - Film brings complexity of the civil rights movement to life http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24715-selma-film-brings-complexity-of-the-civil-rights-movement-to-life.html
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American Sniper - Clint Eastwood in for the kill http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24716-american-sniper-clint-eastwood-in-for-the-kill.html
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Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death - Contrived plot but plenty of horrific atmosphere http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24680-woman-in-black-2-angel-of-death-contrived-plot-but-plenty-of-horrific-atmosphere.html ]]> The Imitation Game - The Enigma of Alan Turing http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24647-the-imitation-game-the-enigma-of-alan-turing.html
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Big Eyes - Tim Burton’s eye-opening exposé http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24648-big-eyes-tim-burton%25E2%2580%2599s-eye-opening-expose.html
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Into the Woods - Meryl Streep heads an all-star cast in Sondheim’s movie musical http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24616-into-the-woods-meryl-streep-heads-an-all-star-cast-in-sondheim%25E2%2580%2599s-movie-musical.html ]]> Foxcatcher - Steve Carell’s Dramatic Turn http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24548-foxcatcher-steve-carell%25E2%2580%2599s-dramatic-turn.html ]]> Beyond the Lights - Requiem for a Diva http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24510-beyond-the-lights-requiem-for-a-diva.html
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Force Majeure - Will an unavoidable accident break a family? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24481-force-majeure-will-an-unavoidable-accident-break-a-family.html
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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 - ‘Hunger Games’ turns dull in latest installment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24441-the-hunger-games-mockingjay-part-1-%25E2%2580%2598hunger-games%25E2%2580%2599-turns-dull-in-latest-installment.html
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Rosewater - Jon Stewart’s true life Iranian drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24387-rosewater-jon-stewart%25E2%2580%2599s-true-life-iranian-drama.html ]]> Interstellar - Matthew McConaughey stars in Christopher Nolan’s epic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24349-interstellar-matthew-mcconaughey-stars-in-christopher-nolan%25E2%2580%2599s-epic.html ]]> Before I Go to Sleep - Nicole Kidman Can’t Remember http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24313-before-i-go-to-sleep-nicole-kidman-can%25E2%2580%2599t-remember.html Her bloodshot eyes open to an unfamiliar scene—the same one she experiences every morning]]> Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) - Michael Keaton’s Thrilling Leap http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24246-birdman-or-%2528the-unexpected-virtue-of-ignorance%2529-michael-keaton%25E2%2580%2599s-thrilling-leap.html The casting for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is perfect for a film focused on]]> St. Vincent - A touching gem with Oscar potential http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24219-st-vincent-a-touching-gem-with-oscar-potential.html
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Aftermath - Ghosts of the Holocaust http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24162-aftermath-ghosts-of-the-holocaust.html ]]> 29th Annual Milwaukee LBGT Film Festival - ‘Salvation Army’ and ‘Lilting’ bridge cultures http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24163-29th-annual-milwaukee-lbgt-film-festival-%25E2%2580%2598salvation-army%25E2%2580%2599-and-%25E2%2580%2598lilting%25E2%2580%2599-bridge-cultures.html
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Gone Girl - Psycho-thriller from director David Fincher http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24127-gone-girl-psycho-thriller-from-director-david-fincher.html
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‘Human Capital,’ Human Condition - Contemporary Italian drama at Milwaukee Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24099-%25E2%2580%2598human-capital%25E2%2580%2599-human-condition-contemporary-italian-drama-at-milwaukee-film-festival.html Human Capital begins with a bird’s eye overview—the aftermath of a posh banquet as servers clear dirty dishes from soiled tablecloths. One waiter starts for home on his bicycle, winding through the dark, empty streets until overtaken by a speeding SUV and run off the road. The]]> Horses of God - Inside the world of a suicide bomber http://shepherdexpress.com/article-24062-horses-of-god-inside-the-world-of-a-suicide-bomber.html The first words in Horses of God are spoken against a black screen. “Are you asleep?” Yechine asks his brother. “Tell me, what will Ghislaine think when she hears that I died a martyr?” he continues, asking about the unfulfilled love of his life, a girl living, like him, in the slums]]> The Drop - James Gandolfini’s Final Gangster Film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23955-the-drop-james-gandolfini%25E2%2580%2599s-final-gangster-film.html Although James Gandolfini was not a one-note actor, he will always be associated with Tony Soprano, the role that gained him fame. Admittedly, his blunt-faced, hulking appearance would have inclined him toward gangsters and tough guys even if “The Sopranos” had never happened. In The ]]> The November Man - James Bond without the Gadgets http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23902-the-november-man-james-bond-without-the-gadgets.html
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The Giver - Film fails to bring the dystopian novel to life http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23854-the-giver-film-fails-to-bring-the-dystopian-novel-to-life.html As The Giver opens, the viewer is immersed]]> Calvary - Brendan Gleeson as the good priest in an enigmatic Irish drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23823-calvary-brendan-gleeson-as-the-good-priest-in-an-enigmatic-irish-drama.html Seated on his side of the claustrophobic confessional
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The Hundred-Foot Journey - Helen Mirren’s 100-foot journey http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23810-the-hundred-foot-journey-helen-mirren%25E2%2580%2599s-100-foot-journey.html Older audiences received short shrift for decades from the movie industry. Lately, aging Baby Boomers have flexed their wallets and producers in Hollywood (and its outskirts) are responding. Alongside significant films such as Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt and Nebraska comes a genre]]> Magic in the Moonlight - Woody Allen at the Limits of Reason http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23741-magic-in-the-moonlight-woody-allen-at-the-limits-of-reason.html

  With his latest European-set piece, Magic in the Moonlight, Woody Allen pulls off a remarkable feat by folding an essay on metaphysics into a glamorously entertaining package. Magic

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A Most Wanted Man - Philip Seymour Hoffman’s last star turn http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23722-a-most-wanted-man-philip-seymour-hoffman%25E2%2580%2599s-last-star-turn.html

Philip Seymour Hoffman was among the great actors of his generation, and while he played many parts, he was especially at home when suffering no fools. In A Most Wanted Man, his final starring role before his death earlier this year, Hoffman lives inside the skin of a German

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Wish I Was Here - Zach Braff’s Midlife Crisis http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23680-wish-i-was-here-zach-braff%25E2%2580%2599s-midlife-crisis.html

  Thirty-five is not the new 25 in Zach Braff’s latest turn as writer-director, Wish I Was Here. The mid-30s can be an unsettling milestone, especially if the road of life is leading to a let down. Braff stars as Aidan, a chronically unemployed actor whose beautiful

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Life Itself - Remembering Roger Ebert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23642-life-itself-remembering-roger-ebert.html

They were the oddest couple on television, Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, and at the end of the night, they were never buddies. The show that eventually aired as “Sikel and Ebert” pitted the skinny, cosmopolitan Siskel against the rotund, working-class Ebert in animated discussions over

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Third Person - Three Cities, Three Stories http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23612-third-person-three-cities-three-stories.html

 Feature films with multiple stories in multiple places, yoked together under some common theme or other: It’s an idea as old as silent movies and the result has seldom been fully satisfying. Witness Third Person

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Transformers: Age of Extinction - This time, Michael Bay delivers a boring spectacle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23574-transformers-age-of-extinction-this-time-michael-bay-delivers-a-boring-spectacle.html

 Director Michael Bay, known for blockbusters, regularly churns out Transformer films that net enormous worldwide sales. This time, the film’s awkward script and inferior dialog burden the sharply detailed CGI effects that sometimes transfix

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Citizen Koch - The power, money and politics of the Koch Brothers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23536-citizen-koch-the-power-money-and-politics-of-the-koch-brothers.html

 It’s naïve to believe in a golden age when money didn’t matter in politics, but in the last few years, the cost of democracy has skyrocketed, the restrictions on campaign spending have been annulled and the big corporations have removed their gloves. In the Citizens United decision

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Jersey Boys - Clint Eastwood and The Four Seasons http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23506-jersey-boys-clint-eastwood-and-the-four-seasons.html

 A Broadway musical based on a string of hits by a singing group popular with Baby Boomers is a bankable idea. But who would have wagered that a production driven by the hits of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons would win four Tonys and launch one of this century’s longest theatrical

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The Fault in Our Stars - A Touching Teen Tearjerker http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23424-the-fault-in-our-stars-a-touching-teen-tearjerker.html Adapted from the popular young adult novel by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars depicts the struggles of]]> Edge of Tomorrow - Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt take on alien invaders http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23425-edge-of-tomorrow-tom-cruise-and-emily-blunt-take-on-alien-invaders.html

 The specter of alien invasion has haunted the human imagination since H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds. Drawn from Japanese pulp fiction, Edge of Tomorrow restates Wells’ premise: beings advanced enough to cross interplanetary space have the know-how to give the armies of Earth a sound

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For No Good Reason - Fear and Loathing with Hunter S. Thompson http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23384-for-no-good-reason-fear-and-loathing-with-hunter-s-thompson.html Ralph Steadman and Hunter S. Thompson went on the road together in the 1970s as a real-life odd couple, the fastidious British pen and ink artist as sidekick to the berserker Yank behind Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In a revealing moment from For No Good Reason, Steadman]]> A Million Ways to Die in the West - A Million Ways to be Disappointed http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23374-a-million-ways-to-die-in-the-west-a-million-ways-to-be-disappointed.html

 Traditional westerns pitted virtuous heroes

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Belle - 'True story’ of class and race in 18th-century England http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23314-belle-true-story%25E2%2580%2599-of-class-and-race-in-18th-century-england.html

 One of the pleasures of Jane Austen involves following the protagonist as she navigates a society as regulated as a chessboard. The laws governing inheritance are clearly defined; behavior between the sexes is carefully codified; the rules of conduct between the classes are

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Godzilla - Monster battles monsters in latest remake http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23297-godzilla-monster-battles-monsters-in-latest-remake.html

 Godzilla has seldom been just a random monster. He’s a destructive anxiety walking on two massive legs. The

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - Spidey’s Back (Again?) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23232-the-amazing-spider-man-2-spidey%25E2%2580%2599s-back-%2528again%2529.html Maybe this is a minority view: I thought Toby Maguire was superb as Spider-Man, thank you, and rebooting the franchise]]> Only Lovers Left Alive - The Return of Vampire Chic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23192-only-lovers-left-alive-the-return-of-vampire-chic.html

 Vampires have been done to death. Director Jim Jarmusch (Stranger than Paradise) obviously wants to have a bit of fun with the genre in Only Lovers Left Alive, even running the opening credits in Gothic typeface. However, the film’s humor plays in an entirely different key than spoof. With

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Reality - Dark comedy at UWM Theatre’s Italian Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23152-reality-dark-comedy-at-uwm-theatre%25E2%2580%2599s-italian-film-festival.html Reality TV is the opiate of the idiots in Reality, a dark Italian comedy featured in this year’s Italian Film Festival. Director Matteo Garrone focuses on Luciano (Aniello Arena), an amiable Neapolitan fishmonger addicted to a reality show called “Grande Fratello” (“Big Brother”), whose Orwellian ]]> Jodorowsky's Dune - The ‘Dune’ that Never Was http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23125-jodorowskys-dune-the-%25E2%2580%2598dune%25E2%2580%2599-that-never-was.html

 The coolest movie never made, and probably the most influential, is the subject of the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. A decade before David Lynch’s widely derided rendition of the Frank Herbert novel, Latin-American cult

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Captain America: Winter Soldier - The Captain and Natasha http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23072-captain-america-winter-soldier-the-captain-and-natasha.html

 The sequels keep coming in the Marvel Comics universe; the superheroes get little time off between saving the world; and the supervillains—you’ve got to hand it to them—work just as hard as the heroes

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Tropicália - Latin American Film Series opens with Marcelo Machado’s documentary http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23017-tropicalia-latin-american-film-series-opens-with-marcelo-machado%25E2%2580%2599s-documentary.html In 1964, Brazil’s military overthrew their country’s government and The Beatles’ music
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The Lunchbox - An Indian story of food, longing and loneliness http://shepherdexpress.com/article-23018-the-lunchbox-an-indian-story-of-food-longing-and-loneliness.html

  Ila, a young Mumbai housewife, tries to stimulate the unresponsive appetites of her husband by cooking a splendid set of dishes and sending them by bicycle courier to his office for lunch. When the courier delivers her delicious meal

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The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson's romp through Old Europe http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22857-the-grand-budapest-hotel-wes-andersons-romp-through-old-europe.html

 Whether merely quirky or strangely compelling

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The Music Lesson - One man’s quest to replicate a Dutch master http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22778-the-music-lesson-one-man%25E2%2580%2599s-quest-to-replicate-a-dutch-master.html

  With color and texture, Johannes Vermeer brought small corners of the world to life. Vermeer’s paintings seem to glow with inner illumination and can resemble

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3 Days to Kill - The Spy Who Came For His Daughter? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22707-3-days-to-kill-the-spy-who-came-for-his-daughter.html

 In the middle of a high-stakes operation in Belgrade, Serbia, a U.S. mission to thwart the sale of a dirty bomb by a pair of international masterminds known as the Wolf and the Albino, CIA agent Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) stops to call his daughter for her birthday. In his

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Why Movies Really Suck - Computer imaging and the decline of imagination http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22672-why-movies-really-suck-computer-imaging-and-the-decline-of-imagination.html Movies have enjoyed wide appeal since the dawn of the nickelodeon. However, no one could have imagined that cinema would become a disposable subset of a gargantuan tentacled monster called computerized entertainment, reducing the 20th century’s only new art form into an]]> The Monuments Men - George Clooney’s Art Commandos http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22629-the-monuments-men-george-clooney%25E2%2580%2599s-art-commandos.html The Nazis were responsible for genocide and a brutal war of conquest. They were also among the world’s greatest art thieves, stripping museums and private holdings of the paintings and sculpture desired by Germany’s leaders. And several of the top]]> Festival of Films in French - A week of new movies and classics at UWM http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22584-festival-of-films-in-french-a-week-of-new-movies-and-classics-at-uwm.html

 French films? Mention them and certain impressions come to mind, whether the breezy insouciance of Breathless or romance on the banks of the Seine

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The Past - Iran’s choice for foreign-language Oscar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22550-the-past-iran%25E2%2580%2599s-choice-for-foreign-language-oscar.html

 Marie searches expectantly for the arriving traveler, Ahmad, catching his eye at the airport gate but separated at that

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The Wolf of Wall Street - Leo DiCaprio stars as the ‘Wolf’ at the head of the pack http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22444-the-wolf-of-wall-street-leo-dicaprio-stars-as-the-%25E2%2580%2598wolf%25E2%2580%2599-at-the-head-of-the-pack.html

 Oliver Stone was probably surprised when some fans of Wall Street embraced

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Ten Favorite Films of 2013 - Looking Back on the Great and the Good http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22414-ten-favorite-films-of-2013-looking-back-on-the-great-and-the-good.html

 I don’t call my picks of the year the “best,” but I do play favorites. To any critic compiling a “best-of” list, I demand: define “best.” Most can’t define anything at all, including their criteria for choosing the year’s top movies. I don’t pretend to know what’s best but I can measure the ability of films

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American Hustle - Confidence Games, Bribery and Love Triangles http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22378-american-hustle-confidence-games-bribery-and-love-triangles.html

 We meet Irving (Christian Bale) in a hotel room mirror, pasting a toupee over his thinning hair and topping it with hairspray to make things stick. Irving’s vanity is a deception tied to a yen for recreating himself as the raconteur he’d love to be. And to get to that place, he became a con artist

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Inside Llewyn Davis - The Coen brothers revisit a lost time in music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22331-inside-llewyn-davis-the-coen-brothers-revisit-a-lost-time-in-music.html Folksinger Llewyn Davis leans into the dim spotlight shining down onto the stage, playing guitar with homespun eloquence]]> The Book Thief - Reading the Grave Digger’s Manual http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22301-the-book-thief-reading-the-grave-digger%25E2%2580%2599s-manual.html

 The torch-lit night rally is an exciting diversion in The Book Thief’s small German town on the eve of World War II. There are rousing songs in the village square and oratory from the mayor denouncing the enemies of the people—the plutocrats, the Communists and most of all, the Jews. He

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Nebraska - Bruce Dern finds his pot of gold as an old man on a mission http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22250-nebraska-bruce-dern-finds-his-pot-of-gold-as-an-old-man-on-a-mission.html

 Nebraska opens on a gray, wintry day, with dead grass poking through patches of snow, as an old man trudges on the shoulder of a highway. Each step is a hurdle for the old timer, until a police car pulls over and a friendly policeman escorts him to a hospital. Woody (Bruce Dern) may

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Out of the Furnace - Christian Bale tops an excellent cast http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22251-out-of-the-furnace-christian-bale-tops-an-excellent-cast.html

 Russell (Christian Bale) usually keeps a level head, whether working with a welding torch at the steel mill, caring for his dying dad or trying to talk sense to his irresponsible kid brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck). Even when he’s sent to prison for manslaughter after a drunken car accident

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Philomena - Judi Dench and Steve Coogan on a journey to America http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22209-philomena-judi-dench-and-steve-coogan-on-a-journey-to-america.html

 When the adolescent Philomena encountered a handsome boy in the funhouse of a traveling circus, she barely knew the meaning of sex. Soon enough, she learned the consequences in small-town 1950s Ireland. Brought before a grim, inquisitorial board of nuns

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Hollywood and the Kennedy Assassination - Movies that offered alternative explanations for JFK’s death http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22179-hollywood-and-the-kennedy-assassination-movies-that-offered-alternative-explanations-for-jfk%25E2%2580%2599s-death.html

 Most anyone living at the time can clearly recall hearing the news on that Friday afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Little wonder that several movies have dealt with those events in Dallas

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Kill Your Darlings - Portrait of Allen Ginsberg as a Young Man http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22143-kill-your-darlings-portrait-of-allen-ginsberg-as-a-young-man.html

 As young Allen Ginsberg in Kill Your Darlings, Daniel Radcliffe is a casting dream. Like the famous pupil he played in the Harry Potter series, Radcliffe’s version of the freshman Ginsberg is earnest, bespectacled and studious—a minority in a Muggles’ world thrust into an academy every

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Last Vegas - Douglas, De Niro, Freeman and Kline hit the Town http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22094-last-vegas-douglas-de-niro-freeman-and-kline-hit-the-town.html

 It’s an old Hollywood trick and sometimes it pays off. In the comedy Last Vegas, a gaggle of instantly recognizable stars—Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline—are given roles allowing them to play off each other’s familiar mannerisms. Unlike Ocean’s

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12 Years a Slave - An unflinching look at the Old South http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22033-12-years-a-slave-an-unflinching-look-at-the-old-south.html

The nightmare of 12 Years a Slave begins when

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The Fifth Estate - Blowing the Whistle on WikiLeaks? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-22003-the-fifth-estate-blowing-the-whistle-on-wikileaks.html

 Benedict Cumberbatch plays Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, the brisk dramatization of the WikiLeaks founder’s battle with the U.S. government (and everyone else he disdains). One of film’s great emerging actors, Cumberbatch gives a portrayal of the celebrity outlaw

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The 2013 Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21981-the-2013-milwaukee-lgbt-film-festival.html

 The 28th Annual Milwaukee LGBT Film Festival opens Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Oriental Theatre with I Am Divine, a terrifically entertaining documentary about the

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Ballad of the Weeping Spring - An Israeli Falafel Western http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21929-ballad-of-the-weeping-spring-an-israeli-falafel-western.html

 The young stranger walks into a bar, a cavernous stony hall where musicians perform in staccato flamenco rhythms, and orders a beer. The stranger, Avram, is searching for a lost legend, Josef, a master of a Levantine stringed instrument called a tar. The bartender shrugs. “He’s a

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Gravity - Bullock and Clooney bring star power to space drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21879-gravity-bullock-and-clooney-bring-star-power-to-space-drama.html

 The immensity of space provides a vast canvas on which to paint the primal human drama of survival against the elements, the urge to live against the relentless claims of death. In Gravity, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play a pair of astronauts whose shuttle is destroyed by

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Free the Mind - Contemplating consciousness at Milwaukee Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21849-free-the-mind-contemplating-consciousness-at-milwaukee-film-festival.html

 Psychiatry has often become a retail arm of the pharmaceutical industry, with psychology as the industry’s PR department. But there are discontents. Aside from their side effects, psychotropic drugs tend to redress symptoms without addressing causes. And the limitations of the

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Milwaukee Film Festival presents ‘Passport: Germany’ - Thinking About Hannah Arendt http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21789-milwaukee-film-festival-presents-%25E2%2580%2598passport-germany%25E2%2580%2599-thinking-about-hannah-arendt.html

 Hannah Arendt’s phrase, “the banality of evil,” has entered the vocabulary to describe not the architects of human catastrophe but the mechanics and janitors—the “little people” who grease the wheels and lubricate the engines of destruction. The German-Jewish philosopher coined the

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Austenland - A romantic, comedic getaway for Jane Austen fans http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21729-austenland-a-romantic-comedic-getaway-for-jane-austen-fans.html

 Do romance fantasies make promises reality can never keep? Austenland wavers between dismissing and embracing the daydreaming, fantasy allure of the world’s toniest romance writer, Jane Austen. Perhaps the film’s refusal to go with “either or” is a mark of insight? Dreams occasionally

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Closed Circuit http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21686-closed-circuit.html

 The timing for Closed Circuit’s release couldn’t be better. With Edward Snowden in Russia, the conviction of the U.S. Army’s Wikileaker, vigorous public debate over the NSA’s surveillance program, the Boston Marathon massacre and the British secret service aggressively trying to stop the

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The Spectacular Now - The future is unwritten as teens come of age http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21639-the-spectacular-now-the-future-is-unwritten-as-teens-come-of-age.html

 After a long night of partying, climaxed by an ineffectual stab at telling off the girl who had recently left him, Sutter (Miles Teller) awakens in the morning on a stranger’s lawn. The girl who discovers

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Lebowski Fest Returns to Milwaukee - The Dude Achieves Big Time http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21622-lebowski-fest-returns-to-milwaukee-the-dude-achieves-big-time.html Not everyone fell in love with The Big Lebowski the first time they saw it. That includes Will Russell, co-creator of Lebowski Fest, the traveling annual festival celebrating the Dude in all his Dudeness. He admits to “feeling almost indifferent to it.” And yet, something kept drawing him back]]> Time Trek - No-budget film stars Milwaukee musical legend http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21623-time-trek-no-budget-film-stars-milwaukee-musical-legend.html

 Richard LaValliere was a remarkable figure from Milwaukee’s ’70s punk scene. As bassist and songwriter, he brought unusual wit to The Haskels and redrew boundaries with his no-guitar follow-up, The Oil Tasters. LaValliere left for New York in the ’80s and continued to make cliché-busting music

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Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen’s Bicoastal Drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21582-blue-jasmine-woody-allen%25E2%2580%2599s-bicoastal-drama.html

 Although Woody Allen became a belated world traveler in recent years, setting films in Barcelona, London, Paris and Rome, he returns to familiar ground for much of Blue Jasmine. Half of the film unwinds in the tonier districts

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Fruitvale Station - Oscar Grant’s Last Stop http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21505-fruitvale-station-oscar-grant%25E2%2580%2599s-last-stop.html

 The Trayvon Martin case wasn’t the first public outcry over an African American youth who died under controversial circumstances at an alleged crime scene. The killing of Oscar Grant by a transit policeman in

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The Way, Way Back - Sam Rockwell steals Sundance’s coming-of-age comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21453-the-way-way-back-sam-rockwell-steals-sundance%25E2%2580%2599s-coming-of-age-comedy.html

 Summer vacation is the time when teens come of age: it’s a familiar theme in movies and for good reason. Teenagers often have life-altering summers, sometimes in the aftermath of high school graduation and

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Pacific Rim - The Monotony of Monsters http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21421-pacific-rim-the-monotony-of-monsters.html

 Determined to make a different kind of summer blockbuster, director Guillermo del Toro

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Fill the Void - Love and matchmaking http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21378-fill-the-void-love-and-matchmaking.html It’s an incongruous juxtaposition: a modern supermarket, crowded with Orthodox Jewish men in long black coats and medieval hats, pushing shopping]]> The East - Anarchists, undercover agents and corporate criminals http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21353-the-east-anarchists-undercover-agents-and-corporate-criminals.html

