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Force Majeure—Movie Review

23 October 2014 9:00 PM, PDT

If there were ever a film to benefit from its audience knowing little about it ahead of time, it would be Ruben Östlund’s Force Majeure. All I knew was that it had won a major award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival; now I know why. Writer-director Östlund introduces us to a seemingly-perfect Swedish family at the outset of a week-long vacation at a French ski resort, and then proceeds to dismantle this picture-postcard experience, day by day. Let others expand upon the premise and provide you with spoilers; that’s all you’re going to learn from me. What I can say is that the filmmaker establishes and maintains an incredible sense of unease. The suspense is all the...

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- Leonard Maltin

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Thelma Todd’s Café Can Now Be Yours

23 October 2014 11:46 AM, PDT

I always find it surreal to drive on Pacific Coast Highway and pass the attractive building that once housed Thelma Todd’s Café. It looks just the same as it does in postcards from the 1930s. For years it has been home to Paulist Productions, the company that produced Father “Bud” Kieser’s Insight television show. Now it’s up for sale, the price just shy of eight million dollars. If Thelma Todd is remembered at all—except by diehard movie buffs—it’s because her untimely death in 1935 remains on every roster of Hollywood scandals and unsolved mysteries. I prefer to remember her as one of movies’ most delightful comediennes. The blonde beauty was a mainstay at the...

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- Leonard Maltin

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Rare Finds On DVD

20 October 2014 9:00 PM, PDT

Mainstream studios may have written off home video, but specialty divisions and entrepreneurs are offering notable discoveries on Blu-ray and DVD. Olive Films has just released a restoration of Dragonfly Squadron (1954) in both disc formats, thanks to Bob Furmanek and the 3-D Film Archive. The Allied Artists production was shot—but never released—in 3-D, making this a historic event. The story behind the film (and its restoration) is more involving than the picture itself, a decent if undistinguished B movie starring John Hodiak, Barbara Britton, and Bruce Bennett that takes place on the eve of the Korean War in 1950. If you have a TV with 3-D capability, you’ll want to check out...

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- Leonard Maltin

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