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Diane Carson

1950s Enniscorthy, Ireland finds Elish Lacey living with her loving mother and older sister Rose while working at a small shop. Comfortable as home is, Elish has few options to contemplate in this prescribed, Catholic culture. And then, unexpectedly, Rose offers Elish a wealth of possibilities by sending her on an ocean liner to Brooklyn.

Bond, James Bond. Craig, Daniel Craig. And Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser, Bond's nemesis and the mastermind behind the current battle for world dominance in "Spectre," code name for an all-encompassing surveillance network. All this adds up to two and a half hours of high caliber, riotous action in the 24th in the Bond franchise. Need I say more?

The 24 Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival begins Thursday, November 4 running through Sunday, November 15. Sporting a record 447 films, 97 narrative and 86 documentary feature films, plus 264 short films will screen. The fiction and nonfiction, live action and animation selections hail from 70 countries. If all these statistics sound overwhelming, the 270 programs are.

The 24 Annual Whitaker St. Louis International Film Festival continues through Sunday, November 15 with films from 70 countries: live action and animated, feature and short subjects, fiction and nonfiction. Dozens of directors introduce and discuss their works. Among the best, organized under the theme "Race in America: The Black Experience," various offerings intelligently address critical, contemporary issues.

For everyone wanting a respite from the American political scene, "Our Brand Is Crisis" dramatizes a fictitious presidential campaign in Bolivia. However, savvy evaluations of what voters want matter more than what a candidate believes and underhanded tactics and dirty tricks depict an all too familiar scenario: selling candidates like products; winning is all that matters.

Friday, 13 November 2015 00:00

'The 33' loses its grip on a tragic story

In the Chilean Atacama Desert on the morning of August 5, 2010, thirty-three miners descended seventeen hundred feet into the San Jose copper and gold mine. Shortly thereafter, the mountain groaned and shifted, collapsing a mass twice as hard as granite, two times the size of the Empire State Building directly into the long sloping roadway's exit path.

A few rare, exceedingly exceptional individuals make lasting, positive contributions to the world in which they live. Julius Rosenwald ranks among the most admirable and constructive true heroes, as writer, director and producer Aviva Kempner's documentary "Rosenwald" amply shows. J.R., the address he preferred, said he identified with racial inequality because of the European pogroms against Jews.

Friday, 30 October 2015 00:00

'Room' presents a gripping, powerful story

Translating a well-crafted and popular novel to a suspenseful, absorbing film challenges the best writers and directors. Emma Donoghue and Lenny Abrahamson respectively show how to succeed flawlessly in that endeavor with "Room." Donoghue began adapting her 2010 novel of that name, a book shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker award, even before it was published.

The fertile imaginations of director Barry Levinson, writer Mitch Glazer, and comedian Bill Murray strive mightily to mine the humor in a trip to, and televised singing contest in, Afghanistan. Here's the setup. Insolvent, perpetually lying rock talent manager Richie Lanz accepts a reckless offer to make desperately needed money through a USO gig in Kabul.

Digital technology has dramatically changed many technical aspects of film production, a change vibrantly on display in the German film "Victoria." Its two hour 14 minute running time is one single, long take as title character Victoria first appears dancing in a Berlin nightclub and then leaves with four male clubbers to wander the city through the night.

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