 Sarah can’t tell her husband about her job. He thinks she’s off to Dubai on private security work when really, she’s going undercover for the sinisterly-named Hiller Brood, a security contractor with powerful corporate clients

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Monsters University - Pixar is back with an animated creature prequel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21324-monsters-university-pixar-is-back-with-an-animated-creature-prequel.html

 Those lovable ogres from Monsters, Inc. have returned. The motley, brightly colored beasts from Pixar Studio’s popular 2001 animated feature are back for Monsters University, a prequel featuring the key characters in their

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Before Midnight - Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy at the crossroads http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21236-before-midnight-ethan-hawke-and-julie-delpy-at-the-crossroads.html

 Jesse and Celine have been the favorite heartthrobs of the smart set since their

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The Kings of Summer - Escaping parents in a coming-of-age comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21237-the-kings-of-summer-escaping-parents-in-a-coming-of-age-comedy.html

 Parents can be so annoying! And in the droll coming-of-age comedy The Kings of Summer

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After Earth - The Space Family Smith http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21153-after-earth-the-space-family-smith.html

 Love and rivalry between father and son, the odyssey of searching for a passage home, the slaying of monsters—ancient and enduring themes in myth and literature. After Earth shapes them as science fiction with Will and

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Kon-Tiki - Rafting Across the Pacific http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21154-kon-tiki-rafting-across-the-pacific.html

 Like the first explorer to reach the North Pole or the first man on the moon, Thor

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Love is All You Need - Pierce Brosnan stars in romantic summer comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21131-love-is-all-you-need-pierce-brosnan-stars-in-romantic-summer-comedy.html

 Ida responds with even-tempered emotion to her uncertain prognosis for breast cancer. “I doubt if he even notices

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At Any Price - Dennis Quaid’s harvest of tragedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21088-at-any-price-dennis-quaid%25E2%2580%2599s-harvest-of-tragedy.html In At Any Price, Dennis Quaid stars as Henry Whipple]]> Mud - Matthew McConaughey’s mystic Southern fugitive http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21057-mud-matthew-mcconaughey%25E2%2580%2599s-mystic-southern-fugitive.html After directing Take Shelter, an intriguing “Twilight Zone”-style tale of madness and apocalypse in America’s heartland, Jeff Nichols moves south to Arkansas for a strong follow-up, Mud. His protagonists are a pair of]]> Gatsby in 3D - Baz Luhrmann’s lush retelling of Fitzgerald’s classic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-21018-gatsby-in-3d-baz-luhrmann%25E2%2580%2599s-lush-retelling-of-fitzgerald%25E2%2580%2599s-classic.html

 The Great Gatsby is among the greatest

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Iron Man 3 - Robert Downey Jr. brings laughter to the tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20987-iron-man-3-robert-downey-jr-brings-laughter-to-the-tale.html

 If it’s not exactly ripped from the headlines, the plot of Iron Man 3 is as perilously

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Cargo of Hope? - Startling images from UWM’s Italian Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20940-cargo-of-hope-startling-images-from-uwm%25E2%2580%2599s-italian-film-festival.html

 Spectacular images of the Berlin Wall being hammered into bits for souvenirs were seen across the world, but the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe resulted in many other memorable visuals. In Italy, some of the most

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To the Wonder - Ben Affleck stars in Terrence Malick’s meditation on love http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20895-to-the-wonder-ben-affleck-stars-in-terrence-malick%25E2%2580%2599s-meditation-on-love.html

No place is more romantic than Paris, and when a couple as attractive as Neil (Ben Affleck) and Marina (Olga Kurylenko) fall in love while walking the quay along the Seine, violins would tremble like heart strings in any 

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Trance - Danny Boyle's mind game movie http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20896-trance-danny-boyles-mind-game-movie.html

 Director Danny Boyle, after winning accolades for 127 Hours and Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire, turns to mind games with his latest film. Trance opens masterfully as an ironic art heist caper with a twist of amnesia. It turns

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42 - Major League Player http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20867-42-major-league-player.html

 When Jackie Robinson crossed the color line at Ebbets Field in 1947, many Americans weren’t ready to see a black man play ball in the same league as white men. Seven years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against legal

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White Elephant - Doing Good Against Impossible Odds http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20868-white-elephant-doing-good-against-impossible-odds.html

 In White Elephant, Villa Virgen is an enormous cinderblock, scrap metal and packing board slum in Buenos Aires. Living there are 30,000 souls, squatters whose meager social services are provided by a young social worker

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Busy Semester at UW-Milwaukee - Film department sponsors research center for Indian director http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20829-busy-semester-at-uw-milwaukee-film-department-sponsors-research-center-for-indian-director.html ]]> No - Ad man Gael García Bernal topples a dictator http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20798-no-ad-man-gael-garcia-bernal-topples-a-dictator.html

 When a dictator holds a referendum, he expects an affirmative outcome. But when one of Latin America

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Stoker - Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska star in gothic drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20752-stoker-nicole-kidman-and-mia-wasikowska-star-in-gothic-drama.html

 Dracula author Bram Stoker is the unspoken reference

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West of Memphis - Framed for murder http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20710-west-of-memphis-framed-for-murder.html

 The local media called it “the break the police were waiting for.” In 1993, three teenagers were arrested for the murder and sexual violation of three eight-year old boys

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Home Movies/Out on Digital: Freaky Deaky, Africa and Diana Vreeland http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20688-home-movies_out-on-digital-freaky-deaky-africa-and-diana-vreeland.html

 Jackie Brown and Get Shorty are just two of the movies drawn from the writing of crime author Elmore Leonard. The latest, Freaky Deaky, is set amidst the radical chic of ’70s America and staged as a jokey set of riffs on

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A Place at the Table - Hungry in America http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20642-a-place-at-the-table-hungry-in-america.html

 Most middle-class Americans grew up thinking that hunger happens elsewhere, in India or Ethiopia or some other famished land on the far side of the world. But hunger

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An Oscar Night to Remember? - ‘Lincoln’ in the lead for trophies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20605-an-oscar-night-to-remember-%25E2%2580%2598lincoln%25E2%2580%2599-in-the-lead-for-trophies.html

 2012 was the best year for movies in many seasons. Ticket sales were up, and along

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Home Movies/Out on Digital: Nobody Walks, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, Yelling to the Sky and Stories About African American Heritage featuring March On! http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20600-home-movies_out-on-digital-nobody-walks-the-seven-per-cent-solution-yelling-to-the-sky-and-stories-about-african-american-heritage-featuring-march-on_.html Starring Olivia Thirlby as a New York video artist being mentored by an “edgy” LA director, Nobody Walks depicts an almost farfetched tangle of emotions and hormones in a superficially casual environment where selfishness is the guiding principle, everyone gets hurt and double standards]]> Great Films in French - UW-Milwaukee festival features movies from France, Quebec and beyond http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20532-great-films-in-french-uw-milwaukee-festival-features-movies-from-france-quebec-and-beyond.html

 Jean-Louis has lived all his life in the same elegant

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Amour - Love and Death http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20497-amour-love-and-death.html

 Amour opens as firemen force the door of a once-elegant Paris apartment, covering

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The Last Stand - Arnold is Back from Politics http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20479-the-last-stand-arnold-is-back-from-politics.html The Governator's still got "it"—the intangible factor drawing viewers to connect with his bold action persona. Once an A-list Hollywood star, this three-time Terminator famously traded his star power for political power in]]> Zero Dark Thirty - Hunting Osama bin Laden http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20439-zero-dark-thirty-hunting-osama-bin-laden.html

 Kathryn Bigelow upset the odds in 2009 when her indie-scale, grunt-level look at the Iraq War, The Hurt Locker, knocked aside her ex-husband James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza, Avatar, at Oscar time. Although her latest

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Hyde Park on Hudson - Bill Murray does FDR http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20409-hyde-park-on-hudson-bill-murray-does-fdr.html

 Margaret “Daisy” Suckley’s branch of the family had

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The Impossible - A True Story from the Tsunami http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20390-the-impossible-a-true-story-from-the-tsunami.html It’s a safe guess: The Impossible will be nominated for a Best Special Effects Oscar. Based on a true story of survival during the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami that roared across Southeast Asia, The Impossible puts a glossy]]> Les Misérables - Broadway Returns to Hollywood http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20376-les-miserables-broadway-returns-to-hollywood.html

 Although Broadway was once a consistent source of audience-tested material for Hollywood, in recent years the traffic has flowed the opposite way in the form of Lion King, Spider-Man and other blockbuster movies remodeled

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Life of Pi - Ang Lee’s 3D fantasy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20333-life-of-pi-ang-lee%25E2%2580%2599s-3d-fantasy.html

 No contemporary Hollywood director is bolder than Ang Lee—at least in the realm of trying new things. With Life of Pi, Yann Martel’s novel about an Indian boy shipwrecked on a lifeboat with a wild tiger is rendered in dazzling 3D. The boy, called Pi, goes down in the stormy Pacific on the way to Canada, where his zoo-keeping family

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Hitchcock - Psychotic Reaction http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20300-hitchcock-psychotic-reaction.html

 Alfred Hitchcock is having a midlife, make that a late-life, crisis. His latest movie, North by Northwest, is a smash hit and yet he is nagged by doubt. “But you’re 60 years old,” a reporter shouts out. “Shouldn’t you just quit while

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Anna Karenina - Giving It Up For Love http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20284-anna-karenina-giving-it-up-for-love.html

 Never at a loss for words, Tolstoy wrote massive novels on weighty subjects of love and war. Hollywood has always been tempted by his tomes and their prestige, but has fumbled in translating the Russian novelist to film

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Nobody Walks - Tangle of Hormones http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20285-nobody-walks-tangle-of-hormones.html

 While mentoring Martine (Olivia Thirlby), a New York video artist visiting Los Angeles, Peter (John Krasinski), an

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Killing Them Softly - The Business of Crime http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20242-killing-them-softly-the-business-of-crime.html

 Brad Pitt reunites with Andrew Dominik, director of the elegiac western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, for a highly stylized, awfully brutal, sharply critical gangster picture, Killing Them Softly

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Dark Horse and “Copper: Season One” http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20208-dark-horse-and-%25E2%2580%259Ccopper-season-one%25E2%2580%259D.html

 The protagonist (Jordan Gelber) is a doughy, middle-aged man-child living with his parents and his action figures in this darkly perceptive suburban comedy from the director of Welcome to the Dollhouse. Todd Solondz is masterful

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Lincoln - Daniel Day-Lewis is unforgettable as Lincoln http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20148-lincoln-daniel-day-lewis-is-unforgettable-as-lincoln.html

 The Civil War marked one of the sharpest turning points in America’s story, and none of its leading figures looms higher in memory than Abraham Lincoln

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Milwaukee Short Film Festival Gains Worldwide Appreciation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20116-milwaukee-short-film-festival-gains-worldwide-appreciation.html

 When Ross Bigley is asked how many years the Milwaukee Short Film Festival has been running, he answers that 2012 is the 14th annual festival. “But actually it’s our 18th,” he adds

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Flight - A Harrowing Descent http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20103-flight-a-harrowing-descent.html The pilot who brings his plane and passengers down safely in a crisis was already an old Hollywood story when Dean Martin landed his 707 in Airport. The new twist in Flight is that the harrowing aerial descent is only the]]> Cloud Atlas http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20071-cloud-atlas.html Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski siblings were the hottest things in cinema at the end of the last century. Tykwer’s Run Lola Run was an adrenaline-pounding indie...]]> Compliance - Exploring the perversity of mindless obedience http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20035-compliance-exploring-the-perversity-of-mindless-obedience.html
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LGBT Film Festival Presents ‘Keep the Lights On’ http://shepherdexpress.com/article-20021-lgbt-film-festival-presents-%25E2%2580%2598keep-the-lights-on%25E2%2580%2599.html
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Argo - Ben Affleck dramatizes rescue of Americans in Iran http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19960-argo-ben-affleck-dramatizes-rescue-of-americans-in-iran.html The mob that gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Teheran, Iran, to demand the extradition of the Shah, who had fled to America for cancer treatment as his regime crumbled, burned flags and effigies and punched...]]> Frankenweenie - Tim Burton Returns to Animated Comedy Horror http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19950-frankenweenie-tim-burton-returns-to-animated-comedy-horror.html By his own account, Tim Burton spent many hours as a kid in the graveyard down the street from his tidy subdivision. An introverted child, Burton grew up to become the champion of weird outsiders...]]> The Flat - Israeli documentary screens at Jewish Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19925-the-flat-israeli-documentary-screens-at-jewish-film-festival.html

 Although the Israeli documentary The Flat explores the shadows cast by the Holocaust over survivors, perpetrators and their descendants, it’s also an essay with universal significance on memory...

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Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry - Documentary features Chinese activist Ai Weiwei http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19878-ai-weiwei-never-sorry-documentary-features-chinese-activist-ai-weiwei.html


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The Master - Hoffman, Phoenix shine as cult leader, acolyte http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19852-the-master-hoffman-phoenix-shine-as-cult-leader-acolyte.html


