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Martha K. Baker

Another movie about the elderly so soon after the release of "The Second Best Marigold Hotel"? Yes, but the old parties in the Jerusalem retirement home of "The Farewell Party" are far removed from those in the jolly, colorful Indian film. These grey friends, bidding farewell, are tired of life.

Imagine being in a religion whose tenets and practices constrain you, reins you in to the point of seething anger. Imagine meeting a stranger who draws pictures as you used to, before the marriage and the baby. What you've imagined is the basis of an odd romance.

Friday, 22 May 2015 00:00

'Iris' reveals backstory of NY icon

Before documentarian Albert Maysles died on March 5, he left a capstone to his body of work, which includes "Grey Gardens" and "Gimme Shelter." By selecting Iris Apfel as his subject, the then-87-year-old director recorded the colorful life of the then 93-year-old with spirit and elan.

As documentaries go, "Lambert and Stamp" gives the genre ballast. First-time director James D. Cooper adds qualities and textures by switching between color and black and white, by judicious use of flashbacks, and by intelligent interweaving of interviews. "Lambert and Stamp" puts its stamp on the band, The Who.

Friday, 08 May 2015 00:00

'The D Train' hides another movie

Somewhere underneath the film "The D Train" lies another film. However, the chances that the underlying flick remains nearly as flimsy and flaccid are pretty good. Despite the stellar cast, "The D Train" stagnates. The filmmakers just didn't see what they had even on paper, where the script should have stayed.

Some people watch a film from the Forties and swear, "They don't make movies like that anymore." "Little Boy" disproves that remark. They do, but should they? This is a good example of its kind -- 70 years later. "Little Boy" is not just set in the Forties during World War II.

If you've followed the work of photographer and environmentalist Sebastião Salgado, then "The Salt of the Earth" will be a moving trip down the memory lane of his 40-year career path. If, however, you've never heard of Sebastião Salgado, then "The Salt of the Earth" will be a revelation.

Sad to say, it just doesn't work. "True Story" doesn't even seem to try very hard to make a true story on screen as thrilling as it must have been in life. So true it may be in terms of plot, but true it is not in terms of art.

Friday, 03 April 2015 00:00

'Effie Gray' proves the need for sex ed

Many viewers of the recent film "Mr. Turner," a look at E.M.W. Turner's last quarter-century, did not like the artist's ways with his housekeeper -- lots of slam and bam but no "thank you, ma'am." "Effie Gray," a story contemporary with "Mr. Turner," presents another brutish look at sex.

Friday, 10 April 2015 00:00

'Woman in Gold' continues to fight Nazis

The woman in the Gustav Klimt painting known as "Woman in Gold" had a name: Adele Bloch-Bauer. She was someone's favorite aunt. Her portrait was stolen by Nazis then displayed in the Belvedere Museum in Vienna until her niece Maria Altman asked for her family's property back.

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