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American Sniper (2014): Pandering to a Chickenhawk Nation

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  7    On April 7, 1775, English writer Samuel Johnson reportedly uttered the words, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”  Put in the proper historical context, Johnson probably meant the other guy’s brand of patriotism.  And of course, Johnson was posthumously diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome – a ... Read More »

The Place Beyond the Pines (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   As the credits rolled at the conclusion of the 140-minute The Place Beyond the Pines, I immediately wondered if the film is as successful as the novel in conveying the three distinct-but-related stories of fathers and sons.  And much to my surprise, I found out that the screenplay – penned by ... Read More »

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilerly is this article on a scale of 1 to 10)?  3  Will they or won’t they?  Yes, this is one of those movies.  But is Silver Linings Playbook a good one of those movies? The film opens with Paul (Bradley Cooper) just being released from an eight-month stay at a Baltimore mental hospital into the custody of his parents (Robert DeNiro and ... Read More »

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