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Martha K. Baker

Reviewers who spend energy comparing a remake with the original do not count on the reality that not everyone saw the original. That seems to be the case of "Secret in Their Eyes," a remake of Argentina's "The Secret in Their Eyes," which won the 2009 Academy Award for best foreign-language picture.

A theory: If "Miss You Already" were French or even Italian, it would be considered profound or lovingly observational. As it is American, "Miss You Already" runs the risk of being demoted to a "chick flick" or a "disease of the week" TV movie. It handily transcends both of the latter.

Friday, 06 November 2015 00:00

'Spotlight' excels in every particular

The seemingly odd title of this most excellent film refers to the name of the investigative-reporting team on the Boston Globe at the turn of this century. These 14 reporters, relegated to the basement, were supported with time and talent to dig into stories, to shine a spotlight on them.

Hardly anyone thinks about the producer of news programs. Viewers concentrate on the product and maybe the deliverer of the story, but the person who pitches the story, gathers it, builds a research team, and works with the news reporter is merely a line on the credits. Not so with Mary Mapes.

There's a sub-genre of films that tell the stories of folks in a family. There's another sub-genre of films that purport to be holiday films. When those two subs marry, they create a film like "Love the Coopers," which tells a family's story at Christmastime.

Friday, 06 November 2015 00:00

'Suffragette' disturbs -- as well it should

Anyone who saw the British television series "Shoulder to Shoulder" 40 years ago or who has studied British women's history, especially the chapter on the struggle for the vote, will not be surprised by the history detailed in Suffragette. Disturbed, yes, but not surprised. Infuriated, indeed, but not surprised.

You want to like this movie. You look at the director: Oren Moverman. Wow, you think, he directed "The Messenger," a great war movie. You see he co-wrote this movie and also wrote last year's "Love and Mercy"! You look at the cast: Richard Gere! Ben Vereen! Jena Malone!

The title does not drip off the tongue, but those four adjectives do describe the founders and editors and artists and cartoonists of the descendent of the Harvard Lampoon. That ancient college publication became the grandpappy of a franchise of endeavors, sophomoric at best, known as the National Lampoon.

The masculine pronoun in the title of this moving and excellent documentary is significant, for this film tells the story not only of Malala Yousafzia but also of her father Ziauddin. Director Davis Guggenheim, a St. Louisan, based the film on the young woman's autobiography, I Am Malala.

Dante could have used Johann Johannsson to produce the musical accompaniment for The Inferno, for that percussive sound escorts "Sicario" through the rungs of hell. The film may be good, but it's hard to tell through the gunshots. "Hell" is the drug war at the border between the states, Mexico's and ours.

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