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Drama

VOD Spotlight: Twenty years, two people, one bittersweet love story in “One Day”

Directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education, Academy Award-nominated for Best Picture), the romantic drama One Day is adapted for the screen by David Nicholls from his bestselling novel of the same name. After one day together – July 15th, 1988, their college graduation – Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess, Across the Universe) begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. She is a working-class girl of principle and ambition who dreams of making the world a better place. He is a wealthy charmer who dreams that the world will be his playground. For the next two […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: The latest incarnation of “Conan the Barbarian” keeps the pulp

Ever since being created by Robert E. Howard in a series of fantasy stories published in Weird Tales magazine starting in 1932, Conan the Barbarian has been a fixture in popular culture, and arguably ushered in the beginning of sword-and-sorcery/heroic fantasy fiction, which would spawn everything from The Lord of the Rings to Dungeons & Dragons. Outside of books and magazines, Conan has found himself and his adventures featured in comic books, video games, collectible card games, animated TV series and, probably naturally, in role-playing games. But the majority of audiences are probably familiar with him from his 1980s exploits […]

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Movies

VOD Spotlight: “Super 8” occupies a welcome space in Spielburbia

By Stacey Harrison Follow @ChannelGuideSRH A cinematic valentine of the highest order, Super 8 pays sincere tribute to Steven Spielberg’s lens-flared opuses of the late 1970s and early ’80s while telling a slam-bang story that hits all the right notes. Director J.J. Abrams perfectly captures the somewhat idealized vision of small-town life that made Spielberg movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial so resonant, painting a picture of a tight-knit community where the kids live their own lives independent of the adults. In this instance, the group of young teenagers we follow in 1979 Ohio […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: Dominic Cooper with a challenging, multi-role performance in “The Devil’s Double”

The Devil’s Double began as an astonishing autobiographical tale of the same name, written by Latif Yahia, who was ripped from his family and forced to become the fiday (which roughly translates to “bullet catcher”) for Saddam Hussein’s lunatic son Uday. The book was a glimpse into the deeply depraved web of fast cars, endless money, easy women, pure corruption and wanton violence in which Yahia was captive for years. Once producers secured the rights to the book, enlisted screenwriter Michael Thomas (Scandal, Backbeat) to translate the story to film and found a director in Lee Tamahori (Once Were Warriors), […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts team in “Larry Crowne”

The best films connect with audiences on a visceral level, and the romantic comedy Larry Crowne is no exception. Directed, co-written and starring Tom Hanks, it’s the story of Larry Crowne, a divorced blue-collar worker who is unexpectedly let go from his position at a big box store because he has no college education. He does what anyone with ambition and a bit of courage might do — heads back to school. At his community college, he meets a public speaking professor (Julia Roberts) whose own ambitions have not panned out. He also sheds his gas-guzzling SUV for a scooter […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: Matthew Lewis talks “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”

By Karl J. Paloucek Follow @ChannelGuideK The Harry Potter gang has truly grown up. It’s been a long and dark road full of magic, peril and more than a little growth — both personal and physical — for the young wizards at Hogwarts. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 presents the final showdown with Voldemort, and — for the unimaginable few reading this who haven’t read the books or seen the film yet — at what can only be described as the most crucial scene in the story, that paragon of not-being-so-sure-of-himself, Neville Longbottom, played by Matthew Lewis […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: A “Change-Up” for Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman

It’s a premise as old as film itself — call it the body switch. And though usually played for laughs, the switch often leads to some interesting revelations. In The Change-Up, two friends — married-with-children lawyer Dave (Jason Bateman) and free-spirited bachelor Mitch (Ryan Reynolds) —spend a night on the town and wake the next morning in each other’s bodies. Each has envied his friend’s life and, as happens in films with this premise, each is in for a rude awakening. The film, written by The Hangover creators Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, does not hold back on crude humor, […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: Mike Mills on “Beginners”

Sex, life, feeling, nature, magic is how the trailer for Beginners describes the film, based on writer/director Mike Mills’ (Thumbsucker) own relationship with his widowed father. “Beginners started when my father came out of the closet. He was 75 years old and had been married to my mother for 45 years. His hunger to completely change his life was confusing, painful, very funny, and deeply inspiring,” Mills writes.

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”

Yes, the world does have its serial monogamists. But for most of us, divorce and breakups aren’t easy. And for those out of the dating world for a decade or more, there are the uncertain and often inept attempts to reenter the social scene. That’s the position in which fortysomething Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) finds himself in the comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. But soon he has help starting over from expert lothario Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling). Carell and Gosling play well together and have admiration for each other’s work. The script was written with Carell in mind (Carell also coproduced […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: “Captain America: The First Avenger” gives Cap his proper film treatment

By Jeff Pfeiffer Follow @ChannelGuideJP Maybe it takes a certain national climate to do a Captain America film right. Since his comic-book origins in 1941, on the eve of America’s entry into World War II, the Marvel Comics hero has been the subject of a few filmmaking attempts that have not been very successful. He was in some 1940s cliffhanger serials, some dreadful 1970s made-for-TV efforts and a 1990 theatrical film that started with a good idea but came crashing down quickly, mainly thanks to its very low budget. But Captain America: The First Avenger finally gives Cap (played by […]