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Author: J. Don Birnam

LA LA LAND Ties Oscar Nominations Record

Titanic and All About Eve have company. The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards this morning, and, surprising no one, film festival darling La La Land led the way with a stunning 14 nominations. Recognized in all main categories from Best Picture, Best Director (Damien Chazelle), Best Actress (Emma Stone), Best Actor (Ryan Gosling), and Best Original Screenplay, the romantic comedy/musical has become the prohibitive favorite to beat this awards season. Hoping to rain a bit on the love story’s parade were the other two major players this year, Moonlight...

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Film Review: Vin Diesel Returns With A Vengeance In xXx: THE RETURN OF XANDER CAGE

It’s been a decade and a half but Vin Diesel is no worse for the wear as he returns with a vengeance into the role that made him a star ages ago, that of Xander Cage in the xXx universe. In the latest film, creatively titled “The Return of Xander Cage,” the action anti-anti-hero attempts to save the world from the evil goonies bent on controlling it with a device (also ingenuously labelled), “Pandora’s Box.” By the end of the movie, it is clear that what has been opened is not a mythical doomsday container, but the reboot of...

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Film Review: THE FOUNDER Is A Story of America

At the heart of The Founder lies one of the fundamental conflicts that have defined the history of post-War America. Are the values that represent us those of tradition, hard work, and small-knit communities, or are they those of corporations, faceless capitalism, and the bottom line? And at its center lives one of our most famous entrepreneurs—Ray Kroc (portrayed with his infatigable charm by Michael Keaton)—who envisioned, correctly it turns out, that his empire would come to be synonymous with “America” as much as the flag that hangs over the courthouse and the cross that decorates the neighborhood Church....

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Film Review: Bye Bye Man Is No No Good

“Before You Die You See The Ring.” Or, you know, something like that. But does it matter? The new horror film The Bye Bye Man tries to make fetch happen with “Don’t Think It, Don’t Say It,” but they may as well title it “Another Dumb Catchy Phrase For a Slasher Flick.” And what is it with repetitive monikers lately anyway? “The Force is With me and I am One with the Force” anyone? Hollywood has so run out of ideas that now they copy the lines within the copied script too, it seems. In this latest low-budget scare shop, if...

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La La Land Sweeps 74th Golden Globes; Plus Full List Of Winners

Surprising no one, awards season darling La La Land took home the most Golden Globes, with seven, including Best Motion Picture Comedy, Best Director, Best Actress Comedy (Emma Stone), Best Actor Comedy (Ryan Gosling), Best Screenplay, Best Motion Picture Musical, and Original Score and Song for “City of Stars.” The movie is now positioned to take the Academy Awards by storm—that is unless the usual Globe backlash takes hold. Remember that the Globes also gave prizes to Avatar, The Social Network, Boyhood, and The Revenant—all four of them lost Best Picture. Perhaps the best part of the sweep was...

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