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Leonard Maltin

film review: Made In Dagenham

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 19, 2010 5:15 AM
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  • 0 Comments
When a film is based on a fascinating true story, and marshals grade-A talent on both sides of the camera, it automatically gets my attention. Made in Dagenham is inspired by a real-life labor struggle—apparently little remembered, even in England—that is both timely and relevant today. There is no reason on earth the results shouldn’t have been stronger. The raw material has all the makings of great drama: in 1968, female workers at the vast Ford Motor Co. factory in a suburb of London went on strike after being reclassified as unskilled laborers, with a commensurate reduction in salary. Women weren’t taken seriously in the workforce, and their actions have wide, and unexpected, reverberations. Sally Hawkins (who won worldwide recognition for her starring role in Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky) does a great job as a—

film review: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 18, 2010 5:42 AM
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  • 5 Comments
In the old days of Saturday matinee serials, audiences faced with cliffhanger endings took comfort in knowing that the story would be resumed one week later. The same can’t be said for the latest Harry Potter picture, which offers much incident but no resolution: for that, we all have to wait until next year. If you’re a dedicated Potter fan, you’ll have to take what you can from this one—mainly, the pleasure of spending time with its leading characters and the young actors who play them. Following J.K. Rowling’s narrative, there are no scenes at Hogwarts’ Academy. This denies us the opportunity to revel in seeing the finest British actors alive in the vast Potter ensemble; we get only token appearances from Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane and a handful of others, while Maggie Smith, as Professor McGonagall, is absent altogether.

dvd review: John Ford: Hiding In Plain Sight

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 18, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Many people believed that John Ford was the finest American director of the 20th Century. In a perfect world, all of his films would be readily available for viewing but that is simply not the case.

"One Of Us" Gets An Oscar

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 16, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 4 Comments
Kevin Brownlow now has two Oscars, and I couldn’t be happier. The second award, which bears his name, is the result of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences deciding that a film historian and archivist of his stature is as worthy of an honorary Oscar as two world-class directors (Francis Ford Coppola and Jean-Luc Godard) and one superb actor (Eli Wallach). This says as much about the Academy and its mission as it does about the recipients…and it honors the field of film history.
More: Journal

LAST CRITICS STANDING

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 15, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 11 Comments
A wave of memories and mixed emotions came over me as I read the news of Gene Shalit’s retirement from NBC’s Today Show this week. Shalit’s once robust presence had diminished in recent times, but he was still part of the team after 40 years, and his departure marks yet another loss in the world of movie reviews. Although he had a background in journalism, some people never took him seriously, in part because of his flamboyant appearance, but make no mistake: he’s a smart guy who reached an enormous audience. (He also inspired an imitation by SCTV’s Eugene Levy that was sidesplittingly funny.) On a personal level, he has special meaning for me because he changed the course of my life.
More: Journal

film review: Tiny Furniture

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 12, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments

film review: Morning Glory

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 10, 2010 9:14 AM
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  • 0 Comments
What a pleasure it is to watch a well-cast, well-written comedy for grownups. Morning Glory has a smart premise and just the right people to carry it out: Rachel McAdams, as an overeager TV producer who locks horns with her new host, a once-respected news anchor played by Harrison Ford, as well as his co-host, a prima donna played by Diane Keaton. The parts might have been written with these actors in mind; that’s how perfectly they inhabit them and play off one another. McAdams is delightful in an all-too-rare comedy role, and works well opposite the men she encounters: her boss, Jeff Goldblum, her colleague and possible lover, Patrick Wilson, and best of all, her recalcitrant star, Harrison Ford. What a pleasure to see him in—

book reviews: New And Notable Film Books

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 10, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Once again, the continuing parade of film books has outpaced my ability to read and properly review them, so it’s time for a survey of recent titles. These are summaries based on skimming and not meant to be full-fledged critiques. I’m also motivated by helping to promote worthwhile books from smaller publishers that might not be on everyone’s radar, but deserve to be…all the more so as the holidays approach and people are thinking about gift ideas. I have a feeling this will be the first of at least two installments this season.

Classic Clowns Span The Globe

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 9, 2010 5:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Photo courtesy of Bill Brioux
More: Journal

film review: FAIR GAME

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 5, 2010 8:29 AM
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  • 1 Comment
My conversion is now complete: I am a card-carrying Naomi Watts fan. I don’t know why I wasn’t her biggest booster before; I’ve liked her work in films as diverse as King Kong and The Painted Veil, but after seeing her this year in Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother and Child, Woody Allen’s You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger and now Fair Game, I am hooked. She is the real deal, and she gives yet another terrific performance as CIA agent Valerie Plame. The fact that she’s working opposite the extraordinary Sean Penn, as Joe Wilson, only ups the ante.

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