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David Kanowsky

Stories by David

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Big, muscular, super powerful...Shazam

We seem to be in a season of superhero movies here in the Verde Valley. It can mean happy times for younger viewers who have lived with a limited number of these productions so far. Shazam is a deviation from the usual ‘champion’ film because it includes a lot of humor. The super guy is not always in total command of a situation and it takes a while for him to understand the extent of his power.

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Good wins over evil in excellent remake of Dumbo

Dumbo starts off with a series of scenes showing the main characters in the plot and their relation to each other and to Dumbo. The time is 1919, after the great war in Europe. Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns to the United States, greeted by his two children, Milly and Joe. Holt has lost an arm in combat and it is questionable if he can return to his career as a stunt rider in the circus.

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Captain Marvel not so marvel-ous

Captain Marvel is a film that attaches the historic comic book name to a female hero. That is OK, although rather unusual, especially since she is never called by that name in the movie.

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Movie Review: Alita Battle Angel a futuristic tale of good vs. evil

Alita: Battle Angel is a bloated futuristic tale of good vs. evil. It is a rather simple, straightforward story, loaded with extensive visual effects, over-the-top martial arts fights with robotic giants, a bit of romance and a lot of noise and loud music.

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Laurel & Hardy come back to life in 'Stan & Ollie'

Stan & Ollie is a film to see if you remember and loved the comic duo, Laurel & Hardy, or even if you didn’t love them. The outstanding portrayal of the two men — makeup, posture and especially the acting together almost made me believe that I was watching the legendary pair themselves.

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Vice chronicles Cheney’s role in Bush presidency

Dick Cheney was a congressman from Wyoming for eight years, but is best remembered for his two terms as vice-president under President George W. Bush. It was in the early years of that tenure (September 11, 2001) that we were attacked by the Mideast terrorists and faced the terrible dire days thereafter.

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Mary Queen of Scots lacks cohesive storyline

Mary Queen of Scots is a film that scores high on production values, like cinematography, costumes, makeup, scenery, etc.

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Movie Review: On the Basis of Sex captures R.B.G. legacy

On the Basis of Sex is the story of a young woman who wants to be a lawyer and that is one focus of her life. She is married with a young child and that is equally important to her.

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Mary Poppins Returns a ‘surprising delight’

Mary Poppins Returns was a surprising delight for me. I did not believe that any film could match the wonder of the 1964 Julie Andrews film. This version of the Poppins story comes close.

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Clint Eastwood portrays down-on-luck drug runner in The Mule

The Mule shows us that age does not necessarily have to be a limit on one’s talent or career. Look at Clint Eastwood, who at age 88 , directed and stars in this film. The story, based on true events, is about a 90-year old WWII veteran, who has a successful business and falls on hard times.

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Green Book is Oscar-worthy treatise on ‘60s racism

Green Book takes place in 1962 when our country was being shaken to its roots by the issue of racism. Violent demonstrations in the south and even some intense action in the government fighting against integration were common news headlines during those years.

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Creed II: Round 2 still evokes emotion

There is always a bit of concern that any film with Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, simply rehashes the Rocky film genre. And this film is like that. It might well be named Rocky VII, or whatever might be the appropriate suffix.

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Instant Family delivers tears, laughs, joy

Instant Family is based on the true story of the experience that the screenwriter Sean Anders and his wife went through adopting their children.

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Movie Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web a third-rate thriller

So now we have the return of that Swedish young woman with the dragon tattoo, in a sequel to the three films of the Stieg Larsson novels. It happens very often that a sequel, produced off the mainstream of the originals, is of less quality than the originals. The Girl in the Spider’s Web fits that appraisal, and below.

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‘The Guilty’ a good movie for Hitchcock fans

Here is a film that has some unusual features and has been lauded all year on the international film festival circuit.

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The Sisters Brothers: A ‘Gold Rush’ of a story

John C. Reilly, once again emerges from the shadows of supporting roles (as he did in Chicago, 2002) and shines in The Sisters Brothers.

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Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga superb in 'A Star is Born'

Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, has undertaken a courageous task in piloting this film. A Star is Born has been made at least three times in previous generations — in 1937, 1954 and 1976.

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A Simple Favor misses mark on Hitchcockian plot twists

A Simple Favor proved to be a disappointment for me. I was expecting a film that had suspense, about a missing friend, and some humor in the dialog between the two friends. That is what seemed to be promised in the promos and the trailer.

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Operation Finale recounts efforts to bring Holocaust architect to justice

There have been several movies over the years that attempt to display the horror of the Holocaust. Sometimes the focus is on the plight of an individual or a family or a village.

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Review: Crazy Rich Asians hardly original, but well done

Crazy Rich Asians is a pleasant film that has some very nice features in it. The entire cast are Asian actors, the music background and for dancing is all western, familiar and modern. Most of the story takes place in Singapore and we get spectacular views of the structures that make Singapore unique in the modern architectural world.

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BlacKkKlansman a first-rate suspense drama

BLACKkKLANSMAN is based on a true story of events in Colorado Springs in the 1970’s. It deals with the conflict between the Ku Klux Klan and the city police.

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Christopher Robin offers treatise on priorities in life

There is a lot of pleasure that may be derived from Christopher Robin. But there is a lot of the movie that misses the target, namely the two types of audience.

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Three Indentical Strangers reveals questionable practices of adoption agency

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary film centered around the story of three triplets separated at birth and put up for adoption in New York in the early 1960’s.

