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Martha K. Baker

Thursday, 29 May 2014 23:00

'For No Good Reason' has a lot of them

A documentary about the pictures side of Hunter S. Thompson's words does not appeal much to readers who think Hunter S. Thompson was a louche excuse for a man and a writer. So that's not a good reason to see "For No Good Reason" to see the excellent film about Ralph Steadman.

"Fed Up" is this year's "Inconvenient Truth." You know you're going to have big data thrown at you, and you know you're going to have your heart strings thwacked, but you may not be ready for how angry you become at the successful efforts of food lobbyists on good sense.
 

All the ingredients are there for a dramatic, heart-punching story of immigrants in the Twenties of the Twentieth Century. Two Polish sisters, Magda and Ewa, arrive at Ellis Island in 1921, separated when Magda is found to have tuberculosis and is quarantined. Ewa must find shelter when the women's aunt and uncle do not show.

Forget Jon Favreau's other movies as actor, writer, or producer. Forget "Iron Man" and "Swingers." Just enjoy "Chef." It's relatively predictable, plows no new acreage, and is so foodie that it's pornie, but it's a delight, too, with Favreau just dandy as writer, director and actor.

If you were lucky enough to watch "Hung" on HBO a year or so ago, then you've already seen a good take on the concept that women will buy sex from clean and sober gentlemen. You will also have seen a better version of this theme than you get in John Turturro's "Fading Gigolo."

If you don't follow baseball, you might not have known about the advent of Indian players in the major league. You might not have known about an agent named Jamie Bernstein, who needed an influx of money to keep going. After losing a client who would have been worth millions, JB plops on his bachelor couch, flipping through channels.

Thursday, 15 May 2014 23:00

'God's Pocket' guns for film noir status

That's God's Pocket as in Hell's Kitchen and the Tenderloin area -- they're all neighborhoods within larger cities, and they are not the most attractive real estate. They are seedy and sordid, populated by generations of drifters and grafters. They are often fiercely championed by the natives, who look down on anyone not from there. 

So it's directed and written by Jim Jarmusch. So it's witty and pretty -- and dark. "The Only Lovers Left Alive" is still, at base, a bloody zombie movie. So if you love those blood-sucking franchises, you might like "Only Lovers." If you like decadence, you'll eat up "Only Lovers."

It is rare that a film addresses so many -isms so well, but "Belle" does this and more. "Belle" considers not only the damage of racism but of sexism in a country so classist as to be, well, classic. "Belle" does that, too, and in so doing, it raises the whole issue of color as related to gender.

Four-time world champion ballroom dancer Pierre Dulaine is nothing if not debonair. His movements are graceful; his air, elegant. His every step has purpose. So when he decides to do something, he puts his foot down. "Dancing in Jaffa" proves it's not that simple to pursue a dream.
 

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