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‘The Words’ Crafts an Intelligent Drama - Fiction intersects real life in Bradley Cooper film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19817-%25E2%2580%2598the-words%25E2%2580%2599-crafts-an-intelligent-drama-fiction-intersects-real-life-in-bradley-cooper-film.html
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Rosebud Cinema's 'Wow Factor' - Popular Wauwatosa theater reopens under new management http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19683-rosebud-cinemas-wow-factor-popular-wauwatosa-theater-reopens-under-new-management.html ]]> The Bourne Legacy - Film series misses its main star, director http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19558-the-bourne-legacy-film-series-misses-its-main-star-director.html Bourne without Jason Bourne? It sounds like a Bond movie without James Bond or a Sherlock Holmes...]]> The Campaign - Ferrell and Galifianakis lampoon the candidates http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19507-the-campaign-ferrell-and-galifianakis-lampoon-the-candidates.html Election-year political movies have seldom won many votes in recent years...]]> Ruby Sparks - Lonely writer dreams up his dream woman http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19420-ruby-sparks-lonely-writer-dreams-up-his-dream-woman.html A male artist who imagines an ideal woman and brings her to life?]]> The Dark Knight Rises - Questions remain at end of Nolan's Batman trilogy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19357-the-dark-knight-rises-questions-remain-at-end-of-nolans-batman-trilogy.html The best superhero comics have always dressed moral, political and social...]]> The Amazing Spider-Man - Superhero film returns with new cast and story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19299-the-amazing-spider-man-superhero-film-returns-with-new-cast-and-story.html The question asked by many is “Why?” Specifically, “Why another Spider-Man movie...]]> Savages - Oliver Stone's hardboiled story of guns, money and dope http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19249-savages-oliver-stones-hardboiled-story-of-guns-money-and-dope.html Marijuana is big business and with the rise of the Mexican cartels, there is...]]> Katy Perry: Part of Me - On Top of the World? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19210-katy-perry-part-of-me-on-top-of-the-world.html If you're a teenage boy looking for love, you could do worse than buy a ticket for a Katy Perry concert...]]> To Rome With Love - Baldwin, Page star in Woody Allen's latest http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19177-to-rome-with-love-baldwin-page-star-in-woody-allens-latest.html To Rome With Love is no Midnight in Paris, but then, Woody Allen set the bar so high last summer that it may...]]> Moonrise Kingdom - Wes Anderson's eccentric summer camp http://shepherdexpress.com/article-19015-moonrise-kingdom-wes-andersons-eccentric-summer-camp.html Since releasing Rushmore in 1998, director Wes Anderson has refined...]]> Prometheus - Ridley Scott fails to recapture the magic http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18940-prometheus-ridley-scott-fails-to-recapture-the-magic.html Not unlike Star Wars two years earlier, Alien (1979) brought something new to science fiction film...]]> Hysteria - Film handles sex in the Victorian age http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18893-hysteria-film-handles-sex-in-the-victorian-age.html Although clinical hysteria is rarer than leprosy nowadays, in the 19th century it was regarded...]]> Snow White and the Huntsman - Kristen Stewart Bites the Poison Apple http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18845-snow-white-and-the-huntsman-kristen-stewart-bites-the-poison-apple.html If the estate of the Brothers Grimm could collect royalties from the legacy...]]> Monsieur Lazhar - Oscar-Nominated film comes to Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18754-monsieur-lazhar-oscar-nominated-film-comes-to-milwaukee.html Film, movie, review, Milwaukee, Canada, Oscar, nomination, Monsieur Lazhar...]]> Sound of My Voice - Film draws strength from nuanced acting http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18671-sound-of-my-voice-film-draws-strength-from-nuanced-acting.html In Sound of My Voice, Maggie is the beguiling leader of a doomsday cult with an unusual spin on the future...]]> Dark Shadows - Tim Burton remakes 1960s soap opera http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18621-dark-shadows-tim-burton-remakes-1960s-soap-opera.html A year after it premiered, the gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” took a strange turn with the arrival...]]> Milwaukee Festival Showcases Italian Cinema - UWM Union Theatre to host film screenings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18533-milwaukee-festival-showcases-italian-cinema-uwm-union-theatre-to-host-film-screenings.html In the earliest years of film, before Hollywood even existed, Italy was...]]> Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Tokyo's Jiro Ono finds perfection in fish http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18466-jiro-dreams-of-sushi-tokyos-jiro-ono-finds-perfection-in-fish.html Sukiyabashi Jiro, the tiny sushi bar tucked into a Tokyo subway station, is a neatly framed mirror...]]> Footnote - Israeli Oscar nominee opens in Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18401-footnote-israeli-oscar-nominee-opens-in-milwaukee.html Professor Eliezer Shkolnik sits mortified among his fellow academics, listening uncomfortably...]]> Karen Cries on the Bus - UWM hosts annual Latin American Film Series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18329-karen-cries-on-the-bus-uwm-hosts-annual-latin-american-film-series.html The protagonist, Karen, forces back tears as the city rolls by through the smudgy...]]> Apart - Rottinghaus film shows promise before faltering http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18237-apart-rottinghaus-film-shows-promise-before-faltering.html Amnesia is a theme filmmakers never seem to forget. In Apart, the old idea receives a few new twists...]]> 'Salmon Fishing in the Yemen' Comes Up Empty http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18144-salmon-fishing-in-the-yemen-comes-up-empty.html With an unstable and unpopular government, Yemen has been torn by civil conflict and civil war...]]> The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins' Trilogy Comes to the Screen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18105-the-hunger-games-suzanne-collins-trilogy-comes-to-the-screen.html Move over Twilight Saga. Suzanne Collins' young adult trilogy, The Hunger Games, has won a wide audience...]]> In Darkness - Finding salvation in gritty Holocaust drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18080-in-darkness-finding-salvation-in-gritty-holocaust-drama.html “Poldek” Socha is a meaty-faced, crude man who cusses like a sailor as he navigates the sewers...]]> Friends With Kids - Westfeldt's predictable but amusing romantic comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-18022-friends-with-kids-westfeldts-predictable-but-amusing-romantic-comedy.html By now, the romantic comedy staffed with young professionals and set in Manhattan has...]]> The Lorax - Dr. Seuss' subversive fairy tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17841-the-lorax-dr-seuss-subversive-fairy-tale.html By now, several generations of children have been entertained and inspired by the whimsically subversive storybooks...]]> Predicting the 2012 Oscars - Hollywood looks to the past http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17777-predicting-the-2012-oscars-hollywood-looks-to-the-past.html The past played a big role in Hollywood last year, and if Oscar nominations are any measure of...]]> A Separation - Iranian film is a strong Oscar contender http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17710-a-separation-iranian-film-is-a-strong-oscar-contender.html A Separation, which has already earned three prizes at the Berlin International Film Festival...]]> Safe House - Denzel's Cool in a Not-so-Hot Film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17665-safe-house-denzels-cool-in-a-not-so-hot-film.html Denzel Washington is the reason to watch Safe House, an otherwise-by-numbers...]]> The Woman in Black - Daniel Radcliffe moves beyond Harry Potter http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17628-the-woman-in-black-daniel-radcliffe-moves-beyond-harry-potter.html The narrow road winds through bleak country, devoid of life for many miles save the squawking sea gulls overhead...]]> UW-Milwaukee's 2012 Festival of Films in French - 'Queen to Play,' 'Father of My Children' among highlights http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17568-uw-milwaukees-2012-festival-of-films-in-french-queen-to-play-father-of-my-children-among-highlights.html This year's Festival of Films in French...]]> Haywire - Steven Soderbergh's kickboxing fantasy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17445-haywire-steven-soderberghs-kickboxing-fantasy.html Credit Steven Soderbergh for his willingness to try almost everything in his up-and-down career...]]> A Dangerous Method - Freud and Jung spar in Cronenberg film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17446-a-dangerous-method-freud-and-jung-spar-in-cronenberg-film.html The ideas of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung changed the world, and the bitter split between...]]> Carnage - A touchy-feely effort comes to blows http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17328-carnage-a-touchy-feely-effort-comes-to-blows.html Roman Polanski may never be able to film in America again, but that can't stop him from setting...]]> Top 11 Films of 2011 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17266-top-11-films-of-2011.html It's frustrating. Film critics in Milwaukee can never be sure their top-of-the-year list...]]> Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Gary Oldman stars in John le Carr's Cold War drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17265-tinker-tailor-soldier-spy-gary-oldman-stars-in-john-le-carr%25E9s-cold-war-drama.html Although the year of the setting is never identified, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy looks circa 1980...]]> The Artist - Revisiting the birth of talking pictures http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17216-the-artist-revisiting-the-birth-of-talking-pictures.html The Artist is a brilliantly conceived and executed journey into the past. French filmmaker...]]> War Horse - Steven Spielberg rides wave of sentimentality http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17157-war-horse-steven-spielberg-rides-wave-of-sentimentality.html War Horse begins with a graceful sweep over England's green and pleasant land—an emerald countryside...]]> The Adventures of Tintin - Spielberg transforms comic books into 3-D extravaganza http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17158-the-adventures-of-tintin-spielberg-transforms-comic-books-into-3-d-extravaganza.html For some moviegoers, the creepiest film ever made wasn't The Exorcist or even Saw, but Polar Express...]]> The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Daniel Craig stars in Stieg Larsson best seller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17159-the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-daniel-craig-stars-in-stieg-larsson-best-seller.html At least two questions accompany the remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: Will David Fincher...]]> A Game of Shadows - Robert Downey Jr. returns as Sherlock Holmes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17067-a-game-of-shadows-robert-downey-jr-returns-as-sherlock-holmes.html The bomb that blew the top hats off the crowd was branded as the work of anarchists...]]> Young Adult - Charlize Theron stars in Jason Reitman film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-17053-young-adult-charlize-theron-stars-in-jason-reitman-film.html With Juno, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody conceived...]]> Melancholia - Kirsten Dunst gives award-worthy performance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16973-melancholia-kirsten-dunst-gives-award-worthy-performance.html An unknown planet hidden behind the sun comes loose from its orbit and veers toward the Earth...]]> Hugo - Martin Scorsese's homage to the birth of cinema http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16926-hugo-martin-scorseses-homage-to-the-birth-of-cinema.html Mention Martin Scorsese and gritty drama usually comes to mind. He was the director of Mean Streets...]]> The Descendants - Film tackles life and death, fidelity and family http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16851-the-descendants-film-tackles-life-and-death-fidelity-and-family.html Matt King, the George Clooney protagonist of The Descendants, starts the film by remarking how...]]> J. Edgar - DiCaprio's Astonishing Performance as the FBI Chief http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16786-j-edgar-dicaprios-astonishing-performance-as-the-fbi-chief.html My first memory of J. Edgar Hoover comes from early childhood in the 1960s...]]> The Skin I Live In - Pedro Almodovar's classic horror show http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16723-the-skin-i-live-in-pedro-almodovars-classic-horror-show.html The Skin I Live In is Pedro Almodovar's mad-scientist movie, a horror film all the more horrifying...]]> The Rum Diary - Johnny Depp portrays young Hunter S. Thompson http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16600-the-rum-diary-johnny-depp-portrays-young-hunter-s-thompson.html Hunter S. Thompson was several years short of finding his voice as a writer...]]> A Long Run for the Milwaukee Short Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16601-a-long-run-for-the-milwaukee-short-film-festival.html If you had made a prediction based on its debut, you might have foreseen a very short run...]]> Demons Among Us - The Horror of Inkubus http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16595-demons-among-us-the-horror-of-inkubus.html Inkubus, the new horror film, was directed by newcomer Glenn Ciano and produced by Chad Verdi. The fright takes place during a graveyard shift at a Rhode Island police station. Inkubus, a demon, walks in holding the head...]]> Take Shelter - Nowhere to hide in tense, psychological thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16527-take-shelter-nowhere-to-hide-in-tense-psychological-thriller.html No one else notices the thunderclap from the cloudless sky, but for Curtis, the sharp retort...]]> Documenting Author of 'Fiddler on the Roof' - 'Sholem Aleichem' a highlight of 2011 Jewish Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16461-documenting-author-of-fiddler-on-the-roof-sholem-aleichem-a-highlight-of-2011-jewish-film-festival.html Tevye, perhaps the world's most famous...]]> The Perfect 'Weekend' - Superb love story opens Milwaukee LGBT Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16462-the-perfect-weekend-superb-love-story-opens-milwaukee-lgbt-festival.html The Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival's opening weekend, Oct. 20-23, includes 16 offerings...]]> New York's Metropolitan Opera, Live in Milwaukee - Area cinemas to show HD broadcasts http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16382-new-yorks-metropolitan-opera-live-in-milwaukee-area-cinemas-to-show-hd-broadcasts.html A New York Times reviewer recently...]]> Restless - Gus Van Sant's nuanced take on romance, death http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16316-restless-gus-van-sants-nuanced-take-on-romance-death.html On paper, the plot of Restless sounds ridiculous. In director Gus Van Sant's new film, romance...]]> 50/50 - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen star in bittersweet comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16235-50_50-joseph-gordon-levitt-seth-rogen-star-in-bittersweet-comedy.html Adam runs along the waterfront with alt-rock on his iPod in the tone-setting...]]> Drive - Ryan Gosling's sensitive stunt driver http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16154-drive-ryan-goslings-sensitive-stunt-driver.html Coolness under fire is the mark of a film-noir hero, and the unnamed...]]> Contagion - Steven Soderbergh's paranoid thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16094-contagion-steven-soderberghs-paranoid-thriller.html Although SARS and swine flu came and went, and the bird flu never arrived...]]> Harry Shearer Revisits New Orleans - 'The Big Uneasy' tracks pre-Katrina disasters http://shepherdexpress.com/article-16003-harry-shearer-revisits-new-orleans-the-big-uneasy-tracks-pre-katrina-disasters.html No one in America will ever forget the day of Aug. 29, 2005, least of all anyone living in New Orleans...]]> Black Irish Comedy - The Guard Opens in Milwaukee http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15975-black-irish-comedy-the-guard-opens-in-milwaukee.html Sgt. Boyle of the Irish police, the Garda, barely blinks. Bored out of his mind while running radar...]]> The Upsetter - The world according to Lee 'Scratch' Perry http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15880-the-upsetter-the-world-according-to-lee-scratch-perry.html Lee “Scratch” Perry was a crucial figure in the transition from ska to reggae...]]> The Debt - Helen Mirren stars in harrowing adventure http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15879-the-debt-helen-mirren-stars-in-harrowing-adventure.html The legend surrounding Israel's secret service...]]> Another Earth - Mike Cahill's compelling fable for the age of science http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15765-another-earth-mike-cahills-compelling-fable-for-the-age-of-science.html The new planet emerged from the night sky as a blue dot and, before science...]]> Change-Up - Bateman and Reynolds Swap Bodies (And Bad Jokes) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15671-change-up-bateman-and-reynolds-swap-bodies-%2528and-bad-jokes%2529.html What if you could trade your life for someone else's? ]]> Nicholas Ray: Director Without a Cause? - Eisenschitz, McGilligan biographies examine Wisconsin filmmaker http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15626-nicholas-ray-director-without-a-cause-eisenschitz-mcgilligan-biographies-examine-wisconsin-filmmaker.html Nicholas Ray's place in Hollywood...]]> Cowboys & Aliens - When Cowboys Meet Sci Fi http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15610-cowboys-aliens-when-cowboys-meet-sci-fi.html Is Cowboys & Aliens the first of its kind—a science-fiction western? ]]> Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - A Beautifully Unsuccessful Adaptation of a Best Seller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15562-snow-flower-and-the-secret-fan-a-beautifully-unsuccessful-adaptation-of-a-best-seller.html The discovery of a pair of tiny woven shoes, barely bigger than doll's feet...]]> Beats Sparks Controversy on Rap Giants http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15560-beats-sparks-controversy-on-rap-giants.html The hip-hop genre is notoriously fickle. Despite this, the seminal alternative rap group, A Tribe Called Quest, has sustained popularity for over two decades. Making such longevity particularly surprising...]]> Cars 2 - Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy return for successful sequel http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15429-cars-2-owen-wilson-larry-the-cable-guy-return-for-successful-sequel.html The nonentities increasingly populating...]]> Larry Crowne - Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts find romance at community college http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15349-larry-crowne-tom-hanks-julia-roberts-find-romance-at-community-college.html Every summer Hollywood releases...]]> Meek's Cutoff - Kelly Reichardt examines pioneer folklore http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15267-meeks-cutoff-kelly-reichardt-examines-pioneer-folklore.html Covered wagons pulled by lumbering oxen slowly roll into a river across the wild, desolate country...]]> 13 Assassins - Takashi Miike laces Japanese drama with humor, horror http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15201-13-assassins-takashi-miike-laces-japanese-drama-with-humor-horror.html The samurai is stoic as he steels himself for his own ritual disembowelment...]]> The Tree of Life - Director Terrence Malick returns http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15117-the-tree-of-life-director-terrence-malick-returns.html After directing a pair of great films, Badlands (1973) and Days...]]> Super 8 - Abrams' Tribute to the Master of Summer Movies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15100-super-8-abrams-tribute-to-the-master-of-summer-movies.html Every mastermind grew up admiring a mastermind. For J.J. Abrams, who conceived the convolutions of the culty “Lost” series and revived Star Trek for the 21st century, Steven Spielberg was the model mastermind, a director who found the uncanny among ordinary people and with a sharp feel for the roller coaster thrill of cinema...]]> X-Men: First Class - James McAvoy stars in Marvel comic origin story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-15049-x-men-first-class-james-mcavoy-stars-in-marvel-comic-origin-story.html In 1944, a Jewish boy separated from...]]> Midnight in Paris - Living in the past, looking to the future http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14975-midnight-in-paris-living-in-the-past-looking-to-the-future.html The opening shots of Midnight in Paris...]]> Bill Cunningham New York http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14905-bill-cunningham-new-york.html Eighty-two-year-old Bill Cunningham peddles his bicycle to work each morning through Manhattan...]]> POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold - Morgan Spurlock's provocative documentary on films and advertising http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14838-pom-wonderful-presents-the-greatest-movie-ever-sold-morgan-spurlocks-provocative-documentary-on-films-and-advertising.html Morgan Spurlock has lost a lot of weight since last we saw him in his documentary on junk food...]]> Thor - Kenneth Branagh's effects-laden family drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14792-thor-kenneth-branaghs-effects-laden-family-drama.html Kenneth Branagh isn't immune to the thrill of a technical challenge...]]> In a Better World - Denmark's Oscar winner depicts a cycle of violence http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14623-in-a-better-world-denmarks-oscar-winner-depicts-a-cycle-of-violence.html On the surface, the Denmark of In a Better World, the Oscar-winning...]]> Certified Copy - Juliette Binoche in unconventional Tuscan love story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14575-certified-copy-juliette-binoche-in-unconventional-tuscan-love-story.html The protagonists in the works of Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami (Taste of Cherry) have been described as being on actual quests by fictional means as they encounter...]]> The Conspirator - Robert Redford tells the story of Lincoln's death and Mary Surratt http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14481-the-conspirator-robert-redford-tells-the-story-of-lincolns-death-and-mary-surratt.html 9/11 wasn't the first time...]]> Hanna - When Girl Power Goes Bad http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14414-hanna-when-girl-power-goes-bad.html In the not-so-thrilling thriller Hanna, father-daughter day consists of brutal close...]]> Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience - Ron Faiola searches for an old-fashioned dining experience http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14381-wisconsin-supper-clubs-an-old-fashioned-experience-ron-faiola-searches-for-an-old-fashioned-dining-experience.html Ron Faiola has become Wisconsin's legacy filmmaker. His previous documentary...]]> Gothic Airs - A Dark, Artful Depiction of Jane Eyre http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14351-gothic-airs-a-dark-artful-depiction-of-jane-eyre.html Terrible thuds are heard from overhead and the strangest moaning from the unlit nocturnal corridors...]]> The Maid - One of 15 fine pictures in UWM's Latin American Film Series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14315-the-maid-one-of-15-fine-pictures-in-uwms-latin-american-film-series.html Raquel the servant eats alone in the kitchen as laughter from the family of her employers...]]> Queen of the Sun - Where Have the Bees Gone? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14267-queen-of-the-sun-where-have-the-bees-gone.html The media has occasionally reported that bees are disappearing. According to the documentary Queen of the Sun, the empty hive syndrome is no mere rumor but a quiet catastrophe in the making. Bees don't just make honey. They pollinate our world, making farming as well as gardening possible...]]> Of Gods and Men - Beauvois' award-winning French film based on true story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14242-of-gods-and-men-beauvois-award-winning-french-film-based-on-true-story.html Quiet is the sound of the Cistercian monastery in Of Gods and Men as the monks pad...]]> Win Win - Tom McCarthy Explores Human Condition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14229-win-win-tom-mccarthy-explores-human-condition.html As a screenwriter/director, Tom McCarthy demonstrates a penchant for oddball...]]> The Last Lions - Are famed wildlife filmmakers tracking the last of a breed? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14164-the-last-lions-are-famed-wildlife-filmmakers-tracking-the-last-of-a-breed.html Fifty years ago, some 450,000 lions roamed Africa. By now, reduced by...]]> Battle Los Angeles - The Assault on LA http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14141-battle-los-angeles-the-assault-on-la.html The news reports called it a shower of meteors, followed by more and more showers...]]> The Adjustment Bureau - Matt Damon, Emily Blunt star in Philip K. Dick adaptation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14098-the-adjustment-bureau-matt-damon-emily-blunt-star-in-philip-k-dick-adaptation.html Philip K. Dick was a prolific author who saw the shadowy hands behind the...]]> Jews and Baseball - How Immigrants Won their Ticket to America http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14039-jews-and-baseball-how-immigrants-won-their-ticket-to-america.html For many Jewish immigrants who came to the U.S. between the 1880s and 1920s, baseball was their avenue into America, the badge that said, "You are accepted." The lovingly produced documentary Jews and Baseball reminds us that the badge was hard earned...]]> Cedar Rapids - Ed Helms plays straight man in Heartland comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-14040-cedar-rapids-ed-helms-plays-straight-man-in-heartland-comedy.html For Tim Lippe, a lifelong resident of the fictitious Brown Valley, Wis...]]> It’s Oscar Time Again - A closer look at some of the nominees for this year's Academy Awards http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13965-itrss-oscar-time-again-a-closer-look-at-some-of-the-nominees-for-this-years-academy-awards.html The Oscars have never been a reliable guide to cinematic greatness...]]> The Illusionist - Sylvain Chomet's film worthy of its Oscar nomination http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13882-the-illusionist-sylvain-chomets-film-worthy-of-its-oscar-nomination.html The Oscar-nominated animated film The Illusionist comes with an impressive pedigree. Filmmaker Sylvain Chomet previously directed The Triplets of Belleville, perhaps the most splendid animated feature not made by Pixar from the last decade. Brought to life by an international team of animators, The Illusionist is based on an unproduced screenplay by Jacques Tati, the French director best remembered for such...]]> Barney’s Version - Paul Giamatti's bittersweet comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13801-barneyrss-version-paul-giamattis-bittersweet-comedy.html Paul Giamatti won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a comedy for his lead role in Barney’s Version, but the film is a lemony comedy, more bitter than sweet—at least until the climax. It’s the story of Barney Panofsky (Giamatti), a successful TV producer with a mostly unsuccessful life. He has been anything but a ray of sunshine for most of the people he has known...]]> Talking with Gods - Grant Morrison Speaks Up http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13770-talking-with-gods-grant-morrison-speaks-up.html Although some cutting edge comic book authors have rejected the whole idea of superheroes...]]> UWM’s Festival of Films in French - French influence felt far beyond Paris http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13735-uwmrss-festival-of-films-in-french-french-influence-felt-far-beyond-paris.html This year’s Festival of Films in French travels far from the boulevards of Paris to explore the wider world. The number of languages heard during the event’s run, Feb. 3-15 at the UWM Union Theatre, is a reminder of how far the influence of France reached during the age of empires...]]> The Mechanic - Jason Statham's Killer Role http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13695-the-mechanic-jason-stathams-killer-role.html A Latin American drug lord is whisked from his private runway to his gated mansion, surrounded at all times by heavily armed bodyguards. But in The Mechanic, a remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson flick, no one is safe from Arthur Bishop (Jason Stratham), a professional killer working for vaguely defined corporate paymasters. Somehow, Bishop has gotten himself into...]]> Blue Valentine - Film features believable, sympathetic turns by Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13592-blue-valentine-film-features-believable-sympathetic-turns-by-ryan-gosling-michelle-williams.html Blue Valentine garnered loads of buzz over the battle for its rating. Somehow, despite frontal nudity and graphic sex, its handlers managed to win an R instead of the dreaded NC-17. It must be said that the naked parts of Blue Valentine aren’t entirely gratuitous and fit the overall gritty tone; the decidedly unerotic sex follows from the film’s grimly realistic account of lust gone stale and love gone sour...]]> La Mission - Benjamin Bratt delivers in indie film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13593-la-mission-benjamin-bratt-delivers-in-indie-film.html Benjamin Bratt has a great time in La Mission as Che, the cool San Francisco bus driver who is the captain of his four-wheeled ship and king of the streets around his apartment in the Mission District. He wears the sharpest clothes, drives a slick hand-painted retro car and strides with the confidence of a lord—even as he bestows small acts of kindness on neighbors and rages against the “hipster and new money types...]]> Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13528-lemmy-49-motherf%252A%252Aker-51-son-of-a-bitch.html In the new documentary on Lemmy, Ozzy Osbourne concedes that in the history of heavy metal, Lemmy’s Motrhead was at least as important as his Black Sabbath. And in the course of Lemmy: 49% Motherf**ker, 51% Son of a Bitch, members of Metallica, Jane’s Addiction, Guns N’ Roses, Mtley Cre and others insist that...]]> The Year in Review - 2010's best films http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13474-the-year-in-review-2010s-best-films.html Hollywood calls it a marketplace “correction,” explaining the relatively low number of movies released in 2010 as a pullback from the irrational exuberance of the mid-’00s. What’s left unsaid is the mediocrity of most movies in 2010. Still, good new films circulated last year, originating in Hollywood and its outskirts, from foreign cinema and from indie filmmakers with limited capital but active...]]> The Agony and the Ecstasy of Phil Spector - Vikram Jayanti documents the Spector of madness http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13475-the-agony-and-the-ecstasy-of-phil-spector-vikram-jayanti-documents-the-spector-of-madness.html Phil Spector, a loner after the suicide of his father when Spector was 5, was bullied in school. He was only 18 in 1958 when he recorded his first hit, “To Know Him (Is to Love Him).” The strange, haunting lament of unrequited love turns prayerfully minor key—an elegy whose emotional genesis makes sense upon learning that the title was taken from the tombstone...]]> The Fighter - Mark Wahlberg rises to the challenge http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13411-the-fighter-mark-wahlberg-rises-to-the-challenge.html Boxing has long been a favorite topic for filmmakers looking for life’s gritty backside or simply a thrilling outsider’s tale of accomplishment. With The Fighter, director David O. Russell (Three Kings) and a quartet of screenwriters achieve both. Based on the true story of champion light-welterweight Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky Eklund, The Fighter is also an opportunity...]]> True Grit - Jeff Bridges stars in new Western saga http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13345-true-grit-jeff-bridges-stars-in-new-western-saga.html If her narrative is reliable, Mattie Ross must have been a precocious 14-year-old even before her father was shot dead by his hired hand, Tom Chaney. A pigtailed girl on the Western frontier, Mattie is as firm as an oak staff and drives hard bargains with the funeral parlor and stable in the town where her father was killed. Persistent as a river running to the sea, Mattie is determined to bring...]]> The King’s Speech - All-star cast depicts British monarch mastering a disability http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13346-the-kingrss-speech-all-star-cast-depicts-british-monarch-mastering-a-disability.html The Duke of York has a problem. Asked to speak to a crowd at Wembley Stadium, the second in line to the British throne moved his trembling lips, but nothing came out. The seconds ticked by with agony, and when he finally spoke, the words surfaced through a tongue-tied stammer, made more excruciating by the echo of the primitive microphone. The Duke was content to nurse his disability in private, far from...]]> The Tourist - Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp's Caper http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13323-the-tourist-angelina-jolie-and-johnny-depps-caper.html The police are watching. Elegant as Jackie O., Elise (Angelina Jolie) steps out of her Paris apartment as The Tourist opens and onto the street as if it were a Vogue runway. The French cops avidly follow her movements through their cameras and Scotland Yard eyes her by remote. Detectives follow at a discrete...]]> Black Swan - Natalie Portman descends into madness in Darren Aronofsky film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13259-black-swan-natalie-portman-descends-into-madness-in-darren-aronofsky-film.html Black Swan hadn’t even opened in most cities, yet the nominations were already trickling in. The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, one of the second-tier contests on the way to Oscar night, bestowed no less than 12 nominations on the film, starting with Best Picture and including Best Director for Darren Aronofsky and Best Actress for Black Swan’s star, Natalie Portman. The nods are well deserved...]]> Army of Crime - Gudiguian depicts French resistance to Nazi invaders http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13098-army-of-crime-gu%25E9diguian-depicts-french-resistance-to-nazi-invaders.html Life went on in Paris more or less as always after France fell to the Germans in 1940. The parks were filled with picnics and soccer, the streets were crowded with shoppers and culture continued with scarcely a blink. At first, for most people the main signs of change were the aliens in gray uniforms roaming the streets, noses in guidebooks, acting as much like sightseers...]]