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American Sniper

American Sniper proves the dictum “never count an auteur out” by proving itself as Eastwood’s strongest directorial effort since 2009's underrated Invictus pretty much right…

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The Interview

Opportunities at rich satire flatten out into Hangover dude-dope-doodoo jokes, where the premise is that there’s nothing funnier than watching over-privileged grown men act out…

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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* This filmography is not intended to be a comprehensive list of this artist’s work. Instead it reflects the films this person has been involved with that have been reviewed on this site.

On actors who are too gay to be in the Musicals

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Some people are proposing a boycott of Newsweek because of a silly article that criticizes gay actors -- specifically on TV's "Glee" and in the Broadway revival of the Bacharach-David Musical "Promises, Promises" -- for acting too gay in straight roles. This strikes me as fundamentally hilarious for several reasons, the most obvious of which are:

1) I didn't know anyone needed additional incentive to not read Newsweek, since circulation figures indicate that lots and lots of people have been not reading it without making any concerted effort not to do so.

2) "Glee" and "Promises, Promises" are both Musicals, for god's sake. Where would the Musical be without the participation of gay actors? The movie version of "Paint Your Wagon" -- that's where. You Musical fans want to spend the rest of your lives watching and listening to Clint Eastwood singing "I Talk to the Trees"? Then go ahead and complain that gay performers are too gay to star in Musicals.

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Pey or Falin, which is more realer?

I can't get enough of Tina Fey's Sarah Palin. I feel about her the way I felt about Dr. Evil in the first "Austin Powers" movie. My eyes light up whenever she's on camera. And then, of course, there are those little starbursts she sends through the screen that go ricocheting around the living rooms of America, as first reported by Rich Lowry of the National Review.

Something strange is happening, though: Fey's Palin is not only sharper and funnier than Palin's Palin, she's also more vivid, more... real (maybe because she's on TV more). It's as if she's the main Palin and the other one is the paler surrogate Palin. In other words, for you baby boomers, Tina Fey's Palin is the Dick York and Sarah Palin's Palin is the Dick Sargent. Sure, they're both bewitching in their own ways, but Fey's is the real Darrin. If you know what I mean.

I was looking forward to the VP Debate opening sketch on "SNL" as much as the debate itself, and I was not disappointed by either. I'm guessing that former "SNL" head-writer Fey contributes to these because they're "30 Rock" precise -- more pointed than what usually passes for "SNL" political humor. (I didn't make it through the obviously obligatory finanical bailout sketch in the first half hour of the show, even though Fred Armisen's Barney Frank was a hoot).

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Reports of Skip's death have been somewhat exaggerated

View image: Enzo is still with us.

It was widely reported that Moose, the 15-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who played the title role in "My Dog Skip," and who played Eddie on the long-running TV sitcom "Frazier," passed away at the ripe old age of 105 in dog years. (He would have been 16 -- or 112 -- December 24, according to IMDb.) While we mourn the passing of Moose, we should point out that he played Old Skip in the movie, while his son Enzo played Skip for most of the film. (Actually, there were reportedly six dogs who performed as Skip in various capacities.)

Likewise, Enzo replaced Moose on "Frazier" after eight years on the show, which ran from 1993 to 2004. But while dogs may be good enough actors to play the same role (like, say, Dick York and Dick Sargent), we should remember that they are not interchangeable. They are individuals. I know this. I live with two of them, and Frances and Edith are very distinct personalities.

I used to live in Los Angeles and work in and around the movie industry, where I encountered hundreds of celebrities in situations ranging from the casual (say, at the drugstore) to the professional (on a set, in a meeting, or for an interview). But my favorite movie star sighting ever came at the Overlooked Film Festival in 2004, where a man and his dog exited an elevator in the Illini Student Union Building -- and I immediately recognized the dog as Skip. (It was Enzo -- a surprise guest at a matinee screening of "My Dog Skip.") Of course, I took a picture.

Moose is dead. Long live Enzo.

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