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Happy Valley—Movie Review

20 November 2014 9:00 PM, PST

Documentarian Amir Bar-Lev doesn’t shy away from controversial subject matter, and while he clearly has a point of view, he always tries to provide us with a sense of the Big Picture. I’ve admired his work in films like My Kid Could Paint That and The Tillman Story. Now he tackles the thorny saga of beloved Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, his pedophile colleague Jerry Sandusky, and the effect their downfall has had on their community. The material is pure dynamite, but Bar-Lev approaches it in an even-handed manner, having gained the cooperation of Paterno’s family and Sandusky’s adopted son. He also spotlights a handful of individuals who make the story personal and...

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- Leonard Maltin

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1

19 November 2014 9:04 PM, PST

Astonishing but true: this series seems to get better with each installment. Diehard fans of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games books may disagree, as this penultimate episode doesn’t involve the games at all, but there is still a great deal at stake. That we not only understand that but actually feel it is what sets this film apart from so many sagas that aspire to the success this series has attained. Having dismantled the cruelly ritualistic games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) finds herself in District 13 of Panem and obliged to align herself with President Coin (series newcomer Julianne Moore). Katniss is naturally wary of any leader but, with the encouragement of her...

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- Leonard Maltin

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A Movie ‘Mystery’ Unveiled At Last

19 November 2014 11:54 AM, PST

I’ve always been curious—no, fascinated—by the 1960 movie Scent of Mystery, the first and only picture ever released in Smell-o-Vision. I even have the original program book, which explains the short-lived process, which piped various fragrances (roses, perfume, tobacco) into the theater when cued by actions onscreen. But I’ve never had a chance to see the movie, let alone smell it. It had an all-too-brief theatrical run, even when it was reissued in Cinerama—without the aroma gimmick—under the title Holiday in Spain. My longtime curiosity has finally been sated by a new Blu-ray release of Holiday in Spain, in a deluxe Smile-box edition, simulating the curved Cinerama screen. The...

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- Leonard Maltin

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