Eleanor Ringel Cater

Movie column by Eleanor Ringel Cater

‘Joe’ – Nicholas Cage reminds us – and himself – he really is a fine actor

After slumming for years in crud like “Ghost Rider” and “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” Nicolas Cage has decided to remind himself — and all of us — that, yes, he can act, That, in fact, he’s a helluva an actor when he puts his mind to it.

His new movie “Joe” is so unexpectedly good it made me want to go back and look at all of Cage’s previous movies. In it, he plays an ex-con, scraping together a kind of life in hard-scrabble rural Texas.

For money, he runs a crew whose job is to go around poisoning trees so a lumber company can come in and plant new ones. For everything else, he drinks hard, visits the local whorehouse, and tries — mightily — to keep his violent temper in check.
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Anita Hill documentary shows us views toward women have improved

Anita?

Anita from West Side Story? Anita Sharpe, Bloomsberg bureau chief in Atlanta?

Anita….is she the former Mousequeteer who made all those beach movies with Frankie Avalon (oh oops…that was Annette).

So my first question…aside from the insider query as to why nobody knew this was opening here…is, why did filmmaker Freida Lee Mock make the title “Anita” instead of “Anita Hill?”
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An Appreciation: Mickey Rooney

True story: Mickey Rooney was starring in a series of two-reelers modeled after the Little Rascals, in which he played a character named Mickey Maguire. Brash, energetic, smart-alecky, stubborn — Maguire wasn’t all that different from young Rooney himself.

One day he noticed a slight young man with a pencil-thin moustache sketching. The Mick asked what he was drawing and the man answered, a mouse. Then he asked the little boy his name and when he heard it, the artist said, “Well, I’m going to call this mouse Mickey, after you.”
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‘Noah’ – Creator wants animals to survive flood, but maybe not mankind

About the only thing Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” has in common with the Bible’s Noah are an Ark, a Flood, and a guy named Noah.

Oh, there’s also Mrs. Noah and their three sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. And all those animals,

After that, the versions are radically different. And I think Aronofsky’s is better. Well, maybe not better, but at least more entertaining.

It’s still — basically — the same old story. God, referred to here as “The Creator,” tells Noah (Russell Crowe) a world-soaking deluge is on the way. God/The Creator does so via a series of visions or, perhaps, bad dreams Noah has.
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‘Le Week-End’ – couple’s love of Paris and complex love for each other

Nick (Jim Broadbent) and Meg (Lindsay Duncan) both love Paris.

They’re just not sure if they love each other any more.

The superb new film, Le Week-End,” chronicles their floundering, all-too-human attempts to find out. It opens in Atlanta on Friday, March 28.

Returning to the City of Lights 30 years after they honeymooned there, the long-married couple knows each other’s pressure points as surely as George and Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”

The movie — which, I must emphasize, is in English…NO subtitles — is an expert dissection of why we love, why we hate and why some of us put up with each other for a lifetime.
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A belated Happy Birthday to the Internet – from the movies

The Net, the Web, the World-wide Web, the Internet, the Information Highway, Cyberspace…

I could keep going but, as someone once said, the Eskimos have a hundred words for snow. Or something like that.

Anyway, the Web recently turned 25, so attention must be paid, as Arthur Miller once wrote. (Question: How many words did he have for ex-wife Marilyn Monroe?)

My hands-down favorite Internet movie is: “The Social Network,” which has cemented an, um, unkind version of Mark Zuckerberg in the public mind forever, thanks to Aaron Sorkin’s dead-on script, David Fincher’s dead-on direction and Jesse Eisenberg’s dead-on…let’s switch it up and say uncanny…performance.
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“Non Stop” — Liam Neeson plays an action hero role in airline thriller

The on-going transformation of Liam Neeson — from sensitive hero of serious movie like “Schindler’s List,” “Michael Collins” and “Ethan Frome” to action hero of “Taken,” “Unknown” and “The Grey” — continues with “Non-Stop.”

Probably the weakest of the New Neeson movies, it is, nonetheless, an entertaining thriller that holds up really well until, say, its last 10 minutes. Even so, it’s still an entertaining picture.

The premise is initially pretty straightforward. Neeson is an alcoholic air marshal who, like Denzel Washington in “Flight,” thinks a nip or two is the breakfast of champions. As the movie progresses, we learn there’s a reason for his melancholy. His little daughter has died.

He also hates flying.

Neeson is cruising along at about 30,000 feet on a transatlantic flight to London when he receives a disturbing text on his supposedly secure cell phone. Unless $150 million is wired to a certain account, somebody on board is going to die every 15 minutes.
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Valuing the Oscars — both in dollars and artistic merit — over time

It’s all over but the appalling follow-up coverage that has ranged from some guy who does impersonations of Oscar nominees to commentary by Olympic ice-skating judges on the fashions. In 2018, let’s have Oscar winners judge the ice skating events.

But, time to get down to brass tacks, so to speak: How much is an Oscar worth?

Mentally and emotionally, I’d say it’s priceless.

But talking plain old dollars and cents, what is that little gold guy, emasculated-a-la-a-Ken-Doll worth.
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Anticipating, choosing and predicting the 2014 Oscar winners

The Oscars are like an old friend you don’t see much anymore. You still care about ‘em, but in a sort of distant, dispassionate way. I haven’t truly cared about the Oscars in a long time. Not passionately, I mean. But I do have an affection for them.

And let’s face it. There are sexier awards shows, more entertaining awards shows, even more serious awards shows. But the Oscar is the one everyone wants. Longevity has its privileges. So does institutional memory.

Here is my guesswork for the Oscar nominees in the six major categories.
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Movies to watch on a snowy, icy evening in winter

Sure, it’s sunny and nice now. But not so long ago, Atlanta had a little problem with, um, a little snow.

However,  I’m not in the finger-pointing business — unless it’s at something on a movie screen.

Herewith a few movies in which snow just won’t let go — either as frigid backdrop or active predator.

Anyone remember that South American rugby team that crashed in the Andes in 1972?  Well, Frank Marshall, who helped Spielberg and Lucas birth Indiana Jones, does. Or did. In 1993 he made a movie called “Alive,” based on that story.
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