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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

July 19, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

Scandalous behavior rocks the playground

By | Feb 1, 2007

The truly shocking relationship in “Notes on a Scandal” is not the torrid affair between a teacher and her student, but rather the warped intimacy that binds an adulterer and her blackmailer. Art teacher Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) and 15-year-old Stephen Conolly (Andrew Simpson) are exploited by history teacher Barbara Covett (Judi Dench), who puts…

Latest big-screen musical lives up to the hype

By | Jan 31, 2007

Based on the Broadway musical of the same name, “Dreamgirls” is an inspiring toe-tapper that chronicles the lives of Effie White (Jennifer Hudson), Deena Jones (Beyoncé Knowles) and Lorrell Robinson (Anika Noni Rose), as they follow their dreams of pop stardom. The girls get their big break when they are hired as back-up singers for…

‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is a fairy tale worth getting lost in

By | Jan 31, 2007

Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” attempts to explore the prevalent malevolence of the real world through the fantastical eyes of an innocent child. Sergi López stars as the seriously evil and cold Capitán Vidal of a fascist post–World War II army base in rural Spain, where young Ofelia, portrayed by 12-year-old Ivana Baquero, comes to…

Comedian offends and tackles religious issues

By | Jan 26, 2007

George Carlin is not stand-up comedy’s elder statesman. “Elder” and “state” imply a type of establishment, which Carlin has always successfully avoided. There’s the old adage that all comedians secretly wish they were rock stars. As such, maybe Carlin is the Jimi Hendrix of stand-up. The gold standard. The undisputed great one. And like a…

Action film delivers beauty and suspense

By | Jan 25, 2007

Zhang Yimou’s latest Chinese epic “Curse of the Golden Flower” is on an even greater scale than “House of Flying Daggers” and “Hero,” pitting imperial egos against internal family politics. As the impassive Emperor Ping (Chow Yun Fat) and his family prepare for the annual Chrysanthemum festival, conspiracies run rampant and treachery is more prevalent…

‘Freedom Writers’ stays true to 1990s race conflicts

By | Jan 25, 2007

The “teacher with a heart of gold” has become such a cliché in American pop culture that it’s amazing most kids aren’t idolizing their remedial English teachers instead of movie stars and musicians. Richard LaGravenese’s “Freedom Writers” manages to transcend any hint of condescension these “inspiring” tales are often full of. “Freedom Writers” is based…

Spy film fails

By | Jan 24, 2007

“The Good Shepherd” is a fictionalized account of the beginnings of the CIA and its founders. The film hops across five continents and spans more than 30 years in the life of the (largely fictional) Edward Wilson (Matt Damon), without generating any excitement or coherency. This ambitious attempt to dissect the spy genre is built…

Stunning science fiction film visualizes the future

By | Jan 24, 2007

Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men,” an electrifying and impassioned topical tale, begins with a bang, grabbing its audience by the collar and dragging it through a disturbingly resonant dystopia. Like the best of science fiction, “Children of Men” draws upon the familiar and relevant. The year is 2027, and women can no longer give birth.…

CGI penguins put important global issues to music

By | Dec 14, 2006

What begins as a musically animated “March of the Penguins” ends like an after-school special edition of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Audiences going to “Happy Feet” can expect a cute story about a penguin who, though different from all the other penguins, is eventually accepted by his peers and lives happily ever after. But the audience…

‘The Fountain’ eternalizes quest for love

By | Dec 14, 2006

Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” is a vast, insightful and weird drama. Aronofsky’s works (including “Pi” and “Requiem for a Dream”), like those of Michel Gondry (“The Science of Sleep”), linger and haunt the mind long after credits roll. “The Fountain” is no exception. With its constantly evolving characters, vivid settings and philosophy-meets-science-fiction tone, Aronofsky’s latest…

Comedy rock duo establishes itself on the big screen

By | Dec 7, 2006

Though the faces and places have changed, the stoner comedy template hasn’t altered much in the past 30 years. The best ones require two things: lots of smoking, and an impossible trek to complete. Whether it’s halting studio production of “Bluntman and Chronic” (“Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back”), or just heading to White Castle,…

Estevez film personalizes national tragedy

By | Dec 7, 2006

After Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1968, the nation mourned the loss of a brilliant, charismatic politician. The era’s struggles feel sharply relevant to today’s national issues: involvement in an unpopular war, error-prone voting mechanisms and immigration tensions. As politically timely as “Bobby” is, what resonates most from the film is the personal impact…