> 127 Hours - Danny Boyle's Dilemma http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13066-127-hours-danny-boyles-dilemma.html If the last movie that you directed won the Academy Award, what would you do as a follow up? This was the conundrum confronting Danny Boyle. His acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire had dominated the Oscars with eight trophies, including the coveted best film category. Of course, there is an inherent temptation to recapture Oscar glory by revisiting similar subject material...]]> Inside Job - Charles Ferguson unveils those who pulled the economy down%u2028 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-13022-inside-job-charles-ferguson-unveils-those-who-pulled-the-economy-downu2028.html Inside Job recounts the many steps—and leaps in logic—leading to the economic meltdown of 2008. The global crisis was sparked by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers and AIG and fueled by the toxic ideology of Milton Friedman and his economic myrmidons. Narrated by Matt Damon and directed and written by Charles Ferguson (No End in Sight), Inside Job begins in Iceland...]]> Fair Game - Naomi Watts, Sean Penn deliver the Valerie Plame story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12957-fair-game-naomi-watts-sean-penn-deliver-the-valerie-plame-story.html The strange case of Valerie Plame was one of the most memorable episodes in the unraveling of President Bush’s Iraq strategy. Plame, a model-gorgeous secret agent, was exposed as a CIA operative by right-wing...]]> Robert Osborne: Talk About a Classic - Turner Classic Movies host to speak at Ten Chimneys http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12895-robert-osborne-talk-about-a-classic-turner-classic-movies-host-to-speak-at-ten-chimneys.html Robert Osborne got his start as a young actor in the production company run by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz (Desilu), but his greatest role began after he turned 60 and continues to this day. Osborne has been the genial host of Turner Classic Movies (TCM) since the channel began in 1994. There is nothing else like TCM on cable. The channel is commercial-free and makes film history accessible to popular...]]> Howl - Poetry on trial in 1950s San Francisco http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12787-howl-poetry-on-trial-in-1950s-san-francisco.html Young Allen Ginsberg (played by James Franco) looks just a little nervous as he adjusts his plastic-framed glasses and steels himself to recite, for the first time, a remarkable poem called “Howl.” Shifting from that epochal 1955 reading to the 1957 obscenity trial against Ginsberg’s publisher, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and to a long interview from that same year...]]> 127 Hours - Danny Boyle film documents Aron Ralston's harrowing tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12788-127-hours-danny-boyle-film-documents-aron-ralstons-harrowing-tale.html The teeming multitudes shown under the opening credits of 127 Hours are a clue. Extreme athlete Aron Ralston hikes, bikes and climbs in the remotest wilderness partly because he wants to be far from the crowd—isolated even from those who love him. He doesn’t always pick up phone calls from his family; when he leaves for Blue John Canyon...]]> The Hornet’s Nest - Stieg Larsson's best-selling trilogy concludes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12728-the-hornetrss-nest-stieg-larssons-best-selling-trilogy-concludes.html Lisbeth Salander is a hard one to kill. Perilously close to death last time we met her, in The Girl Who Played With Fire, she awakens in a hospital, bloodied and barely alive, in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Charged with the attempted murder of her severely estranged father, Zalachenko, Lisbeth (Noomi Rapace) is escorted...]]> Milwaukee Short Film Festival - Honoring local, independent movies and their makers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12729-milwaukee-short-film-festival-honoring-local-independent-movies-and-their-makers.html Tall Dark Stranger - Best-laid plans go awry in latest romantic comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12646-tall-dark-stranger-best-laid-plans-go-awry-in-latest-romantic-comedy.html Leon Redbone is heard as the stark black-and-white opening credits roll, singing “When You Wish Upon a Star” with raspy endearment. That Woody Allen’s latest blend of sweetness and cynicism, You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, starts on an ironic note is hardly a surprise. In case anyone misses the point of his thorny romantic comedy, the movie’s recurring narrator...]]> New Direction for LGBT Film/Video Festival - Yearly celebration turns to monthly offerings http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12647-new-direction-for-lgbt-film_video-festival-yearly-celebration-turns-to-monthly-offerings.html RED - All-star cast not enough to save graphic-novel adaptation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12478-red-all-star-cast-not-enough-to-save-graphic-novel-adaptation.html They slipped into his home like shadows, the masked hit squad sent to kill retired CIA agent Frank Moses (Bruce Willis). But he’s ready for them, naturally, and after dispatching dozens of his foes, Frank sets forth on a cross...]]> The Social Network - The Accidental Billionaires http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12402-the-social-network-the-accidental-billionaires.html Mark Zuckerberg is shown to be a jerk in the opening scene of The Social Network. When the film ends, after covering the years when Zuckerberg’s Facebook went from the germ of an idea to a pandemic, he remains a jerk—albeit with pathos...]]> Jack Goes Boating - Amy Ryan shines in Hoffman's directorial debut http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12403-jack-goes-boating-amy-ryan-shines-in-hoffmans-directorial-debut.html To lend verisimilitude to the film, the makers of Gone Baby Gone cast many non-actors in supporting roles. So it would have been understandable if you didn’t recognize Amy Ryan as the mother whose daughter had been kidnapped. You might have sworn that they had trolled the streets of Boston to find...]]> Mesrine - Vincent Cassel, Gerard Depardieu in two-part crime drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12333-mesrine-vincent-cassel-gerard-depardieu-in-two-part-crime-drama.html What Hollywood has forgotten, France remembers. Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 are a set of stylish crime dramas whose central characters bear the weight of sad destiny and unfortunate decisions. They are not half-ironic exercises but filmed as fully moving experiences—a story not long enough for a trilogy but uncontainable within the normal length of a single movie...]]> The Town - Ben Affleck directs, stars in tense crime drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12250-the-town-ben-affleck-directs-stars-in-tense-crime-drama.html The bank job at the start of The Town is swift and violent, cunning and chaotic. The robbers sweep into the bank wearing black hooded capes and Halloween masks, waving assault rifles and knocking employees down in a profanity-laden assault. The nervous assistant manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), fumbles with the combination to the vault. One of the more psycho robbers threatens mayhem...]]> Ajami - Without Money or Power http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12251-ajami-without-money-or-power.html Political strife is never shown in Ajami, but the results are seen everywhere. The Palestinian-Israeli co-production, which won Best Film at Israel’s Academy Awards, focuses on impoverished Palestinians in the occupied territories working...]]> The Oath - Documentary highlights Guantanamo prisoner, Osama bin Laden bodyguard http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12183-the-oath-documentary-highlights-guantanamo-prisoner-osama-bin-laden-bodyguard.html For many, the human face The Oath puts on Al Qaeda is unsettling because it lacks the demonism expected from people who executed a plot to kill thousands of bystanders to a faraway conflict. The documentary’s ostensible subject is Salim Hamdan, a curious choice as the first Al Qaeda prisoner to face a military commission in Guantanamo. Although the United States...]]> Slow-Burning Drama in ‘The American’ - George Clooney as anti-hero http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12116-slow-burning-drama-in-lsthe-americanrs-george-clooney-as-anti-hero.html George Clooney built his Hollywood reputation by playing likable if roguish roles that allowed his sexy charm to shine. With The American, he pushes against the sort of parts that made his career. The film opens in a remote, snow-covered corner of Sweden. The camera stares at a cabin under the stars and pine trees before inching slowly forward toward the warm glow of the windows. The deliberate pace...]]> Takers - Idris Elba, Matt Dillon among stars in typical heist film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-12043-takers-idris-elba-matt-dillon-among-stars-in-typical-heist-film.html From The Asphalt Jungle through The Italian Job, the heist movie has a long, honorable history. Putting criminals to work in devilishly complicated schemes to burrow into bank vaults, pierce the perimeters of impenetrable museums and make off with the loot of armored trucks, the heist movie is like a chess game pitting...]]> Eat Pray Love - Julia Roberts Travels the World http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11974-eat-pray-love-julia-roberts-travels-the-world.html For many of us, Manhattan’s tree-lined side streets offer a romantic ideal of urban life, but for the protagonist of Eat Pray Love, familiarity breeds banality. The change of scene demanded by Liz (Julia Roberts) is triggered by the realization that she had married the wrong man, a well-meaning ne’er-do-well (Billy Crudup), yet she seems to have been...]]> Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - Michael Cera's indie-rock fairy tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11890-scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-michael-ceras-indie-rock-fairy-tale.html The comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is based on the graphic novels of Bryan Lee O’Malley, and traces of its cartoon origin are gleefully sprinkled throughout the film. When the phone rings, the word “RING” pops across the screen. When Scott Pilgrim’s punk...]]> Wisconsin Filmmakers Travel ‘Into the Pit’ - Kelly Marcott captures ‘The Shocking Story of Deadpit.com' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11891-wisconsin-filmmakers-travel-lsinto-the-pitrs-kelly-marcott-captures-lsthe-shocking-story-of-deadpitcom.html The Internet, with its blogs, comment boards and chat rooms, is giving voice to what was once a marginalized subspecies of moviegoer: a fringe community of fanboys (and girls) who spent their adolescence renting every horror movie at the local...]]> Firestarter Films Ignites Passion for Cinema - Local event offers networking, screening opportunities http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11837-firestarter-films-ignites-passion-for-cinema-local-event-offers-networking-screening-opportunities.html Firestarter Films (FSF) provides a unique opportunity for Midwest filmmakers to network with Milwaukee’s film community, showcase their work and receive audience feedback. FSF’s 10th event, taking place Aug. 15 at the Harley-Davidson Museum, will feature two- to 15-minute films from a wide...]]> Dinner for Schmucks - Steve Carell, Paul Rudd's winning corporate comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11752-dinner-for-schmucks-steve-carell-paul-rudds-winning-corporate-comedy.html In Billy Wilder’s classic film The Apartment, Jack Lemmon played a junior executive whose advancement was keyed to loaning out his rooms to an ice-hearted boss for nocturnal...]]> Winter’s Bone - Modern-day Ozarks in a Southern gothic tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11689-winterrss-bone-modern-day-ozarks-in-a-southern-gothic-tale.html A bleak, impoverished stretch of the Ozarks is the setting for the darkly compelling drama Winter’s Bone. In a Southern gothic worthy of Flannery O’Connor, a teenage girl, Ree (Jennifer Lawrence), is determined to...]]> The Girl Who Played With Fire - Return of the Dragon Tattoo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11632-the-girl-who-played-with-fire-return-of-the-dragon-tattoo.html A nightmare awakens Lisbeth Salander at the start of The Girl Who Played With Fire. Horrific images from the previous episode of the Swedish trilogy that began with The Girl With the...]]> Inception - Leonardo DiCaprio can't elevate Christopher Nolan's latest film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11633-inception-leonardo-dicaprio-cant-elevate-christopher-nolans-latest-film.html Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) awakens on a sea-soaked beach with a Japanese security officer poking him with a rifle. And then he’s a prisoner inside the lavishly Oriental fantasy chambers of a wizened plutocrat. And then he’s dressed to the nines and cutting deals with a younger tycoon, a Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe). And then there’s a mob hurling Molotov cocktails outside a hotel...]]> Cyrus - Jonah Hill, Marisa Tomei star in resonant film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11551-cyrus-jonah-hill-marisa-tomei-star-in-resonant-film.html Socially maladroit John (John C. Reilly) is lucky to have an ex-wife as sympathetic as the woman played by Catherine Keener in Cyrus. His ex is so caring that she invites him along to parties with her fiancé and encourages him to strike up conversations with beautiful, single women. John strikes out again and again...]]> Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky - Kounen's study of seduction, infidelity, obsession and guilt http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11481-coco-chanel-igor-stravinsky-kounens-study-of-seduction-infidelity-obsession-and-guilt.html Coco is already the rebel girl in the opening scene of Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky as she cuts open her confining corset with scissors and then daringly smokes a cigarette. The year is 1913, and culture buffs will know what’s coming when she boards a taxi for a Paris concert hall. She will witness the notorious debut of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a ballet that caused a riot among the silk-suited...]]> The Last Airbender - Will mythology, splashy effects bring M. Night Shyamalan a hit? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11482-the-last-airbender-will-mythology-splashy-effects-bring-m-night-shyamalan-a-hit.html Season One of Nickelodeon’s animated “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has been transformed into a live-action children’s feature by M. Night Shyamalan. The director hopes his shift from psychological horror and science fiction to 3-D kids’ saga will halt his declining fortunes...]]> Micmacs - Latest wacky masterpiece from Amlie director Jean-Pierre Jeunet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11410-micmacs-latest-wacky-masterpiece-from-am%25E9lie-director-jean-pierre-jeunet.html Bazil, the mild-mannered protagonist of Micmacs, is the sort of film buff Quentin Tarantino would admire. Working the late shift at an all-night video store, he watches a Bogart-Bacall classic, The Big Sleep, reciting the dialogue by heart. When the film noir turns to a chase scene with gunplay, a similar event occurs on the street outside in a synchronicity that results in a bullet lodged in his brain...]]> Ondine - Colin Farrell stars in Neil Jordan film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11336-ondine-colin-farrell-stars-in-neil-jordan-film.html In a beautifully somber scene along the Irish coast, where choppy gray waves reflect the gray massing clouds, a rusty trawler bobs along under the stark hills bordering the shore. A lonely fisherman mans the wheel and minds the nets, attended only by wheeling sea gulls. Hoisting up what he takes for a heavy burden of fish, he picks out a strange shape through the darkness in the soggy net, a woman dredged up from the murk...]]> Toy Story 3 - Funny, suspenseful, bittersweet http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11265-toy-story-3-funny-suspenseful-bittersweet.html The original Toy Story changed the face of animation through advances in computer imaging. It must have been hard for some members of the team behind Toy Story 3 to understand its influence. After all...]]> Stones in Exile - The making of a classic album http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11266-stones-in-exile-the-making-of-a-classic-album.html When Exile on Main Street was released in 1972, some critics and fans were puzzled. Much of the double LP by the Rolling Stones, unrivaled as the world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band once the Beatles had dissolved, struck them as a bloody mess, but a closer listen uncovered a wonderfully unkempt garden of creativity. Legends have grown up...]]> Milwaukee Film Friend http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11245-milwaukee-film-friend.html Please Give - Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt star in indie comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11170-please-give-catherine-keener-oliver-platt-star-in-indie-comedy.html Touring the apartment of a recently deceased woman, Kate (Catherine Keener) acts noncommittal about the paintings on the walls, the mid-century modern furniture and the objects on the shelves. The dead woman’s son is bumbling and in a hurry to settle up. “It’s best just to get rid of this stuff. It’s probably junk,” he says. Facing away from him, Kate’s eyes brighten and her mouth opens into...]]> Splice - Adrien Brody leads suspenseful, thought-provoking film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11171-splice-adrien-brody-leads-suspenseful-thought-provoking-film.html From the medieval Jewish legend of the golem, later reanimated by Mary Shelley as Frankenstein’s monster, comes the idea that humans might have the power to create life in something like our own image. Usually, the story suggests that our image is flawed, distorted by arrogant self-regard and a heedless lack of wisdom. Playing God is dangerous...]]> Mother and Child - Nature and Nurture http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11092-mother-and-child-nature-and-nurture.html Whether in Crash or Babel, the crisscrossing intersection of individuals across boundaries of class, race and geography has become a common plotline in contemporary film. It’s also a theme in its own right, posing unanswered questions of synchronicity, fate and chance, and showing how our actions can affect...]]> Babies - Thomas Balmes Gives Humans the Wildlife Documentary Treatment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-11028-babies-thomas-balmes-gives-humans-the-wildlife-documentary-treatment.html ‘Babies cry across the world for hunger and attention and in every society, mothers answer their call. That just about sums up the message and meaning of Thomas Balmes’ documentary, Babies. The French director collects his...]]> Robin Hood - Russell Crowe as sensitive outlaw http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10953-robin-hood-russell-crowe-as-sensitive-outlaw.html Outlaws who spare the innocent in the pursuit of profit are mythologized as heroes, and outlaws from times when the law is bad are honored even more. The archetypal outlaw in the English-speaking world, Robin Hood, might never have existed, but his pull on the imagination has continued over the centuries. According to legend, he was a rebel against social injustice who robbed from the rich and gave to the poor...]]> The Secret in Their Eyes - Crime, mystery and love in Oscar-winning film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10876-the-secret-in-their-eyes-crime-mystery-and-love-in-oscar-winning-film.html The Secret in Their Eyes opens with a memory in blurry gray hues of a couple parting from each other at a train station long ago. The Oscar-winning Best Foreign Language Film easily moves between then and now, the reflections of a struggling novelist and the reality he is trying to depict. Director-writer Juan Jose Campanella has similarly crossed borders, directing episodes...]]> Letters to Juliet - Amanda Seyfried in picture-perfect Verona, Italy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10877-letters-to-juliet-amanda-seyfried-in-picture-perfect-verona-italy.html Sophie has it made. The fact-checker at the most desirable magazine on Earth, The New Yorker, bounces along the bustling streets of Manhattan as if she wandered from a Woody Allen romance, all the while dreaming of becoming a writer. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), the protagonist of Letters to Juliet, is engaged to a terrific hunk...]]> A Nightmare on Elm Street - Horror classic delivers in contemporary setting http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10790-a-nightmare-on-elm-street-horror-classic-delivers-in-contemporary-setting.html “Try to get some sleep” is not good parental advice to the teenagers of the heartland town in A Nightmare on Elm Street. A group of friends discovers a shared nightmare: A charred-faced figure with a...]]> The Girl by the Lake - Suspects abound in remote Italian town http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10719-the-girl-by-the-lake-suspects-abound-in-remote-italian-town.html It’s not just the body of a teenage girl found near the water that will remind some of us of “Twin Peaks.” The Italian film The Girl by the Lake (La Ragazza del Lago) unfolds in a small town nestled amid mountains and woods, an idyllic setting for a mysterious crime. Like Agent Cooper in “Twin Peaks,” the outside police investigator sent to the remote...]]> The Scientist - Attempting to find love after death http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10720-the-scientist-attempting-to-find-love-after-death.html Marcus can’t accept the death of his beautiful wife and daughter in a fatal accident. Although two years have passed, he still hasn’t returned to teaching at the university. The physicist doesn’t shave regularly, get enough sleep or leave the house often enough to lose his ghostly pallor. But he’s still a brilliant mind, a theoretician of string theory and the multiverse. Perhaps a machine harnessing the quantum...]]> City Island - Andy Garcia, Alan Arkin enhance New York comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10647-city-island-andy-garcia-alan-arkin-enhance-new-york-comedy.html The Rizzos are a family full of secrets. Prison guard Vince (Andy Garcia) and his wife, Joyce (Julianna Margulies), promised each other to quit smoking, but both sneak off to the shed for a cigarette. Vince tells Joyce he’s playing poker with the boys when he’s really attending acting class—apparently an embarrassing thing...]]> Latin American Film Series at UWM - Diverse cultures on display at Union Theatre http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10477-latin-american-film-series-at-uwm-diverse-cultures-on-display-at-union-theatre.html Latin American culture has grown more prevalent in Milwaukee, yet films from South America are seldom seen on local screens. Now in its 32nd year, UW-Milwaukee’s Latin American Film Series will fill the gap by presenting 10 movies from a half-dozen nations April 16-23 at the UWM Union Theatre. Admission is free...]]> The Hand of Fatima - Daughter follows the journey of a great writer http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10478-the-hand-of-fatima-daughter-follows-the-journey-of-a-great-writer.html A memoir genre has emerged from the children of great writers, nursing grievances against famous fathers who, absorbed in their work, created castles of the imagination rather than nurturing homes for their offspring. Augusta Palmer’s documentary, The Hand of Fatima, belongs to this genre. The daughter of Robert Palmer...]]> The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson's mystery novel adapted for the big screen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10400-the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo-stieg-larssons-mystery-novel-adapted-for-the-big-screen.html The sound of the packing envelope being cut open is as loud and jarring as the breaking of bones. In the opening scene of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, an aging corporate baron, Henrik Vanger, tremblingly opens the package in the lonely elegance of his study. He can guess the contents, but cries softly anyway when he opens...]]> How to Train Your Dragon - Gerard Butler, America Ferrera add to voice talent http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10316-how-to-train-your-dragon-gerard-butler-america-ferrera-add-to-voice-talent.html Dragons are usually depicted as fire-breathing beasts, sharp in tooth and claw and fierce in temper. In some societies they symbolize evil; everywhere they pose a reminder of the primeval, reptilian ooze from which our world emerged. In most myths they don’t coexist easily with humanity, if they coexist at all. But what if...]]> ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’ Goes Awry - Fast times in the '80s with John Cusack, Craig Robinson http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10246-lshot-tub-time-machiners-goes-awry-fast-times-in-the-80s-with-john-cusack-craig-robinson.html The past can easily seem funny when seen from the present. The world just before the proliferation of e-mail, cell phones and Twitter has receded far enough in memory to become the subject of a historical comedy. In Hot Tub...]]> The Ghost Writer - Roman Polanski's political thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10156-the-ghost-writer-roman-polanskis-political-thriller.html Roman Polanski has been in the news lately. Sadly, most of the attention has been directed at his battle against extradition, not his latest movie, The Ghost Writer. The new film is proof that the director has lost none of his skill in visual storytelling. It’s a political thriller that, for once, is thrilling...]]> Remember Me - Twilight in New York http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10160-remember-me-twilight-in-new-york.html Only nine years have passed, yet the summer of 2001 seems so far away when viewed across the rubble of 911 and all that followed. One is tempted, if only for a moment, to remember those days through the sunny haze of nostalgia as...]]> Brooklyn’s Finest - Crime, corruption and great acting http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10103-brooklynrss-finest-crime-corruption-and-great-acting.html Movie dramas built from separate stories of overlapping lives are usually cut to measure and often made of flimsy material. In other words, they resemble a blueprint for a plot more than a story from real life. Brooklyn’s Finest rises above the usual level of parallel then converging plotlines. It stars Richard Gere, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke as NYPD cops on different beats but similarly sad trajectories...]]> Burton in Wonderland - Alice is Off Her Head http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10075-burton-in-wonderland-alice-is-off-her-head.html Tim Burton is obviously drawn to the look if not the substance of Victorian Gothic, and to protagonists relentless in their refusal (or inability) to conform. Little wonder he wanted to direct Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, a Victorian classic about a girl who flings herself down a rabbit hole into a world where the tedious logic of Western civilization is made...]]> ‘Avatar’ vs. ‘The Hurt Locker’ - Will the Oscars get it right this time? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-10020-lsavatarrs-vs-lsthe-hurt-lockerrs-will-the-oscars-get-it-right-this-time.html Will wonders never cease? Or have the Oscars redressed their sometimes-dubious reputation by nominating an unheralded, gritty, independent war film of unlikely audience appeal—a film barely screened before being rushed to DVD and that grossed only $12 million? With nine nominations, The Hurt Locker has not only become the prestige favorite among reviewers...]]> Shutter Island - Martin Scorsese's Chilling Thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9910-shutter-island-martin-scorseses-chilling-thriller.html The island rises like a prehistoric behemoth from the fog of Boston harbor, a rocky Alcatraz set in cold, swirling tides and accessible only by a choppy ferry ride. Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island is confined to that rock, a steeply pitched, wooded wilderness occupied by a fortress-like federal asylum for the criminally insane and the mysterious lighthouse...]]> The White Ribbon - Life and death in a German town http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9875-the-white-ribbon-life-and-death-in-a-german-town.html The White Ribbon begins with the voice of an aged narrator recalling the rural village where he worked as schoolmaster on the eve of World War I. He confesses that the story he’s about to tell might not be entirely true. Some of the details are hearsay. However...]]> The Wolfman - Solid acting helps wayward plot http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9876-the-wolfman-solid-acting-helps-wayward-plot.html Through a foggy forest of bare branches, over cold ground where twigs snap underfoot like broken bones, runs a man carrying a lantern. “Show yourself!” he cries into the darkness. Moments later the blow of an unseen creature fells him, fatally wounding him with its razor claws. The Wolfman gets off to a smashing start, and as it lopes toward its climax, it’s possible to see the film that someone must have...]]> The Last Station - Oscar-worthy depiction of Tolstoy's final days http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9783-the-last-station-oscar-worthy-depiction-of-tolstoys-final-days.html As the morning mist clears from the fields and the distant church bells toll, Count Tolstoy remains asleep in the Spartan room of his otherwise comfortable country house. His wife, Sofya, enters and gazes with deep concern...]]> From Paris With Love - John Travolta's killing spree http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9784-from-paris-with-love-john-travoltas-killing-spree.html The last time we saw John Travolta, he was the grinning sociopath who hijacked the subway in The Taking of Pelham 123. He continues to burnish his reputation as a cartoon-size bad man in From Paris With Love, this time as a good bad man. As the grinning...]]> Festival of Films in French Returns to UW-Milwaukee - Worldly conversations in cinema http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9712-festival-of-films-in-french-returns-to-uw-milwaukee-worldly-conversations-in-cinema.html By many standards, the artist (Daniel Auteuil) is successful, an acclaimed painter in Paris and man of many mistresses; by those same lights, the gardener (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) leads a narrowly circumscribed small-town life. When the artist returns to that town and hires a hand to tend the yard of the house he inherited, he recognizes the gardener as his long-lost childhood companion in mischief...]]> The Messenger - Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster knock on death's door http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9713-the-messenger-woody-harrelson-ben-foster-knock-on-deaths-door.html Imagine the dryness in your mouth, the knot rising from your stomach and the stiffness of your tongue when knocking on a stranger’s door to tell them their son or daughter, husband or wife, is dead. Your starched green Army dress sends a signal. If the stranger is next of kin to someone in the service, they might already know the content of your message before you can say, “The secretary of the Army has asked me to inform...]]> As Oscars Approach, Lee Daniels Discusses Precious http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9684-as-oscars-approach-lee-daniels-discusses-precious.html Will Precious be this year’s Slumdog Millionaire and sweep the Academy Awards? It’s a daunting challenge indeed. However, both films came out of nowhere and were greeted with an enthusiastic response on the festival circuit. Precious won the Audience...]]> Edge of Darkness - Mel Gibson Crosses the Line http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9676-edge-of-darkness-mel-gibson-crosses-the-line.html In the pair of emotionally contradictory images that open Mel Gibson’s Edge of Darkness, swollen corpses surfacing on a moonlit river are followed without pause by grainy home video of a little girl playing in the surf. A line is drawn between those images soon enough. The little girl...]]> Antichrist - Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg grapple with a fallen world http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9623-antichrist-willem-dafoe-charlotte-gainsbourg-grapple-with-a-fallen-world.html Weeks after their child fell from a window to his death on the sidewalk many floors below, the married couple returns home for the first time to their toy-strewn apartment. The wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) is the thin shadow of sorrow, clutching her bottle of antidepressants in a bony Edvard Munch hand. Glancing...]]> Crazy Heart - Jeff Bridges dominates as outlaw country singer http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9599-crazy-heart-jeff-bridges-dominates-as-outlaw-country-singer.html The romance of being a bad-to-the-bone rambling man had long since faded into a drab routine for the ’70s-era outlaw country singer called Bad Blake (Jeff Bridges). When we first meet him in Crazy Heart, Blake is 57 and broke; he drinks whiskey like water and smokes like a dirty fireplace. Driving himself in a ’78 Silverado, he pulls into another desolate town for a bowling-alley gig he can barely finish...]]> Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart - Golden Globe winner Ready for the Oscars? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9543-scott-cooperrss-crazy-heart-golden-globe-winner-ready-for-the-oscars.html For years, Scott Cooper plugged away in Hollywood as an actor. Stardom eluded him. Now, he has created quite a splash as the screenwriter and director of the critically acclaimed Crazy Heart. The film chronicles Bad Blake, a down-and-out country singer/songwriter. Once a rising force, he’s become encumbered with numerous ex-wives and a serious drinking problem... ]]> The Book of Eli - Another Road Taken http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9520-the-book-of-eli-another-road-taken.html With the many problems facing the world, a strong undercurrent of apocalyptic anxiety runs through contemporary culture. The Road is the recent masterpiece of apocalypse cinema and it’s a hard trail to follow for The Book of Eli. The landscape of both movies is strikingly...]]> The Lovely Bones - A Child's Stolen Life http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9521-the-lovely-bones-a-childs-stolen-life.html The faces of missing children didn’t appear on milk cartons in 1973, the year of The Lovely Bones, and child molestation wasn’t a topic for tabloid television. In those days pedophilia was still the crime that dared not speak its name; it remained an anxious whisper...]]> Firestarter Films Moves Forward - Milwaukee film events draw attention http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9499-firestarter-films-moves-forward-milwaukee-film-events-draw-attention.html Having recently celebrated its first birthday, Firestarter Films is quickly gaining notoriety, and a following, for its bimonthly film festivals. Filmmakers and film lovers flock to the forum to screen independent films of any format or style, be it stop-motion animation, 3-D, documentaries or highlight reels of feature-length narratives. From its inception in November 2008...]]