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Mamma Mia an absolute cinema delight

Who could forget that 2008 very entertaining film, with its big-name stars, its music and dancing and its Greek island setting.

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‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ a fine tribute to a much-loved man

Fred Rogers firmly believed that the world could be vastly improved if all the people were to honor and respect the life of every individual.

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The Seagull an unfolding of tense fragile relationships

The Seagull is a film based on the play written by Anton Chekhov in 1895.

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‘Oceans 8’ promises more than it delivers

Ocean’s 8 is another in the series of high-powered caper stories that promises more than it delivers. The major added feature here is that the team of thieves, all experts, are women.

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The Rider is first-class cinema with excellent story line

The Rider is based on real people and events, with a cast of players who never appeared in a movie before. Director Chloé Zhao was ready to sign a rodeo star to appear in her next film.

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‘Finding Your Feet’ will make you make you laugh, cry and applaud

Finding Your Feet is a British film that gives us a very great deal of pleasure. It achieves a rank of excellence to match The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (1 & 2) for its humor, its melodrama, its appealing and lovable characters.

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Review: Tully takes on traumas of motherhood

At the start of this film, we are focused on a woman who is pregnant and close to giving birth. She’s married and she has two young children — a charming girl and a boy who is borderline autistic. This third child was unplanned for by Marlo (Charlize Theron) and her husband, Drew (Ron Livingston).

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The Leisure Seeker depicts rewards, trials of aging

We have here the type of film that seems to be hard to find these days. The Leisure Seeker is about an elderly couple who have been married for almost a half-century.

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Isle of Dogs a masterpiece in animation

Isle of Dogs takes place in Japan in the future. The central location is Megasaki, a seaside city dominated by a not-nice mayor.

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Chappaquiddick recounts Kennedy manslaughter incident

Chappaquiddick is the island in Massachusetts where, in July, 1969, the car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy with Mary Jo Kopechne as passenger went off a narrow bridge into the water.

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Love Simon thought-provoking, fun to watch

Love, Simon is an appealing story about teenagers who are not being crushed by the usual adolescent inner turbulence. Their home lives seem OK and their schoolwork is satisfactory.

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The 1517 to Paris a study in life moments in midst of tragedy

The 15:17 to Paris is a film based on real facts that occurred in 2015 aboard a passenger train on its way to Paris. A terrorist had boarded the train, with the intent of mass murder of hundreds of passengers.

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Strong characters carry the story of ‘Phantom Thread’

Daniel Day-Lewis has announced he is retiring from motion pictures. Once again, as he gives us his valediction in this film, we see why he has been so renowned on screen.

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Movie Review: ‘I, Tonya’ is excellent, holds our attention

The 1994 incident that involved the attack on skater Nancy Kerrigan is well known to most people who were around at that time. 

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Movie Review: True story, fine performances make ‘Molly’s Game’ worthwhile

Molly’s Game is a movie based on the true story of a woman who was a substantial person, with outstanding accomplishments and some heroic deeds.

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‘The Post’ a well-known story, but never slow nor dull

The Post tells a story that is well known, but it never feels slow or dull. That’s because it is an exciting real story and because of the quality of the film.

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‘Darkest Hour’ keeps us on edge of our seats

Darkest Hour is a depiction of a few weeks that changed — saved— the free world.

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‘The Shape of Water’ a very satisfying drama

The Shape of Water is a fantasy film with toned-down unreal images so we do not see swarms of CGI things crashing and smashing each other for two hours.

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‘The Greatest Showman’ a thoroughly entertaining film

The Greatest Showman also has a story with the musical stars playing roles in a quasi-biography of P. T. Barnum of circus fame.

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Big acting by 5-inch Damon in ‘Downsizing’

Downsizing is a film that uses a sci-fi theme to portray the odyssey of a man who is trying to make more sense of his life.

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Movie Review: Wanna-be comedy 'Just Getting Started' short on laughs

Morgan Freeman as Duke, Tommy Lee Jones as Leo and Rene Russo as Suzie star in Just Getting Started, a quasi-comic film that, while not a complete flop, has a bit of entertainment value. But just a bit.

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Lady Bird is brilliantly written, superbly acted

Greta Gerwig wrote the script for and directed this film. Lady Bird is the story of a teen age girl and the travails she experiences in her high school senior year.

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Wonder absolutely uplifting, but definitely bring a tissue

Wonder is a formulaic feel-good movie that follows the recipe of many films that we have seen over the years.

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Movie Review: First-rate cinematic values in Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is a remake of the 1974 film version of Agatha Christie’s masterpiece novel.

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Goodbye Christopher Robin offers fine acting, fact-based story

Goodbye Christopher Robin displays the work, the world and the worries of Alan Alexander Milne who is familiar to most people. A. A. Milne is the writer from England who authored the series of children’s books starting with Winnie the Pooh.

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Movie Review: ‘Only the Brave’ tells story of elite firefighting crew who lost their lives in Yarnell

Only the Brave is the story of the elite firefighting crew that lost their lives in a historically large wildfire in Arizona in 2013.

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Judi Dench worth price of admission alone in Victoria & Abdul

Well, here’s another reason to be thankful for the presence of Judi Dench. This is her second portrayal of Queen Victoria. The other was the excellent Mrs. Brown in 1997, in which she befriends one of her servants.

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