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Year: 2013

‘Shadow Dancer’ exposes the perils of deceit

‘Shadow Dancer’ exposes the perils of deceit

“Shadow Dancer” (2012 production, 2013 release). Cast: Andrea Riseborough, Clive Owen, Gillian Anderson, Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, David Wilmot, Brid Brennan, Cathal Maguire, Martin McCann, Barry Barnes, Maria Laird, Ben Smyth. Director: James Marsh. Screenplay: Tom Bradby. Book: Tom Bradby, Shadow Dancer. Web site. Trailer. When we seek to deceive others, we often end up deceiving ourselves, with our intents reflecting back upon us in startling (though not entirely unexpected) ways. The consequences of such actions can be devastating, too, both for us and for those affected by our schemes, results that become all too painfully apparent in the gripping new thriller, “Shadow Dancer.” Belfast, Northern Ireland was an explosive place in 1973. The long-simmering conflict between the militant Irish Republican Army and British troops deployed to maintain order flared up routinely at the time. Street clashes frequently erupted, often claiming innocent victims caught in the cross-fire. Such was the case for a young boy (Ben Smyth) who was shot and killed while running an errand, one that was supposed to be handled by his older sister, Collette (Maria Laird). Outraged by the tragedy, in ensuing years, the young girl and her two surviving brothers vowed to exact revenge against ...
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‘Man of Steel’ shows us how to soar

‘Man of Steel’ shows us how to soar

“Man of Steel” (2013). Cast: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Ayelet Zurer, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne, Antje Traue, Harry Lennix, Richard Schiff, Christopher Meloni, Dylan Sprayberry, Cooper Timberline, Michael Kelly, Rebecca Buller, Christina Wren, Jack Foley, Joseph Cranford, MacKenzie Gray. Director: Zack Snyder. Screenplay: David S. Goyer. Story: David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan. Characters Created By: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Web site. Trailer. Aspiring to become more than what we perceive ourselves to be is a goal that many of us hold dearly. Following through on that undertaking can be a challenging process, though, particularly when we realize everything that’s involved. Nevertheless, those of us who are undeterred won’t allow potential obstacles to hold us back in this pursuit, especially when we avail ourselves of guidance and inspiration on how to proceed, concepts that are superbly showcased in the new summertime action adventure, “Man of Steel.” The planet Krypton is a dying world. Having served as home to a technologically advanced species for eons, it’s now on the brink of its demise, an outcome attributable to its inhabitants’ mismanagement of the planet’s natural resources. Sadly, the end of Krypton also means the end ...
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‘Now You See Me’ works magic on screen

‘Now You See Me’ works magic on screen

“Now You See Me” (2013). Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Common, Michael J. Kelly, David Warshoksky, José Garcia, Caitriona Balfe, Jessica Lindsey. Director: Louis Leterrier. Screenplay: Ed Solomon, Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. Story: Boaz Yakin and Edward Ricourt. Web site. Trailer. We’re all familiar with such magic tricks as pulling a rabbit out of a hat or sawing someone in half. These fun little ruses have entertained us for ages, often prompting enthralled onlookers to wonder how such supernatural feats are accomplished. But such simple stunts are nothing in comparison to the grand creative exploits successfully executed by a team of illusionists in the magically enjoyable new release, “Now You See Me.” There’s magic in the air across the country. In Chicago, card trick master J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) amazes crowds gathered on street corners with feats of creative trickery. Meanwhile, in New Orleans, mentalist Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson) captivates and surprises tourists with his hypnosis and mind-reading skills. Out west, in Los Angeles, escape artist Henley Reeves (Isla Fisher) wows audiences with breathtaking stunts. And, in New York, sleight of hand maestro Jack Wilder (Dave ...
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‘Frances Ha’ applauds the virtues of responsibility

‘Frances Ha’ applauds the virtues of responsibility

“Frances Ha” (2012 production, 2013 release). Cast: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, Michael Zegen, Charlotte d’Amboise, Grace Gummer, Patrick Heusinger, Michael Esper, Christine Gerwig, Gordon Gerwig, Maya Kazan. Director: Noah Baumbach. Screenplay: Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig. Web site. Trailer. At some time or another, most of us have probably rhetorically observed that we’d like to fulfill a particular objective “someday.” That indeterminate future is something that we all comfortably assume will always be there for us to access. But, as many of us have also probably noted, time can pass us by rather quickly, and the days can get behind us faster than we thought possible. So, in light of that, when, in fact, are we going to start making the effort to realize that nebulous goal? At some point or another, we must take responsibility to concertedly move toward achieving that aim, an idea explored in the quirky new indie comedy, “Frances Ha.” Frances Halloway (Greta Gerwig) is looking to find herself through her art. The twenty-something would-be modern dancer lives in Brooklyn with her best friend from college, Sophie (Mickey Sumner), who seeks to scale the heights of the book publishing world. But, despite such lofty ...
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‘Here’ maps the human heart

‘Here’ maps the human heart

“Here” (2011 production, 2012 release). Cast: Ben Foster, Lubna Azabal, Narek Nersisyan, Yuri Kostanyan, Sophik Sarkisyan, Christina Hovaguimyan, Hovak Gaolyan, Hmayak Hakopyan, Narik Beglaryan, Peter Coyote (narrator). Director: Braden King. Screenplay: Braden King and Dani Valent. Web site. Trailer. So much of the time, we spend our lives trying to figure out where we’re at. But, in the process, we often focus on the trivial and overlook what’s truly important. Learning how to overcome that tendency can be challenging, but the rewards are certainly worth it, as two unlikely lovers find out for themselves in the absorbing romance, “Here,” now available on DVD. When satellite mapping technician Will Shepard (Ben Foster) takes a contract to work in Armenia, he’s very much on his own. The American-born cartographer doesn’t speak the language, and he spends most of his time by himself in the field. But, then, given his loner nature, that arrangement suits him well. He can carry out his highly technical work in solitude, unburdened by the distractions of daily life. That all changes, however, when Will meets Gadarine (Lubna Azabal), a free-spirited art photographer, who has returned to her Armenian homeland after a stint in Paris. She’s back to ...
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‘Star Trek’ boldly goes ‘Into Darkness’

‘Star Trek’ boldly goes ‘Into Darkness’

“Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013). Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoë Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Peter Weller, Noel Clarke, Beau Billingslea. Director: J.J. Abrams. Screenplay: Robert Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof. Source Material: Star Trek TV series, by Gene Roddenberry. Web site. Trailer. Those seeking an enlightened path for themselves often gravitate exclusively to “the light,” casually ignoring or even actively eschewing “the shadow” side of things. But is this a wise course? Are there things that “the dark side” can teach us? The answer might come as quite a surprise, but that’s what the crew of an intrepid space vessel is about to find out in the action-packed sci-fi adventure, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the twelfth and latest movie installment in this long-running entertainment franchise. Some days throw us some mighty big curves. Just as Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), the brash, young, sometimes-reckless commander of the Starship Enterprise, believes he’s about to be awarded a plum mission assignment, he instead gets a hard lesson in “no good deed goes unpunished.” In the wake of a perilous first contact mission to the planet Nibiru during which ...
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