Archive for the ‘Personal Takes’ Category

Trust Issues

Posted by Ken Burke On April - 12 - 2014 0 Comment
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I’ve recently posted a review of several cinematic offerings that in their various ways deal with trust problems, with the most obvious one of the bunch being the new Captain America: The Winter Soldier in which no one seems to trust each other at all until about midway through the story.  Patriotic Cap, Steve Rogers, thinks  [ Read More ]

Sacred and Profane (you choose which is which)

Posted by Ken Burke On April - 5 - 2014 1 Comment
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If you come to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, his version of how and why the Biblical Great Flood happened, expecting to get a rosy, upbeat telling of the Genesis story with this patriarch and his family as the only decent human beings left on Earth when God decided to wipe the slate (and the planet) clean with  [ Read More ]

Been There, Dune That

Posted by Ken Burke On March - 29 - 2014 0 Comment
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  I wanted to call your attention to an interesting new documentary which may come and go quickly unless diehard sci-fi fans manage to generate enough buzz on its behalf.  It concerns the unsuccessful attempts by cult-embraced Chilean filmmaker (although his most noted work has been done in Mexico and France) Alejandro Jodorowsky to bring  [ Read More ]

Alternative Garden of Eden: Embrace the Snake

Posted by Ken Burke On March - 20 - 2014 0 Comment
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I haven’t been getting many replies to my posts here lately so if this film title and photo don’t catch your attention then I don’t know what will.  Assuming that you clicked in to see what’s going on here, let me tell you a bit about Nymphomaniac: Volume I.  If you know anything about Lars  [ Read More ]

Skyrockets in Flight

Posted by Ken Burke On March - 13 - 2014 0 Comment
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Unless you’ve caught up with the 2013 Oscar winners and nominees that you’d previously missed from the last few months you might be wondering what to choose from the not-so-consistently enthusiastically-received releases that are on your local movie screens.  While anyone could make an argument for any of the several current box-office champs making the  [ Read More ]

Post-Oscar Pleasures

Posted by Ken Burke On March - 7 - 2014 0 Comment
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Now that the Oscars have been awarded (refer to my predictions and results if needed), I’d like to recommend your attention to a couple of films that didn’t win for 2013 but are still in theaters and one just opening that might have a shot at the Best Cinematography Oscar next year if the Academy voters  [ Read More ]

Oscar-Winner Predictions for 2013 Films

Posted by Ken Burke On February - 26 - 2014 0 Comment
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This coming Sunday, March 2, 2014, beginning at 5:30pm Pacific Time (8:30 Eastern) on ABC we’ll find this year’s awarding of the Oscar statuettes to—if not the most deserving cinematic work released in 2013—the films considered to be the best by the roughly 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Rarely  [ Read More ]

Third-Rate Romance, High-Rent Rendezvous

Posted by Ken Burke On February - 26 - 2014 0 Comment
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There are a couple of films still making the rounds after not having scored as they might have recently on Valentine’s Day weekend which deal with the mystical visions of love and its counterpart of harsh realities.  The main reason these offerings didn’t do so well with box-office-receipts has to do with their very natures:   [ Read More ]

Oscar Nominees for Short Films from 2013

Posted by Ken Burke On February - 21 - 2014 0 Comment
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I’ve used a clumsy title here, but I find so much confusion in doing Web searches for specific Oscar years where the prompt often leads to the year the prizes were given out rather than the year in which the films were released, so I just want to be clear that I’m referring to Short  [ Read More ]

Who Are You?

Posted by Ken Burke On February - 21 - 2014 0 Comment
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There’s a bit of an identity crisis going on at your local cinemas (depending on where you live because one of the films I’m about to promote here is playing in only 15 theaters nationwide despite having been out for the last 5 weeks and the other is opening today with some poor reviews already  [ Read More ]

Art, Recovered and Discovered

Posted by Ken Burke On February - 16 - 2014 0 Comment
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While neither the new WW II story, The Monuments Men (directed by, co-written by, and co-starring George Clooney) nor Tim’s Vermeer (directed by Teller—one name will do as far as he’s concerned—of the famous Penn and Teller magic act) are anticipated to do big business this Valentine’s Day/Presidents’ Day holiday weekend given the fantasy and  [ Read More ]

Labor Pains

Posted by Ken Burke On February - 6 - 2014 0 Comment
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When you watch filmmakers discuss their work at press conferences (such as the one from last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival for Labor Day) you hear all of these sincere statements about how much the project meant to all involved, how the director is a genius that everyone loved to work with, how the actors  [ Read More ]

