“Ties that Bind” UP launches new cop & family drama

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 The UP Network continues it's mission to "uplift" viewers with a new original dramatic series about cops and a family, "Ties that Bind."Kelli Williams ("The Practice") is Seattle detective Allison McLean who with her partner, Devin Stewart (Dion Johnstone), arrests her brother, played by Luke Perry, for aggravated assault. This means his two teenaged children will go into foster care. But Allison and her husband Matt (Jonathan Scarfe) decide to bring the kids into their home, … [Read more...]

‘American Sniper’ – a question of heroes

Kyle Gallner, left, and Bradley Cooper in "American Sniper" (CNS/Warner Bros.)

* This essay/review contains spoilersIn Clint Eastwood's Iraqi Western, we see the evolution of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's (Bradley Cooper) skills as a shooter as well as his motivation for enlisting in the military and going to war: God, country, family.As Chris (played as a child by Cole Konis) grows up in Texas, his dad, Wayne (Ben Reed), teaches him to hunt and how to handle a rifle. Wayne infuses in the boy ideals of heroism and says aggression is a gift to save others. One Sunday at … [Read more...]

‘Unbroken’ inspiring, uneven story of courage

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A crew of young Army Air Force aviators is in the thick of a battle over the Pacific in April 1943. Young Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) is a bombardier and the plane takes on heavy fire by the Japanese and some of the men are injured. They barely make it back to base in Hawaii in tact. A month later the crew is given a patched up plane and sent on a search mission. The plane’s engines fail and it crashes into the Pacific Ocean. Only Zamperini, the pilot “Phil” Phillips (Domhnall Gleeso … [Read more...]

“Fury” – explores moral injury but comes off like a video game

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 It is 1945. The Allies are pushing deep into Germany after the invasion at Normandy. In the opening scene, Army Sgt. Don “Wardaddy” Collier (Brad Pitt) commands a tank crew of four soldiers. When they arrive at an Army rendezvous, the very young Norman (Logan Lerman) is assigned to the unit. He has been in the Army for two months, and is unprepared for the horrors he will face.Wardaddy and his men lead a battalion to take over a town and then head to a crossroads that they are to ho … [Read more...]

‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ explores complex themes (but bring ear plugs)

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 Of all the comic-book-turned-into-movie superheroes, Spider-Man has always been my favorite. Despite the launch of this new franchise in 2012 with director Marc Webb at the helm, my favorite film about the araneae homo is Sam Raimi's 2004 "Spider-Man 2." It's one of the best interpretations of creator Stan Lee's teenage hero as a young man of character and virtue.Ten years later, we have "The Amazing Spider-Man 2: The Rise of Electro," and the title says almost everything about … [Read more...]

‘Walking with the Enemy’ shines light on little-known Holocaust story

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In Budapest, Hungary, head of state Regent Miklós Horthy (Ben Kingsley) was trapped between the Russians on the east and the Nazis from Germany on the west. He was forced to join the Axis in 1941. The first massacre of Hungarian Jews occurred in August that year. After a defeat on the Russian front in 1943, Hitler demanded that the regent punish the 800,000 still living in Hungary and insisted that 10,000 Jews be for supplied for slave labor. This is where "Walking with the Enemy" … [Read more...]

“Does porn hurt children?” NYTimes reporter asks

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 Last week I saw this article on New York Times website: Does porn hurt children? by David Segal, a business reporter for the NYTimes. The answer is yes but causal links cannot be established and probably never will be. He outlines the difficulty in researching the answer to this question because of the ethics involved, never mind the illegality of showing porn to kids for the sake of research. Then he has some recommendations that are consistent, though not as comprehensive, with … [Read more...]


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