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Martha K. Baker

During the opening credits for "Wild Tales," an animal appears along with a name, and it's through those animals that the word "wild" in the title starts to promise sense and the word "tales" becomes a pun.

"Wild Tales" was nominated as Best Foreign Film from the country of Argentina. It was, indeed, award-worthy.

Friday, 27 March 2015 00:00

'Serena' is anything but serene

Serena is a name that bespeaks serenity, tranquility, and peace, but Serena Pemberton is anything but. She is a new bride, who brings her knowledge of the timber trade from her now-dead family in the West to her new husband's timberland in North Carolina.

Friday, 10 April 2015 00:00

Seymour: An Introduction

Rarely has a documentary hit so deeply at the inner workings of an artist. That depth applies, also, to the viewer, who has to dig deep to understand why tears may flow, unbidden, while watching and listening to this portrait of Seymour Bernstein, a fine piano player and consummate teacher.

Whereas the first film about this exotic hotel for the elderly and the beautiful in Jaipur, India, was delightful, the second in the series (please, movie gods, no franchise) fulfills that old declaration that sequels bring in dependable dollars even if they aren't as good as the mothermovie.

Friday, 20 March 2015 00:00

"The Gunman" bleeds over four countries

If you liked "American Sniper," you will probably like "The Gunman." Heck, if you like the gore of Grand Guignol theater, you'll like "The Gunman." And if you're a big fan of Rooster Cogburn's one-man army, then "The Gunman" is the shoot'em-up movie for you.

Friday, 13 March 2015 00:00

'Cinderella' poses the question, "Why?"

So, why would the Disney Studios put out a live- action version of "Cinderella" when its 1950 animated version is embedded in the cinematic minds of millions? The current version quotes so much of the animated version -- if not really, then seemingly -- that it's impossible to divorce the two.

Men and boats. Men and gold. Men and their sons, on the beach or in utero or as a surrogate. "Black Sea" -- not "The Black Sea" (that's another recent movie) -- is all about getting the gold, getting back at "the man," and surviving. It's all about death.

Imagine working for a small company that offers a significant pay bonus to you at the expense of one colleague's job. Then imagine being that worker, who has but a weekend, the two days and one night of the title, to convince her fellows to change their votes.

The good news is that the Oscar shorts are short; the better news is that they're good -- except for one of the 10. Ever since the Academy has made the nominations for shorts available to the viewing public, the Oscar presentations have been fuller, more fun to anticipate.

Sunday, 18 January 2015 01:00

'Paddington' bears watching, over and over

See, there's this bear, and he lives with his aunt and uncle in darkest Peru, but he loves London, where this Peruvian explorer welcomed him. So he goes, skipperty-do. He ends up on his suitcase in front of the Lost and Found Department at Paddington Station?

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