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    Movie Times | Movie Reviews | Theater Reviews
'The Founder': The Original Hamburglar
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:53PM / Friday, January 27, 2017
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'I think my father would have enjoyed John Lee Hancock's "The Founder," an enthusiastic account of how Ray Kroc, a previously failed salesman, turned the McDonald brothers' pioneering, fast-food restaurant into a worldwide phenomenon. But while he would applaud the title character's passion and persistence, he'd have something to say about his arguable ruthlessness. While dad, like Roy Hobbs in "The Natural" (1982), liked a buck as well as the next guy, he didn't believe that business and integrity were mutually exclusive items.

Daniel Goldberger, generally a man of few but well-chosen words, turned loquacious when we had company in the form of

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The Independent Investor: A Circus by Any Other Name Is Still a Circus
By Bill Schmick,
06:03PM / Thursday, January 26, 2017
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By now you may have heard that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are set to close in May of this year. That's the third circus in as many years to close their doors. You might say the announcement marks the end of an era stretching back for almost 150 years. I disagree.

The circus will never die. It's been around since the Romans were sticking each other with swords. It is a venue that is constantly changing that I believe will simply continue to evolve. Society has moved on from the need to see blood and guts on the sandy floor of the arena. For the last century and a half, we have been entertained instead by death-defying feats, acrobatics, wild animals and loud

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'Hidden Figures': Amounts to an Important Tale
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:51PM / Friday, January 20, 2017
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Watching director Theodore Melfi's "Hidden Figures," about the African-American women working for NASA who were instrumental if not indispensable to getting our first man in space, we scratch our heads and can't help but ask ourselves, "How come I didn't know this?" But figuring the truth here isn't rocket science.

So many years after the fact, it's the same depth of prejudice that hampered Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and their sister colleagues from convincing the space agency of their genius that has squirreled away their story.

This is a civics lesson, especially important at this tremulous juncture when a sizable portion

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'La La Land': On the One Hand, and Then on the Other
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:43PM / Friday, January 13, 2017
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I already knew I was somewhat of a dreamer, but my generally warm and starry-eyed acceptance of wunderkind writer-director Damien Chazelle's "La La Land," a throwback/homage to the nascent movie musicals of the 1930s, also confirms that I am a hopeless romantic. The curious idea to have Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play the sort of aspiring showbiz kids Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell portrayed in vehicles like "42nd Street" (1933) won me over despite the film's unrealistic plotting and a minor litany of incongruities.

But then again, this is the movies, and just how much suspension of disbelief one is willing to assume is always in direct proportion to how much

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'Fences': Scales the Dramatic Heights
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:32PM / Friday, January 06, 2017
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Denzel Washington's phenomenally touching, multitextured performance in August Wilson's "Fences" sings a heartrending paean to every dad who struggled to make a living, raise a family and preserve his human dignity in the face of herculean obstacles. Plying one of the most complexly realized, tragic American figures since Arthur Miller's iconized Willy Loman, the philosophical, historical and psychological contemplations Washington plumbs are packed with seriocomic emotion.

This is filmed theater at its very best. Utilizing only four or five sets to occasionally supplement the working class, Pittsburgh back yard where most of the action takes place, Denzel

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'Why Him?': Why Waste Your Money?
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:18PM / Tuesday, January 03, 2017
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For parents of a daughter approaching marrying age, James Franco's Laird Mayhew is your worst nightmare realized. On the positive side of the ledger, the Silicon Valley mega-billionaire would doubtless be a good provider. But topping the much longer list of negatives, he is a filthy mouthed libertine who thinks nothing of regaling you with highlights of the sensual pleasures he has enjoyed with your dear little offspring. Paired with a raft of other, freethinking improprieties and all manner of distressing chutzpah, he begs the question, "Why Him?"

It's a pretty good idea for a film. We're all interested in the vexing, unexplainable decision making that comprises the

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'Manchester by the Sea': Set your Movie GPS
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:41PM / Wednesday, December 21, 2016
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For those filmgoers who long for a movie with a beginning, middle and end, bereft of razzle-dazzle special effects and philosophy class mind benders, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan's soulfully touching "Manchester by the Sea" is just the ticket. But beware oh ye to whom such traditional fair initially appeals, as the astutely filmed story about an uncle made the guardian of a teenage boy after the kid's father dies ultimately asks just how much reality are you willing to take?

While to a degree you may escape into the fine artistry of the saga, its authenticity poignantly and regularly, to coin a phrase, harks back to the human drama in which we are all cast members.

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'Nocturnal Animals': Subspecies: Human
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
02:38PM / Thursday, December 15, 2016
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Imagine you are driving late at night on a desolate country road, hardly a speck of civilization in sight save for an occasional utility pole. It's spooky to begin with, but nowhere near as scary as when a car suddenly appears in your rearview mirror. You make a turn, just to see. The car follows. You make a couple more, random turns. There it is, right behind you. What's the odds? Your paranoia concedes to one of your worst fears realized. Surely you are being followed by the most deplorable, inbred ne'er-do-wells in creation.

Good thing this is merely the fiction within a novel that Susan, the female lead in director Tom Ford's "Nocturnal Animals," is reading.

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Norman Rockwell Museum Offers Berkshire County Student Passport Program
02:51PM / Monday, December 12, 2016
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STOCKBRIDGE, Mass. — Norman Rockwell Museum has begun the Berkshire County Student Passport Program, part of a comprehensive effort to reach out and engage many more young people in the region with the museum, and to introduce them to Norman Rockwell, who lived the last 25 years of his life in Berkshire County.

The museum uses Rockwell's narrative images to support learning in the classroom in relation to history, language arts and art, and educators have also found meaningful connections with regard to social/emotional learning and ESL themes.

Supported by the contributions of friends of Norman Rockwell Museum, the Passport Program was created for students and families in

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'Rules Don't Apply': The Politics of Entitlement
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
11:23AM / Friday, December 09, 2016
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Maybe it's because I've recently had my fill of bragging billionaires that I was slow to build interest in director-writer-actor Warren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply." The partially fantasized biographical sketch about the much mythologized Howard Hughes also starts off sluggishly and is a mite jagged. It isn't until about the midpoint, when Beatty's eccentric caricature begins to gel, that the mélange of loony and philosophical almost compensates for what then, alas, devolves into a run-of-the-mill romance.

In the opening scene we are welcomed into the opulently celebrated tarnish that is Hollywood just before the death knell sounds on the studio

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