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BY ED KOCH “Mao’s Last Dancer” (+) The movie is based on Li Cunxin’s autobiography. It’s no blockbuster, but it is a pleasant, enjoyable and interesting film. It opens in China in 1972 and introduces us to a peasant family. One of their sons, Li Cunxin, is plucked from abject poverty by a Communist talent […]

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BY ED KOCH “Waiting for Superman” (+) The rave reviews of this documentary are well-deserved. Everyone interested in the welfare of children — and their education — should see it. The oddball title of the movie is explained in the beginning of the picture, so I won’t explain it here. The wars depicted involve the […]

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BY Ed Koch “The Social Network” (+) This docudrama has been hailed as a picture that is on its way to becoming a cult film. I agree. The script is based on a book “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich — and a brilliant screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. The incidents stated as facts are subject […]

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By Ed Koch “The Town” (+) This cops and robbers film, directed by Ben Affleck, is superb. Affleck and Matt Damon came on the scene like gangbusters when they starred in the film “Good Will Hunting” — based on their screenplay. Following that movie, Damon eclipsed Affleck on the screen and Affleck dominated the tabloids […]

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BY ED KOCH “Leaves of Grass” (-) I’ve been a big fan of Edward Norton ever since seeing “Primal Fear” — in which he played a young man accused of murder. He brilliantly portrayed the character who appeared to have a myriad of personalities (some good and at least one bad). The story involves the […]

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By Ed Koch Animal Kingdom” (+) This movie is not as terrific as it could have been. Jacki Weaver plays Smurf Cody — the mother, grandmother and pillar of strength to a family of crooks living in Melbourne, Australia. One of her sons, Pope (Ben Mendelsohn), is feared by his brothers and Smurf’s 17-year-old grandson, J […]

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By Ed Koch “The Extra Man” (-) This picture could have been a real romp and lots of fun. Instead, I found it pretentious, overrated and over the top. The story is very simple and inane. A young man from New Jersey, Louis Ives (Paul Dano), has lost his job at a prep school. Louis is uncertain […]

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BY ED KOCH “Daniel & Ana” (-) The film’s script could have been taken from the notes of Havelock Ellis, a psychiatrist whose books dealt with sexual episodes experienced by his patients. When I was in high school so many years ago in Newark, New Jersey, his books were read by students looking for a sexual […]

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BY JERRY TALLMER Joseph Papp, the best friend William Shakespeare ever had in New York City, left us in October 1991. Shortly before his departure, he asked me to come to his office in the Public Theater, just to talk of this and that. So I did, and we — mostly he — talked of […]

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BY Ed Koch “A Film Unfinished” (+) An unfinished Nazi propaganda movie titled “Das Ghetto” was filmed in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. The movie was found among other Nazi propaganda pictures in East Germany, but a soundtrack was never located. This is a documentary about that propaganda movie, created and directed by a young Israeli […]

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