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Features

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    If, in five years, the polar vortex proves us all wrong and Kissimmee, Fla. becomes the new Aspen, consider the Toyota 4Runner a contender for “Car of the New Ice Age.” Oh, and pass the whale-oil lamp. It’s cold in here.

  • If director Wes Anderson’s previous film “Moonrise Kingdom” was the dummies’ guide to his unique cinematic aesthetics and peculiarities, his latest film — “The Grand Budapest Hotel” — is a greatest hits album.

  • To deride “Need for Speed” as “just another video game movie” would be unfair.

    Most video games these days have better writing, characters and action than “Need for Speed.” While I’ve not had the pleasure of trying my controller-gripping hand at the NFS game series, I refuse to believe they’d be less enjoyable than the film that bears its name opening this week.

     

  • If director Wes Anderson's previous film “Moonrise Kingdom” was the dummies' guide to his unique cinematic aesthetics and peculiarities, his latest film – “The Grand Budapest Hotel” – is a greatest hits album.

    It's almost as though he's expected a chorus of critics to push him to explore new territory and ditch the sometimes stuffy, other times pastel but always intriguing ways he crafts his films — and "Grand Budapest" is as strong a counterpunch to those opinions as I can imagine from Anderson.

  • Don’t let the title fool you. Director Chiemi Karasawa’s “Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me” is not just another star-focused documentary.

    Sure, in its opening minutes we get a sense of the usual celeb-obsessed feature: Ms. Stritch walks around New York City, being approached by fans and fellow actors alike. Her appearance — fur coat and standard Aging Star attire — is completely in line with her personality, taking no effort to avoid standing out.

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

    “300: Rise of an Empire” is the sort of film you would expect to go directly to DVD or VOD, forgotten by most until it’s discovered in a Redbox, prompting the realization that, “Hey, the first one wasn’t that bad, let’s see how this fares.”

     

  • Citing a Hollywood remake’s lack of originality is usually one of the main critiques a review will offer up.

    In the case of “Mr. Peabody & Sherman,” it’s perhaps the best way to frame what’s right about a solidly made animated feature that moves quickly enough to keep kids entertained and features just enough adult humor for those who grew up watching the characters on TV.

     

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    BMW is the type of automaker that doesn’t like to be outdone. 

  • I enjoyed watching more than my fair share of “MacGyver” when I was younger.

    Watching Richard Dean Anderson have his character thrown into any number of impossible situations and always crafting a way out of it with the unlikeliest of supplies and skills was exceptionally entertaining for me at an age when I was still happy-go-lucky enough to just ignore the preposterousness of it all, suspending all disbelief.

     

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

    Liam Neeson’s weirdly sudden transition from accomplished dramatic actor to middle-aged action star is the sort of career rejuvenation that is entirely welcome, especially when it involves absolutely insane, albeit contrived scenarios, directed by people who actually know what they’re doing.

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    Modesty is totally overrated.

         The pyramids weren’t built to be the second-biggest sand castle on the planet, and there’s a reason we sent TV cameras to land on the moon. Excellence deserves attention.

     

  • I hate giving legitimately bad films credit simply for being weird.

         While I often have the chance to wax poetically about brilliant films that end up winning lots of awards on Oscar night, the other end of the critical spectrum is to make sure people aren’t wasting their money on something downright awful when they head to the multiplex.

     

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

    Sweeping and portentous shots of Mount Vesuvius towering over the quaint city of Pompeii serve as a suitable metaphor for Paul W.S. Anderson’s sword-and-sandals epic disaster love story, “Pompeii.”

  • It’s easy to quickly dismiss a big-budget remake of a beloved film — it’s almost how a lot of moviegoers and critics are programmed.

    But as with the case of “RoboCop,” never underestimate the human element. While the new version in theaters directed by José Padilha (of “Elite Squad” fame) definitely doesn’t come close to matching the brilliance of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 sci-fi classic, it’s not an outright bad film.

  • Having seen the Best Picture-nominated “Her,” I figured it would rank at the top of the list of strange love stories I’d seen over the past year — a man falling in love with his operating system.

    But the reality is that the title remains with the Jason Reitman-directed “Labor Day,” which played at last year’s Starz Denver Film Festival and opened in theaters last weekend.

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    Forget what you read about autonomous cars. Forget that you’ve seen news about cars that drive themselves, stop themselves, keep your eyes on the road while you’re texting or fighting with kids in the back seat. Forget that this very automaker makes a car with night vision to see when you can’t.

     

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    Brad McHargue

    Film Critic

     

    One of the highlights of 2012’s horror anthology “V/H/S” was Radio Silence’s “10/31/98.” Utilizing a nanny cam in a Halloween costume, the short film follows four friends seeking out a Halloween party, only to wind up at the wrong house and in the middle of an exorcism that quickly goes awry.

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist

     

    Consider this year’s Super Bowl ads will cost roughly $8 million for 60 seconds.

    For that much money, you could buy more than 200 specimens of the 2014 Toyota Highlander. You could buy 272, actually. That’s one Highlander for every one-fifth of one second of commercial airtime.

  •  Best Picture

    “12 Years a Slave”

    “American Hustle”

    “Captain Phillips”

    “Dallas Buyers Club”

    “Gravity”

    “Her”

    “Nebraska”

    “Philomena”

    “The Wolf of Wall Street”

     

     

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    Aaron Cole

    Auto Columnist