Cold Shoulders, Warm Hearts

Posted by Ken Burke On January - 26 - 2014 0 Comment
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I’m going to make some opening comments on a couple of movies that essentially have nothing to do with each other but in a way they connect a bit, because if you begin with wintery scenes in Moscow, where the young version of newly-minted CIA field agent Jack Ryan (Chris Pine) is tearing through the  [ Read More ]

2013 Top 10 and Oscar Nominations

Posted by Ken Burke On January - 26 - 2014 0 Comment
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I realize that we’re getting quite far into 2014 for me to finally be offering a Top 10 list for 2013, but given that I have little opportunity to see all of the likely contenders until they open commercially—slowly as that may be throughout various parts of the U.S. (not to mention the rest of  [ Read More ]

“I Coulda Been a Contenda!”—But Not This Year

Posted by Ken Burke On January - 16 - 2014 0 Comment
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I’m posting this shortly before the Academy Award nominations for 2013 films are announced as a means of giving a bit of recognition to three that likely won’t be represented much—although the best bet is with August: Osage County, simply because Meryl Streep (for Best Actress) and Julia Roberts (for Best Supporting Actress) have already  [ Read More ]

Love, Love Me Do

Posted by Ken Burke On January - 10 - 2014 0 Comment
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There’s a mini-cluster of films in current release that all deal with the difficulties of love being realized in its intended state of stability either because of social conditions in play at the time the cinematic stories are set or because of problems within the relationship itself, although a bit of both conflicts is a  [ Read More ]

Secrets and Lies

Posted by Ken Burke On January - 4 - 2014 0 Comment
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How you use clandestine information for your own personal gain, how you reinvent yourself to attempt to alter your past, and how difficult it is to maintain privacy or respect for yourself and the hidden lives of others in a time of social-media-saturation are themes to be found in three new releases, all of which  [ Read More ]

Quality Emissions from the Wayback Machine

Posted by Ken Burke On December - 27 - 2013 0 Comment
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I’ve just posted a review of three films—all by outstanding writer-directors—with connections to the broad concept of “the past” either because they take place in earlier eras (Inside Llewyn Davis and American Hustle) or because the characters in them seem haunted by events that have occurred previously in their lives (both of the aforementioned ones  [ Read More ]

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Posted by Ken Burke On December - 20 - 2013 0 Comment
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Yeah, I know that my title here was stolen from Ray Bradbury’s dark fantasy novel about an evil traveling carnival, but you can’t copyright a title (so check carefully what you’re choosing when you rent a DVD or you may get quite a surprise when it arrives) and it says exactly what I’m feeling about  [ Read More ]

Everything Is Beautiful … Except Mars and Tijuana

Posted by Ken Burke On December - 13 - 2013 0 Comment
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While the Italian contender for a nomination to Oscar’s 2013 Best Foreign Language Film category, The Great Beauty, has been making the rounds for a while now (picking up wins for Best Picture, Director, Actor, and Editor at the recent European Film Awards, with a lot of respect in other quarters as well), I just  [ Read More ]

We Are Family … Or Not

Posted by Ken Burke On December - 5 - 2013 0 Comment
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“Family values” was originally more of a Republican phrase used in late 20th-century election campaigns as code for conservatively-oriented religious and political agendas (which, in extreme cases, were essentially merged into one united worldview of how a certain type of Christian morality was needed to restore America to principles deemed “lost” after a couple of  [ Read More ]

Fire in the Hole or a Blazing Success?

Posted by Ken Burke On November - 27 - 2013 0 Comment
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By any reasonable set of monetary standards the new installment of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a huge triumph, placing near the all-time top for opening-weekend sales in both the domestic and worldwide markets.  Does that make it a success as a cinematic experience, though, especially laboring against the inevitable inertia that accompanies the  [ Read More ]

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I’ve just posted a review of Dallas Buyers Club and Blue Is the Warmest Color, both of which have upbeat and downbeat aspects, both of which feature some superb acting, and both of which should find themselves in various categories of competition when awards season soon swings into full motion.  Dallas Buyers Club is yet  [ Read More ]

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I offer the above citation from Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” as an allusion to Thor’s status as the god of thunder (along with storms, etc.), at least in his actual mythological manifestation, which is somewhat incorporated into the explanation we get of the modern version of this character as he’s presented in Marvel Comics but  [ Read More ]

12 Years a Slave: Magnificent Cinema, Atrocious Topic

Posted by Ken Burke On November - 14 - 2013 0 Comment
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Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave, based on the actual account of Solomon Northup being held against his will in Louisiana from 1841-1853 is a difficult film to watch because of the terrible truths it shows about the atrocities of this nation’s former “peculiar institution” of buying and selling human beings, then working them to  [ Read More ]