Eleanor Ringel Cater

Movie column by Eleanor Ringel Cater

Director Sir Richard Attenborough believed in dignity and equality for all

The bond between Atlanta and the late Sir Richard Attenborough, who recently died at age 90, goes a good deal deeper that most of us know.

In January 1983, the actor/director came here to present a benefit screening of “Gandhi,” his epic film about Mohandas K. Gandhi, the Indian leader whose unshakable adherence to nonviolence ultimately freed his country from colonial rule and inspired Martin Luther King, Jr. in his battle for civil rights.
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Remembering interviewing Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall – two actors who loved and lived to work

I interviewed Robin Williams once. It was the early ‘90s, and he was pushing “Flubber.” He was funny. He was kind. And he was, as he himself admitted, a very hairy man.

As it happens, I also interviewed Lauren Bacall, another loss from last week. In fact, she was my very first interview as the movie critic for the Atlanta Constitution.

What I thought when I heard about Robin Williams’ suicide. He wanted to keep working. He loved the actor’s life. So did Lauren Bacall. So did Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne, for that matter.

Moliere died on stage, in the middle of one of his own plays. He sounds pretty lucky.
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‘Mood Indigo’ – a visually delightful film where tragedy meets the sublime

You don’t know how tempting it is to review “Mood Indigo” by simply listing all the visual delights Michel Gondry crams into his newest flight of fancy.

A Rubric Cube calendar. The pianocktail that allows you to compose a tune and concoct a cocktail at the same time. The doctor-prescribed treatment for a case of “water lily in the right lung” (very expensive). A tray of oven-baked snacks that come in tiny dollhouse ovens. A movable feast (literally).
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‘Magic in the Moonlight’ – Woody Allen casts an acceptable spell

If you happen to know — or happier still — happen to love Woody Allen’s moon-drenched “A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy,” it’s all but impossible to look at his newest, “Magic in the Moonlight” without regarding it as a kind of autobiographical bookend to the earlier film.

Think back to the Woody Allen Saga, circa 1982.

He is newly in love — besotted with his cultural opposite, flirtatious flower child Mia Farrow, the waif-like ‘60s siren who, at 21, snared Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra. It’s worth noting that he, at 50, was at his most irrelevant. In 1966, nobody gave a flying flip about Ring-a-ding-ding. Well, nobody under 30, that is.
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‘Begin Again’ – director of ‘Once’ brings sweet music to New York

Maybe “Once” was enough for writer/director John Carney.

The Irish filmmaker’s low-key 2006 movie was a surprise hit in the U.S. — so much so that it was subsequently turned into a successful Broadway musical, also called “Once.”

Not that his sophomore effort, “Begin Again,” is all that bad.

It isn’t. But it lacks the considerable offbeat charm of its predecessor.
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‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ – Western-like plot of apes vs. humans

Monkey See Monkey Do. Monkey doo doo.

This is hardly Pulitzer Prize writing, but the entire time I was watching “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” I could not get this rude little jingle out of my head.

Its predecessor, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” did the near-impossible: it resurrected a series that had trashed its own legacy throughout the early ‘70s.
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‘Snowpiercer’ – movie about a train traveling through climate change

As post-apocalyptic films go, “Snowpiercer” has several things going for it.

First, the director is South Korean Bong Joon-ho, working in English for the first time. A few years ago, he made a stunning and original film called “The Host,” — a monster movie unlike anything you’ve seen before, partly a straight-on yum-yum-eat-‘em-up saga of a Nasty Thing that comes from a river and starts killing everyone in sight, it’s also a tender story of family and loss.
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‘Obvious Child’ – a movie about a woman’s choice grows on you

“Obvious Child” offers the responsible critic (and we are assuming I am one…) an interesting conundrum.

What if you heartily agree with the point the picture is trying to make and applaud it for doing so, but the movie itself is, well, so-so.

A recent example would be “12 Years a Slave,” a very good movie in many ways. Good enough to be deemed the Best Picture of the year at the Academy Awards.
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In honor of the 2014 World Cup, here are movies with a soccer theme

Has the World Cup given you a taste for the world’s greatest sport?

If so, do you have any idea how hard it is to find world-class soccer again once the Cup is won? In the U.S, I mean. Everywhere else in the universe, God’s Chosen Game will continue at the same feverish pitch

So here’s what I thought. Maybe it would help to suggest several soccer movies to help you through the inevitable withdrawal period.
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‘Edge of Tomorrow’ – Tom Cruise in a cool science fiction thriller

You hear that Tom Cruise is starring in a movie called “Edge of Tomorrow” and two things  go through your head. Couldn’t they find a better title than one that sounds like an old afternoon soap from the ‘60s?

And this time-loop concept…didn’t Bill Murray do it about as well as it ever could be done in “Groundhog Day?” And wasn’t it done about as routinely as possible in “Source Code?”

Yes, Yes . And yes.

But it makes no difference.  “Edge of Tomorrow” is one of the coolest sci fi/action thrillers to come along in quite a while.
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