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December, 10, 2016

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Movies & TV > Drama
'Promised Land,' engaging and entertaining
"Promised Land" is an engaging and entertaining -- if preachy -- look at Big Energy and fracking -- the land-and-water-wrecking practice of drilling and pumping water and chemicals into the ground to extract natural gas from shale.
 
Aspider crawls up the leg of 18-year-old India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) early in Park Chan-wook's English-language debut, "Stoker," and she regards it passively, intrigued.
 
Tremendously safe 'Lincoln'
For anyone who cringed just a little while watching the trailer for "Lincoln" and worried that it might be a near-parody of a Steven Spielberg film, with its heartfelt proclamations, sentimental tones and inspiring John Williams score, fret not.
 
A glorious retreat to victory
Staying incredibly faithful to the real-life story of the Jingmei Girls High School (景美女中) tug-of-war team's arduous journey to success, "Step Back to Glory" (志氣) is Taiwan's own inspirational sports movie.
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Director, cast take 'Step back to Glory'
A true story of the unrelenting endurance and perseverance of a group of passionate teenage girls, in a film that firmly grasps audiences and tugs at the heartstrings with an emotionally charged story of tug-of-war, "Step Back to Glory" (志氣), stands out from all of the other Cinderella-story movies in its faithful portrayal of a real-life event.
 
Hooper's 'Les Miserables' is relentless
Tom Hooper's extravaganza, big-screen telling of the beloved musical "Les Miserables" is as relentlessly driven as the ruthless Inspector Javert himself. It simply will not let up until you've Felt Something -- powerfully and repeatedly -- until you've touched the grime and smelled the squalor and cried a few tears of your own.
 
A stationary John Hawkes s moving in 'The Sessions'
They could have called it "The 38-Year-Old Virgin." In January, when Ben Lewin's beautiful, funny film about the quadriplegic poet and journalist Mark O'Brien premiered at the Sundance Film Festival -- winning two big prizes -- it was called "The Surrogate."
 
An 'Impossible' movie
"The Impossible," based on the devastating true account of a Spanish family's survival of the 2004 tsunami, is an emotionally draining cinematic onslaught. Director Juan Antonio Bayona, known for his bloodcurdling 2007 physiological thriller "The Orphanage," grips you by the neck and hurls you right into the midst of the calamity.
 
Even after a relentless, decade-long pursuit that leads to the daring midnight raid of Osama bin Laden's compound, even as she unzips the body bag to verify that the bloody corpse inside is indeed that of the slain al-Qaida leader, Jessica Chastain's CIA officer character is defined primarily by her femininity in this male-dominated world.
 
'Cosmopolis' will talk you to death
David Cronenberg loses himself in the florid soliloquies of Don DeLillo in "Cosmopolis," the filmmaker's creepy, cryptic and ever-so-chatty take on DeLillo's novel of the Wall Street "1 percent."
 
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