Movie Reviews

Movie Reviews Section

Stay up to date on the latest films with Movie Reviews featured in two short segments — Take Two and Freeze Frame. “Freeze Frame” is a two-minute countdown of films reviewed by Russ Simmons, an award-winning film critic, whose work has been featured on television and in print for nearly two decades. “Take Two” hosts Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders, a former psychotherapist, review independently made films and art-house movies currently showing in Kansas City.

Take Two Air Times:

  • Friday at 12:32 pm
  • Saturday at 5:58 pm
  • Wednesday at 12:30 pm

 

Freeze Frame Air Times:

  • Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 10:58 am
  • Sunday at 12:30 pm
  • Monday at 12 Noon on “Arts Magazine”

FREEZE FRAME: “Life,” “The Last Word,” “Wilson” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 24, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Is there life in “Life?” This sci-fi thriller features Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Reynolds as astronauts who confront a deadly new species on their voyage to Mars. The film owes a bit too much of its inspiration to the classic “Alien,” but thanks to a good cast and competent execution, “Life” nearly overcomes most of its genre clichés.

Hollywood legend Shirley MacLaine is perfectly cast as a nasty old lady in the comic drama, “The Last Word.” Since no one has anything nice to say about her, an unlikable octogenarian hires a writer, played by Amanda Seyfried, to pen a flattering obituary. The actors are fine, but the effort seems labored. “The Last Word” misses the opportunity to mine an interesting, original premise.

Woody Harrelson plays the misanthropic title character in “Wilson,” a bleak, R-rated adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel. The film attempts a very uneasy mix of mean-spiritedness and cloying sentimentality. While the cast is terrific, the characters in this dark comedy are so clueless and unlikable that their actions elicit more groans than laughs.

Also opening this week, “Slamma Jamma” is a faith-based drama about a wrongfully imprisoned ex-con who attempts a comeback through a slam-dunk competition. Chris Staples stars. “Song to Song” is a Terrance Malick drama about struggling songwriters. Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman star. “The Lure” is a Polish film about two mermaid sisters in a love triangle. “Personal Shopper” is a horror flick with Kristen Stewart as the titular servant to a celebrity. “Power Rangers” is a live action revival of the 1990s kids TV show. “CHiPS” is a raunchy, R-rated reboot of the 70s TV series.

The 20th annual Kansas City Film Festival takes place April 5th-9th at the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza. Info is available at kcfilmfest.org.

TAKE TWO: “The Sense of an Ending” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 24, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Can a youthful mistake be amended in one’s old age? What if the memory of it is unreliable? These are the central questions behind the British art house entry, “The Sense of an Ending.” Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent plays a man whose former girlfriend’s mother leaves him a mysterious diary in her will. Problem is, the old girlfriend refuses to give it to him. While the movie never quite mines the depth it seeks, it’s an interesting effort that’s impeccably acted.

FREEZE FRAME: “Beauty and the Beast” (PG), “Sense of an Ending” (PG-13) ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 17, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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It’s a tale as old as time, but when Disney goes back to the well it’s usually worth the trip. The 1991 animated classic “Beauty and the Beast” gets a rousing ‘live-action’ reboot, although I use the term “Live-action” loosely when there’s this much computer animation involved. Emma Watson steps out of the world of Harry Potter and into the role of Belle, the provincial French beauty who warms the heart of a cursed beast, played by “Downton Abby’s” Dan Stevens.

The production values are first rate, the terrific music by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman is mostly well delivered, but the addition of some unnecessary new tunes by Menken and Tim Rice slows things down, ballooning the running time from the original’s 85 minutes to two hours and nine minutes.

Yet, there’s plenty of movie magic and heart-tugging sentiment in this $160 million 3-D extravaganza. While it doesn’t live up to the standard of the Oscar-winning original, this new “Beast” has a “Beauty” all its own and hits an emotional bull’s-eye.

Can a youthful mistake be amended in one’s old age? What if the memory of it is unreliable? These are the central questions behind the British art house entry, “The Sense of an Ending.” Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent plays a man whose former girlfriend’s mother leaves him a mysterious diary in her will. Problem is, the old girlfriend refuses to give it to him. While the movie never quite mines the depth it seeks, it’s an interesting effort that’s impeccably acted.

Also opening this week, “Wolves” is a drama about a high school basketball player whose meddling, unethical father, played by Michael Shannon, threatens to upend his dreams before they even begin.

The 20th annual Kansas City Film Festival takes place April 5th-9th at the Cinemark Palace on the Plaza. Info is available at kcfilmfest.org.

TAKE TWO: “Kong: Skull Island” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 17, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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In an unusual turn, Susan and Russ take a look at a Hollywood blockbuster, "Kong: Skull Island." This is the second in a series of 'reboots' that started with the remake of "Godzilla" in 2014. (Look for "Kong vs Godzilla" in the near future.) Tom HIddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson and John C. Reilly lead the stellar cast in this big budget monster fli

FREEZE FRAME: “Kong: Skull Island,” “The Ottoman Lieutenant” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 10, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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There are those who may think that Hollywood has given us way too many giant monster movies already. But I felt like a giddy kid at an old-time Saturday matinee when I saw “Kong: Skull Island.” This action-packed fantasy adventure employs eye-popping state of the art special effects to create believably scary creatures and an exotic environment. But, most importantly, establishes a sense of wonder and the feel of genuine peril.

A team of explorers, led by an obsessed John Goodman, travel to an uncharted island in 1973. He’s the only one who realizes the real dangers that lurk there. The terrific cast also includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and Brie Larson. But John C. Reilly nearly steals the movie as a shell-shocked WWII veteran who miraculously survived for on the island 30 years.

But the real star is the movie’s titular colossus who protects the natives and his dangerous turf from a wild assortment of gigantic monsters. It’s violent enough to more than earn it’s PG-13 rating, but “Kong: Skull Island” is also funny and involving even if it’s script adds nothing new to the genre. I give this Kong four out of five giant bananas.

“The Ottoman Lieutenant” is the kind of sweeping historic romance that Hollywood seldom makes anymore. Unless they do it better than this, we may not see many more. During the early days of WW I, a Christian American nurse working at a rural hospital falls in love with a Muslim Turkish officer who is assigned to protect her. The lead actors have no chemistry or charisma and the horrors that transpired in this part of the world are mostly glossed over. Where are Julie Christie and Omar Sharif when we need them?

Also opening this week, “Kedi” is a documentary about the wild cats that inhabit the streets of Istanbul.

TAKE TWO: “The Salesman” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 3, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Famed Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi received his second Best Foreign Language Film Oscar for the insightful and involving drama, "The Salesman." Susan and Russ take a look at this story about two actors, a man and wife, who are appearing in a production of Arthur Miller's classic play, "The Death of a Salesman." Things get tricky when they move into a new apartment and one of them is accosted by a stranger.

FREEZE FRAME: “Logan,” “The Salesman,” “Table 19” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 3, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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In what is being touted as his final big-screen appearance as “Logan,” aka Wolverine, Hugh Jackman is back as a tired, aging and worn out mutant, a far cry from his glory days with X-Men. In the ultra-violent flick “Logan,” he reluctantly protects a young girl who may be his daughter as well as the sickly Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart. This R-rated blood-fest has plenty of action and more depth than most superhero movies, but some may question the ethics of children participating in the sadistic carnage.

