Whiplash tells compelling story of musical ambition

J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.

As the son and father of musicians, I have spent my life surrounded by the sounds they create and the challenges they face. From an early age, a musician juggles time and ego to be ready when opportunities surface. And they learn how to take pressure in stride. Cool is everything in the music ...

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Birdman offers visual and emotional wonder

Michael Keaton gives a "brave performance" in Birdman, according to the Reel Dad.

Film is a visual medium. How a director chooses to use the camera defines how the narrative evolves. The same plot can look and feel one way if a camera is static — standing still, rarely moving — or another if the camera moves. At the movies, visual nuance matters. In Alejandro González ...

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What directors choose: Lessons from N.Y. Film Fest

Clouds of Sils Maria

Each year the New York Film Festival celebrates the magic filmmakers can create when they dare to reach beyond usual approaches. This year’s event reminded us how special film can be when directors push what the medium can reveal. Here are a few lessons to savor. Story Matters. At a time when ...

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New York Film Festival showcases remarkable surprises

Actor JK Simmons is one of the treats of the New York Film Festival, in Whiplash.

Of the movie moments at this year’s New York Film Festival, a few marvelous surprises jump off the screen. While too many films today rely on the familiar, this festival consistently showcases surprises in story, approach and, particularly this year, performance. Here’s a look at some ...

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Carb-Loaded highlights local filmmaker’s creativity

Filmmaker Lathe Poland, in a scene from his new documentary, Carb-Loaded.

Since we were old enough to absorb television commercials we have been encouraged to “have it your way” and told that we “deserve a break today.” The potential results of eating the foods advertisers promote sets the stage for a compelling — and highly entertaining — documentary from Bethel ...

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New York Film Festival offers a rich slate

Michael Keaton stars in Birdman, a feature at the New York Film Festival.

For people who love movies, our corner of the world offers many ways to savor our favorite pastime. In addition to the theaters and screenings in our area, we are a short train ride or drive away from one of the premier events of the movie season. This year marks the 52nd annual celebration ...

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The Reel Dad remembers Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall.

Paying tribute to Lauren Bacall She was the look, the voice and, at times, the purr. When Lauren Bacall recently died at age 89 some moviegoers — especially younger ones — may have asked, “who was that?” If so, they have missed being entertained by a unique talent and presence yet to ...

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