Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:00 am
On his way to board the plane with his family to Hawaii, 14-year-old Reese Hartwig was looking forward to vacation with his mom, dad and older brother Ryan. That was until he got a call from his agent.
Thursday, February 27, 2014 3:15 pm
Close your eyes, take a deep breath and picture life around you. I am sure most of us envision a calm, pleasant world full of possibilities. But I am guessing there are a few of you who imagine a zombie apocalyptic world where you are having trouble with tribbles and are in need of help by the crowned prince of Asgard. This same mindset probably seeks a WWE Superstar to help clean up the place and a Eisner Hall of Famer to write about it.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 12:00 am
Not since that day long ago, when I heard on my car radio that John F. Kennedy had just been shot, have I been so disheartened and felt so deeply such a loss for we the people. The so-called Supreme Court of the United States has rolled over and decided a clearly Constitutional issue on political bias. And to think, we the people thought the court would be above such tawdry action.
Saturday, March 31, 2012 12:00 am
Not long ago, a dear old lady scolded the Republican presidential candidates through your paper for not talking about the so-called contraceptive issue. She found it "appalling" that they didn't.
Friday, February 24, 2012 7:41 am
I always try to get as excited as possible about the Academy Awards, that time-honored annual tradition in which Hollywood enrages the nation’s cinephiles by consistently displaying the most remarkable lack of good taste and common decency imaginable.
Friday, December 30, 2011 7:37 am
Hope you all had a great Christmas and are enjoying the final
hours of 2011. My holiday season has been quite relaxing indeed,
with the exception of the screening blitz I’ve been embroiled in
since I realized the first draft of my year-end top 10 list was
woefully inadequate. I’m trying to cram in as many movies as I can
before my list is due for publication next week, and the experience
has been mind-reeling but, of course, invigorating in its own
Friday, December 23, 2011 7:49 am
It’s been a very hectic holiday season for me, and I have not
fulfilled my role as movie guru nearly as thoroughly as I should
have. This has more or less been the case for the majority of the
year, actually, and consequently I find that there are a bevy of
promising 2011 releases that I simply never got around to seeing
(in my defense, the closest most of them ever played was San
Friday, December 16, 2011 7:47 am
I had promised reviews of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and “The
Sitter” this week, but those plans were altered by the fact that my
online source for such matters had listed an incorrect wide release
date for the former, and the nation’s critics and moviegoing public
have convinced me that I should skip the latter. So we are left
with “The Descendants,” now playing in general release after
generating incredible word of mouth during its run on the art-house
circuit. I found it to be consistently engaging yet slightly
disappointing given the buzz, but your mileage may vary.
Friday, December 9, 2011 7:41 am
Just one review this week, as I didn’t make it to “My Week with
Marilyn,” playing in limited release. A look at that will come next
week, along with reviews of the wide releases “Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Spy” and, time permitting, “The Sitter.” The studios’
insistence on conducting a take-no-prisoners December blitz with
their prestige pictures has left things a tad crowded for the next
few weeks, but I’ll do what I can…
Amy Adams and Jason Segel star in “The Muppets.”
Friday, December 2, 2011 8:01 am
How quickly things can change. Just a week ago, I was so
desperate for a movie to review that I actually sat and watched
“The Twilight Saga — Breaking Dawn: Part 1” for two hours. (I’ve
broken bones, suffered through mono, gotten tattooed and had a
wisdom tooth wrenched out of my head without Novocain, but
honestly, all pale in comparison to the sheer unpleasantness of the
Friday, November 25, 2011 4:52 pm
Right now, “The Muppets” and Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed family
film/cinema ode “Hugo” are playing in theaters across the country.
“The Descendants,” the triumphant return of director/screenwriter
extraordinaire Alexander Payne (“Election,” “About Schmidt,”
“Sideways”), is expanding in limited release.
Friday, November 18, 2011 7:51 am
As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m trying to brighten my attitude
about life in general and the fall movie season in particular.