“The Salesman” is the winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Asghar Farhadi’s intriguing suspense drama involves a couple that gets more than they bargained for when they move into a new apartment in the middle of Tehran. It’s intricately plotted, skillfully acted, realistic and heartbreaking. Once again, Farhadi demonstrates why he’s one of the world’s finest filmmakers.

An appealing cast and some amusing moments may not be quite enough to make “Table 19” worth a sit down. Anna Kendrick, Lisa Kudrow and Craig Robinson are among a group of misfits that get stuck together at the worst table at a wedding reception and find out that, for various reasons, aren’t really welcome at the party. Overall, the material sitcom material isn’t quite strong enough to sustain a feature length movie.

Also opening this week, Octavia Spencer and Sam Worthington star in “The Shack,” a drama about a spiritual journey, based on the Christian bestseller by William P. Young. “Catfight” is a black comedy about former friends Sandra Oh and Anne Heche who wind up in the titular brawl. “Headshot” is a martial arts thriller from Indonesia. “Before I Fall” is drama with a “Groundhog Day” type structure where a young woman lives the same day over and over.

FREEZE FRAME: “Get Out,” “A United Kingdom,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “The Girl With All the Gifts,” “Bitter Harvest” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 24, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Comic Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame makes his directorial debut with a surprisingly effective, full-blooded horror film, “Get Out.” Daniel Kaluuya plays a young black photographer who goes to meet his white girlfriend’s parents in rural suburbia, where things go horribly wrong. An effective social commentary as well as a potent creepfest, “Get Out” is this generation’s answer to “The Stepford Wives.”

David Oyelowo from "Selma" and Rosamund Pike from "Gone Girl" star in the true historical romance "A United Kingdom." Oyelowo plays the heir to the throne of Botswana who creates international chaos in 1947 when he takes a white, British wife, played by Pike. It’s a handsomely produced, beautifully acted and involving drama.

“I Am Not Your Negro” is a compelling and penetrating documentary about the late author James Baldwin and his perspective on three men he knew well: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, who were all assassinated. It’s a sobering, resonant and timely work.

“The Girl with All the Gifts” is yet another zombie apocalypse flick, but this one is particularly smart and effective. Glenn Close and Gemma Arterton lead the strong acting ensemble, but newcomer Sennia Nanua steals the show as a child zombie who retains her emotions and an extremely high level of intelligence. It’s an interesting twist on the genre.

“Bitter Harvest” is a bitter disappointment. This romantic historical drama is set against the backdrop of Stalin’s suppression of Ukraine that led millions to starvation in the 1930s. It’s a ham-fisted and artificial entry that squanders its chance to bring this shocking story to a wide audience.

Also opening this week, “Rock Dog” is an animated offering about a music-loving pooch and “Collide” is an action thriller starring Felicity Jones that’s been sitting on the shelf for a few years.

TAKE TWO: “I Am Not Your Negro” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 24, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Raoul Peck's Oscar-nominated documentary "I Am Not Your Negro" is a compelling work about the late African-American writer James Baldwin and his relationship with three Civil Rights workers who were all assassinated: Medgar Evers, Malcom X and Martin Luther King. Using archived footage and the voice of Samuel L. Jackson to read Baldwin's words, this is a very timely, resonant movie.

FREEZE FRAME: “Fist Fight,” “A Cure for Wellness,” “Toni Erdmann,” “Neruda,” “The Great Wall” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 17, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Yet again, Hollywood mistakes vulgarity for wit. Charlie Day and Ice Cube star in “Fist Fight,” an R-rated comedy about a wimpy teacher challenged to an afterschool brawl by a testy fellow educator. This mean-spirited vehicle manages to pummel a few crass laughs from the audience, but it may make you want to punch the screenwriters.

Style over substance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But in the case of the gothic horror flick “A Cure for Wellness,” the style chokes out any substance. Filmmaker Gore Verbinski, best known for the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, allows the visual razzle-dazzle to overwhelm an interesting premise and a strong cast. Dane DeHann is a business executive who travels to a creepy health resort in the Swiss Alps to bring back his vacationing boss, but winds up a patient instead. Overlong and overblown, “A Cure for Wellness” is too dark to be campy fun.

“Toni Erdmann” is an Oscar-nominated black comedy from Germany about a man who creates a fake persona to worm his way back into the life of his estranged daughter, an ambitious corporate type. It’s brilliant in a number of ways, but its deliberate pace, considerable length and frank sexuality may be off-putting to many viewers.

“Neruda” is a Chilean film about a policeman, played by Gael Garcia Bernal, who pursues the titular Communist poet who went into hiding in the 1940s to escape persecution by Chile’s right wing government. Beautifully shot and produced, Pablo Larrain’s film isn’t so much about the title character as it is a poetic view of obsession.

The great Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou tries his hand at an English-language, Hollywood-style spectacle, complete with hoards of monsters and an American star, Matt Damon. The visuals are spectacular, but this fantasy action movie lacks the depth of most of Zhang Yimou's work.

Take Two: “A Dog’s Purpose” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 17, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ review a sentimental adaptation of W. Bruce Cameron's bestselling novel. It's the story of a dog (voiced by Josh Gad) who is reincarnated a number of times until he discovers the reason for his existence. The film was directed by Lasse Hallstrom ("Chocolate") and stars Dennis Quaid and Peggy Lipton.

TAKE TWO: “Julieta” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 10, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan take a look at the latest melodrama from acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar. "Julieta" has all of the splashy color and over-the-top flourishes that are the hallmark of Almodovar's films. It's the story of a mother-daughter relationship. In a series of flashbacks, we learn how the two became estranged. Emma Suarez plays the elder Julieta and Adriana Ugarta plays her younger self.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Lego Batman Movie,”John Wick: Chapter 2,” “Fifty Shades Darker” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 10, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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It’s sequel mania at theaters this week, and at least two of them live up to the originals.

Who would have thought that an animated movie about toy building blocks would have been a hit, let alone a brash, cheeky and fast moving…wait for it…blockbuster? But 2014’s “The Lego Movie” was just that.

In the sequel, “The Lego Batman Movie,” Will Arnett reprises his role as a narcissistic and self-centered caped crusader whose lonely life of crime fighting is upended when Robin and Batgirl help him face his greatest challenge from The Joker and a wide assortment of other bad guys. This goofy and colorful romp is sure a lot more fun than Ben Affleck’s version.

Keanu Reeves is back for more R-rated bloody mayhem in “John Wick: Chapter 2,” about a super assassin reluctantly drawn back into the business. The ultra violent action thriller exists for one reason, and that’s to allow some of the best stunt people in the world to expertly ply their trade. Inspired by Hong Kong action cinema, this zippy flick has it all, including car chases, hand-to-hand combat, gunplay and a slew of bad guys being dispatched by all manner of weapons, including pencils. Yes, pencils. It’s a decadent guilty pleasure.

“Fifty Shades Darker” is the second title in the erotic romantic drama series based upon the bestsellers by E. L. James. The story of a kinky S&M relationship isn’t bad enough to be campy fun and is about as erotic as a cold shower. Dakota Johnson’s beguiling performance as the naive Anastasia Steele is the only thing this movie has going for it. Jamie Dornan as the handsome but twisted billionaire, however, is as drab as his name, Christian Grey. “Fifty Shades Darker” could have been called “Fifty Shades Duller.”

