Joseph W. Smith III

On a recent visit to New Orleans, my father, his brother and I defied expectations.  In the midst of a multi-stage train trip, we stayed only 14 hours -- and we didn’t patronize jazz bars, streetcars, restaurants or the French Quarter.  Instead, we went to a minor-league ball game.  My...
Branagh's CINDERELLA: A miracle in a manic age Joseph W. Smith III * * * * (out of four) In a cynical and manic age when family films throw in everything but the kitchen sink -- all while hedging their bets with a "we're-too-cool-for-this" attitude -- Kenneth Branagh's "Cinderella" is a small...
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. Seventh...
“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...
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...
**** (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. After “The Dark Knight Rises,” I wouldn’t care if...
**** (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...
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 --...
*** (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? “Chronicle”...
** (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. Almost. Based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel, the new film...

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