> Willem Dafoe Speaks Up - Wisconsin Actor Stars in Daybreakers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9454-willem-dafoe-speaks-up-wisconsin-actor-stars-in-daybreakers.html His name is synonymous with acting. A Wisconsin native, Willem Dafoe’s illustrious career has spanned over three decades on the big screen and stage. Before moving to New York in 1977, Willem built sets and acted with the avant-garde Theatre X in Milwaukee. Express Milwaukee caught up with Willem about his role in the futuristic sci-fi thriller, Daybreakers which opens in theaters on Jan. 8...]]> Top Films of 2009? - The year in review http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9417-top-films-of-2009-the-year-in-review.html Is the future of filmmaking represented by two of my favorite movies from 2009? Embodying the computer-generated epic cinema of fantastic spectacle, Avatar is a movie too big to be enjoyed on an iPhone, while (500) Days of Summer is an artfully crafted, intimately scaled story suitable for a tiny screen. Could Netflix be the future for any movie that’s not an epic...]]> Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - Last call for Heath Ledger http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9418-imaginarium-of-doctor-parnassus-last-call-for-heath-ledger.html Terry Gilliam’s latest film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, is also Heath Ledger’s last. After his death during the filming, a trio of actors, Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell...]]> Sherlock Holmes - Robert Downey's Great Detective http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9341-sherlock-holmes-robert-downeys-great-detective.html With carriages thundering over the cobblestones of Victorian London’s gas-lit streets, a dark backdrop of hard-edged computer generated surfaces, Sherlock Holmes is closer, visually, to Dark Knight than The Hound of the Baskervilles. Unlikely director Guy Ritchie, with the help of Robert Downey Jr. (Holmes) and Jude Law (Dr. Watson...]]> It’s Complicated (Or Not?) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9332-itrss-complicated-%2528or-not%2529.html It's not only less complicated than writer-director Nancy Meyers would have you believe, it's fairly simple. That titular "It" is of course the romantic life of the film's heroine, Jane Adler (Meryl Streep). Ten years after her divorce, and five years past her last sexual fling, Jane faces a dilemma that rapidly becomes central to her life...]]> The Young Victoria - Emily Blunt plays royalty in grand, tragic romance http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9316-the-young-victoria-emily-blunt-plays-royalty-in-grand-tragic-romance.html Queen Victoria was withdrawn and forbidding in old age, her name synonymous with the prevailing, late-19th-century posture of moral Puritanism and stuffy behavior. But in her youth she was regarded as a romantic figure, the storybook princess in a grand and tragic love story. The Young Victoria depicts that romance, the consuming passion between the beautiful queen and her handsome consort...]]> A Single Man - Time runs out for the confirmed bachelo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9317-a-single-man-time-runs-out-for-the-confirmed-bachelo.html George Falconer awakens again from a nightmare in which the body of his longtime lover, Jim, appears on the roadside after the car wreck that killed him a few months earlier. Falconer was always the dour Englishman, an expatriate literature professor in Los Angeles, but Jim’s death pushed him into a deeper funk. Waking is a cold reminder that time...]]> Nine - All-star cast includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9318-nine-all-star-cast-includes-daniel-day-lewis-judi-dench-nicole-kidman.html Shortly before his death, director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) delivered the screenplay for Nine, the film adaptation of the Tony-winning Broadway musical. The project was finally brought to the screen by director Rob Marshall, whose Oscar-winning Chicago was the most successful screen musical of recent years...]]> Up in the Air - George Clooney's Frequent Flyer Role http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9277-up-in-the-air-george-clooneys-frequent-flyer-role.html Most of us will never face a hangman on the gallows or stare into the rifle barrels of a firing squad. We’re more likely to meet the sort of postmodern executioner played by George Clooney in Up in the Air, a man who will carry out the orders to deprive us of our livelihood rather than our life. Sadly, for some of us, livelihood and life amount to almost the same thing...]]> Avatar http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9263-avatar.html You might recall a little film by the name of Titanic. The vehicle arrived in1997 with the stench of failure attached to it. Originally scheduled for the summer blockbuster season, the release had been delayed for months, usually a portent of disaster. Its director, James Cameron, had locked horns with studio execs as he obsessively-compulsively fixated on post-production reediting. The film ran way over budget...]]> Youth in Revolt - Michael Cera Comes of Age http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9267-youth-in-revolt-michael-cera-comes-of-age.html Sixteen-year-old Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) is an aspiring novelist of decidedly mid-20th century tastes. Fellini and Sinatra are his heroes, not Tarantino or Eminem. He’s an analog kid in a digital world. He’s also painfully shy and awkwardly out of place, stigmatized as a virgin in a culture without innocence or romance. As the protagonist of the coming of age comedy Youth in Revolt, Nick finds the girl...]]> The Road http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9240-the-road.html In Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, the world has all but stopped turning. The Pulitzer Prize-winning story never explains the ecological catastrophe that rapidly overwhelmed the Earth and destroyed civilization, wiping out the larger part of humanity well before the opening sentence. The cause of this global holocaust was unclear to the unnamed protagonist...]]> Invictus - Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9200-invictus-morgan-freeman-as-nelson-mandela.html The teams were separated by a cyclone fence, a road and a world of difference. On one side of the street in South Africa, a white rugby team in neat uniforms kicked the ball around a manicured field; on the other, a ragtag black team played in the dirt. And suddenly, rushing down the road, came a motorcade with the man who would bring both sides together, Nelson Mandela.]]> Paris - Inside Cdric Klapisch's city of a million stories http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9122-paris-inside-c%25E9dric-klapischs-city-of-a-million-stories.html Pierre is downcast from the news. The professional dancer has just been told that he has a serious heart problem, which can only be addressed with a transplant; even then, the odds of success are equal to a coin toss. Afterward, Pierre (Romain Duris) trudges head down along...]]> Baader Meinhof Complex - Revolution in '60s Germany http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9043-baader-meinhof-complex-revolution-in-60s-germany.html For millions who came of age in the 1960s, peace, love and understanding was a bourgeois farce. And while the media of the ’00s fixated on Sgt. Pepper and Woodstock, for many the defining events of the late ’60s were the bloody upheavals that erupted around the world in riots from Berkeley to Berlin, the thwarted uprising in Czechoslovakia, the Cultural Revolution...]]> Fantastic Mr. Fox - Wes Anderson's Animated Comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-9004-fantastic-mr-fox-wes-andersons-animated-comedy.html In a Wes Anderson movie, families never run smoothly but at least they run. In the animated comedy Fantastic Mr. Fox, they are running for their lives—a family of foxes menaced by a trio of evil human farmers. Of course, the rascally behavior of their furry father figure, this film’s counterpart to Royal Tennenbaum, Mr. Fox (voiced by George Clooney), triggers...]]> The Twilight Saga Continues - New Moon Rising http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8929-the-twilight-saga-continues-new-moon-rising.html There was no such thing as a good vampire in earlier generations of film and literature. Lately, however, the creatures of darkness come in all shades of good, evil and in between. The way was clear for Stephanie Meyer to introduce the family values vampires, a loving and benign clan called the Cullens, in her best selling Twilight series. In the second movie adapted from Meyer’s books...]]> Pirate Radio - Comedy pits Philip Seymour Hoffman against British Broadcasting Corporation http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8900-pirate-radio-comedy-pits-philip-seymour-hoffman-against-british-broadcasting-corporation.html At first, rock ’n’ roll didn’t fit the BBC’s mission of providing fair news reporting, cultural uplift and light entertainment. British rock fans strained to hear the new music through the static of American Forces Radio in Germany and other continental European stations. Finally, in sync with the Beatles and the mid-’60s rock explosion, enterprising businessmen set up radio stations...]]> The Box - Ambitious Psycho Thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8651-the-box-ambitious-psycho-thriller.html It’s 1976 and a package is dropped on the doorstep of Virginia suburbanites Norma (Cameron Diaz) and Arthur Lewis (James Marsden), a married couple facing financial difficulty regarding the education of their son, Walter (Sam Oz Stone). Norma later receives a visit from the foreboding Mr. Steward (Frank Langella...]]> The Fourth Kind - Milla Jovovich vehicle similar to ‘Blair Witch' setup http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8653-the-fourth-kind-milla-jovovich-vehicle-similar-to-lsblair-witch-setup.html It’s stunt storytelling and bravura filmmaking. In the onscreen preface to The Fourth Kind (as in “Close encounters of…”), a witchy-looking Milla Jovovich assures us that only the names have been changed. Not only is the story we are about to see true, but her dramatization of a psychiatrist named Abigail Tyler is interspersed with the voice of the “real” Tyler...]]> The Men Who Stare at Goats - Secret Psychic Operations http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8612-the-men-who-stare-at-goats-secret-psychic-operations.html The rumors that circulated during the Cold War of secret psychic warfare projects are the basis for The Men Who Stare at Goats. An often-broad comedy spoofing everything from men’s movement nostrums to ecological good sense, and anything with a whiff of hippie idealism or New Age mysticism, Men Who Stare is often funny if dubious in some of its social implications. A trio of stars who look...]]> An Education - Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard's winning performances http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8568-an-education-carey-mulligan-peter-sarsgaards-winning-performances.html The Beatles and all that came after were a couple of years in the future. Set in 1961 London, An Education is the story of Jenny, a bright 16-year-old dreaming of a richer, fuller life than the kingdom of the lowering sky and low expectations seemed to offer. Gazing beyond the rain-streaked windows of her tidy London suburb, she imagined the excitement...]]> Michael Jackson's This is It http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8501-michael-jacksons-this-is-it.html This is as close to "it" as anybody is going to get, anyway. The late King of Pop king looks focused and elated, rehearsing for what would have been his final tour in this nearly two-hour documentary. Interview snippets with dancers, band members and others involved make for a servicable framing device, but the real attraction is Jackson, of course...]]> A Serious Man - The Coen brothers' uncertainty principle http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8478-a-serious-man-the-coen-brothers-uncertainty-principle.html The physician smoking in his examining room and offering a cigarette to a patient is one of those ironic, historical jokes beloved by the Coen brothers. In their new film, A Serious Man, Ethan and Joel Coen work with more of their favorite motifs, including a sense that the...]]> Coco Before Chanel - Style and substance lead to fashion empire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8479-coco-before-chanel-style-and-substance-lead-to-fashion-empire.html Coco Chanel established a fashion empire through a revolution in style and in substance. Her designs allowed women, shorn of the encumbering accoutrements of 19th-century couture, to move about more freely. Her name became a brand on the strength of accomplishment, not spin. Chanel’s “little black dress,” a groundbreaker in its elegant simplicity, grew from her belief that clothing...]]> Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak's classic book told with courage http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8403-where-the-wild-things-are-maurice-sendaks-classic-book-told-with-courage.html A writer of few words, Maurice Sendak sketched an imaginative world in 10 sentences for his 1963 children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are. Because of its brevity, the storybook probably struck almost no one as feature film material, except perhaps the director who finally filmed it, Spike Jonze (Adaptation). Along with considerably expanding on Sendak’s...]]> Jewish Film Festival Runs Oct. 18-22 - Opening night features insightful ‘Little Traitor' http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8301-jewish-film-festival-runs-oct-18-22-opening-night-features-insightful-lslittle-traitor.html Britain’s endgame in Palestine, of trying to halt the influx of Jewish refugees after World War II and opposing underground groups fighting for the state of Israel, was memorably depicted in the Hollywood epic Exodus. A more modest and human-scale Israeli film, The Little Traitor, tells a tiny piece of the story from a child’s point of view...]]> The Cove - Japan's Town Without Pity http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8269-the-cove-japans-town-without-pity.html More than any non-fiction book or documentary, the television show “Flipper” brought the benign intelligence of dolphins to public attention; ironically, the rising affection for the ocean mammals resulted in an industry that captures and confines dolphins in marine parks for the entertainment of crowds. The dolphins may look happy...]]> It Might Get Loud - Jack White's Summit with Jimmy Page, The Edge http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8248-it-might-get-loud-jack-whites-summit-with-jimmy-page-the-edge.html Rock guitar gods were a product of the 1960s and Jimmy Page, who went on to reign over much of the ‘70s with Led Zeppelin, was an original member of the pantheon. By the time the Edge gained acclaim, punk rock had already questioned the efficacy of guitar gods. But if the ‘80s had a presiding spirit of guitar grandeur, the Edge defined it with U2. When Jack White...]]> Capitalism - Michael Moore examines the American Dream http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8219-capitalism-michael-moore-examines-the-american-dream.html In Capitalism: A Love Story, the polemical director Michael Moore utters the ultimate heresy in contemporary American society. Capitalism isn’t merely flawed, he says. It’s not just slightly skewed in favor of haves over have-nots. According to Moore, the reigning national ideology is degrading to individuals and society. Capitalism is, in a word, evil...]]> ‘Fish Fry Night Milwaukee’ - Ron Faiola talks up Friday tradition http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8220-lsfish-fry-night-milwaukeers-ron-faiola-talks-up-friday-tradition.html German rivaled English as the spoken language of Old Milwaukee. Socialists ran a clean municipal government and Old World craftsmen built a city of impressive public buildings and pleasant neighborhoods of modest, well-crafted bungalows. A canopy of Dutch elms covered the streets. Once one of America’s most distinctive towns, an honor shared...]]> Bright Star - Love, poetry and tragedy for Keats and Brawne http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8147-bright-star-love-poetry-and-tragedy-for-keats-and-brawne.html With autumn comes early rumors of Oscar nominations and, always among them, an early contender for Best Picture: Masterpiece Theatre Division. This season’s front-runner in that category, Bright Star, is based on the romance between 19th-century British poet John Keats and the woman who lived next door, Fanny Brawne... ]]> The Informant! - Steven Soderbergh's soft comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-8059-the-informant_-steven-soderberghs-soft-comedy.html Whistle-blowers are often heroes in Hollywood movies, transcending the usual disdain for turncoats and snitches because of the righteousness of their cause. But what if the whistle-blower turns out to be a crook, and nuts to boot? That’s the ambiguity at the heart of The Informant! Loosely adapted by the prolific...]]> The September Issue - R.J. Cutler captures real-life Anna Wintour http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7966-the-september-issue-rj-cutler-captures-real-life-anna-wintour.html In the satire The Devil Wears Prada, the fictionalized version of Vogue’s long-reigning editor is depicted as an acid-edged queen of cruelty. In the documentary The September Issue, the real-life Anna Wintour is displayed in a softer light. Here, the Vogue powerhouse is a setter of high standards for herself and those around her. Wintour isn’t warm, fuzzy or accessible... ]]> Pavel Medvedev’s Striking Contrasts Come to UWM - Short documentaries depict life after U.S.S.R. http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7967-pavel-medvedevrss-striking-contrasts-come-to-uwm-short-documentaries-depict-life-after-ussr.html At first, the wind is the only sound in a frozen landscape edged by a horizon of snow-covered trees. Suddenly comes the soft insistence of running reindeer, herded across the screen from left to right by men in a sled of jangling bells. It’s the oddly haunting opening of Vacation inNovember, one of four short documentaries in a program called “After History: The Films of Pavel Medvedev,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at the UW-Milwaukee Union Theatre...]]> Extract - Ben Affleck enhances Mike Judge's newest comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7886-extract-ben-affleck-enhances-mike-judges-newest-comedy.html To all appearances, Joel is a successful entrepreneur whose American dream of developing his own line of food flavor extracts has come true. But at home, Joel (Jason Bateman) is a frustrated man. Once his wife, Suzie (Kristen Wiig), dons her sweat pants, usually at 8 p.m. sharp, the door of sexual opportunity slams shut. In fact, they haven’t had sex for months, partly because of his crushing workload at the...]]> Milwaukee Short Film Festival - Great movies in small doses http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7887-milwaukee-short-film-festival-great-movies-in-small-doses.html If you ask Milwaukee residents about film around town, many people will point you in the direction of the nearest multiplex playing the latest Hollywood offering. But, fact is, there are many fans and producers of progressive cinema in the city. Skeptics need only look to the Milwaukee Short Film Festival (MFSS), now on the brink of its 11th year... ]]> Taking Woodstock - Demetri Martin, Eugene Levy star in nostalgic trip http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7822-taking-woodstock-demetri-martin-eugene-levy-star-in-nostalgic-trip.html Since music was the ostensible reason for Woodstock, a Woodstock movie minus the music might seem an empty endeavor. Fact is, many of the half-million who flocked to the festival 40 years ago heard little and saw less of the all-star lineup. Traffic into the festival site had congealed. Sightlines and sound were dubious, and many participants probably caught little more than the wafting snippets of sound heard in Ang Lee's film...]]> Soul Power - Jeffrey Levy-Hinte captures the power of music http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7823-soul-power-jeffrey-levy-hinte-captures-the-power-of-music.html James Brown spun around in a testifying frenzy of cold sweat, executing splits and turns with gymnastic precision as his rhythm section dug an impossibly hard, percussive groove and his horn section, fanning out across the stage like a swing orchestra, punctuated the music with staccato blasts. Soul Brother No. 1 was in excellent form that night in 1974 when he headlined a bill in the country then called Zaire (and since restored to its previous name, Congo). Brown was on a...]]> Adam - Hugh Dancy, Rose Byrne play star-crossed couple http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7737-adam-hugh-dancy-rose-byrne-play-star-crossed-couple.html The leafy brownstone-lined streets of Manhattan, and the electric gleam of the skyline over Central Park at night, have long been the perfect setting for cinematic romance. Adam, a story of star-crossed young lovers playing out against this idyllic background, delivers the usual plot with a twist or two. For starters, the protagonist, Adam (Hugh Dancy), has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism that makes understanding the feelings of others, and their socially...]]> Paper Heart - Charlyne Yi, Michael Cera and that mystical emotion http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7675-paper-heart-charlyne-yi-michael-cera-and-that-mystical-emotion.html When Charlyne Yi, a geeky girl in thick glasses and boyish clothes, thrusts a microphone at shoppers in a mall, asking if they've ever been in love, most give her wide berth. Soon enough, her indie film on the vagaries of love, Paper Heart, finds another, more effective way to answer her pressing question. Paper Heart is a movie about... ]]> Julie & Julia - Cooking with Meryl Streep http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7588-julie-julia-cooking-with-meryl-streep.html After World War II the apogee of American cooking was the tuna fish casserole topped with crumpled potato chips. Julia Child changed that. Her Mastering the Art of FrenchCooking was to the kitchen what the Kinsey Reports were to the bedroom-a seminal book that broadened the spectrum of expectations. Addressed to "the servantless American cook...]]> Funny People - Adam Sandler's Unhappy Humorist http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7507-funny-people-adam-sandlers-unhappy-humorist.html The inner adult trapped inside Adam Sandler, struggling to be understood as serious or at least sympathetic, has surfaced before in movies as varied as Punch-Drunk Love and The Wedding Singer. In Funny People, Sandler plays George Simmons, a version of himself contemplating the seriousness of his own demise...]]> Departures - Oscar-winning film depicts mourning in Japan http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7420-departures-oscar-winning-film-depicts-mourning-in-japan.html Death spares no land, and the living respond differently from culture to culture. In Departures, the Japanese way of mourning is depicted through a protagonist, Daigo, who stumbles into his country's counterpart of America's funeral industry.Before the film opened anywhere in the United States, Departures earned a footnote in the annals of Oscar history by winning the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, beating the unforgettable Israeli animated feature... ]]> Director Kathryn Bigelow On The Hurt Locker http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7384-director-kathryn-bigelow-on-the-hurt-locker.html The U.S. occupation of Iraq has inspired a panoply of cinematic depictions. Despite their topicality, these films have ended up being box office duds. The Hurt Locker, which focuses on a bomb disposal unit in Baghdad, has been greeted by a chorus of critical plaudits...]]> (500) Days of Summer - Love and fate in Manhattan http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7341-%2528500%2529-days-of-summer-love-and-fate-in-manhattan.html The Smiths were a band offering cold comfort to the lovelorn, and a relationship begun out of shared admiration for Morrissey's morose reflections on emotional failure is surely born under the sign of doom. And "relationship," that weasel word meaning everything or nothing at all, is the best description for what transpires between Tom and Summer in (500) Days of Summer. Brought together during an elevator ride by a Smiths song, the 20-somethings work in a greeting card company, producing...]]> Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Hogwarts students face a new dark age http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7342-harry-potter-and-the-half-blood-prince-hogwarts-students-face-a-new-dark-age.html In the second-to-last novel in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter cycle, the young wizard has begun his sixth year at Hogwarts and is feeling the sap of being a teenager in his limbs. There is turnover in the faculty and Harry's nemesis, Draco Malfoy, is back for another term. Meanwhile, Lord Voldemort and his minions grow bolder by the day, striking against muggles and magicians alike, determined to plunge the world into a new dark...]]> Food, Inc. - Robert Kenner exposes a toxic chain of consumption http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7262-food-inc-robert-kenner-exposes-a-toxic-chain-of-consumption.html Philip K. Dick, an author of unsettling science fiction, wrote of fearsome systems behind the placid surfaces of our world and mechanisms of control as invisible as ghosts. But even Dick, who died in 1982, never imagined the horror of agribusiness and its hidden influence across the globe. Since the '70s, the food we've been eating isn't the same as before, deceptively similar appearances aside, and the consequences are dire. ]]> Public Enemies - Johnny Depp stars as bank robber John Dillinger http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7183-public-enemies-johnny-depp-stars-as-bank-robber-john-dillinger.html Outlaws are beloved by law-abiding citizens in most every land, even by people who would be scared stiff to meet one. To define terms: An outlaw is no mere criminal. Serial killers, spouse beaters and investment brokers don't make the grade. An outlaw shimmers with reckless romanticism, and a spark of goodness must illuminate his legend. The archetypal outlaw among English speakers, Robin Hood, robbed from the rich and gave to the poor. John Dillinger spent the money he stole on himself, but according... ]]> Moon - Duncan Jones' science-fiction mix http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7184-moon-duncan-jones-science-fiction-mix.html Duncan Jones, the son of a rock star who once claimed to be a space alien, has chosen the science-fiction genre for Moon, his debut film. Surprised? His dad, David Bowie, must have taken the lad to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick fans will recognize the video-screen messages between an astronaut and his earthbound family, and the soothing voice of the spaceman's computer companion. The Bowies also must have sat through the enigmatic Russian film Solaris, a story of madness and the uncanny on a remote... ]]> Whatever Works - Larry David Works Well; Woody Allen scores with Pygmalion tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7085-whatever-works-larry-david-works-well-woody-allen-scores-with-pygmalion-tale.html The enduring fantasy of older men is that a gorgeous young woman will fall in love with them, find them sexually arousing and long to imbibe their wisdom while sitting at their feet. That fantasy is the spring driving Woody Allen's often-hilarious farce, Whatever Works, and as any reader of People magazine knows, the fantasy worked for him in real life, too. But Allen has enough wit to undermine his own proposition by movie's end. Celebrity gossip hounds may wonder what the story's twisting plot says about the director's marriage to his younger...]]> Away We Go - Krasinski, Rudolph hit the road to find home http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7086-away-we-go-krasinski-rudolph-hit-the-road-to-find-home.html Away We Go, a droll comedy-cum-drama by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty), perceptively explores the lives of more-or-less ordinary 30-somethings lost in a world without much meaning. Verona (Maya Rudolph) and Burt (John Krasinski)... ]]> Cheri - Pfeiffer stars in Frears' beautifully rendered film http://shepherdexpress.com/article-7087-cheri-pfeiffer-stars-in-frears-beautifully-rendered-film.html During the era known as the Belle poque, the Beautiful Age, the corsets of Victorianism loosened. A caste of courtesans, elevated above the more proletarian prostitutes, traded sexual companionship with aristocrats and magnates for lives of bejeweled glamour. Such was the milieu of Colette's 1920 novel Cheri, which reflected on an era already lost to war and upheaval...]]> Night Train - Glover, Zahn, Sobieski headline murder-mystery http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6979-night-train-glover-zahn-sobieski-headline-murder-mystery.html The myth of Pandora's box gets a makeover in Night Train. So do the film noir classics The Maltese Falcon and Kiss Me Deadly, with their murderous pursuit of priceless, mysterious objects. And the cinematic references don't end there. The electric lights aboard Night Train's doomed midnight express flicker and crackle ominously, as in any good David Lynch film, as the uncanny is about to manifest itself. And the climax...]]> Easy Virtue - Jessica Biel vs. England's aristocracy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6895-easy-virtue-jessica-biel-vs-englands-aristocracy.html Veronica's smile fades to a thin frown as her eyes meet her new daughter-in-law, Larita. As mistress of the manor in 1920s England, Veronica (Kristin Scott Thomas) had expected her son John (Ben Barnes) to marry someone suitable to his aristocratic station. Instead, he returned from a whirlwind tour of France with an American bride who races in the Grand Prix-and wins. Larita (Jessica Biel) is brash...]]> The Taking of Pelham 123 - Denzel Washington, John Travolta race against time http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6896-the-taking-of-pelham-123-denzel-washington-john-travolta-race-against-time.html Trains have long been the setting for crime stories and thrillers. They are ideal as confined spaces in motion, roomy enough for greater interplay between passengers than the coach cabin of a jetliner. As claustrophobic enclosures making their transit through a dark underworld, subway trains are better still. Oddly, subway movies are relatively scarce, even if renditions...]]> The Girlfriend Experience - Soderbergh's latest more interesting than entertaining http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6829-the-girlfriend-experience-soderberghs-latest-more-interesting-than-entertaining.html Nowadays, Steven Soderbergh is the hardest-working man in Hollywood. Since 2000, he has directed a dozen films and all 10 episodes of HBO's "K Street." His movies can be grouped, roughly, under three headings. First, there are his glossy blockbusters, the Ocean's series; then, art house efforts such as Solaris and Che; finally, his indie digressions, shot quickly, with digital cameras, in the shadow...]]> Up - Pixar's newest masterpiece http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6743-up-pixars-newest-masterpiece.html The rules in Hollywood for animated movies are that good animals come from adorable species and children are the primary audience, despite rote efforts at adult double-entendres. Social criticism is masked, muted and aimed at easy targets. Pixar Animation Studios has consistently broken the mold, making a feature starring a rat, and another where a robot discovers that the human race has declined into coddled, super-sized torpor... ]]> The Last Emperor - Valentino bids adieu http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6744-the-last-emperor-valentino-bids-adieu.html Valentino Garavani's first name was his signature, his brand and his bond. Along with Karl Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani, Valentino was a colossus on the high couture runways, a titan of continental fashion design from the 1960s (when he dressed Jackie Kennedy) into the '00s. According to the documentary Valentino: The LastEmperor, the designer was less and less the master in his own house since the '90s and finally, with the writing of the future on the wall, bid the industry adieu. Better to walk away... ]]> Gomorrah - Scenes from the Italian mob http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6098-gomorrah-scenes-from-the-italian-mob.html Gomorrah, the best seller by Italian journalist Roberto Saviano, isn't merely an investigation into organized crime in Naples. The Camorra, as the Neapolitan mob is called, is an international player, an unregulated transnational corporation with particularly bad manners, an octopus whose tentacles reach into the streets and shopping malls of America. Corruption rings the world's institutions like a scrim of toxic smog, wrapping... ]]> Terminator Salvation - Saving the world again http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6677-terminator-salvation-saving-the-world-again.html If history repeats itself, then Christian Bale has a bright future in politics. After all, who pictured the original Terminator star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the California governor's mansion when the series debuted in 1984? Like Schwarzenegger, Bale was born outside the United States and, prohibited by the Constitution from becoming president, will never live in the White House. But with strong ties to Hollywood, could Sacramento, Calif., be the... ]]> Tyson - Iron Mike says his piece http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6587-tyson-iron-mike-says-his-piece.html Mike Tyson was formidable in the ring, a sweaty, one-man wrecking crew whose iron fists pumped like twin jackhammers. But after claiming the heavyweight crown, his fearsome reputation outside the ring began to eclipse his fame as a fighter. His first wife accused him of emotional abuse on a tabloid TV show as he sat by her side, jaws tightly set. Their acrimonious divorce played out in public. A few years later he was convicted of rape and imprisoned for three years. And that only seemed to make... ]]> Star Trek - Kissing Spock is Unacceptable http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6469-star-trek-kissing-spock-is-unacceptable.html Call me old school, but Uhura has no business kissing Mr. Spock and Spock has no business enjoying her affection. True, sharp observers spotted her giving Spock the eye in the original Star Trek TV series, but a full-on eruption of desire-and in the heat of battle to save Earth from being melted into a computer-generated... ]]> A Galaxy Far Far Away - Exploring Star Wars http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6424-a-galaxy-far-far-away-exploring-star-wars.html Ten years ago this month, in May of 1999, came the much-anticipated release of The Phantom Menace, Episode 1 of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Some of the more fanatical fans of George Lucas' visionary franchise were determined to be first in line at theaters around the country-or at least among the first hundred in line. Many of them camped outside of cinemas for weeks, huddling in tents against the elements... ]]> Paris 36 - Song and dance, comedy and drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6345-paris-36-song-and-dance-comedy-and-drama.html

