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Video Film Review: BEFORE MIDNIGHT is fair in love and war and humor

BEFORE MIDNIGHT explores the real issues of love and life with wit and humor.

Today’s panelist, Justine Harrison, connects with our host, Danielle Winston, to discuss one of this summer’s best films thus far, Before Midnight. They get comfy and share a couch at the West Village gastropub favorite, West 3rd Common.
Before Midnite Movie Poster

In our video review above, Danielle and Justine each bring an interesting perspective to this conversation about this perfect-for-summer and beyond film that you won’t want to miss.

Before Midnight is the third film of a cult-like romantic trilogy.  In case you missed the previous two, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, they are must-see viewing to truly appreciate this latest installment. All three have all been directed by Richard Linklater. Although he is credited with writing the first two, the writing this time, however, is also credited to the romantic leads Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, who each deliver outstanding performances here. Shot in Southern Greece in the coastal towns of Messinia and Kardamili, the scenery is gorgeous, breathtaking and ever so inviting.

Also included in this episode is our Video-On-Demand (VOD) Pick of the Week.  See why our correspondent, Mimi Spillane believes, “We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks” is essential viewing for us all in this current political and social climate.

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Today's Host Danielle Winston

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Mimi Spillane

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Video Film Review: SIDE EFFECTS

Graphic movie poster for Side Effects

The film, Side Effects, is a jagged little pill.

See our video review below as today’s host, Danielle Winston speaks with our panelist about the  psychological thriller, SIDE EFFECTS, at Stand 4 Restaurant near Union Square in New York City.

Listen to this review online here.

Rumored to be director, Steven Soderbergh’s final cinematic endeavor, SIDE EFFECTS, is a fitting but, complexly intricate swan song that concludes the long and illustrious career of the man who put the indie film genre in the conscious mind of the mainstream. With a screenplay written by Scott Z. Burns, this story is so deeply entrenched with twists, that just as you sense the film may be nearing its end, it takes yet another dramatic, wild turn. The original music created here by Thomas Newman is moody yet synthesizes harmoniously with the shifting pace.

To say anything is to say too much. As the intensity fluctuates, a shift in protagonist follows suit. What begins as a satirical observation of the dubious practices of the pharmaceutical industry takes a sharp detour and transforms into a well-crafted and highly suspenseful journey about perceptions. Relish in the powerful performances by Rooney Mara and Jude Law. They are two of the reasons why the film is so great. You will also get a kick out of the character played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. She is deliciously wicked out of her comfort zone (something she should do a little more often).  Channing Tatum is affable and the great eye candy he has become known for on screen. Word-on-the-street has it that at one time, Justin Timberlake was up for his role as well as Lindsay Lohan being considered for Rooney Mara’s part. So glad all involved came to their senses as anything other than this cast is hard to imagine being as splendid.

Make no mistake, this is a Steven Soderbergh production from beginning to end. He is also the film’s editor and cinematographer, although in the credits for these two roles he uses the pseudonyms, Mary Ann Bernard and Peter Andrews, respectively. Crafty to the final frame! It is hard to believe that a talent of this caliber is walking away from the big screen forever. But, perhaps what we are really seeing is a man’s need for a change in direction (pun intended) and taking control of his life to make it happen…something that we all could experience a little more of in our own lives. And, we, as loyal viewers, can only hope that this is merely a brief reprieve and not a final goodbye. Either way, if you are a Soderbergh fan, this thriller is for you.

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Video Film Review: LES MISERABLES

Les Miserables is a film best served with passion.

Shoshi, today’s host converses with our panelist, Gerit Quealy at Eva’s Supplements and Health Food Store located in the West Village in New York City to discuss this musical and to the review the comedic online short, Helping Hands.

Listen to this review online here.

Based on the historic 19th century French novel written by Victor Hugo, this is the cinematic adaptation of the long-running, multi-award winning musical phenomenon known as Les Miserables. With a screenplay collaborative by William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg and Herbert Kretzmer and directed by Tom Hooper, the film steps into a world of splendid wonder hard to achieve on the theatrical stage.

Musicals as a genre have long been considered a relic from the past, however, director Tom Hooper, manages to breathe new life into this melodic, celluloid rendition. Utilizing skillful long shots, intense, dramatic close-ups and stunning CGI (Computer Generated Images), Les Miserables, the film, is an impressive feat.

The cast were required to sing live (which also allows them to improvise their singing patterns) as well as act. Expect to be blown away by Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne (who knew he had a voice as well as presence??). Great performances are also given by Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfried but Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter raise to every occasion and steal most of their scenes as well as bringing some lighter much needed comic relief. Although it clocks in at just over 2.5 hours, it is an enjoyable journey rich with historical anecdotes and social references that remain relevant in modern society.

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