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RIP, James Garner

James Garner, who died on July 19 at the age of 86, was quintessentially modern (in the best sense of the term), masculine and American. His screen persona was easygoing, strong and resolute, whether portraying a player in TV’s Maverick or opposite the indomitable Doris Day in The Thrill of it All and Move Over, […]

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Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Like its rebooted predecessor, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes offers more of the same exciting, escapist fare. These pictures are, like the original 1968-1975 films for 20th Century Fox, designed for mass entertainment. At their best, they provoke thought with thrills. Dawn of the Planet of the […]

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Movie Review: America

Emphasizing emotions over facts, the propellant and powerful America: Imagine the World Without Her, co-written and co-directed by conservative author Dinesh D’Souza, teems with a proper American sense of life. It is limited in its power, which strongly builds yet quickly dissipates, by what amounts to a faith in individualism. Evoking Ronald Reagan, D’Souza understands […]

Movie Review: Atlas Shrugged Part 3

As I previewed last month, the new and final part of libertarian businessman John Aglialoro’s independent movie trilogy adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, features Christian libertarian ex-congressman Ron Paul of Texas. It’s a plot point that, however small, makes no dramatic sense. Like much of this movie, easily the worst of the three […]

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Chris Evans makes the new Marvel Studios picture, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a strong, exciting and powerful sequel to 2011′s Captain America: The First Avenger. Its theme of bonding with shared Americanism – rightly depicted here as the essence of individualism – echoes throughout the film. There are a few problems, but mostly this […]

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Interview: Henry Jackman on Scoring ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

Composer Henry Jackman (X-Men: First Class, Captain Phillips) recently talked with me about music, movies and his new score for Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This is an edited transcript. Scott Holleran: In your score for Captain Phillips, you’ve said that you strived for moral ambiguity. Do you strive for moral absolutism in Captain […]

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House of Cards: No Heroes, Only Various Shades of Villany and Corruption

In “House of Cards,” there are no heroes. Only villains of various shades of villainy, from gray to the blackest of blacks, fulfilling politically correct requisites on diversity, covering all the affirmative action mandates in gender, race, ethnic origin, and religion. “House of Cards” is an equal opportunity employer in its portrayal of corruption. In […]

Excerpt from Edward Cline’s Novel The Black Stone (Chapter 3)

Chapter 3: Table Talk   “Did you know,” Skeen asked casually over breakfast the next morning, “that Mohammedans, when they go on a pilgrimage to Mecca, must walk counter-clockwise around the Kaaba seven times, and run between some hills looking for water, and perform a schedule of other rituals, all designed to make them feel like […]

Excerpt from Edward Cline’s Novel The Black Stone (Chapter 2)

Chapter 2: A Restful Weekend  Skeen’s face was squarish, with prominent cheekbones and a deceptively grim mouth. His eyes changed from hazel to green, depending on the light, and were set beneath a smooth, untroubled brow that seemed formidable but which was not. His eyes telegraphed a vast and scintillating storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. […]

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Excerpt from Edward Cline’s Novel The Black Stone (Chapter 1)

Chapter 1: In the Beginning  Cyrus Skeen returned to his penthouse apartment in Carmel Towers on Nob Hill in a somber, disconsolate mood. While his day at Skeen Investigations on the 13th floor of the Humboldt Building on Market Street had been uneventful, he had just seen a client on Fillmore Street to report on […]

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Mary Steenburgen on ‘Last Vegas’ by Scott Holleran

After seeing her delightful, new motion picture, Last Vegas, co-starring Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Robert DeNiro and Kevin Kline and directed by Jon Turteltaub (Cool Runnings, National Treasure, Phenomenon), I requested an interview with Mary Steenburgen. We’ve previously met and interviewed (read the 2011 interview here) and Ms. Steenburgen was kind to accept. So, we talked while she was on her way […]

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Ridley Scott’s “Democratic Realism”

The best antidote to Ridley Scott’s “Democratic Realism” – which isn’t “realistic” at all – is Romantic Realism, a literary genre which depicts man as a heroic being in pursuit or in defense of rational values.

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Netflix’s Turkey Farm

A “turkey” in my cinematic lexicon can be defined as: A low-budget, independently financed and produced film cranked out to cater to filmgoers or couch potatoes obsessed with natural or manmade “environmental” disasters, apocalypses, the price of fooling with or “raping” the “ecosystem,” ends of civilization, ends of the world, science fiction dystopias, and any […]

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Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

Written by John Ridley and directed by Steve McQueen,12 Years a Slave, based on the book by Solomon Northrup, deposits us into slavery in the 19th century’s American South. It is an excellent example of the best type of cinematic naturalism, delivering characters to care about in an intricate and layered plot that offers much more to think […]

Film: Unofficial Scene from Anthem

Scene from Greg Bowyer’s unofficial adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel Anthem. It is a future DarkAges, where everyone has accepted the collectivist ideal that society takes precedence over the individual. Yet two individuals, Equality 7-2521 and Liberty 5-3000, overcome their indoctrination and guilt to pursue a selfish relationship between themselves.

Preview of Edward Cline’s “A Crimson Overture”, Chapter 2

I was asked by the New Romanticist to provide a sneak preview of my new Cyrus Skeen novel, set in January 1930, A Crimson Overture. Those of you familiar with this series of novels set in late 1920′s San Francisco will know that Skeen is a private detective and the son of East Coast wealth. […]