The world is a show and the show must go on. In movies the idea has been around at least since the musicals of the 1930s and it endures, especially as nostalgia. All the better when the show is set in the Paris of the imagination, a city of light and cobblestones, roving accordionists and sidewalk cafes, with the Eiffel Tower looming in the backdrop. Such is the appeal of the French film Paris 36, a musical-drama-comedy filmed through the scrim of old-time photography in the bygone...

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The Soloist - Beautiful music by Robert Downey and Jamie Foxx http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6346-the-soloist-beautiful-music-by-robert-downey-and-jamie-foxx.html The opening scene, when Robert Downey Jr. hurls from his bike onto the unyielding asphalt in an accident giving rise to stitches and a swollen-shut eye, is a clue: The Soloist will be harder-edged than most Hollywood social problem pictures about helpers and victims. For one thing, as a helper, Downey is neither sap nor superman. He comes across as a savvy, skeptical journalist, a hipster in his Rat Pack hat genuinely drawn... ]]> State of Play - Playing with scandal http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6268-state-of-play-playing-with-scandal.html With the familiar monuments of Washington, D.C., looming over a lengthening string of murders tied to politics, State of Play roams the same ground as such classic, paranoid 1970s thrillers as The Parallax View and the reality-based All the President's Men. Like the latter, the heroes are a pair of reporters, and the backdrop is an administration that gave rise to the worst fears. Although George W. Bush is never mentioned, State of Play was... ]]> Earth - Life on planet Earth http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6267-earth-life-on-planet-earth.html

