Screened Out – La La Land

By : Stephen Miller
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Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone

Do-It-Yourself indie films and high-polish Hollywood musicals don’t seem to fit together. And if fact, there are some brief points in La La Land that don’t quite sing. Yet, as a whole, this small, modern throwback to Hollywood’s heyday is delightful. It reminds us that miracles can still happen, even in the simplest films.

And it doesn’t hurt that La La Land has the imitable and immutable charm of Gosling and Stone together in another love story (after the cute Crazy Stupid Love and the duller Gangster Land). Their singing may be a little windy and wispy – no full-throated Merman-like belting here. However, their chemistry is undeniable.

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Screened Out – Focus

By : Stephen Miller
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Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro, Gerald McRaney

You can feel Focus trying to be as debonair and romantic as the Oceans films and as character-driven as American Hustle. Despites its sites, it never reaches those heights.

It’s not that Smith isn’t an expert at playing slick – he’s less appealing at the romantic banter required here. It’s also not that Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) isn’t sexy. In fact, her glamour and comic timing are the best things about this flick. The complications are entertaining. Although this is pure escapism, it’s just slight on memorable moments and sexual chemistry.

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Screened Out – Birdman

By : Stephen Miller
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Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Amy Ryan

Birdman is weird and wonderful, the most inventively constructed film of the year. It’s fearless filmmaking at its best.

Yet people will rush to scream, “Don’t tell us how it’s made!” Some filmgoers never want to contemplate the brilliant mechanics behind their entertainment; they believe that analyzing takes them out of the story, the magic. Well, the genius, mesmerizing and hilarious Birdman proves them all wrong. It’s strange stuff, and the architecture is enchanting.

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Screened Out – Magic in the Moonlight

By : Stephen Miller
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Colin Firth, Emma Stone, Marcia Gay Harden, Jackie Weaver, Simon McBurney

Woody Allen continues to pay homage to the Hollywood films he loves with this trifle of a romantic comedy. He blends a Jazz Age story with European locations, 1930s Rom Com style, and his modern Allen-esque editing. It doesn’t always make for a thrilling ride; in fact, it can seem quite mechanical.

The problem is that – without the black and white cinematography and old Hollywood sense of pace and grand style – this short film actually feels longish and completely uninspiring. As a 1930s film, it wouldn’t even be a classic – perhaps more admired for its style over substance, a way to fill the 2 A.M. slot on Turner Classic Movies.

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Watermark’s 2014 Orlando Fringe Reviews: A Tired Old Whore

By : Jamie Hyman
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You know that scene in Zombieland, when Bill Murray appears and Emma Stone can’t stop cracking up and finally she’s just like, “I’m sorry, he just gets me”?

That’s how I feel about Doug Ba’aser, the star of A Tired Old Whore. The guy is funny. The show is funny. It’s filthy and offensive and there will be moments when you kind of hate yourself for laughing but you keep cracking up. He gets me.

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