Also opening this week, “Don’t Knock Twice” is yet another low-budget horror entry about a wicked witch

FREEZE FRAME: “The Space Between Us,” “Julieta” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 3, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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KKFI film critic Russ Simmons reviews two current films, one with "space between its ears" and one that's smart involving and elegant.

TAKE TWO: “The Founder” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 3, 2017 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on "The Founder," a biopic about Ray Kroc, the man who turned the fast food pioneer McDonald's into an American behemoth. Michael Keaton plays Kroc, a struggling salesman who achieved success by stabbing people in the back. The movie chronicles Kroc's manipulation of Richard and Maurice McDonald, the men who were the restaurant's actual founders. Laura Dern, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch and B.J. Novak co-star. "The Founder" was directed by John Lee Hancock ("The Blind Side").

TAKE TWO: “20th Century Women” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 27, 2017 |

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Susan and Russ explore the latest film from writer/director Mike Mills, the man behind the award-winning 2011 movie, "Beginners." This semi-autobiographical tale is a coming-of-age story about a 15-year-old boy being brought up in bohemian fashion by his liberal mom, played by Annette Bening.

FREEZE FRAME: “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Paterson,” “Gold” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 27, 2017 |

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Who would have thought that the most controversial movie in theaters today would be about puppy dogs? “A Dog’s Purpose” has come under scrutiny because of a leaked video that suggests that a dog might have been treated inhumanely during the making of the film. The movie, however, is all about humanity’s love of canines. An adorable pooch who is reincarnated multiple times until he ultimately discovers his reason for living. It’s shamelessly manipulative, corny and mawkish. But if you’re a dog lover, it just might have you reaching for the tissues.

“Paterson,” the latest movie from eccentric filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, is perfectly in keeping with his low-key, offbeat sensibilities. Adam Driver plays a New Jersey bus driver who is also a poet. Over a period of a week, we observe his life as he drives his route, writes his poems and interacts with his wife, passengers, co-workers and patrons at his favorite bar. Driver is terrific in this deliberately paced slice of life that is as much a tone poem as a film. Jarmusch fans will be in heaven. To others, “Paterson” could feel like watching paint dry.

With all of the compelling elements in its remarkable true story, “Gold,” should have been another “Social Network” or “The Big Short.” Sadly, it doesn’t live up to that promise. Matthew McConaughey stars as an unlucky small-time prospector who enlists a geologist to help locate gold in the jungles of Indonesia. Their fortunes take a turn when they locate a promising vein and raise millions to extract it. But will they be able to keep their money when powerful entities move in? McConaughey goes all out, going fat and bald, but the movie’s jagged structure prevents it from creating an emotional punch.

Also opening this week, the so-called finale to the zombie franchise, “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.”

FREEZE FRAME: “Split,” “The Founder,” “20th Century Women,” “Trespass Against Us,” “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 6, 2017 |

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Since hitting the big time with “The Sixth Sense,” the work of quirky filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan has been a hit-and-miss affair. His new horror entry “Split” is something of a return to form. James McAvoy is excellent as a man suffering from multiple personality disorder who kidnaps and imprisons three teenage girls. Betty Buckley is also fine as his sympathetic psychiatrist. There are plot holes and absurdities in “Split” that are hard to dismiss, but the actors make this taut chiller work as well as it does.

Michael Keaton’s dynamic performance is also the driving force in “The Founder,” the true story of the longtime chairman of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc. As in “Breaking Bad,” Kroc’s character arc takes a surprising turn, first winning audience support as an underdog and then losing it as he evolves into a backstabbing manipulator. It’s a distressing look at unbridled greed and ambition.

The talented cast also carries the day in “20th Century Women,” a comic drama about a free-spirited mom raising her teenage son in bohemian fashion in the 1970s. Annette Bening gives a nuanced performance sure to land her another Oscar nomination. It’s a melancholy coming-of-age flick.

A fine cast can’t quite save “Trespass Against Us,” a British gangster flick that is somewhat reminiscent of 70s drive-in fare. Michael Fassbender plays a small time hood who rebels against his dad, played by Brendan Gleeson, the head of a rag-tag band of gypsy-like thieves who live in a rural trailer compound. Even if you can navigate through the array of thick accents, this story and its strange conclusion will probably still be unsatisfying.

“xXx: Return of Xander Cage” is the third in the over-the-top action series. Vin Diesel is back as the extreme athlete now working as a CIA agent. He’s out to stop some bad guys who’ve gotten their hands on a doomsday weapon. It plays more like a stunt reel than a story.

The Screenland Armour presents the annual compilation of horror films, Panic Fest, Jan. 27th -29th. Info is available at panicfilmfest.com.

TAKE TWO: “Elle” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 25, 2017 |

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Susan and Russ cover a controversial film that won the Best Foreign Language Film prize as well as Best Actress at this year's Golden Globes. Isabelle Huppert ("Amour") plays a successful businesswoman who is brutally raped, and then begins a strange relationship with her attacker. "Elle" represents a bit of a return to form for director Paul Verhoeven, known for "Basic Instinct," "RoboCop" and the notorious "Showgirls."

FREEZE FRAME: “Split,” “The Founder,” “20th Century Women,” “Trespass Against Us,” “xXx: Return of Xander Cage” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 20, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Since hitting the big time...

FREEZE FRAME: “Hidden Figures,” “A Monster Calls” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 6, 2017 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Kansas City native Janelle Monáe has proven herself to be a terrific musician. She can now add the title ‘acclaimed actress’ to her resume. She’s part of a strong acting ensemble in “Hidden Figures,” potent follow-up to her role in the current drama, “Moonight.” Monáe, Taraji P. Henson and Octavia Spencer star in the true story of mathematicians whose calculations helped propel NASA’s manned space program the 1960s, in spite of blatant sexism and racism. Kevin Costner is the NASA bigwig who relies on these female computers before IBM introduced mechanical ones. While the storytelling is standard, the cast of “Hidden Figures” is appealing, the production values are spot on and it is an inspiring tale that needed to be told.

TAKE TWO: “Collateral Beauty” #filmreview #podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 30, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The great cast includes Will Smith, Edward Norton, Kiera Knightly, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet and Naomi Harris. The director is David Frankel ("The Devil Wears Prada") and the writer is Allan Loeb ("Things We Lost in the Fire"). So, what happened?? Russ and Susan agree that this dour drama is a hokey mess.

FREEZE FRAME: Russ’ 10 Best Movies of 2016 list. ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 30, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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At the close 2016, it’s time to look back the best movies the year had to offer. Here’s my list of the cream of the cinematic crop.

TAKE TWO: “Nocturnal Animals” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 16, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Fashion designer Tom Ford's second effort as a filmmaker is "Nocturnal Animals." Susan and Russ examine this difficult film, which is rated "R" even though it might have deserved an "NC-17" rating. A very dark and violent tale of revenge, "Nocturnal Animals" stars Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Isla Fisher and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

FREEZE FRAME: “La La Land,” “Collateral Beauty,” “Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 16, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Are American audiences ready for a full-blown movie musical about struggling performing artists in Los Angeles? I hope so, because “La La Land” is easily one of the best movies of the year. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are splendid in this magical romantic comic drama that was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the man behind last year’s terrific jazz movie, “Whiplash.” “La La Land” is smart, poignant, tune-filled and funny. Those who love old-time musicals will be in heaven and those that don’t…will probably like it anyway. “La La Land” is a real gem.