Disney and animals have been inseparable since Uncle Walt built an empire around animated ducks and mice. In 1948 the Disney studio expanded its scope with a series of "True Life Adventures" that brought drama and comedy to beautifully photographed, full-color travelogues of nature. Earth, a BBC/Disney co-production, updates those old nature pictures, with the resonant voice of James Earl Jones narrating a thematically linked...

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Empty Nest - Argentina opens Latin-American series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6195-empty-nest-argentina-opens-latin-american-series.html

In a bad marriage, children can become the one common interest holding the couple together. And in a good marriage, children are usually the focus, an organizing principle of their parents' lives. When the children leave, some couples feel disoriented and play for time as they regain their direction. And some marriages run out of time once the kids are gone. That could be the guiding theme of an intriguing film from Argentina, Empty Nest (El Nido Vacio). But director Daniel Burman smuggles other meanings into his story, including the sometimes-uncertain line between desire...

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Wendy and Lucy - Not another shaggy dog story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6095-wendy-and-lucy-not-another-shaggy-dog-story.html A girl and her dog in a worse-for-wear '88 Honda Accord trek from heartland Indiana through the Pacific Northwest for the pole star of Alaska. It's not a lark or a Kerouac road trip, but more akin to the westward push of the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath. Only Wendy faces necessity as an individual with no supporting family or memory of community, traveling into the unknown alone-except for her yellow... ]]> The Great John Malkovich - Being Buck Howard http://shepherdexpress.com/article-6011-the-great-john-malkovich-being-buck-howard.html In recent years John Malkovich has starred in a run of quirky little indie movies, most designed at least in part around the quirks of his haughty, disdainful persona. Being Malkovich has been its own reward, but also perhaps a trap for the talented actor. In The Great Buck Howard, Malkovich expands beyond his norm. To be sure, the familiar studied air of superiority, the supercilious glare, remain. But in The Great Buck Howard Malkovich...]]> Knowing the Future? - Nic Cage counts on doomsday http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5946-knowing-the-future-nic-cage-counts-on-doomsday.html In Knowing, the children of William Dawes Elementary School eagerly complete their assignment. It's 1959, and they are asked to draw a picture of the future in 50 years to be sealed inside a time capsule that will be exhumed in fall of the unimaginably distant 2009. Most of the kids draw robots and spaceships-all except Lucinda, the scared and sullen last-row-in-class child who covers her sheet of paper with row upon row of...]]> A Certain Kind of Cool - Paul Newman Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5873-a-certain-kind-of-cool-paul-newman-film-festival.html The U.S. House of Representatives honored Paul Newman last month. In a resolution only Rush Limbaugh could oppose, he was acclaimed for his "humanitarian works and incomparable talents." The humanitarian accomplishments came from advocacy and philanthropy. Newman plowed the proceeds from his product line of sauces and salad dressing into a foundation supporting environmental and other...]]> Che What? - Love and revolution http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5872-che-what-love-and-revolution.html Despite being reduced to a popular T-shirt image, which is only a little better than being condensed onto a bumper sticker, Ernesto "Che" Guevara has not only survived but thrived as a symbol. A symbol of what exactly is hard to know in a society where, at least according to legend, one millennial asked another if the face on his Che T-shirt belonged to George Harrison. Likely, few of the customers of Che products (a concept...]]> Back in the U.S.S.R. - The Jews who refused http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5790-back-in-the-ussr-the-jews-who-refused.html During the 1930s small groups of Jews living in the West immigrated to the Soviet Union, convinced it was the Promised Land. They were soon disappointed. By the 1970s a massive exodus began in the opposite direction as tens of thousands of Soviet Jews quit the U.S.S.R. for Israel, the U.S. and other Western nations. But it was no easier to depart the Soviet Union than... ]]> Watching the Watchmen - Twilight of the superheroes http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5789-watching-the-watchmen-twilight-of-the-superheroes.html Is it arrogant or ignorant to film a book deemed unfilmable by its author, who spits on your movie sight unseen, refuses to allow his name in the credits and famously refuses to accept money for your efforts? Director Zach Snyder (300) knew what he was getting into. Alan Moore, the comic book visionary behind League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta, has never looked kindly... ]]> Gone with the Wind - Last of the great silent films http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5684-gone-with-the-wind-last-of-the-great-silent-films.html By the time sound was heard in the movies, silent film had outgrown its awkward childhood to become a mature medium, an expressive art form in its own right. One of the last silent films deserves to be ranked with the great movies of its kind. The Wind (1928) was also the Hollywood finale for Swedish director Victor Seastrom (or Sjstrm, as he was known in his homeland). Irked by having to add a happy ending to The Wind, which...]]> Emotional Conflict - A misfit's two loves http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5627-emotional-conflict-a-misfits-two-loves.html Something in his weary trudge says that Leonard is heading for trouble. Two Lovers opens with Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) walking listlessly down a pier, climbing over the rail and diving feet first into the murk. On his way down the life wish takes hold, along with the hands of a rescuer who jumps in after him. His parents interrogate him with worried eyes when he stumbles home sopping wet. Leonard has tried killing himself...]]> Predicting Oscar - A Slumdog night http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5520-predicting-oscar-a-slumdog-night.html It's Slumdog versus wizened old Benjamin, a scrappy kid from Mumbai against an American freak of nature. This year's Academy Awards promises a battle between Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of BenjaminButton for several top prizes and many lesser ones. Sean Penn's unforgettable performance in Milk should earn him Best Actor and win his movie a few additional nods... ]]> International Intrigue - Gunning for the bankers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5521-international-intrigue-gunning-for-the-bankers.html A global conspiracy by evil bankers to dominate the world's finances through debt and transactions as elaborate and fragile as a skyscraper built from playing cards? Made before the Great Recession but released in time to capitalize on the chaos, The International's prescience is actually less impressive than its steady-going pace and believable acting. It's a well-made thriller for all seasons...]]> A Little Laughter - The Panther returns (again) http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5441-a-little-laughter-the-panther-returns-%2528again%2529.html Since Steve Martin is one of the smartest men in show business, he must have been hard up for money when he agreed to star in the Pink Panther remake as Inspector Clouseau. Why else do it? In the original movie series the bumbling French detective was one of the funniest film characters ever, played by one of cinema's funniest actors, Peter Sellers. Surely Martin knew he could never top the best.Mediocrity often sells, however. Martin's 2006 remake made enough money to induce a sequel. Oddly, The PinkPanther 2...]]> Blame It on Truffaut - French film highlight http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5349-blame-it-on-truffaut-french-film-highlight.html An orange represents the world's wealth, a raggedly bearded Leninist tells 9-year-old Anna (Nina Kervel). And a capitalist is someone who wants to keep the whole orange. A communist, he adds while peeling the rind and offering the girl a piece, wants to share the wealth. But on the other hand, when Anna tries to adopt her radicalized parents' rhetoric of "group solidarity," she finds herself in the wrong, blindly moving like a lamb in a flock of sheep. Her parents have difficulty explaining the distinction between group solidarity...]]> Recovered Memories - Waltzing through war http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5350-recovered-memories-waltzing-through-war.html The dogs are after Boaz, 26 of them all counted, barking and snapping under vengeful, glaring eyes. Night after night they run through his dreams in a pack, gathering below the window of his flat to stare and snarl at the former soldier who killed them years before.The nightmares of Boaz, an Israeli advancing into middle age, are the trigger for Waltz with Bashir, a highly unusual animated documentary investigating Israel's 1982 incursion into Lebanon through the memories (and memory loss) of the soldiers sent...]]> The Telltale Heart - Brendan Fraser's Silvertongue http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5284-the-telltale-heart-brendan-frasers-silvertongue.html The imaginary world of books, those labyrinths of the printed page, comes dangerously to life in Inkheart. A best-selling young-adult novel by German author Cornelia Funke, Inkheart concerns a "silvertongue" who possesses the rare, wild gift of conjuring the characters and situations of books into the physical world. In the film adaptation by director Iain Softley (The Wings of the Dove), Brendan Fraser plays Mo, a silvertongue unaware of his power until the night he read aloud from a novel called Inkheart to his wife and daughter. Out from...]]> Beautiful Loser - Mickey Rourke's comeback http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5230-beautiful-loser-mickey-rourkes-comeback.html For many minutes we see the protagonist of The Wrestler from behind, at angles that won't disclose his face. Director Darren Aronofsky teases the audience, working up anticipation for the moment of unveiling for once-handsome '80s leading man Mickey Rourke playing the incredibly damaged hulk called Randy "The Ram" Robinson, a professional wrestler on hard times. Rourke gives an extraordinary performance, transcending a ravaged appearance suggesting some washed-up '80s heavy-metal star...]]> Last Year in Review - Memorable movies of 2008 http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5231-last-year-in-review-memorable-movies-of-2008.html 2008 was historic in many ways, and while the year in film pales in significance with Barack Obama and the Great Recession, '08 was cinematically remarkable for three rivetingly memorable performances. Many years slide into oblivion without leaving a single one. 2008, however, saw unforgettable role-playing by Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Sean Penn (Milk) and Mickey Rourke...]]> Defying the Odds - David and the Nazi Goliath http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5140-defying-the-odds-david-and-the-nazi-goliath.html They marched by the millions to their death during the Holocaust and relatively few resisted. Many Jews were terrorized by Nazi brutality, isolated without hope in a rising tide of anti-Semitism or convinced that this too shall pass just like the persecutions endured in past centuries. But some Jews did resist and unlike the doomed defenders of the Warsaw Ghetto, a few resisters outlived the Third Reich. Defiance is a story of Jewish partisans in the forests of the Soviet republic now called Belarus who relived the legend of David...]]> Made in USA - Clint's last stand? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5141-made-in-usa-clints-last-stand.html Walt Kowalski speaks in hoarse rasps and growls through lips clamped in a perpetual sneer. He glares through narrow, resentful eyes. Add the leathery skin of an Egyptian mummy and Walt (Clint Eastwood) resembles a cartoon supervillain more than the retired autoworker and widower of Gran Torino, living out his last days bitter over a world gone for good. Walt angrily...]]> Waiting for the Revolution - American suburban angst http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5142-waiting-for-the-revolution-american-suburban-angst.html At a late-1940s party among the Manhattan intelligentsia, two bright young scene-makers catch each other's eye across the crowded room. April (Kate Winslet) is an aspiring actress seductive in her little black dress, and handsome Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) aspires to escape the constraints of middle-class boredom. They marry. When childbirth interrupts their bohemian dream, he is drawn into the white-collar ranks to support his new...]]> Abuse of Power - Frost versus Nixon http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5080-abuse-of-power-frost-versus-nixon.html The American political drama that began in the upheaval of the 1960s reached its climax with the Watergate scandal and ended in 1974 with the resignation of Richard Nixon. An epilogue was added to the story when Nixon emerged from seclusion in 1977 for an interview with British TV talk-show host David Frost. Nixon thought it would be softball, but Frost wound up pitching a harder game than anyone expected...]]> Doubt and Certainty http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5007-doubt-and-certainty.html In 1964, the time of Doubt, no one spoke of pedophile priests, even if the Roman Catholic Church was already riddled with them. Directed by John Patrick Shanley from his own play, one of the most provocative recent productions on a Broadway that has surrendered to the tourist trade, Doubt is true to its title. Neither an exercise in moral certainty nor an easy story for armchair ethicists, Doubt investigates the blurry line between perception and reality...]]> The Plot Against Hitler http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5008-the-plot-against-hitler.html As if guided by evil voices, Hitler rose remarkably from nobody artist to master of Europe, aided by timing and abetted by luck. He survived, unscathed, several plots to kill him. Valkyrie dramatizes the one that nearly hit bull's-eye, a conspiracy by German army officers and noblemen to assassinate Hitler and seize power. Again, evil luck intervened when an adjutant absent-mindedly pushed aside the exploding suitcase intended for the Fuhrer. Hitler escaped the blast, madder than...]]> A Curious Case of F. Scott Fitzgerald http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5009-a-curious-case-of-f-scott-fitzgerald.html We crawl into the world on all fours and-unless cut short-exit life with the aid of a cane. Aging normally begins in infancy and ends in old age, unless your name is Benjamin Button. Reversing the natural order, he was born an old man and died as a baby. Director David Fincher (Seven) freely adapted The Curious Case of Benjamin Button from F. Scott Fitzgerald's dark if humorous meditation...]]> Reading Out Loud http://shepherdexpress.com/article-5010-reading-out-loud.html Immaculately composed and lit like a series of moving paintings, The Reader is a coming-of-age story, a twilight reflection on the past and an unusual meditation on German Holocaust guilt. Based on Bernhard Schlink's novel, The Reader reunites director Stephen Daldry and writer David Hare, whose previous collaboration, The Hours, was also a high-toned immersion into melancholy and loss. The Reader concerns a 16-year-old...]]> Just Say Yes - Laughing with Jim Carrey http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4941-just-say-yes-laughing-with-jim-carrey.html Once there was a loan officer who said no to every application for money. If the story had been written anytime from six years ago through this September, a period when no one in banking denied anyone any sum, it could only have been meant as a fairy tale. Although Yes Man, the new Jim Carrey comedy, is a kind of fable, the moral of the story has less to do with economics than human responsibility. When we first meet the hapless loan officer Carl Allen (Carrey), he's fallen into the low-gear inertia of a dead-end job in a cul-de-sac life. After his wife left him, Carl's fallback for everything...]]> Space Invader - The day a classic was remade http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4867-space-invader-the-day-a-classic-was-remade.html Upon its release in 1951, The Day the Earth Stood Still set standards for science fiction films met only a few times in that paranoid, watch the sky decade of flying saucers, McCarthy and the threat of nuclear annihilation. The cosmic orchestra and eerie theremin of its musical score suggested the awe of infinity and the unknown. The special effects behind the saucer and the hulking robot called Gort were simple and essential. The message delivered by the interstellar emissary Klaatu, though carried along by a swift moving...]]> The Taxman’s Quest? - Will Smith's disappointment http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4868-the-taxmanrss-quest-will-smiths-disappointment.html Will Smith is one of contemporary Hollywood's most likable stars; alas, Seven Pounds is perhaps his least likable movie. He plays Ben Thomas, a morose and suicidal IRS agent-or at least he might be a taxman, a confusing early scene at a corporate seminar notwithstanding-afflicted with memories of a beautiful wife lost to him forever. The flashbacks eventually reveal a car accident with seven fatalities all told. It transpires that Ben was to blame. That he was texting while driving serves as the story's most apposite moral. Agent Thomas appears to be on an...]]> Muddy Sings the Blues - The game of Chess http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4790-muddy-sings-the-blues-the-game-of-chess.html Chess Records was one of a handful of independent record labels that changed the sound of music-and the course of the world-in the 1940s and '50s. Cadillac Records is the fictionalized but mostly fact based dramatization of that label, organized primarily as a tale of two lives, the company' signature bluesman Muddy Waters and its owner, Leonard Chess. Co-owner would be more accurate and there lies the film's challenge. Leonard's real life brother and partner, Phil, is ignored by Cadillac Records. By trimming...]]> Hollywood Happens - Sympathy for the producer http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4791-hollywood-happens-sympathy-for-the-producer.html That dead dog will do him in. Ben just knows it! A veteran Hollywood producer, Ben (played with frazzled authority by Robert De Niro) glances with restrained nervousness around the room during the focus group screening in the shrewd Hollywood send-up What Just Happened. Being evaluated by a crew of industry insiders and everyday nincompoops is Ben's latest production, a troubled picture called Fiercely. It stars Sean Penn as a hero pursued by bad men. The audience in the screening room isn't especially impressed until that final scene-and then the impression isn't favorable. The bad men kill Sean Penn's dog in a splatter of blood before executing Penn...]]> Transportation Problem - Frank Martin's deadly cargo http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4729-transportation-problem-frank-martins-deadly-cargo.html Frank Martin just can't spend a quiet evening at home. In Transporter 3, he's ready to relax when a speeding car improbably crashes through the brick wall of his living room, depositing an associate about to die and a mysterious young Ukrainian woman, Valentina. Computer-generated fireballs will follow, along with software-produced car chases and titanic feats of martial arts simulated through quick-cut editing. Valentina becomes his responsibility on a car trip across Europe from his home in Marseilles to her home in Odessa. Naturally, his agility in whip-stomping the bad guys arouses her interest. By the time they cross the Ukrainian border, they are falling...]]> Australian Epic - Nicole and Hugh's home on the range http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4602-australian-epic-nicole-and-hughs-home-on-the-range.html Although separated by an ocean and multiple time zones, the Australian Outback bears remarkable resemblance to the American West. Both encompass mesas towering over rocky, dusty deserts shimmering like a mirage under unforgiving sunlight. Whip-snapping cowboys with guns at their side populated both regions, driving herds across rivers and plains on their way to market. Cattle barons exerted inordinate influence over territorial governments and in the brawling towns...]]> Love That Never Dies - Twilight of the vampires http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4603-love-that-never-dies-twilight-of-the-vampires.html It can't touch Harry Potter for scope of popularity but in some pockets of pop culture, the Twilight series has reached Beatlemania in intensity. The "young adult" novels about a handsome teenage vampire boy and the mortal girl who loves him have sold 17 million copies. Just like the Hogwarts brigade but on a smaller scale, the announcement of a movie adaptation stirred speculation, consternation and controversy among fan bloggers. Although I can't speak to whether the book was better, I will speculate that some of the scenes in Twilight the movie were better left on...]]> Double or Nothing - The solace of James Bond http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4516-double-or-nothing-the-solace-of-james-bond.html Quantum of Solace is the future of cinema, a movie whose splashiest scenes are tailored to the dimension of big screens. It opens with the camera zooming like a cruise missile, skimming the surface of the sea as it hurtles toward the Italian coast. There, on a winding road in his Aston Martin, James Bond outmaneuvers his high-speed pursuers in trucks and cars; the cameras put viewers in the midst of chaos, careening amid the splintered metal and shattered glass. It's like being immersed in a video game for giants. Just imagine downloading...]]> O Winnipeg - Guy Maddin's love poem http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4517-o-winnipeg-guy-maddins-love-poem.html Besotted by the cinema of silence and early talking pictures, Guy Maddin also finds humor in old movies-or perhaps the humor lies more in the distance between our experience of the world and the gestures of an antique art form. In My Winnipeg, the Canadian filmmaker composes a poem for his hometown from the elements he has always loved-black-and-white film stock, bits of archival footage, exclamatory title cards, iris-eyed scenes, pointedly primitive animation and highly pitched drama in acting...]]> Painting with Light - Milwaukee filmmaker's trilogy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4518-painting-with-light-milwaukee-filmmakers-trilogy.html The short film Perceval is dedicated to Ingmar Bergman and no one familiar with The Seventh Seal will miss what it holds in common with the gloomy Swedish classic. Aside from the medieval setting and knightly allusions, Perceval reflects on social breakdown in a stark landscape of desolation. Directed by Milwaukee filmmaker Tate Bunker, it includes many gorgeous moments of cinematography—of bare trees stretched like picket fences across the newly woven mantle of spring green...]]> Surreal Sunshine of Synecdoche - A brain teasing blind alley? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4460-surreal-sunshine-of-synecdoche-a-brain-teasing-blind-alley.html Grumpy, bloated and disheveled, Caden Cotard (Philip Seymour-Hoffman) rolls out of bed and into another unsatisfying day as Synecdoche, New York gets under way. Caden is a community theater director and frustrated playwright whose life is settling into the malaise of depression. His wife, a miniature painter played by Catherine Keener (the go-to-gal for unhappy movie wives) is likewise semi-despondent. Sometimes she fantasizes about the death of their four-year-old daughter. The bright hope of marriage and motherhood has faded to dull gunmetal gray. The thrill has gone...]]> Her Sister’s Wedding - Anne Hathaway's dark zone http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4461-her-sisterrss-wedding-anne-hathaways-dark-zone.html The wattage of Anne Hathaway's star power is rare in contemporary Hollywood and the brightness may reside principally in those Judy Garland eyes, which seem two sizes too big for her face. But her poise has always been as striking as her appearance. In Rachel Getting Married, Hathaway pushes her considerable talents into a darker, more destructive zone. She's not Rachel nor is she getting hitched. Hathaway plays Kym, a slouchy twentysomething released from rehab to attend the marriage of her older sister Rachel. With her...]]> Missing Person - Clint Eastwood's cold case http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4357-missing-person-clint-eastwoods-cold-case.html Angelina Jolie has climbed a long way up from her days as a Tomb Raider. Nowadays her roles usually demand acting. In Changeling, she plays Christine Collins, a mother whose panic quietly overtakes her denial when her nine-year-old son doesn't run to greet her when she comes home. Her face registers the gathering unease as she calls out his name, going room by empty room before the realization sets in: Walter is gone. Changeling is closely based on a true story, dateline Los Angeles, 1928. Dressed for the part with brightly rouged cheeks, Jolie leads Christine carefully...]]> Pride of Gotham? - Cops with little glory http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4358-pride-of-gotham-cops-with-little-glory.html The nighttime football game at the start of Pride and Glory, a contest between aggressive amateurs on a frozen gridiron, sets the wintry tone and suggests the theme. Teams are everything, embracing the families of players lining the stands shouting "Defense! Defense!" Pride and Glory is about teamwork and its abuse, family ties and the game of defense. The movie is set around an NYPD precinct at Christmas, a time when the sun hides in the gloom above a city cold and dark despite the strings of holiday lights... ]]> Brutal - Online Exclusive http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4359-brutal-online-exclusive.html The title doesn't even begin to cover it. The majority of the action taking place on a cemetery and farm, this film follows the activities of 6 ghosthunters, aged twenty-something. While working on a documentary about paranormal activity, the group happens upon an old farmhouse and gets the idea that it'd add something to their movie to interview the residents. Enter creepy killer guy... ]]> Reflecting Reality - Seeing India in The Pool http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4278-reflecting-reality-seeing-india-in-the-pool.html The distance between wealth and poverty is only the most obvious chasm measured in The Pool. Set in India and filmed by Milwaukee writer-director Chris Smith from a story by Randy Russell, The Pool's protagonist is an 18-year-old country lad struggling to keep his chin up in the big city. The boy, Venkatesh (Venkatesh Chavan), does the hard work of washing terrazzo floors by hand and the harder work of scrubbing public toilets with a brush. One day he climbs onto the branch of...]]> Always Happy? - Say hello to lucky Poppy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4279-always-happy-say-hello-to-lucky-poppy.html Poppy is a blithe spirit, weightless as the spring breeze while zipping around the leafier wards of London on her bike, smiling and waving at passersby. Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is the focus of the self-explanatory Happy-Go-Lucky, a comedy (of sorts) from a British writer-director better known for drab and dreary dramas about claustrophobic life at the rim of poverty, Mike Leigh. Poppy might only laugh if she tripped and fell across that rim. An irrepressible 30-ish woman, she is the bubbly sort whose hellos to strangers and googly effusiveness begin to transgress the normal social boundaries of contemporary...]]> A Funny Thing Happened - Comedy at Jewish Film Festival http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4183-a-funny-thing-happened-comedy-at-jewish-film-festival.html "You're a little nervous about the gasmask, right?" asks Yisrael Campbell. With the mask draped over the shoulder of his black suit coat, the fiercely bearded comic in the Hasidic hat pauses for a sly moment to let the crowd at a Jerusalem comedy club respond with laughter. "You think you missed the nine o'clock news?" ]]> Father and Son - Oliver Stone's dynasty http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4184-father-and-son-oliver-stones-dynasty.html When he last turned to presidential biography for his subject, director Oliver Stone transformed the reign of Richard M. Nixon into Shakespearean tragedy. With W., his insightfully funny satire of George W. Bush, Stone turns the bumbling but affable president and his entourage into Dr. Strangelove. The difference is striking. With Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Nixon was a towering figure warped by resentment as he struggled out of the lower middle class and toward the White House. In Josh Brolin's loose and game performance...]]> Isle of the Living Dead - When fear bred fear http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4185-isle-of-the-living-dead-when-fear-bred-fear.html A statue of Cerberus, the watchdog of Hades in Greek mythology, guards the approach to an island set aside as a graveyard. The time is 1912 during a war between Greece and Turkey, and the mainland has been turned into a charnel house. When the Greek general and an American reporter visit the cemetery island, they become trapped by the outbreak of plague with a strange assortment of locals and travelers. A vampire may be lurking among them, fed by human fear...]]> Body of Lies - DiCaprio plays spy games http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4096-body-of-lies-dicaprio-plays-spy-games.html Body of Lies opens with a bang and the explosions keep on coming. It begins in a bleak district of Manchester, England, where a SWAT team prepares its assault on a terror cell's hideout with quiet efficiency. Meanwhile the building's tenants, followers of the fictional bin Laden associate Al Saleem, are watching a video on martyrdom narrated by their leader as they tinker with explosives. The young terrorists greet the entrance of the police into their den with calm resolve. Shouting "God is great!" they trigger the explosion that scatters fire and debris as their building is blown into the surrounding neighborhood... ]]> Robert Downey’s Triumph - Chaplin out on DVD http://shepherdexpress.com/article-4097-robert-downeyrss-triumph-chaplin-out-on-dvd.html    Robert Downey, Jr.'s up and down career rose again earlier this year with his unusually nuanced superhero performance in Ironman. No one would call it Downey's greatest part, however. For that, my vote goes to his starring role in Chaplin, the 1992 biopic of the world-conquering star of the silent movie era. Slightly overlooked at the time of its release, Chaplin is out now on a "15th Anniversary Edition" DVD. The interviews among the special features are honest and revealing. Chaplin's director Richard Attenborough...]]> The Duchess - The Duchess of Devonshire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3986-the-duchess-the-duchess-of-devonshire.html %uFFFD%uFFFD Was it Orson Welles who introduced the long, dining-room table with husband and wife at opposite ends as visual shorthand for marital discord? In The Duchess, the device is used repeatedly. At first, the Duke (Ralph Fiennes) and Duchess (Keira Knightley) of Devonshire are seated across from each other, separated by a long, polished surface sparingly set with a few china serving dishes. ]]> Appaloosa - Justice on the Appaloosa trail http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3987-appaloosa-justice-on-the-appaloosa-trail.html %uFFFD%uFFFD The first sound is of pounding hooves and the first sight is of three horsemen hurrying over the crest of a dun-colored hill, framed by the wooden gate to a ranch in desolate country. The city marshal and his deputies have come to arrest one of the hired hands for rape and murder, but the landowner, a man called Bragg (Jeremy Irons), stands firm. ]]> Miracle at St. Anna - Remembering black bravery http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3899-miracle-at-st-anna-remembering-black-bravery.html %uFFFD%uFFFD Spike Lee has been fighting World War II long before the release of his latest film, Miracle at St. Anna. His campaign began with a salvo at Clint Eastwood for excluding black faces from Flags of Our Fathers and perpetuating the assumption that blacks contributed little to the U.S. victory. It was not the movie Eastwood wanted to make and the sniping between the two directors probably served to harden Lee's resolve. ]]> Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Alt rock love http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3900-nick-and-norahs-infinite-playlist-alt-rock-love.html %uFFFD%uFFFD "That mix CD I left on your doorstep…" says Nick at the climax of a long and rambling cell phone message to his ex-girlfriend, "…will be the last one I make for you." %uFFFD He's trying to mean business but the desperation is clear. Nick is an awkwardly sensitive teenager, a bit of a schlump. ]]> Lake Terrace - Samuel L. Jackson's race card http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3776-lake-terrace-samuel-l-jacksons-race-card.html Neil LaBute established his reputation as a director and writer with gritty, unrelenting scenarios about human nastiness-male division. Let's call him the David Mamet of post-boomer suburbia for short.But if In the Company of Men and Your Friends & Neighbors were almost vile in their depiction of vile behavior, Lake Terrace represents LaBute at his most polished. ]]> I Served the King of England - Waiting for the king of England http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3777-i-served-the-king-of-england-waiting-for-the-king-of-england.html Burn After Reading - The Coens lighten up http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3666-burn-after-reading-the-coens-lighten-up.html After winning Oscars with the unrelentingly grim No Country For Old Men, the Coen brothers lighten up a little for Burn After Reading. Their new film traverses territory more familiar to the filmmakers. Here, death doesn't descend in the form of an enigmatic hit man who tosses coins for the lives he encounters. ]]> The Exiles - Exiled in America http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3667-the-exiles-exiled-in-america.html The Exiles is a window to a world that time has shut forever. Nowadays it might be called a "docudrama," but Mackenzie was determined to avoid imposing his own perspective and plotline. The Exiles was a collaboration between him and a small knot of American Indians who portrayed themselves, scripted their dialogue and helped devise a scenario that amounts to a dusk-to-dawn account of their lives . . . ]]> Man on Wire - Twin Towers adventure http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3579-man-on-wire-twin-towers-adventure.html The mastermind and his confederates cased the World Trade Center for entrances and exits and the coming and going of guards, mapping every step of their coup with the meticulousness of professional criminals going for the vault in a heavily secured bank. But although their scheme was against the law, it was more misdemeanor than felony and would have no victims unless a tragic accident disrupted their careful plan. ]]> The Women - Not-so-classic remake http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3580-the-women-not-so-classic-remake.html Imagine the shock: Mary is having her nails done at Saks when her babbling manicurist bumbles into a monologue on infidelity involving Crystal, the girl at the store's perfume counter, and a respected Wall Street investment broker. Before the conversation is over, Mary realizes that the broker isn't just some name from the business pages of the Times. He's Steve, her husband of 13 years. ]]> Outsourced - A comedy of job loss http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3500-outsourced-a-comedy-of-job-loss.html Most Americans have decided that outsourcing has gotten out of hand, especially after it became a bland euphemism for exporting large numbers of jobs overseas. Anxiety over outsourcing is mounting lately, even in relatively high-level professions such as banking. ]]> Golda's Balcony - Golda remembers http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3501-goldas-balcony-golda-remembers.html Shalom and salam: words so similar in sound and identical in meaning. In Golda's Balcony, an imaginative telling of the life of Golda Meir, Israel's founding mother pauses to consider that peace sounds almost the same in Hebrew as in Arabic. ]]> Getting Buzzed (Smiley Face) - A cannabis comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3413-getting-buzzed-%2528smiley-face%2529-a-cannabis-comedy.html If you smoke dope too often and for too long, you'll wind up acting like one-a dope, that is. The comedy Smiley Face is a day in the discombobulated life of Jane, a twentysomething pothead and wannabe actress who can't face the morning, or the afternoon and evening, without sucking on her bong. Her already precarious grip on everyday reality slips away entirely when she accidentally gobbles down a half-dozen pot-laced cupcakes in her refrigerator. Jane panics, not because the buzz inside her brain has grown louder than ever, but because . . . ]]> Son of Hamlet? (Hamlet 2) - A comedy of drama http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3414-son-of-hamlet-%2528hamlet-2%2529-a-comedy-of-drama.html Satire always needs a target, and the funniest satires usually have several. Hamlet 2 shoots widely but aims mostly at one social problem and one personality type. ]]> Barcelona Summer (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) - Vicky and Cristina Abroad http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3323-barcelona-summer-%2528vicky-cristina-barcelona%2529-vicky-and-cristina-abroad.html For the fourth in a series of films made outside of his beloved New York, Woody Allen moves from Great Britain to sunnier climes. Set in Spain, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is an ocean away from his mature Manhattan comedies geographically, but emotionally it might as well be just across the Hudson. A rueful examination of love, desire and the impossibility of achieving happiness, VCB unfolds in a dreamy Europe where everyone is a poet or a thinker and great conversations spark to life around copious glasses of wine even in the humblest caf%uFFFDs. ]]> Mirror Image (Mirrors) - Clich%uFFFDs, Chills and Gore http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3324-mirror-image-%2528mirrors%2529-clichufffds-chills-and-gore.html Asia has become fertile ground for horror films. A steady parade of such movies from the Far East have been poached by Hollywood, gutted of their subtlety in clumsy adaptations and pushed into multiplexes, mostly to little acclaim. Remade from a recent South Korean film, Mirrors is the latest among the mediocre-bad attempts to transpose an Asian supernatural sensibility into an American popcorn flick. Kiefer Sutherland stars as Ben, a troubled ex-NYPD detective relieved of duty following a fatal shooting. Popping prescription medication to fight his alcoholic ]]> Only in America? (Swing Vote) - Reaching Swing Voters http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3224-only-in-america-%2528swing-vote%2529-reaching-swing-voters.html It's not hard to imagine: Frank Capra, who directed Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and It's a Wonderful Life, would have made Swing Vote had he lived today. He might have made this civics lesson in American politics more concise and a bit sharper, but he would applaud the spirit, the message and the delivery. Swing Vote is a movie dramatizing the hopeful democratic idea that everyone's vote counts. Kevin Costner is no Jimmy Stewart but he's a plausible stand-in for Capra's other favorite actor, Gary Cooper. In Swing Vote, Costner's . . . ]]> How to Make a Movie (Jake's How-To) - Milwaukee's Beachfront Comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3225-how-to-make-a-movie-%2528jakes-how-to%2529-milwaukees-beachfront-comedy.html A remarkable revelation came to Kyle Buckley in a hotel room in the midst of a comic book convention. "If I'm going to make a stupid decision in my life, I might as well do it at 19," read the thought balloon that popped up in his head. Only five days before starting his sophomore year at Milwaukee School of Engineering, he made the potentially stupid decision to drop out, move to Los Angeles and seek work in movies. A few months later his brother Vincent, a cartoonist, followed him. This week the first film by Buckley Brothers Productions receives its world premiere in Milwaukee. Jake's How-To is a funny comedy by the twentysomething siblings about guys, girls and late adolescence . . . ]]> Woman Out of Place (Brick Lane) - Hitting the brick wall http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3152-woman-out-of-place-%2528brick-lane%2529-hitting-the-brick-wall.html In a little village in Bangladesh a wedding has been prepared for a couple that has never met. Nazneen's father has arranged her marriage to an older Bengali man living in London. Dressed in bridal finery, Nazneen is placed at the stern of a boat casting off from her birthplace. She looks out from under her veil with forlorn eyes at her unsmiling family watching her recede into the distance. It's a sad parting and the beginning of an uncertain future. Most of Nazneen's story, told in the sterling British production Brick Lane, takes place in a dreary London neighborhood crowded with Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrants. Murmurs of English xenophobia against Muslims . . . ]]> Teenage Wasteland? (American Teen) - Surviving senior year http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3151-teenage-wasteland-%2528american-teen%2529-surviving-senior-year.html Warsaw, Ind., a little almost-all-white town on a flat stretch of Red State nowhere, is one of those fabled meridians of Middle America. The town, and especially its high school, is the setting for a documentary that was the talk of Sundance: American Teen. Directed by Nanette Burstein, whose r%uFFFDsum%uFFFD includes the amusing The Kid Stays in the Picture, American Teen is a polished film with beautiful swatches of cinematography, creative animated segments illustrating the fantasies of the principal actors and a breezy tone and pace. It tells a story of insiders and outsiders in that treacherous. . . ]]> Revisiting a Classic - Brideshead is back http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3084-revisiting-a-classic-brideshead-is-back.html Evelyn Waugh’s meditation on faith and its absence, and the varieties of love and desire, found a new audience in the 1980s through a British television production of Brideshead Revisited. Readers of Waugh’s novel and fans of the 11-part miniseries alike will find some of their favorite bits missing from the new film adaptation. British director Julian Jarrold should be commended, however, for intelligently condensing an emotionally rich story spanning two decades into a two-hour movie. Some of my favorite lines were edited, it’s true, but the main themes and memorable scenes for the most part remain.]]