Film review: Dark Horse (2016)

This documentary is delightful even if you, like me, are not a horse enthusiast or know anything about horse racing. It tells the story of a group of people in a small Welsh coal mining town. The mines, like so many others, had closed and the town struggled economically. A woman who had a job cleaning a department store and also worked as a part-time barmaid had the bizarre idea of starting a small syndicate to buy a race horse and she managed to find 30 people willing to contribute £10 per week. With part of the money that was raised they bought a mare that turned out to be a rotten competitor. They bred that mare with a thoroughbred and named the foal Dream Alliance.
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Film review: Snowden (2016)

I saw this Oliver Stone film a couple of days ago that tells the story of Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) over the period 2003 to 2013, ending with his trip to Moscow. The films starts on June 3, 2013 with Snowden holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong making contact with journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and Ewan MacAskill for the first time and telling them his story, though he had already given them the encrypted documents that would explode into the world that week.
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What’s the point of such things?

The Cleveland Orchestra is considered one of the best in the world. Like all classical music ensembles, it faces the problem that the audience for it is aging. In order to attract a younger and more diverse group, it engages in various programs that have more contemporary and popular music. One of the things that it advertises are things called Movie Nights that say that a film will be shown on a big screen in the concert hall with the score preformed live by the Cleveland Orchestra. They have had films like Back to the Future and the next one will be Raiders of the Lost Ark.
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The making of Star Wars

The documentary below was made in 1977 at the same time as the blockbuster hit was being filmed and takes us behind the scenes, with C-3PO and R2-D2 as our tour guides. It shows how the various special effects were produced at a time when CGI was not available. Interestingly, they do not reveal the actors behind Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2. The last was played by Kenny Baker who died last week at the age of 81.
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Film review: Zootopia (2016)

This is an excellent animated film from the Walt Disney studios that tells the story of the town of Zootopia where all animals, even those who used to be predators and prey in the distant past, have learned to live together in harmony. The story focuses on a rabbit Judy Hopps who realizes her dream of becoming the first rabbit to become a member of the police force that has been dominated by large mammals. She graduates top of her police academy class but faces all manner of discouragement, from her parents who fear the dangers of the job to her precinct boss who thinks that rabbits have no business being police officers and assigns her to parking meter duties in an effort to get her to become frustrated and quit.
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The fuss over the Ghostbusters reboot

I saw the 1984 film Ghostbusters a few years ago because I kept hearing references to it that made it seem like it was a great comedy. I was frankly underwhelmed. It seemed just so-so to me and I do not remember anything from it. In general, I avoid seeing remakes of films in which I thought the originals were good, but will see a remake of a bad film if I hear that it was done much better.
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Book and film review of Peyton Place (1957)

A few weeks ago I watched the 1957 film Peyton Place because I had read the book by Grace Metalious a long time ago and thought it pretty good, though not great. The film was pretty bad, though. I was surprised to learn that it had been nominated for nine Oscars but not surprised that it failed to win any. What prompts me to review it is that the way that the book was transformed into film reveals something interesting about the standards that were imposed unevenly on the two forms of art.
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