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News of the World

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    Swamp Water (1941)

    In 1940, Jean Renoir fled Nazi-occupied France and came to the United States where, typically, studio heads had no idea how to treat a master filmmaker of his ilk. His first American film, Swamp Water (1941), almost feels like the work of someone else, although it still contains a few of its maker's signature themes, and it's an excellent entertainment in any regard. Ben (Dana Andrews) ventures into the vast, deadly Okefenokee Swamp to find his lost dog, and accidentally runs into escaped fugitive and accused murderer Tom Keefer (Walter Brennan). They eventually become partners and form a trapping business, but Ben's long absences rub both his controlling father, Thursday (Walter Huston), and his fickle sweetheart (Virginia Gilmore) the wrong way. At the same time, he becomes closer to Tom's grown daughter, Julie (Anne Baxter), and begins to promise her a new life when her father returns. Meanwhile, creepy Jesse Wick (John Carradine) begins hanging around Thursday's second wife a bit too much, leading to a confrontation with Ben. Dudley Nichols wrote the screenplay (from a novel by Vereen Bell), and while he delicately balances the novel's intricate plotlines, he also imbues the movie with his trademark seriousness; in this case it works. It elevates the pulp to the level of art. Because of Nichols and because of a selection of recognizable stock players (Carradine, Ward Bond, etc.), many have said that Swamp Water seems like a John Ford film, but moments of delicate humanity, as when Ben steps into the line of fire to prove to Tom that he's really a friend, are all Renoir. read more...
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      Swamp Water (1941)

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      • With: Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, Virginia Gilmore, John Carradine, Mary Howard, Eugene Pallette, Ward Bond, Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, Russell Simpson, Joe Sawyer, Paul E. Burns, Dave Morris, Frank Austin
      • Written by: Dudley Nichols, based on a novel by Vereen Bell
      • Directed by: Jean Renoir
      • MPAA Rating: NR
      • Running Time: 88 minutes
      • Release Date: 10/22/1941
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      The Monuments Men (2014)

      George Clooney's fifth directorial outing, The Monuments Men, was pulled from its awards season release so that its editing would not have to be rushed. And indeed, the final product feels pretty relaxed... perhaps a bit too relaxed. Maybe some rushing would have helped. read more...
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        The Monuments Men (2014)

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        • With: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bob Balaban, Dimitri Leonidas
        • Written by: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, based on a book by Robert M. Edsel, Bret Witter
        • Directed by: George Clooney
        • MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking
        • Running Time: 118 minutes
        • Release Date: 02/06/2014
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        Pride (2014)

        Lately, it seems that every couple of months we get a new movie in The Full Monty mode: a sweet U.K. comedy-drama about plucky working-class folks who do something terribly out of the ordinary to save the community; in the process, several of the stuffier characters usually learn to lighten up and love life. Directed by Matthew Warchus (whose only other film is the forgotten, 15 year-old Simpatico), Pride is probably one of the better examples, leaning less toward cuteness a bit more toward earnestness. read more...
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          Pride (2014)

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          • With: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, George MacKay, Joseph Gilgun, Andrew Scott, Ben Schnetzer, Chris Overton, Faye Marsay, Freddie Fox, Jessica Gunning, Joshua Hill, Lisa Palfrey, Liz White, Monica Dolan, Menna Trussler
          • Written by: Stephen Beresford
          • Directed by: Matthew Warchus
          • MPAA Rating: R for language and brief sexual content
          • Running Time: 120 minutes
          • Release Date: 09/25/2014
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          Resistance (2020)

          I confess, this is not the kind of movie I usually like, but while watching at home during the COVID-19 "shelter-in-place" order, I found myself won over. read more...
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            Resistance (2020)

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            • With: Jesse Eisenberg, Ed Harris, Edgar Ramírez, Clémence Poésy, Matthias Schweighöfer, Bella Ramsey, Géza Röhrig, Karl Markovics, Félix Moati, Alicia von Rittberg, Vica Kerekes
            • Written by: Jonathan Jakubowicz
            • Directed by: Jonathan Jakubowicz
            • MPAA Rating: R for some violence
            • Running Time: 120 minutes
            • Release Date: 03/27/2020
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            The Mule (2018)

            Clint Eastwood directs this drama at the same high level as his best work; his classical sure-footedness overcomes potentially goopy material, and a few politically-incorrect missteps can be forgiven. read more...
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              • Innocence ▶ Seasoned, Savvy, Streetwise
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            The Mule (2018)

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            • With: Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest, Andy Garcia, Alison Eastwood, Taissa Farmiga, Ignacio Serricchio, Loren Dean, Victor Rasuk, Manny Montana, Clifton Collins Jr., Noel Gugliemi, Robert LaSardo, Eugene Cordero
            • Written by: Nick Schenk, based on an article by Sam Dolnick
            • Directed by: Clint Eastwood
            • MPAA Rating: R for language throughout and brief sexuality/nudity
            • Running Time: 116 minutes
            • Release Date: 12/13/2018
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