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4 articles


Cake—A Movie Review

22 January 2015 9:03 PM, PST

It’s not news that Jennifer Aniston is a good actress, but Cake does offer her a meatier, more serious role than she’s had in quite a while…and she delivers. What’s more, director Daniel Barnz has surrounded her with talented actors who bring out all the colors in Patrick Tobin’s dark, often sardonically funny screenplay. With all these ingredients it’s a shame that Cake overstays its welcome. Aniston plays a woman with chronic pain who is so hostile and abrasive that she’s asked to leave her support group. Her husband has left her, as well. The one person who is faithful to her, beyond all reason, is her Mexican housekeeper, played by the magnificent Adriana Barraza, whom you may ...

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- Leonard Maltin

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The Humbling—Movie Review

22 January 2015 9:01 PM, PST

Al Pacino is almost always worth watching, and his latest endeavor is especially welcome: a vehicle that’s tailor-made for the actor at this moment in his life and career. The Humbling is based on Philip Roth’s novel, which was vilified by some reviewers as a dirty-old-man’s sexual fantasy. The film, directed by Barry Levinson and credited to screenwriters Buck Henry and Michal Zebede, is considerably more complex. It also bears a superficial resemblance to Birdman in that it focuses on an actor experiencing a crisis of identity and purpose. In the opening scene, Pacino is applying makeup and testing himself in a mirror, repeatedly challenging his line readings, wondering if ...

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- Leonard Maltin

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Red Army—Movie Review

22 January 2015 9:00 PM, PST

When a documentary focuses on a subject I know nothing about and holds me in its grip from start to finish, it earns my utmost respect and admiration. Gabe Polsky’s Red Army tells a fascinating story in a lively, even impudent manner, and is definitely worth seeing. I care nothing about hockey, but when I saw that the film was being presented by Jerry Weintraub and Werner Herzog—a show-business odd couple if there ever was one—I figured it had to be tried. This is the story of the Soviet hockey team in its glory years, from the 1950s through the early 90s. The U.S.S.R. recruited the most talented players when they were just children, as we learn from the film’s “star,”...

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- Leonard Maltin

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DVD Discovery: ‘Among The Missing’

20 January 2015 11:31 AM, PST

The best part of the DVD-on-demand business (or Mod, as the studios call it) is that Warner Bros., Sony, and 20th Century Fox are unearthing rare titles from their vaults. Many have never been on home video in any form, and some haven’t ever had television exposure. My latest “discovery” is a 1934 Columbia title called Among the Missing, directed by Albert S. Rogell and written by Herbert Asbury and Fred Niblo, Jr., from a story by Florence Wagner. It stars Henrietta Crosman, Richard Cromwell, Billie Seward, and Arthur Hohl—not exactly an all-star lineup, unless you’ve seen Crosman’s memorable performance in John Ford’s Pilgrimage. Crosman was a veteran stage actress who made a...

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- Leonard Maltin

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