Diversions

‘Martha’ a poignant exploration of cult phenomenon

At the beginning of Martha Marcy May Marlene, the title character—all those names are hers—flees a cult in rural upstate New York. In desperation, she calls her older sister Lucy, who’s had...

‘Thing’ remake still frightful

All it means, really, is “object,” yet somewhere along the line in American pop culture the word “thing” came to mean something scary, a monster, a freak. Maybe it says something about...

‘Dolphin’ tale a quixotic charmer

“From the studios and producers of The Blind Side.” That’s how Dolphin Tale is being marketed. This may strike you as a tenuous aesthetic connection, but it’s savvy advertising—Dolphin Tale, loosely based...

‘Hoodwinked Too!’ redux ready for girls (and boys, too)

Made in a less-expensive, not-so-lush form of computer-generated animation, 2005’s Hoodwinked! was a fractured retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood myth. It was filled with wacky references to other fairy tales,...

Latest ‘Planet of the Apes’ sequel recasts earlier efforts with mostly joyous results

Of the many geeky enthusiasms of my boyhood, that for the Planet of the Apes movies was second in intensity only to Star Trek. So despite the disappointment I, like many fans, felt...

‘50s Smurfs legend resurrected for 3D remake — and a worthy one at that

It’s understandable if you don’t feel much enthusiasm at the prospect of taking your kid to The Smurfs. You may fear you’re in for a pretty cloying hour and a half. Created in...

Pooh tale best of animal epics

Opening this weekend is Winnie the Pooh, a new Disney feature chronicling the adventures of the title teddy bear and his various pals in the Hundred Acre Wood. I must admit that...

Attempt at first novel ends with arrival of a remarkable look-alike

A little over 10 years ago, mostly at the urging of a friend, I wrote my first novel. It took me about a year, including some lengthy interruptions, and though it was...
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