After all, despite my bloviating, perhaps things aren’t so bad. It
may not look like it judging by the current wide-release roster,
but awards season is indeed upon us, and there’s actually quite a
few promising titles to look forward to in the coming weeks —
starting with “The Muppets” (admittedly not an awards contender,
though I’m looking forward to it more than anything else this
season), which opens Thursday. Nothing — I repeat, nothing —
will brighten your holidays like the lovable antics of the Swedish
The Muppets return in a “modernized throwback” that Jason Segal
Friday, November 4, 2011 8:11 am
“In Time.” “The Three Musketeers.” “Footloose.” “Johnny English
Reborn.” These are among the films now playing in multiplexes
across the country. I find this roster to be strange and
unsettling, as I have apparently been laboring under the
misapprehension that we were supposed to be smack-dab in the middle
of awards season. Silly me.
Friday, August 19, 2011 8:26 am
I had intended to tackle “30 Minutes or Less” this week, but
horrible reviews and the film’s highly questionable subject matter
have tilted me toward using this column as an opportunity to take a
quick look back on the summer movie season as it winds down, and
preview some promising fall/winter releases.
Friday, June 3, 2011 8:02 am
When Dustin Hoffman’s character, Benjamin Braddock, graduates
from college in the 1967 cult classic “The Graduate,” he is given
this career advice: “Plastics.” What advice would you offer Lodi’s
class of 2011? We asked Lodians who know a bit about pursuing their
dreams. These are their words of wisdom — from where to live to how
to make money doing what you love.
Friday, April 15, 2011 8:17 am
Another possible sign of the end times: It seems that our
multiplexes are in danger of being overrun with meta-level
exercises in self-aware genre filmmaking. Strange thing, that,
because this time last year I would have thought such a prospect a
dream come true, if completely at odds with Hollywood’s bottom
line. After all, in this increasingly post-modern, ironic-chic
world, genre retrospective is becoming an invaluable tool to
connect audiences not only to the immediate story being told, but
indeed an entire rich history of genre lore.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 12:00 am
Galt native Amber Kloss has never met Lady Gaga, but she did
help the pop star break a world record Saturday before the Grammy
Friday, December 31, 2010 7:06 am
Happy New Year to all, and I hope everyone had a great
Christmas. Mine was a quiet affair, with Heather and me relaxing
with a few bottles of wine and a stack of DVDs, including “Nation
Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Scrooged,” “A Muppet Family
Christmas” and, of course, “Die Hard.” In a word: perfect.
Saturday, October 2, 2010 3:04 am
Sure, it's easy to rattle off a list of your favorite movies --
but what about your favorite individual scenes? This can be tricky,
because even your favorite films don't necessarily have a specific
scene that stands out above all others. And I'm not talking about
scenes you "like"; I'm talking about the scenes that make you want
to throw on a DVD at 3 a.m. when you're tired and drunk and
slovenly but can't bear the thought of going to bed before you
catch just that one scene... for the 250th time.
Sunday, April 19, 2009 10:00 pm
- She appeared in The Muppets' "She Drives me Crazy" video.
Friday, December 19, 2008 10:00 pm
In Charles Dickens' Victorian England, Christmas was not even
distantly similar to what it evolved into 200 years later.
Friday, December 12, 2008 10:00 pm
Over the past 10 years or so, I've made every effort to
establish myself as "the Christmas guy." My friends and family may
be annoyed that I start playing Christmas carols on my car stereo
no later than Nov. 1, but one thing that everyone can seem to enjoy
together is the tradition of trying to cram in as many Christmas
movies and television specials as possible during the weeks heading
up to the big day.
Friday, December 5, 2008 10:00 pm
Note: Continuing with the new “film log” format for this column. Films marked “Masterwork Selection” should be considered special recommendations, and are subject to more in-depth, spoiler-laden examinations at any time in the future. More tweaks and alterations on the way as I iron this thing out.
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