TAKE TWO: “Manchester by the Sea” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 9, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Manchester by the Sea is an American drama film directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan and starring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol and Lucas Hedges. The plot follows an uncle who has to look after his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

FREEZE FRAME: “Manchester by the Sea,” “Nocturnal Animals,” “Miss Sloane,” “Office Christmas Party” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 9, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Don’t be surprised if you hear the title “Manchester by the Sea” being bandied about a lot at awards time. Filmmaker Kenneth Lonergan’s heartbreaking drama about loss and grief is a skillfully written and impeccably acted ensemble piece. Casey Affleck plays a working class man who struggles with a past tragedy when he returns to his Massachusetts hometown for his brother’s funeral. I’ll warn you, it’s extremely bleak, but it’s also poignant and affecting.

TAKE TWO: “Allied” #filmreview podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 2, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard star in a "Casablanca" wannabe called "Allied." This romantic WWII drama features Pitt as a Canadian intelligence officer who falls in love with a French Resistance fighter (Cotillard) who may -or may not- be a Nazi spy. While Susan and Russ found some things to admire, they agreed about the movies weaknesses as well.

FREEZE FRAME: “Man Down,” “The Eagle Huntress” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 2, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Earnest performances and good intentions don’t always lead to good movies. “Man Down” is a case in point. Shia LaBeouf gives a solid turn as a U.S. Marine who, upon his return home from serving in Afghanistan, discovers that his wife and child have fallen into the hands of some chaotic force. Is this a mystery, a sci-fi story or an apocalyptic drama? The answer isn’t clear until the movie’s final moments. Sadly, this well-meaning film never gets a grip on its subject and comes off as forced and pretentious instead of heartfelt and impassioned.

TAKE TWO: “Arrival” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 18, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ celebrate the arrival of an intelligent, thought-provoking sci-fi movie. "Arrival" stars Amy Adams as a linguist who is recruited by the US military to help them communicate with aliens who have come to Earth in a dozen gigantic space pods. What is their intent? This movie from French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve may not be for those who hate ambiguity.

FREEZE FRAME: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “The Edge of Seventeen,” “The 13th” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 18, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Harry Potter fans who mourned the end of his book and movie franchise, take heart. J. K Rowling has revived that universe with her original screenplay, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Eddie Redmayne plays an English wizard who finds trouble when he travels to New York in the 1920s with a bagful of magical critters. Even though it’s loud, dark and overlong, it’s a wildly entertaining and visually bewitching fantasy that serves as a welcome introduction to a whole new franchise.

TAKE TWO: “Hacksaw Ridge” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 11, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Oscar-winner Mel Gibson returns to the director's chair for "Hacksaw Ridge," the true story of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector during WWII who wound up winning the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving 75 men on a battlefield in Okinawa. Andrew Garfield ("The Amazing Spider-Man") plays Doss and Vince Vaughn is his drill sergeant. Susan and Russ agree that the grisly battle scenes are among the most authentic captured on screen.

FREEZE FRAME: “Arrival,” “Christine” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 11, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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“Arrival” is a science fiction opus that walks a razor’s edge. It could be hokey in the extreme or profoundly moving. Luckily, it mostly keeps its balance thanks to skillful direction from Denis Villeneuve and a touching performance from Amy Adams. When a number of alien spacecraft abruptly appear in various parts of the world, the US Military recruits an expert linguist, played by Adams, to see if she can communicate with them. Will she be able to discover their motives and intent before humanity reacts with violence? This very smart movie asks more questions than it answers, so this is not a movie for those who hate ambiguity. For many, however, it marks the arrival of a very impressive and thought provoking film.

FREEZE FRAME: “Doctor Strange,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Trolls” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 4, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The 14th film from the Marvel Universe is easily the trippiest, yet. Benedict Cumberbatch plays “Doctor Strange” in a visually spectacular origin story about Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. While you may not be able to make heads or tails out of its plot about mysticism and treachery in multiple dimensions, there’s no denying that this well acted adventure is an involving mess. Cumberbatch is solid and although Tilda Swinton is miscast as his mentor, the Ancient One, she adds a welcome note of gravitas that leavens some of the silliness. “Doctor Strange” is one of the rare movies where the 3-D is actually worth the additional expense.

TAKE TWO: “Certain Women” #FilmReview Podcat ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 4, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ agree that the subtle charms of the austere drama "Certain Women" won't appeal to everyone. Laura Dern, Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart and Lily Gladstone star in this slice-of-life film that features three intertwining stories about small town Montana life. The low key film comes from writer/director Kelly Reichardt ("Meek's Cutoff"), based on short stories by Maile Meloy.

TAKE TWO: “Denial” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 28, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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An important British legal case is at the heart of "Denial," a true story that pits an American historian against a British Holocaust denier. Deborah Lipstadt (Oscar-winner Rachel Weisz) is sued by writer David Irving for libel when she calls him a liar for his antisemitic claims. Susan and Russ have very different takes on this drama written by David Hare ("The Hours") and directed by Mick Jackson ("Live from Baghdad").

FREEZE FRAME: “Inferno,” “Certain Women,” “Michael Moore in Trumpland” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 28, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Tom Hanks and director Ron Howard may have gone to the well one too many times with "Inferno," their third entry in the Robert Langdon "Da Vinci Code" series by novelist Dan Brown. This time out, our intrepid Harvard symbologist tries to unravel his trickiest puzzle, yet, involving Dante, a deadly virus and a crazy billionaire.

TAKE TWO: “American Honey” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 21, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The realistic Shia LaBeouf drama "American Honey" was largely shot in the Kansas City area. It won the Jury Prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Susan and Russ give their reactions to this story about a wandering band of bohemian teenagers who travel around the midwest selling magazines. It's from acclaimed British filmmaker Andrea Arnold.

FREEZE FRAME: “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back,” “Denial,” “Ouija: Origin of Evil,” “Keeping Up with the Joneses” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 21, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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“Jack Reacher: Never Go Back” could be described as “’The Last Samurai’ with a Pistol.” Tom Cruise reunites with “Samurai” director Ed Zwick in Cruise’s second go round as Lee Child’s backside-kicking ex-military policeman turned lone vigilante. While it has a sufficient action quotient for undemanding genre fans, this modest thriller is mostly boilerplate fare. Tom seems to be operating on Cruise control.

TAKE TWO: “The Birth of a Nation” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 14, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The story of Nat Turner's slave revolt of 1831 hasn't been dramatized on film...until now. Susan and Russ discuss the merits and flaws of this intriguing historical drama. Nate Parker wrote, directed, produced and takes the lead role in this opus that shines a spotlight on the horrors of American slavery.

FREEZE FRAME: “American Honey,””The Accountant,” “Kevin Hart: What Now?” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 14, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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“American Honey” is the Shia LaBeouf drama that that was shot largely in the Kansas City area and won this year’s jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s an unusual coming of age drama about a hard-partying group of misfit teens selling magazines door to door. Newcomer Sasha Lane plays a young girl who falls in with these modern day gypsies. British filmmaker Andrea Arnold offers up some interesting ideas in this drama that has won praise from many critics, but this viewer found it to be overlong, meandering and self-indulgent. May I say, “The emperor has no clothes?”

TAKE TWO: “The Girl on the Train” #FilmReview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 7, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ check out a Hitchcock wannabe, a thriller based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hopkins. The terrific cast includes Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, Allison Janney, Edgar Ramirez, Lisa Kudrow and Laura Prepon. This suspense flick was directed by Tate Taylor, best known for "The Help."

