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“Grandma” offers a refreshing, accepting view of abortion

“Grandma” is a trifle of a movie with the socially redeeming characteristic of portraying an accepting attitude toward  abortions. Unlike most Hollywood films, broadcast-TV dramas and even many independent productions aimed at a mainstream audience, this movie normalizes abortion—portraying it as the legal medical procedure that it has been since 1973. That’s different, because in…

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Takeaways from “Selma”

Can I speak honestly about the new movie, “Selma?” No doubt, it’s going to get a lot of support for an Oscar. Critics have raved about it, calling it a “must-see.” I agree—it’s definitely worth seeing. A lot of people are going to buy tickets because the subject matter is important—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s…

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Socio-political messages from an unlikely place: “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”

I’ve just spent two hours I’ll never get back watching “Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.” We had intended to go to a showing of another movie set in the 1980s—“American Hustle”—but I misread the schedule—a dimwitted move worthy of the Ron Burgundy character– and settled for something we had no intention of ever paying for.…

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Waiting for the next revolution: What “The Chicago 10” taught me about modern America

I was 17 and skeptical when I saw the movie poster for Chicago 10 at the Missouri History Museum where I work. The exaggerated cartoon figures seemed almost comical and when my boss tried to tell me that was I was about to see was like none of the other documentaries we had screened I…

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Captain Phillips: The pawn hypothesis

Directed by Paul Greengrass, and starring Tom Hanks, with outstanding performances by a group of Somali actors, Captain Phillips can be viewed and enjoyed purely as a well-made, based-on-a-true-incident action/adventure flick. But beneath the surface, there’s more to think about. Fortunately, Greengrass has avoided the temptation to club us over the head with the subtext, allows the story…