Joseph W. Smith III

A Night in New Orleans … without jazz, streetcars -- or elevator buttons!

6 weeks 4 days ago
Swimming pool just beyond the outfield fence on a summer night at minor-league baseball’s Zephyr Field in New Orleans

On a recent visit to New Orleans, my father, his brother and I defied expectations.  more»

Branagh’s CINDERELLA: A miracle in a manic age

28 weeks 2 days ago


A miracle in a manic age

Joseph W. Smith III

* * * * (out of four) more»

DAVID ASCENDANT: Godawa on Goliath -- and many others

32 weeks 1 day ago
Book cover image provided by Brian Godawa, author.

On a recent episode of Janet Parshall's syndicated radio show, author Brian Godawa outlined one tenet of his storytelling philosophy: "If you don't accurately depict man's depravity, the redemption in your story will not ring true."
That principle certainly applies to Godawa's latest novel. more»

Kingsman: “This is ain’t that kind of movie”; but it is -- sort of

32 weeks 2 days ago

“Kingsman” is a slick, funny, exciting spy thriller that feels both charmingly old-fashioned and thoroughly contemporary.

Subtitled “The Secret Service,” this high-octane actioner concerns a fictional British operation that prides itself on combating global crime while remaining privately funded and completely unacknowledged by the public. more»

Still Alice: Julianne Moore puts on a show

32 weeks 2 days ago

Julianne Moore puts on quite a show in “Still Alice.”

Fortunately, it’s not a one-man show.  Or one woman.

This quiet but deeply affecting story of an NYU linguistics prof with early-onset Alzheimer’s is top-drawer in every department: direction, script, music, photography and acting by the entire cast. more»

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES: Another masterpiece from director Nolan

3 years 9 weeks ago

**** (out of four)

Like some other fans of director Christopher Nolan, I’ve been waiting for him to finish the Batman movies so he can move on to more original films like “Memento,” “The Prestige” and “Inception.”

I now officially eat my words. more»

THE ARTIST: Black and white and pure gold

3 years 31 weeks ago
"The Artist" is currently nominated for Best Picture in the Academy Awards.

**** (out of four)

Currently poised to win the Oscar for Best Picture, “The Artist” has received rave reviews from nearly every critic -- and I will tell you why.

It’s because we love movies.

Old-fashioned movies.  Black-and-white movies.  Silent movies.  Foreign movies.

“The Artist” is all of these -- and more; in fact, it’s a masterpiece. more»

Actors and Artists: Oscar predictions for 2012

3 years 31 weeks ago

Along with the usual prognostications, Oscar-time nowadays tends to generate two types of articles: one observes how the show’s popularity has waned because it no longer honors box-office hits; the other mediates on past snubs of great films that weren’t especially popular when they came out -- films like “Vertigo” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” more»

CHRONICLE: The Lord of the Flies of superhero movies

3 years 33 weeks ago

*** (out of four)

Imagine a handful of ordinary teens who suddenly acquire extraordinary powers -- the ability to fly, to move giant objects, to fend off fists and other attacks.

Would they really use such powers to take down bad guys and rescue those in trouble -- like Peter Parker? more»

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

3 years 34 weeks ago

** (out of four)

“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” could also be described as “Moderately Boring” -- at least for the first 40 minutes or so.

Once Max von Sydow enters the tale, it picks up a bit, and by the end it’s almost worthwhile. more»

SUPER 8: Funny, scary, clever, convincing -- and loaded with heart and soul

3 years 44 weeks ago
Super 8 movie poster (google images)

***1/2 (out of four)

“Super 8” is a movie about kids making movies.

It’s also about a powerful alien monster.

And young love.

And a catastrophic train wreck.

And the 1970s.

More than anything, it’s about kids and parents dealing with grief and learning to treat each other decently. more»


3 years 46 weeks ago
MYLO XYLOTO album cover (google images)

**** (out of four)

Good bands regularly reinvent themselves, and Coldplay has done it with rip-roaring success on their latest album.
The cryptically named “Mylo Xyloto” is such a blast that it nearly qualifies as a controlled substance; once you start listening, you’ll find it tough to stop. more»

Stepping Out in Faith in Williamsport

4 years 4 weeks ago
Omega members prepare for worship on Sunday morning.

There has been a mission in the making in Williamsport for the past 2 years and over a week ago it came to fruition. Sunday, August 21, was the first official gathering of Omega Orthodox Presbyterian Church, a congregation of people who attended New Life OPC just over a week ago. more»

Oscar bait 2011: THE HELP is a masterpiece

4 years 6 weeks ago
Viola Davis will win an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in “The Help.”

**** (out of four)

Viola Davis will win an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in “The Help.”

That’s a firm call -- I won’t even argue about it; the only real question is how many other wins and noms will go to this beautifully acted masterpiece. more»

War of the West: Bond and Indy meet H. G. Wells in “Cowboys & Aliens”

4 years 9 weeks ago

“Cowboys and Aliens” is hardly the disaster some critics deemed it; but considering the recipe, this latest blockbuster should have been better. What recipe, you ask?


Little-known Little League gem: The Perfect Game

4 years 9 weeks ago

The best movie ever made about Little League is finally available on DVD. With exceptionally strong online reviews despite its limited theatrical run more than 15 months ago, “The Perfect Game” can best be described with the word “unlikely.” more»

On a board and a prayer: “Soul Surfer” Satisifies

4 years 9 weeks ago

“Soul Surfer” is not especially well written or directed -- but it’s a marvelous movie.  Absolutely marvelous.  I can’t imagine anybody seriously disliking it. This inauspicious little-engine-that-could tale concerns real-life surfer Bethany Hamilton, whose entire arm was bitten off by a tiger shark while she was surfing in Hawaii at the age of 13. more»

Jumping the Broom

4 years 20 weeks ago
Scene from Jumping the Broom movie (Google images)


Over-the-top is okay sometimes -- and “Jumping the Broom” is one of those times. The film has enough conflict, trauma and romance for three or four movies -- too much, really; and none of it is subtle.

Yet the movie works. more»

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