FREEZE FRAME: “The Birth of a Nation,” “The Girl on the Train,” “The Great Gilly Hopkins” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 7, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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“The Birth of a Nation” is Nate Parker’s controversial but powerful film about the educated slave Nat Turner who became a pastor and led an ill-fated slave revolt in 1831. Parker wrote, directed, produced and stars as Turner in this unflinching look at the horrors of American slavery. While the violent content is certainly disturbing, the emotional force and the importance of the story help make up for some filmmaking flaws. It’s vibrant enough to start some meaningful conversations.

TAKE TWO: “Masterminds” #filmreview podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 30, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take a look at a wacky comedy produced by Loren Michaels of "Saturday Night Live" that features a number of SNL alums. Zach Galifankis stars in the true story of a group of inept thieves who make off with millions only to make idiotic decisions that come back to haunt them. It was directed by Jared Hess, the man behind "Napoleon Dynamite."

FREEZE FRAME: “The Queen of Katwe,” “Deepwater Horizon,” “Masterminds,” “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 30, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Disney’s “The Queen of Katwe” may be the sunniest view of Uganda you’re likely to see. David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and newcomer Madina Nalwanga star in the true story of a brilliant young girl who escapes her difficult circumstances when she discovers the world of competitive chess. While this lovely story is told in a pedestrian way, the terrific cast and never-say-die spirit that makes it work.

TAKE TWO: “The Magnificent Seven” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 23, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ have different takes on the remake of the western classic from 1960. The location, motives and back stories have changed, but the David vs. Goliath elements remain the same. This is the first time that Denzel Washington, Ethan Hawke and director Antoine Fuqua have worked together since Washington's Oscar-winning turn in "Training Day."

FREEZE FRAME: “The Magnificent Seven,” “Storks” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 23, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Western fans have been eagerly anticipating the remake of the classic 1960 shoot-‘em-up, “The Magnificent Seven.” Antoine Fuqua’s reimagining of the story isn’t magnificent, but it could be called “The Pretty Good Seven.” Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke lead a group of vigilante gunmen who help defend a small western town from an evil industrialist and his private army. Seems the homesteaders stand in the way of his mining interests. There’s plenty of action and some occasionally hilarious moments, mostly thanks to Pratt’s terrific comic timing. But this revenge tale is overlong, chaotic and extremely violent. The folks who gave this a PG-13 rating are dum-dum-da-dum, dum-dum-dum-da-dum.

TAKE TWO: “Sully” #FilmReview #Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 16, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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With Clint Eastwood behind the camera and Tom Hanks in front, "Sully" was deemed a surefire box office hit. Indeed, the true story of the airline captain who steered a jet to a successful emergency landing in the Hudson River has captured the imagination of eager audiences. Susan and Russ agree that it's a crowd pleaser.

FREEZE FRAME: “Bridget Jones’s Baby,” “Blair Witch,” “Hillsong: Let Hope Rise,” “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 16, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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It’s been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie. It’s amazing how little she’s evolved in the meantime. Rene Zellweger and Colin Firth are back, this time joined by Patrick Dempsey in a love triangle involving Bridget’s pregnancy and her doubts about the identity of the baby’s father. Her antics were amusing when she was young and stupid. At middle age, they seem a bit embarrassing. The cast is likable, but “Baby” is labored.

TAKE TWO: “Morgan” #Podcast #FilmReview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 9, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Luke Scott, the son of director Ridley Scott, makes his directorial debut with "Morgan," a creepy sci-fi entry about a clandestine corporate effort to create a superior artificial human. The cast includes Kate Mara, Toby Jones, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Paul Giamatti. Susan and Russ are in agreement that this is a thriller with some inherent flaws.

FREEZE FRAME: “Sully,” “The Wild Life,” “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 9, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Tom Hanks is an actor who, like the late Jimmy Stewart before him, has a natural aura of decency that comes through in his characters. That makes him the ideal person to portray a modest American hero, airline Captain Sully Sullenberger. In “Sully,” he plays the man who, in 2009, steered a disabled jet into the Hudson River saving the lives of all 155 passengers. Clint Eastwood’s movie focuses on some intriguing aspects of the story that most people probably don’t know. Like the man himself, “Sully” the movie has a modest, low-key integrity.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Light Between Oceans,” “The 9th Life of Louis Drax,” “Morgan,” “Sea of Trees.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 2, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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“The Light Between Oceans” comes tantalizingly close to being a great movie. Sadly, its missteps derail the efforts of an impeccable cast and a stunning production. Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander play a troubled Australian lighthouse keeper and his dutiful wife who face an ethical dilemma when a baby washes ashore in a rowboat. This slow moving but involving drama turns into a soap opera that becomes almost too painful to watch.

TAKE TWO: “Hands of Stone” #FilmReview Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 2, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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A biopic about one of the greatest boxers of all time, "Hands of Stone" highlights the ups and downs in the life of Roberto Duran. Edgar Ramirez portrays the Panamanian brawler, Robert De Niro is his trainer, Ray Arcel, and Usher Raymond is Duran's nemesis, Sugar Ray Leonard. Susan and Russ have very different perspectives on this one.

TAKE TWO: “Ben-Hur” #FilmReview #Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 26, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The powerhouse production duo of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have taken on the daunting task of remaking a movie classic, "Ben-Hur." Jack Huston plays the title role in this epic based on the novel by General Lew Wallace. So, how does it stack up against the 1959 Charlton Heston version that won 11 Academy Awards including "Best Picture?" Susan and Russ are of one mind about this reboot that makes some changes to the original story.

FREEZE FRAME: “Don’t Breathe,” “Southside With You,” “Hands of Stone,” “Eat That Question” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 26, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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There are times while watching “Don’t Breathe” that you probably won’t. Yes, it’s yet another sordid, R-rated horror flick, but it’s an exceptionally well made edge-of-your-seat chiller. Three young and foolish thieves break into the house of a blind man, thinking they’ll make off with easy money. Their victim, however, is a former military man who turns the tables on them. Smart and original, “Don’t Breathe” may very well take your breath away.

TAKE TWO: “Hell or High Water” Film Review #Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 19, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Oscar bait? Susan and Russ chat about a new contemporary Western thriller starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Gil Birmingham. The screenwriter is responsible for last year's hit thriller, "Sicario." Pine and Foster play bank robbers who are taking revenge on the financial institutions that ruined their family ranch. Bridges and Birmingham play the cops who are on their trail.

FREEZE FRAME: “Ben-Hur,” “Hell or High Water,” “Kubo and the Two Strings,” “War Dogs,” “Don’t Think Twice.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 19, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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In terms of spectacle and emotional power, few films have equalled the 1959 epic, "Ben-Hur." Although the new version big screen version is adequate for the uninitiated, it pales by comparison.

TAKE TWO: “Café Society” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 12, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Is Woody Allen's latest movie among his best? The story involves a young New Yorker (Jesse Eisenberg) who goes to Hollywood in the 1930s to work with his uncle (Steve Carell), a top Tinseltown agent. Complications arise when they start romancing the same woman (Kristen Stewart). Lackluster or blockbuster? Susan and Russ fill us in.