> Unable to Believe - The final X-File? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-3085-unable-to-believe-the-final-x-file.html Mulder is hiding and Scully is a doctor in a Roman Catholic hospital. When an FBI agent goes missing and the only clues come from the visions of a disgraced Catholic priest, someone in the agency has the good sense to call the old team out of retirement. Scully knows where Mulder lives, and Mulder is the FBI’s only expert in the paranormal, even if they had succeeded in silencing him. That’s the premise of The X-Files: I Want to Believe, a disappointing coda to Chris Carter’s long-running television series. Believe isn’t overly long but sometimes seems that way. It rambles and lacks the tight drama of the show’s best episodes. An interesting idea or two stumble along with the movie as it zigzags down the icy back roads of West Virginia, where strange things are happening in the night.]]> The Joker’s Wild (The Dark Knight) - Heath Ledger's Gotham Nights http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2895-the-jokerrss-wild-%2528the-dark-knight%2529-heath-ledgers-gotham-nights.html Life overtook art in January with the death of Heath Ledger, the Joker in The Dark Knight. Ledger was one of Hollywood’s rising actors and his role as the supervillain in the much-anticipated sequel to Batman Begins would cinch his stardom. Dead or alive, Ledger was destined to dominate The Dark Knight. An unspoken rule is in effect: The bad guys tend to get the best lines in Hollywood; they are usually more flamboyant than their opponents, more intriguing and mysterious. Poor Christian Bale never has a chance. As Batman (or “the Batman” as he’s often called in a nod to the earliest comic strips), he is left to brood . . . ]]> That Wacky Generation X (The Wackness) - Nostalgic for 1994? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2970-that-wacky-generation-x-%2528the-wackness%2529-nostalgic-for-1994.html For Generation X, 1994 seems to loom in memory as 1962 did for the American Graffiti gang and 1967 for the hippies. It was the year Kurt Cobain killed himself and Pearl Jam rode triumphantly onto the arena rock circuit. It’s the time of The Wackness, a modestly engaging, wacky coming of age comedy concerning a slacker doofus, his psychiatrist and the girl who initiates him into sex for two (as opposed to the more solitary variety) and the roiling emotions of first love. ]]> Sam, Bill or Harry? (Mamma Mia) - Mama sorts them out http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2971-sam-bill-or-harry-%2528mamma-mia%2529-mama-sorts-them-out.html For me, ABBA was never a guilty pleasure. It was usually a pleasure, period. Most of the group’s hits were great little soap operas sung in Berlitz lesson English to irresistible melodies with unassailable arrangements. It was pure pop for now people in the ’70s. ABBA was never as big in benighted America as elsewhere, but that began to change with the 1999 Broadway debut of one of the most lucrative musicals ever, Mamma Mia! The plot, loosely strung together through a sequence of ABBA songs, concerns a fatherless 20-year-old girl about to be married. Reading her mother’s diary, Sophie gathers that mom was never certain of who fathered her. ]]> A Happier Batman? - Remembering TV's Caped Crusader http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2896-a-happier-batman-remembering-tvs-caped-crusader.html “Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear...” No, I’m not referring to the legendary “Lone Ranger” radio show of the 1940s and early ’50s, I’m talking about the twice-weekly “Batman” series on late-afternoon and primetime television in the late 1960s. It was high camp played to perfection—stunningly creative and outrageously funny. The hilarious simplicity of TV’s Adam West (Batman), Burt Ward (Robin) and a gaggle of veteran supporting thespians, trumps the foreboding vision and craven villains in Hollywood’s big star “Batman” films of the last few decades. ]]> World Conqueror (Mongol) - Enter Genghis Khan http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2800-world-conqueror-%2528mongol%2529-enter-genghis-khan.html Genghis Khan’s birthright was to captain a small, nomadic tribe across the grassy sea of Mongolia. He grew up and made a bid for the whole world. He conquered as far as his eyes could see: Central Asia, portions of China, Persia and Russia. His name became synonymous in the West with cruel tyranny, but his conquests were no bloodier than most campaigns of his era and his empire was more tolerant, more wisely governed, than many states in our time. ]]> Lost in Translation (Reprise) - The great Norwegian novel? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2801-lost-in-translation-%2528reprise%2529-the-great-norwegian-novel.html Oslo must be a dull place, not only because the protagonists of Reprise dream of escaping it, but also because the city nurtured them. We meet Phillip and Erik, a pair of wannabe novelists, at a postal box, slipping their manuscript envelopes into the chute. After Phillip’s novel is accepted, he is anointed as Norway’s young literary lion, only to suffer an emotional breakdown. Erik’s is at first rejected, but he rebounds and embraces the acclaim that Phillip was unable to handle. ]]> Robots in Love (Wall-E) - Will WALL-E save the world? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2712-robots-in-love-%2528wall-e%2529-will-wall-e-save-the-world.html Starting with Toy Story, Pixar Studios has produced the finest animated feature films for mainstream audiences since the days when Walt Disney was young. Pixar’s vivid animation was always executed with pioneering technology, but that would matter less if the scripts weren’t so funny, trenchant and intelligent. Even the dumbest Hollywood cartoon directors have figured out a formula to keep the kids happy and the adults amused. Pixar brings a more profound sophistication for a multi-generational audience, excelling beyond what contemporary Hollywood animated and live action movies usually achieve... ]]> Gothic Romance (Rebecca) - Rebecca returns to Manderley http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2713-gothic-romance-%2528rebecca%2529-rebecca-returns-to-manderley.html “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again,” begins the narrator at the opening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca. The woman speaking, the heroine of the emotionally harrowing classic, is never named. And that is only one of many intriguing twists in a movie that has lost none of its fascination over time. The title character of the 1940 film is never seen but always present. The woman called Rebecca died before the story begins... ]]> Smart and Smarter (Get Smart) - Remaking the '60s spy spoof http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2621-smart-and-smarter-%2528get-smart%2529-remaking-the-60s-spy-spoof.html Would you believe they finally got around to making “Get Smart” into a movie? Would you believe they tried it once before? Well, scarcely anyone remembers The Nude Bomb (1980), starring Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, the bumbling spy struggling to make the world safe for democracy. Adams played Smart in the 1960s series, but no one was interested in seeing a remake of the spy spoof only 10 years after the show was canceled. Its creator, Mel Brooks, recently said that skipping a generation may help. He should know something about timing. A musical based on The Producers might not have flown in the ’80s, either. ]]> Father and Son (When Did You Last See Your Father?) - The final journey home http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2622-father-and-son-%2528when-did-you-last-see-your-father%2529-the-final-journey-home.html For the child named Blake, as for many boys, dad was invincible and immortal. But like many fathers and sons, problems began to mount along the way, especially as the boy passed through the thorny path of adolescence. When Did You Last See Your Father? concerns the inevitable decline of dad as witnessed by the now adult son. Diagnosed with inoperable cancer, dad is sent home to die, giving Blake time to ponder the many memories that rush from the hidden parts of his consciousness. Based on the novel by British author Blake Morrison, the story unfolds in the unhurried, not especially . . . ]]> Anger Management (Incredible Hulk) - An almost incredible Hulk? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2541-anger-management-%2528incredible-hulk%2529-an-almost-incredible-hulk.html At some point we’ve all felt as if we could explode in berserk rage and release the pent-up monster within. Maybe the moron on his cell phone who nearly ran you over at the intersection provoked the impulse? Or the numbskull boss dressing you down? How about the deceitful politician setting the world on fire to promote his own agenda? Most of us have been socialized to show restraint, whether from an ethic of behavior or fear of punishment. The person without restraint is called psychologically dysfunctional, when he’s not the superhero called the Incredible Hulk. ]]> What’s Happening? (The Happening) - Shyamalan's B-movie http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2542-whatrss-happening-%2528the-happening%2529-shyamalans-b-movie.html In his novel The Terror, Arthur Machen imagined that the animals, sickened by the carnage of World War I, turned on humankind with tooth and claw. Later, Daphne du Maurier in a story adapted by Alfred Hitchcock thought the birds might strike at people for reasons known only to themselves. In The Happening, director-writer M. Night Shyamalan explores the idea that plants, threatened by our poor stewardship of their environment, might launch a holocaust against humanity. It’s the right message at a moment when much of our world seems to be collapsing, except for water levels and prices, which are on the rise. Is Shyamalan the wrong messenger? For their own inane reasons, movie critics . . . ]]> Iron Man Lite (Iron Man) - Robert Downey's superhero http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1980-iron-man-lite-%2528iron-man%2529-robert-downeys-superhero.html If you’re anything like me, you know of Iron Man from the Black Sabbath song, not the Vietnam-era comic book that inspired it. But out in the hinterlands of fandom, Iron Man remained a popular Marvel superhero, even if Hollywood never lifted him from pulp pages to the big screen. It wasn’t for lack of interest. The one-man panzer division moved from studio to studio, attracting and repelling actors and directors. After more than 10 years in development, Iron Man has finally arrived, with Robert Downey Jr. in the title role and director Jon Favreau (Elf) behind the viewfinder. ]]> Crack the Whip (Indiana Jones) - Indiana Jones and the Evil Empire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2183-crack-the-whip-%2528indiana-jones%2529-indiana-jones-and-the-evil-empire.html The first thing we hear in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog” and the first thing we see is a hot rod full of carefree teenagers, zipping around a U.S. Army convoy as if daring it to a drag race. The tone is breezy and the time and place are established with smooth efficiency: It’s the 1950s and the convoy is headed for one of those Trinity, Area 51 bases hidden in the rocky no man’s land of the American West. ]]> Darkness in Narnia (Prince Caspian) - Return of the kings and queens http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2184-darkness-in-narnia-%2528prince-caspian%2529-return-of-the-kings-and-queens.html Harry Potter went darker as the series progressed and the same may be happening with The Chronicles of Narnia. The body count runs high in Narnia’s second installment, Prince Caspian, and some scenes are surprisingly brutal for a children’s movie. This time the Pevensie siblings enter Narnia not through a wardrobe but the London subway, where bullies are knocking brother Peter (William Moseley) against the tiled walls. Through a warp in space and a stitch . . . ]]> Made For Each Other (Made of Honor) - From friendship to love? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2263-made-for-each-other-%2528made-of-honor%2529-from-friendship-to-love.html Can close but Platonic friendship between man and woman grow into love and marriage? The romantic comedy Made of Honor explores the theme with humor and insight. One imagines the principal screenwriter, Adam Sztykiel, may have been close to the situation experienced by his protagonists, Tom (Patrick Dempsey) and Hannah (Michelle Monaghan). Made of Honor is effervescent as champagne but packs an eight-proof kick below the bubbles. The sharp edges of the script are felt in the opening scene, set at Cornell in 1998 during a student masquerade dance . . . ]]> Falling Short (The Fall) - A Hollywood fairy tale http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2264-falling-short-%2528the-fall%2529-a-hollywood-fairy-tale.html Ten years ago I described Tarsem’s feature debut as a director, The Cell, as an example of an emerging cinema whose impressions were visual more than verbal and whose visuals were achieved in part by quick montages of images. That Tarsem made his mark with the R.E.M. video “Losing My Religion,” as well as sneaker and soft drink ads, was held against him by critics who resisted the kinetic, jump cutting visual language of the MTV generation . . . ]]> Bored With Sex? (Sex and the City) - Return to the Big City http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2350-bored-with-sex-%2528sex-and-the-city%2529-return-to-the-big-city.html Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha are four years older than they were when their Emmy-winning series ended. As the movie version of Sex and the City begins, they are no wiser. By the conclusion, however, at least a few of life’s lessons have been learned. Running on HBO from 1998 through 2004, “Sex and the City” was a long series of comic vignettes on the lives of single young women in one of the world’s most glamorous places, Manhattan. The size of its success (millions still watch it on cable reruns) speaks to the chord . . . ]]> A House Invaded (The Strangers) - When Strangers Knock http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2351-a-house-invaded-%2528the-strangers%2529-when-strangers-knock.html A beautiful young woman clutches a raised knife and advances fearfully into the dark unknown. It’s long been a visual clich%uFFFD in slasher and bad horror flicks, but The Strangers is neither. It stars Liv Tyler as Kristen, the woman trying to fend off danger with an uncertain grip on a kitchen knife. She is the terrific, fast-beating heart of a story that slips with sure steps into the twilight zone between crime drama and occult thriller. In bare outline, The Strangers is about a house invasion, a crime especially unsettling because it penetrates the most private sanctuary of domesticity. ]]> Hard Rain (Before the Rains) - Love, lust and empire http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2419-hard-rain-%2528before-the-rains%2529-love-lust-and-empire.html Famed Indian producer Ismail Merchant is dead, but the brand name he developed with American director James Ivory lives on. Before the Rains, by Indian filmmaker Santosh Sivan, bears the tag “Merchant Ivory Presents” and is the sort of production Messrs. Merchant and Ivory relished. Before the Rains is a carefully recreated and opulent period drama that explores the psychology of individuals grappling, and losing their grip, with the historical conditions of their time. Several important Merchant Ivory films examined the uncertain relations between East and West in colonial times, especially in India . . . ]]> Don’t Mess with His Hair (You Don't Mess With the Zohan) - Adam Sandler's cutting comedy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2420-donrst-mess-with-his-hair-%2528you-dont-mess-with-the-zohan%2529-adam-sandlers-cutting-comedy.html When a trained-to-kill Israeli commando switches professions and becomes a Manhattan hairdresser, a fish-out-of-water comedy is sure to follow. And when this Israeli hairdresser falls in love with the Palestinian woman who owns the salon, you can bet your last shekel that a socio-political message is struggling to be heard. In Adam Sandler’s comedy You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, Sandler plays a sex stud from a crack special forces squad who keeps his dream concealed . . . ]]> Rambunctious Boys (Son of Rambow) - Action-adventure in middle school http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2100-rambunctious-boys-%2528son-of-rambow%2529-action-adventure-in-middle-school.html Sylvester Stallone’s grimacing killing machine, Rambo, became a symbol of jingoism in the Reagan era, applauded by many Americans and derided by others. Those with a queasy sense of irony even found him funny. In Son of Rambow (so spelled because of trademark difficulties), British writer-director Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) would have us believe that the bulletproof avenger was capable of liberating the human imagination and inspiring a generation . . . ]]> Built for Speed (Speed Racer) - From the Matrix to the playpen http://shepherdexpress.com/article-2101-built-for-speed-%2528speed-racer%2529-from-the-matrix-to-the-playpen.html I was born a year too soon for the “Speed Racer” television show. Other than overhearing the irritatingly insistent theme song, I was never exposed to it. “Speed Racer” was kid stuff—a show for fourth graders when I was ready for grade five. Those are the years when minute age differences can make all the difference in the world. ]]> Rock of Ages (Young@Heart) - Old folks in concert http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1981-rock-of-ages-%2528youngaheart%2529-old-folks-in-concert.html You might think the notion of a bunch of septuagenarians and octogenarians belting out cover versions of rock ’n’ roll tunes sounds hopelessly schmaltzy. You wouldn’t be alone. Stephen Walker, the director of Young@Heart, says he chuckled at the irony of his initial reaction. When his wife approached him with the idea of hearing a concert by the group, Walker recoiled at the prospect and told her, “That sounds awful.” “I had little interest in the concert,” Walker says. “I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it was a gimmick or it might be karaoke.” ]]> The Visitor - An immigrant story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1934-the-visitor-an-immigrant-story.html Walter Vale stares from the window of his well-appointed suburban Connecticut home. He is alone, and as one scene in The Visitor moves into the next, we learn more. Walter (Richard Jenkins) is plodding through his career as an economics professor, droning on about globalization to a big lecture hall, working desultorily on a book few will ever read. ]]> A Grin Without A Cat - Grinning at the recent past http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1935-a-grin-without-a-cat-grinning-at-the-recent-past.html History is memory writ large, with as many authors as disagreements, as many recurrences as digressions. Like personal memory, the larger narratives of history are always forgetful and are telling for what they omit as well as what they include. The enigmatically titled . . . ]]> 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days - Fear, despair, determination http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1709-4-months-3-weeks-2-days-fear-despair-determination.html As a clock ticks off the seconds, the camera stares as a pair of college roommates, Gabita and Otilia, engage in an apparently ordinary conversation. The camera slowly pulls back to reveal a narrow, cramped dorm room at the opening of 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, and follows Otilia down a dismal hallway to a communal washroom, then to the dorm room of a student running a thriving black market in cigarettes and into another room where she buys hand cream from girls operating a cosmetics bazaar ]]> Leatherheads - George Clooney's football follies http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1706-leatherheads-george-clooneys-football-follies.html In the 1920s, college football was just for fun and professional football was a ma-and-pa business. It was a game played by men in scratchy jerseys wearing chin-strap leather helmets that might—with any luck—cushion a blow to the head. Football was still a fast and loose sport. Many fans might have concurred with Dodge Connelly (George Clooney), a member of the Duluth Bulldogs in the period-comedy Leatherheads, when he declares, “Rules will ruin the game.” Along with the influx of corporate money, inflated salaries, stadium-naming rights, luxury sky boxes... ]]> Flawless - A Demi Moore thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1786-flawless-a-demi-moore-thriller.html Hitchcock preferred blondes, but in Flawless, the brunette Demi Moore fills the pumps once occupied by Janet Leigh, Kim Novak and Eva Saint Marie. Moore plays Laura Quinn, an unfulfilled American expatriate in London. It’s 1960. She is 38, never married and determined to make a career in a world where few women had careers. Laura sails each morning into the offices of the giant London Diamond consortium like a frigate at full steam, impassive, ready for the challenge of wearing a skirt in an old boy’s club. Through intelligence . . . ]]> The First Saturday in May - Kentucky Derby contenders http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1787-the-first-saturday-in-may-kentucky-derby-contenders.html For anyone who cares deeply about horse racing, The First Saturday in May is not a cryptic calendar reference, but the year’s most anticipated red-letter day. It’s the annual running of the Kentucky Derby, only the first of American racing’s Triple Crown but more storied than any other equine contest. Directors John and Brad Hennegan set out the statistics at the start of their documentary, focused on the 2006 Derby. Of the 40,000 thoroughbred horses in the United States, 23,000 will make it onto a racetrack. Only 20 of them will bolt onto the track . . . ]]> Smart People - All brains, no heart http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1606-smart-people-all-brains-no-heart.html Smart People is about what can happen when the mind is divorced from the heart and spirit. It is also a droll peek into the dreary environs of academia, where the pursuit of knowledge has stumbled onto the treadmill of careerism. It stars Dennis Quaid as Lawrence Wetherhold, an English professor trudging grimly across Carnegie Mellon, face twisted and frozen into an expression of contempt for his colleagues and students. His colleagues, exactly the sort of twits infesting many universities, are probably even poorer souls than Lawrence. ]]> Daughters of Wisdom - Tibetan women on the Buddha path http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1607-daughters-of-wisdom-tibetan-women-on-the-buddha-path.html Mainland China has been in denial over Tibet ever since Mao’s army invaded the mountainous theocracy. Communist China consistently denied that Tibet was a nation with a distinct history. China denied the aspirations of Tibetans after forcing them to endure mass murder, cultural genocide and the colonization of their country by Chinese immigrants. China denies all these things, but reality keeps poking the Beijing regime in the eye. The recent rioting and worldwide protests are not the prelude Mainland China had scripted for the Beijing Olympic Games. With the Chinese . . . ]]> Married Life - Love and Marriage? How to murder your wife http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1481-married-life-love-and-marriage-how-to-murder-your-wife.html As the unhappy husband in Married Life, Harry (Chris Cooper) is banality curdled at the edges. He’s a successful executive in 1940s New York whose life begins to unbutton when he falls out of love with his wife of many years, Pat (Patricia Clarkson), and into a fine, furtive romance with a younger woman, Kay (Rachel McAdams). His best friend, the roguish British expatriate Richard (Pierce Brosnan), serves as the movie’s narrator and not disinterested observer. A well-groomed swinger, Richard begins to feel that a beautiful woman like Kay is wasting herself in the arms of the dowdy Harry. ]]> 21 - Counting Cards. 21 ways to fall short http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1484-21-counting-cards-21-ways-to-fall-short.html Ben is a working-class Boston kid bicycling to school in an ivy-covered world of privilege. He gained entrance to MIT for pre-med and wants nothing less than Harvard Medical School. Harvard was his dream from childhood. He has the grades and the recommendations but not, as the admissions counselor puts it, “the dazzle” for a full scholarship. With his $8an-hour assistant manager’s job at a posh men’s clothing shop, he might be able to save enough for tuition by the middle of his next life on Earth. ]]> Tracks - Across the Tracks. Making movies in Milwaukee? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1371-tracks-across-the-tracks-making-movies-in-milwaukee.html After opening scenes around the kitchen tables of their homes, the two very different teenage girls at the heart of Tracks finally meet in the girls-room mirror at school. They don’t like what they see at first, but find each other again through the Internet and become fast friends. Catherine (Amanda J. Hull) comes from a solid though not entirely perfect upper-middle-class family where mom takes an interest and sets expectations. Claire (Rebecca Rose Phillips) is lowermiddle-class; her mom snarls at her from across the room. When Claire is called . . . ]]> Shutter - Shuttering in the Dark. Another Asian horror http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1372-shutter-shuttering-in-the-dark-another-asian-horror.html Night has fallen on a remote, deserted highway. A young married couple drives sleepily through the darkness toward their honeymoon cabin near Japan’s Mount Fuji when a gaunt, staring woman wanders into the road and is struck by their speeding car. When the couple regains consciousness after doing a figure-eight down a ravine, they can’t find the woman’s body. But the Body will find them, turning up especially in photographs . . . ]]> Counterfeit King - Life-and-death decisions http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1279-counterfeit-king-life-and-death-decisions.html With his grim visage, tight lips and square jaw, Salomon (“Sally”) Sorowitsch resembles at times a cartoon crook from Dick Tracy. Sally lives up to his appearance. No petty criminal, but rather an artist, he was Berlin’s “King of Counterfeiters,” replicating paper currency, identification cards, passports and “Aryan documentation” for Jews—all for a fee. According to The Counterfeiters, which is based on a true story of a Nazi plan to bring down the economies of their wartime enemies, Sally continued his operation for three years into the Third Reich. Finally arrested by Herzog, a jocular detective with the Berlin fraud squad, Sally’s Jewish identity could no longer be concealed in the dark corners of the underworld.]]> Cruel Games - Cinema of masochism http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1283-cruel-games-cinema-of-masochism.html Naomi Watts is radiant as Ann Farber and Tim Roth is soft-spoken to the verge of inaudibility as her husband, George. They are an affluent couple on the way to their weekend home in the Hamptons, a gated getaway lodge that Martha Stewart would love. They’re listening to opera on their car CD player. Abruptly, the soundtrack switches to an outburst of shrieking death metal by John Zorn. It’s a tip-off: Something wicked coming their way will disrupt their cultivated holiday. And so it goes with Funny Games, Austrian director Michael Haneke’s Americanized remake of his own 1997 film. ]]> The Resourceful Miss P - Sorting out her mistress' affairs http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1181-the-resourceful-miss-p-sorting-out-her-mistress-affairs.html Frances McDormand strays far from the sardonic country of the Coen Brothers, her regular employers, for a jolly romp in 1930s London, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. McDormand stretches her acting range as Guinevere Pettigrew, a dowdy failure as a domestic servant. Her previous mistress calls her “the governess of last resort” while sacking her, sending her into a future where uncertainty shades into bleak prospects. ]]> Time Out of Mind - The muddled world of 10,000 B.C. http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1182-time-out-of-mind-the-muddled-world-of-10000-bc.html The world in those days was almost empty of humanity; a place of wideopen spaces tenanted by small bands of hunters and gatherers and settled villages where agriculture had been discovered. The woolly mammoth roamed the plains and other large creatures now extinct may have persisted into the dawn of Homo sapiens. This is the world of 10,000 B.C., a muddled extravaganza from Roland Emmerich, director of Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. At first the story concerns a tribe whose existence is threatened by climate change. Will the mammoths that sustained their way of life for longer than anyone’s memory ever return? The suspense evaporates when the beasts arrive within a few scenes. The plot then takes an abrupt turn when slave-raiding horsemen attack and carry off half the tribe. A small band of warriors pursues the raiders and their captives to what seems to be the end of the Earth.]]> The Bank Heist - Double-crossed in London http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1107-the-bank-heist-double-crossed-in-london.html The Bank Job delivers all the pleasures expected from a crime-heist picture. Dense with duplicity and colored in many shades of gray, The Bank Job concerns a motley gang tunneling into a bank vault. They work with an elaborate plan they won’t be able to fully execute because criminal masterminds are scarce. Moreover, the crooks are pawns in a larger scheme whose purposes they discover only after the final turnoff has been passed. The road they are on will lead to a pileup. ]]> Focus on Classics - Milwaukee's vintage film series http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1109-focus-on-classics-milwaukees-vintage-film-series.html You don’t have to seek out classic films at museums or small cinemas anymore. Nowadays they are accessible to anyone whose cable package includes the movie channel TCM. And many great and not-great older movies have been issued on DVD. With the easy availability of old film, why would anyone launch a vintage film series at a public venue in 2008? “It’s for the shared experience,” explains Dan Guenzel, co-founder of the Focus Film Society. “If you watch a Harold Lloyd comedy by yourself on DVD, you smile. If you see it in a theater with other people, you are shaking with laughter. It’s an entirely different experience.” ]]> Charlie Bartlett’s War - Fast times, teen therapy http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1013-charlie-bartlettrss-war-fast-times-teen-therapy.html A good teenage comedy should nail the particulars of high school life, a purgatory period that remains rife with satirical potential generation after generation. It should also satirize the society that promulgated the purgatory. By those measures, Charlie Bartlett is a success. The adult problems it spoofs are magnified and distorted in the funhouse mirror of teen life. In Charlie Bartlett, everyone is troubled and seeking medication, whether ]]> Steep Descent - Big mountain skiing http://shepherdexpress.com/article-1014-steep-descent-big-mountain-skiing.html In 1920s Germany there emerged a genre called “mountain films.” They were fictional mountain-climbing adventure stories that strained the limits of cinematic technology and the endurance of actors as they ventured to places where movies had never gone, in the snowy wilderness on the roof of the world. Many scenes from the documentary Steep rekindle the cobalt blue aura of those old German films. Steep concerns the origin and growth of big mountain skiing (or “extreme skiing” to use the current clich), a sport that involves climbing beyond the well-manicured hills of the ski resorts and onto the craggier summits. ]]> Hitman’s Holiday - Badly bruised in Bruges http://shepherdexpress.com/article-941-hitmanrss-holiday-badly-bruised-in-bruges.html Ray (Colin Farrell) casts a wary eye on the picture-book surroundings of the Belgian city of Bruges, keeps his head down and scrunches his face behind the upturned collar of his wool overcoat. Along with his partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson), Ray is a British hitman who was sent there on holiday in order to make himself scarce for a few weeks. ]]> The Color of Cinema - Soviet-era surrealism http://shepherdexpress.com/article-943-the-color-of-cinema-soviet-era-surrealism.html Sergei Parajanov was less interested in telling stories than plunging the viewer into the world, the consciousness, of his protagonists. The Soviet Armenian director paid a high price for the persistence of his vision. Hounded by censors and jailed repeatedly, Parajanov managed nonetheless to complete nearly a dozen films before his death in 1990. The international acclaim he earned on the film festival circuit in the 1960s and ’70s prevented the Communist authorities from doing their worst. ]]> Manhattan Monster Project - What is Cloverfield? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-836-manhattan-monster-project-what-is-cloverfield.html Filmed through a video camera carried around by participants in the catastrophe it depicts, Cloverfield has drawn understandable comparisons to The Blair Witch Project. But where the earlier movie was an interesting experiment, Cloverfield works as a full-blown feature film. Where Blair Witch meandered . . . ]]> Relatively Troubled - Family faces dementia http://shepherdexpress.com/article-841-relatively-troubled-family-faces-dementia.html More and more children are faced with parents lingering on in the dimming half-life of dementia. Unable to care for themselves or sometimes even remember who they are, the parents are a burden, a flashpoint of guilt, an opportunity for unselfish love. The problem is compounded when the parent is . . . ]]> Iranian Odyssey - A woman's graphic story http://shepherdexpress.com/article-766-iranian-odyssey-a-womans-graphic-story.html If the Shah of Iran ever enjoyed popular support, it had evaporated across large stretches of the population by the time of his overthrow in 1979. But what followed after a short, disorderly and heady intermezzo was a symphony of horror darker than any the Shah could have composed . . . ]]> Mise-en-scene - When films speak French http://shepherdexpress.com/article-767-mise-en-scene-when-films-speak-french.html Paris in spring is a place for romance, but what of the City of Light in the dark of winter? Coeurs (Private Fears in Public Places) is a bittersweet romance of overlapping couples and couplings, a drama flecked with humor. Snow is always falling outside and everyone’s overcoat is powdered in white. The action . . . ]]> Moving on Up - Stepping toward success http://shepherdexpress.com/article-710-moving-on-up-stepping-toward-success.html Raya was on her way up from the projects and on the path to medical school when her sister died of an overdose. In a middle-class family this would have been tragic. For an African- American family whose mother works two shifts and father works whenever he can, it was catastrophic. Their fragile finances . . .]]> Massive Stroke - Paralysis to motion picture? http://shepherdexpress.com/article-686-massive-stroke-paralysis-to-motion-picture.html Flickering and uncertain, Jean- Dominique’s vision comes gradually into focus, colors alternating with wavering images of doctors and nurses. He hears them speaking but realizes they can hear none of the words he tries to form. Like the character in the Poe story that awakens in a coffin, buried alive, a horrible . . . ]]> Near-Death Experience - Nicholson and Morgan kick the bucket http://shepherdexpress.com/article-623-near-death-experience-nicholson-and-morgan-kick-the-bucket.html Now that Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are dead, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman have stepped into their grumpy old shoes. In the awkwardly titled The Bucket List, Nicholson and Freeman play Cole and Chambers, an odd couple on borrowed time. Sharing a hospital room and given less than a year to live, the . . . ]]> When Dreams Go Wrong - Woody Allen's murder-thriller http://shepherdexpress.com/article-619-when-dreams-go-wrong-woody-allens-murder-thriller.html Working in the United Kingdom was the best idea Woody Allen had in years. With his third British-made film, Cassandra’s Dream, Allen avoids all of the shtick cliches he had wrapped himself in since the ’80s. It’s a murder-thriller keyed on conflict between family loyalty and wider morality. It also asks the question . . . ]]> Looking for Love - Juno and her baby http://shepherdexpress.com/article-519-looking-for-love-juno-and-her-baby.html Spanish Gothic - Ghosts in the orphanage http://shepherdexpress.com/article-520-spanish-gothic-ghosts-in-the-orphanage.html