Inherent Vice explores the hunger for escape

Joaquin Phoenix in Inherent Vice.

Yes, Paul Thomas Anderson has a sense of humor. After creating one absorbing drama after another — from Magnolia to There Will Be Blood to The Master — Anderson reminds us how funny he can be when he chooses to chill. With the irreverent Inherent Vice, this director in search of meaning ...

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Wild traces emotional and physical journey

Reese Witherspoon in Wild.

Her weathered face suggests she has been outdoors for some time, while her eyes define her purpose. Suddenly, accidentally, her hiking boot slips down a ravine, out of reach. How will she be able to continue her journey through the wild? With anger, candor and resolve, Reese Witherspoon ...

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The Imitation Game reveals one man’s secrets

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game.

History celebrates heroes with brushstrokes of bravery, valor and humility. Behind familiar images that preserve moments in time are unsung heroes we may easily forget. Looking beyond popular notions of bravery can reveal people who make real differences despite the personal challenges they ...

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Eye On The 60s celebrates a photographer’s view

An image taken by Rowland Scherman for Life magazine.

A friend of mine who loves movies refuses to watch documentaries. While I suggest this view limits his cinema experience, he responds that, if he wants to watch real people on screen, he can turn his television to the real housewives. After I speculate that reality shows may not be all that ...

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Foxcatcher brings truth to life

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher.

Truth, as the saying goes, is stranger than fiction. No matter what creative thinkers can conjure, what occurs in real life can reach beyond what any reel experience can fabricate. When in the hands of a moviemaker as gifted as Bennett Miller, what’s true certainly keeps us guessing. As he did ...

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The Blue Room tells a compelling story in a short time

Stéphanie Cléau (left) and Mathieu Amalric in a scene from “The Blue Room.“

Films don’t have to be lengthy to feel complete. When a director chooses how to tell a story, he or she sets a pace for the narrative. While some movies let sloppy rhythm add unnecessary minutes to the running time, others remain focused to stay tight. Few in recent memory get the job done ...

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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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