FREEZE FRAME: “Pete’s Dragon,” “Sausage Party,” “Florence Foster Jenkins,” “Indignation,” “Anthropoid” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 12, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Disney goes back to the well for yet another reimagining of one of their family film classics. This time, it’s “Pete’s Dragon,” a sweet but by-the-numbers remake of the 1977 adventure that featured a goofy, cartoon dragon. The story has been updated, the musical numbers have been jettisoned in favor of a more realistic treatment and the dragon is now the best that computer imagery can offer. It may be a bit too intense for the very young, but it’s a likable popcorn flick.

TAKE TWO: “Captain Fantastic” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 5, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ cover a drama that, in spite of its title, is not the latest superhero movie, Viggo Mortensen ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) stars as a father who attempts to raise his children completely 'off the grid.' When his wife dies, her family attempts to take the children away from him. This film was written and directed by actor Matt Ross, best known for for playing Gavin on the HBO TV series, "Silicon Valley."

FREEZE FRAME: “Suicide Squad” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 5, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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DC Comics attempts to expand its universe with the highly anticipated superhero thriller, “Suicide Squad.” While involving, it never quite lives up to its promise. Viola Davis plays a U.S. intelligence big wig who assembles a team of dangerous incarcerated super villains. Her aim is to train them as a military team to use as a last ditch option just in case other super villains invade the Earth. Naturally, the plan backfires and the team members have to clean up Viola’s mess.

TAKE TWO: “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 29, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The BBC sitcom ran, off and on, for 21 years. Susan and Russ check out the big screen version starring Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders as aging, clueless fashionistas. As Susan puts it, they're like female versions of Donald Trump, shallow and materialistic.

FREEZE FRAME: “Jason Bourne,” “Captain Fantastic,” “Nerve,” “Cafe Society” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 29, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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If you’re looking for frenetic action, car chases and general paranoid mayhem then look no further than “Jason Bourne.” Matt Damon returns for the fourth time as Robert Ludlum’s CIA super assassin seeking revenge against those who stole his identity. Director Paul Greengrass’ herky-jerky camera style gets a bit tedious at times and the whole enterprise seems all too familiar, but most fans will get exactly the cinematic chaos they expect.

TAKE TWO: “Finding Dory” Movie Review Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 22, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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It's taken 13 years, but Pixar has finally delivered a sequel to their wildly popular animated entry, "Finding Nemo." Susan and Russ give their thoughts on "Finding Dory," and compare its quality with that of the original aquatic hit.

FREEZE FRAME: “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 22, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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From 1991 to 2012, the hard drinking, hard partying fashionistas from British TV’s popular sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” had worldwide audiences laughing at their narcissistic antics. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley have returned for “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,” a breezy farce that has Edina and Patsy fleeing to the South of France when they’re accused of drowning model Kate Moss. Fans of show will be happy to know that the girls are as amusingly clueless as ever as they enter their self-interested senior years. However, those unfamiliar with the original show will undoubtedly wonder what all of the fuss was about.

TAKE TWO: “The Infiltrator” Movie Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 15, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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He was one of the first to say, "Follow the money" when trying to break up a drug cartel. Robert Mazur was an undercover federal agent who helped bring down Pablo Escobar's cocaine empire in the 1980s. Bryan Cranston plays Mazur in this dramatic true story that gets split opinions from Susan and Russ.

FREEZE FRAME: “Ghostbusters,” “The Infiltrator,” “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble,” “Weiner-Dog” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 15, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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When you wanna laugh, who you gonna call? Guess what, all you misogynistic Internet trolls who were certain that an all-female version of "Ghostbusters" would be a disastrous rip-off. The new "Ghostbusters" is actually good, goofy fun.

TAKE TWO: “Free State of Jones” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 8, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ are on the same page about this Civil War drama. Matthew McConaughey plays Newton Knight, a Confederate deserter who forms a rag-tag army of deserters and escaped slaves that rebel against the Rebels. Based on a true story, this drama was directed by Gary Ross ("The Hunger Games") and also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Keri Russell as Knight's wives.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Secret Life of Pets,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 8, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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“Toy Story” showed us what toys did when their owners weren’t around. Ditto for Legos in “The Lego Movie.” The conceit should work for pets, too, and, by golly it does in “The Secret Life of Pets.” The folks who gave us “The Minions” provide a goofy, likable animated family flick about the vibrant world of anthropomorphic critters that emerges when humans leave for work. Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet and Kevin Hart provide voices for the main characters. This scruffy comedy is familiar and predictable, but is also fast paced and clever. It may not be best in show, but “The Secret Life of Pets” is far from being a movie dog.

TAKE TWO: “Weiner” – film review podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 24, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons take a look at a 'warts-and-all' documentary about former New York congressman Anthony Weiner whose career was undone by a sexting scandal. The filmmakers follow Weiner as he attempts a comeback by running for mayor of New York. It's shows his rise and fall and rise and fall again, and the toll it took on his family and associates.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Legend of Tarzan,” “Our Kind of Traitor,” “The BFG,” “De Palma” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 1, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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After 98 years and at least 48 cinematic adaptations, do we really need another big screen Tarzan? Hollywood thinks so. “The Legend of Tarzan” stars Alexander Skarsgård as the former King of the Jungle, who is conned into returning from Victorian England to Africa by nefarious colonialists. The great cast also includes Margo Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Chistoph Waltz and the story has a few unique twists. While serviceable, this adventure flick never quite overcomes its sheen of computer-generated artificiality.

FREEZE FRAME: “Free State of Jones” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 24, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Ever seen a movie that should have been great but just missed the mark? Such is the case with “Free State of Jones,” an earnest and well-meaning historical drama undone by a jagged structure that prevents it from being the gripping experience it should have been.

FREEZE FRAME: “Finding Dory,” “Central Intelligence” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 17, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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It’s taken Pixar 13 years to come up with a sequel to the smash animated hit, “Finding Nemo.” But even after all these years, this fish is still fresh. Ellen DeGeneres again provides the voice for the forgetful blue tang in “Finding Dory,” as she and her aquatic friends go on a cross-ocean adventure to find her lost family. While the movie lacks the strong story of its predecessor, there’s still an ocean of imagination on display, from the amazing visuals to the snappy sense of humor. And, yes, you may need a Kleenex or two. There are those who will say that “Finding Dory” is lesser Pixar. Maybe so, but “lesser Pixar” is still better than most movies, animated or otherwise. “Finding Dory” may well rescue this summer’s floundering box office.

TAKE TWO: “Maggie’s Plan” film review-podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 17, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons are of one mind about "Maggie's Plan," a new comedy from writer/director Rebecca Miller ("Personal Velocity)" and starring Greta Gerwig ("Frances Ha"), Ethan Hawke ("Boyhood") and Julianne Moore ("Still Alice"). Gerwig plays a college professor who wants to have a child...but not, necessarily, get married. It aims at charm and whimsy over substance.

TAKE TWO: “Love & Friendship” #Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 10, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ give an overview of a unique adaptation of Jane Austen's "Lady Susan." Kate Beckinsale stars in this comic period piece about a manipulative woman in 1790s England. It was written and directed by American filmmaker Whit Stillman, best know for his offbeat flicks like "Metropolitan" and "The Last Days of Disco."

FREEZE FRAME: “The Conjuring 2,” “Now You See Me 2,” “Maggie’s Plan” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 10, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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If director James Wan had worked in the Golden Age of Hollywood, he might have made musicals. His camera work is more like choreography than direction. But it’s that showy style that makes his horror entry “The Conjuring 2” work as well as it does. The entire creative team behind the hit chiller “The Conjuring” is back, telling the so-called true story of a supernatural event.

