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Stories written by wnmvmorehead

Special-effects spectacle takes ‘Man of Steel’ to new cinematic heights

Playing Superman is sometimes seen as a curse for an actor. The career and life of George Reeves were blighted by his association with the role, Kirk Alyn did little else of note, and Brandon Routh, from 2006s tepid Superman Returns, has hardly become a household name. Even Christopher Reeve, who had many fine credits […]

Despite advent of CGI, Harryhausen is still remembered for his genius

One of my best friends called me from back east this month, seriously in tears, to tell me that Ray Harryhausen has passed on, at 92. I’d already heard, from another friend, but I was glad he called just the same—we talked about Harryhausen’s movies for more than an hour. It’s hard for me to […]

Despite its rough edges, ‘Love’ really may be all you need

He’s been a natty and impressively businesslike 007; he’s dutifully played supporting parts in stuff like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Mirror Has Two Faces; and he’s been superb in a couple of leading roles, notably The Tailor of Panama. He even carries the distinction, in a cast full of embarrassments, of having given the most […]

Wet & Wild

It’s often 112 degrees here in the Valley. For years after I first got to town, I’d spend much of the day working outside, reflecting that the cliché was true—it really is a dry heat. By the time I’d collapse on my couch, I’d feel as dried out as a clay pot, as a pot […]

No. 1 box-office draw ‘42’ illustrates Harrison Ford’s star status

The story of Jackie Robinson has been told in the movies before, notably in a low-budget 1950 effort called, reasonably enough, The Jackie Robinson Story. The title role in that film was played by Jackie Robinson himself—rather woodenly, it must be said, but with a dignified presence. Number one at the box office its opening […]

It’s official: Canadian TV picks Tempe’s best pizza

Pizza is a personal thing, subject to each individual’s tastes, familiarities and habits. But insofar as it’s possible to officially declare who makes the best pizza in Tempe, Canadian television has done so: it’s Nello’s, at Southern and McClintock. The reality series Pizza Wars, which pits three restaurants from a given area against each other, […]

Jewish film festival in 17th annual run

The word “Greater” in Greater Phoenix Jewish Film Festival isn’t there for nothing. The event, which runs Feb. 10 through 24, is spread out all over the greater Phoenix area—although, ironically, not in Phoenix proper. Shows are slated at Harkins Camelview 5 in Scottsdale; in the wilds of the West Valley at Harkins Arrowhead 18 […]

He’s back. . .and a secret admirer comes out of hiding

Much as I would like to avoid any weary reference to his famous Terminator catchphrase: He’s back. After a 10-year hiatus from starring roles so that he could do some temporary state government job, Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned with The Last Stand, a simplistic, bloody action picture which is, like Arnie himself, very much of […]

‘Promised Land’

A small town in southwestern Pennsylvania is the setting of Promised Land. It’s not exactly flowing with milk and honey—it’s a broke, fading farm community. But it’s sitting on oceans of natural gas, so two corporate agents, Steve (Matt Damon) and Sue (Frances MacDormand) descend on the all-too-eager locals, offering what seems like a fortune […]

‘Arthur Christmas’ pokes fun at some of Santa’s most enduring myths

Literalism is the joke behind the 2011 computer-animated feature Arthur Christmas. It’s right there in the poster: “Ever wonder how 2 Billion presents get delivered in 1 night?” 2 billion kids have wondered the same thing, and also how reindeer can fly, and how Santa gets down the chimney, etc. According to Arthur Christmas, nowadays […]

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