Eleanor Ringel Cater

Movie column by Eleanor Ringel Cater

‘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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‘Days of Heaven’ – sensuous movie to be screened at Lefont Film Society

A few years ago, I was asked to contribute to the National Society of Film Critics newest book, “The X List,” subtitled “Movies that Turn Us On.”

You’d be surprised by what turns critics on (maybe not…)

Roger Ebert chose a movie he’d co-written, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.” The Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern went for Brad Pitt’s “Troy.” Time’s Richard Schickel chose “The Unbearable Lightness of Being.” Peter Travers from Rolling Stone admitted he gets hot and bothered by “Body Heat.”
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Three movies: ‘Belle,’ ‘Maleficent’ and ‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’

Here are my reviews of three movies that are out in theaters right now — “Belle;” “Maleficent” and “A Million Ways to Die in the West.”

“Belle,” which was “inspired” by a true story, is a richly gorgeous film. “Maleficent” is impressive, and any movie with Angelina Jolie has natural star power. “A Million Ways to Die in the West” shows that Seth MacFarlane really loves Westerns.
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