TAKE TWO: “Me Before You” #Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 3, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ have slightly different takes on the romantic drama based on the bestselling novel. Emilia Clark and Sam Claflin star in this tearjerker that marks the film directing debut of noted theater auteur Thea Sharrock. Jo Jo Moyes adapted the screenplay from her book.

FREEZE FRAME: “Me Before You” and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sequel ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 3, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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So, can the Mother of Dragons become the Queen of Weepies? "Game of Thrones" star Emilia Clarke takes on the lead role in the four-hankie romantic drama "Me Before You" and her sparkling performance is the best thing about the emotionally manipulative big screen adaptation of the popular novel by Jo Jo Moyes.

TAKE TWO: “The Man Who Knew Infinity” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 27, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on the story of self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, a pioneer who made major contributions to the field. “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is an earnest and well-meaning biopic starring Dev Patel as the mathematical genius and Jeremy Irons as his British mentor, professor G. H. Hardy. Both Susan and Russ agree on the merits and demerits of this earnest biopic.

FREEZE FRAME: “X-Men: Apocalypse” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 27, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The latest installment in the X-Men franchise follows the ‘younger mutants’ timeline from “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” Jennifer Lawrence is the nicer Mystique of days gone by and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto gets more than he can handle from Oscar Isaac’s mutant god, Apocalypse, the most powerful mutant of them all. Problem is, the appropriately named Apocalypse wants to cleanse the Earth of all mankind. Will the mutants step up to save the humans?

TAKE TWO: “Money Monster” Podcast Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 20, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Three Oscar winners (George Clooney, Julia Roberts & Jodi Foster) join forces to bring a financial thriller to the big screen. Clooney plays a cable TV financial 'expert' who is taken hostage on the air by a disgruntled viewer who lost all of his money by following the pundit's advice. Russ and Susan have different takes on this suspense flick.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Nice Guys,” “The Angry Birds Movie,” “Pele: Birth of a Legend.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 20, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The ‘buddy comedy’ gets a new treatment in an old way with “The Nice Guys.” The writer/producer/director team that brought you the “Lethal Weapons” movies reunite for a foul-mouthed action comedy set against the sleazy backdrop of 1977 Hollywood. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are terrific as a pair of mismatched private detectives who get in over their heads when working on the case of a murdered porn star. The movie is overlong and the mix of humor and violence doesn’t always work. But Crowe and Gosling are money. They may not really be playing nice guys, but the pairing is certainly a nice one.

TAKE TWO: “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba” #podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 13, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on a biopic about famed author Ernest Hemingway (stage actor Adrian Sparks) and his mentorship of novice writer Denne Bart Peticlerc, played by Giovanni Ribisi. The script was written by Peticlerc, based on his experiences with the tortured author. This was the first Hollywood film shot in Cuba in over 50 years.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Man Who Knew Infinity,” “Rio, I Love You” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 13, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Although he died in 1920 at the age of 32, self-taught Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan (Sree nee vasa Raman Oojen) is considered a pioneer who made major contributions to the field. “The Man Who Knew Infinity” is an earnest and well-meaning biopic starring Dev Patel as the mathematical genius and Jeremy Irons as his British mentor, professor G. H. Hardy. The film, which is based on Hardy’s memories, is very respectable but also very conventional and formulaic. It lacks the dramatic spark that fueled other films about math geniuses, like “A Beautiful Mind” and “Good Will Hunting.” Still, it’s sincere and well produced even if all of the elements don’t quite add up.

TAKE TWO: “Louder Than Bombs” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 6, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Gabriel Byrne, Jesse Eisenberg and Isabelle Huppert star in “Louder Than Bombs,” a thoughtful, well acted and profoundly sad look at how one family deals with grief after a tragic event. Russ says, "It’s smart, observant and involving, but never quite achieves the level of emotional devastation it was aiming for." Susan says, "I really had trouble with this film."

FREEZE FRAME: “Captain America: Civil War,” “Tale of Tales” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 6, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The latest comic book extravaganza from the folks at Marvel, “Captain America: Civil War” is everything that “Batman v Superman” wishes it could have been. A villain cleverly manipulates The Avengers into a battle that splits the team in two, pitting Iron Man and his super allies against Captain America and his Avenger crew. Naturally, when these forces got into battle with one another, mayhem abounds. Even though there are some dark themes in “Civil War,” the movie has plenty of action, good humor and a real sense of fun, so it never devolves into sharing the dour and brooding tone that plagued “Batman v Superman.” “Captain America: Civil War” proves that, a house divided…can be very entertaining.

TAKE TWO: “Miles Ahead” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 29, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Kansas City's own Don Cheadle wrote, produced, directed and stars in this experimental "biopic" about legendary jazz trumpeter, Miles Davis. Susan and Russ have very different perspectives on this movie, which is fictional and not a conventional biography in any sense of the word.

FREEZE FRAME: “Keanu,” “Mother’s Day,” “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba,” “Louder Than Bombs” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 29, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Key & Peele’s first feature film together may be a one-joke affair…but it’s a very funny joke. Fans of the duo’s Comedy Central sketch show will love “Keanu,” a raunchy, irreverent satire…and so will many newcomers. The comics play nerdy cousins who pose as hardcore drug dealers in an effort to regain a stolen kitten. There’s enough violence, drugs and foul language in this gleefully goofy romp to easily earn an R-rating, but the vibe is so sweet natured, that it’s almost inoffensive. This “Keanu” is one cool cat.

TAKE TWO: “Barbershop: The Next Cut” #FilmReview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 22, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Ice Cube and Common lead the cast in the third (or fourth, if you count "Beauty Shop") in the comedy franchise. This time out, the barbers and hairdressers are concerned about rising gang violence in their Chicago neighborhood. Susan and Russ chat about the mix of comedy, social commentary and soap opera in this production. Other cast members include Eve, Cedric the Entertainer, Regina Hall and Nikki Minaj.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” “Miles Ahead,” “The Invitation,” “April and the Extraordinary World.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 22, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Someone must have watched the Pixar/Disney films “Brave” and “Frozen” and then decided they should do a very gloomy amalgamation of those stories. The result is “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” a sequel to 2012’s “Snow White and the Huntsman.” A great cast, terrific production values and impressive costumes almost save this murky and violent fairy tale…but it never achieves any real magic.

TAKE TWO: “I Saw the Light” #filmreview #podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 8, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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British actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki in "Thor" and "The Avengers") takes on the role of country music legend Hank Williams. Elizabeth Olsen plays his talentless wife who also wanted to be a star. Famed producer Mark Abraham took on the screenwriting and directing chores on this one. Susan and Russ are of one mind about the movie's effectiveness.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Boss,” “Midnight Special,” “Mr. Right” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 8, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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After viewing Melissa McCarthy’s goofy comedy “The Boss,” you may be tempted to say, “You’re fired!” McCarthy plays a self-centered business tycoon who gets busted for insider trading and attempts a comeback after her jail stint. The language is foul and the humor is as crass as it is broad. McCarthy’s comic skill is the movie’s only saving grace. To say “The Boss” is a slight improvement over McCarthy’s “Tammy” is damning with faint praise.

TAKE TWO: “Remember” film review podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 1, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan offers a dark drama about a Holocaust survivor who is suffering from dementia. He plots with another survivor, confined to a wheelchair, to assassinate a Nazi guard who was responsible for the death of members of their families. Susan and Russ have very different takes on this film which stars two Oscar-winning actors, Christopher Plummer and Martin Landau.

FREEZE FRAME: “I Saw the Light,” ” Eye in the Sky” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 1, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Hank Williams was one of the greatest country music stars of all time. His short and complicated life could make a truly great movie. Sadly, the musical biopic “I Saw the Light,” ain’t it. British actor Tom Hiddleston stars as the singer/songwriter whose cheatin’ ways, abuse of booze and drugs and emotional instability torpedoed all of his relationships. Elizabeth Olsen plays his talentless wife who wanted him to make her a star. These gifted actors can’t overcome the script’s fractured and episodic nature that never allows it to achieve any dramatic momentum. The only time the movie comes to life is during the sporadic musical numbers, and none of those are performed in their entirety. “I Saw the Light” could easily have been called, “Lost in the Dark.”

TAKE TWO: “Hello, My Name is Doris” #filmreview #podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 25, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Two-time Oscar winner Sally Field stars in a comic drama that serves as an offbeat character study. Field plays an emotionally-stunted older woman who falls in love with a much younger man she meets at work. The solid supporting cast includes Tyne Daly, Stephen Root, Max Greenfield, Beth Behrs and Elizabeth Reaser. It's written and directed by Michael Showalter ("Wet. Hot American Summer").

FREEZE FRAME: “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2,” “Remember” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 25, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The much-heralded superhero smack down has finally arrived. “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is action-packed and visually striking. Problem is, it’s just not much fun.

TAKE TWO: “10 Cloverfield Lane” #filmreview #podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 18, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan take us into another dimension, "a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination." But the next stop isn't "The Twilight Zone," it's "10 Cloverfield Lane," an offbeat thriller about an eccentric man (John Goodman) who abducts a young woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and takes her to an underground bunker. Is he a crazy kidnapper or is he saving her from an even worse fate? It's an effort by first-time director Dan Tractenberg and producer J.J. Abrams ("Star Wars: The Force Awakens.")

FREEZE FRAME: “The Divergent Series: Allegiant,” “Hello, My Name is Doris,” “The Bronze” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 18, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Shailene Woodley and a likable cast do their best with what they’ve been given, but “Allegiant” comes off as little more than “The Hunger Games-Lite.”

TAKE TWO: “Whisky Tango Foxtrot” #FilmReview #Podcast ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 11, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take a look at Tina Fey's comic drama about a journalist and the experiences she had that were chronicled in her memoir, "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan."The film also stars Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina. It was directed by the team of John Requa and Glenn Ficarra ("Crazy, Stupid Love.")

FREEZE FRAME: “10 Cloverfield Lane” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 11, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Back in 2008, producer J.J. Abrams surprised audiences with a nifty sci-fi opus called, cryptically, “Cloverfield.” It seemed to have arrived out of nowhere and when on to become a box office smash. Well, Abrams has yet another surprise up his sleeve. The terrific suspense thriller "10 Cloverfield Lane" is the unannounced follow-up.

TAKE TWO: Audio Podcast of “Mustang” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 4, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on "Mustang," a film from Turkey that was nominated for this year's Best Foreign Language Oscar. "Mustang" tells the tale of five sisters who are virtually imprisoned in a family member's home to protect their virtue. They're removed from school and are taught skills needed to be obedient wives to the local boys that the family will choose for them. It was written and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and won César Awards for Best First Feature and Best Original Screenplay.

FREEZE FRAME: “Zootopia,” “London Has Fallen,” “Whisky Tango Foxtrot” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 4, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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With a name like “Zootopia,” you might expect a cute Disney animated flick about anthropomorphic animals. And while you’d be right, “Zootopia” is much, much more. It’s a wildly imaginative, beautifully animated comic crime thriller. “Zootopia” is a utopian city where predator and prey peacefully co-exist by suppressing their aggressive instincts. But when a bunny cop investigates a missing person’s case, she discovers the city’s dark underbelly. “Zootopia” slyly comments on humanity and the very the nature of civilization. There are a few scary moments that might disturb very young viewers, but this funny, thoroughly engaging movie is the year’s most pleasant cinematic surprise.

TAKE TWO: A Film Review of Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 26, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ check out Michael Moore's latest documentary. This travelogue has Moore traveling the world to see how other countries are handling some of the problems we're trying to cope with here in the USA.

FREEZE FRAME: “Eddie the Eagle,” “Gods of Egypt,” “Triple Nine,” “Mustang” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 26, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Although you’ll feel shamelessly manipulated by the cheery sports flick “Eddie the Eagle,” you probably won’t mind too much. Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman star in the true story of a somewhat mentally challenged British ski jumper and the drunken ski bum who trains him to compete in the 1988 Olympics. The movie so lightweight that it threatens to blow right off the screen, but the likable stars and good-natured spirit make it a painless time-waster.

TAKE TWO: “The Lady in the Van” Highlights Homelessness ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 19, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Dame Maggie Smith leaves "Downton Abby" behind long enough to portray a homeless woman suffering from mental illness who occupies a parked van in the driveway of acclaimed British writer, Alan Bennett. Smith played this role to much acclaim on the British stage in 1999 and again on BBC radio in 2009. Both the play and the movie were written by Bennett, based upon his own experiences. The director is Nicholas Hytner, who also collaborated with Bennett on "The Madness of King George" and "The History Boys."

FREEZE FRAME: “Risen,” “Race,” “The Lady in the Van” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 19, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Many recent faith-based films have suffered from low budgets and mediocre acting. Not so with “Risen,” a new take on the story of the resurrection of Christ.

TAKE TWO: “45 Years” #FilmReview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 12, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan take a look at "45 Years," a haunting drama about marriage. It features an Oscar-nominated performance from Charlotte Rampling as a woman who makes a discover that brings her to believe that her 45 year marriage may have been a sham. It also features a fine performance from Tom Courtenay as her husband who has hidden something from her for decades.

FREEZE FRAME: “Deadpool,” “Zoolander 3,” “How to be Single,” “Where to Invade Next,” “Son of Saul” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 12, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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First, the bad news: The edgy R-rated Marvel superhero movie “Deadpool” is smutty, vulgar, tasteless and perverse. Now, the good news: “Deadpool” is funny, sharply made and Ryan Reynolds is terrific as the X-Men’s snarky, wisecracking antihero. If you’re not easily offended, “Deadpool” could prove to be a shamelessly raunchy guilty pleasure. Just leave the kids at home.

TAKE TWO: New Coen Brothers Farce – “Hail, Caesar” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 5, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ fill us in on a poke in the eye to old Hollywood that features an all-star cast.

FREEZE FRAME: “Hail, Caesar,” “45 Years” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 5, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the latest farce from the Coen Brothers as well as an Oscar-nominated British drama.

TAKE TWO: “Anomalisa” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 29, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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"Anomalisa," the Oscar-nominated animated offering from Charlie Kaufman, gets very different reactions from Susan and Russ.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Finest Hours” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 29, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The true story of a daring rescue at sea is the focus for Russ this week.

TAKE TWO: “Joy” with Jennifer Lawrence ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 22, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ share their takes on the latest collaboration between Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell.

FREEZE FRAME: Animated “Anomalisa” and “Mojave” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 22, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers two oddball offerings from screenwriters-turned-directors.

TAKE TWO: “Carol” with Cate Blanchett ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 8, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ have different perspectives on a romantic drama starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Revenant” with Leonardo DiCaprio ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 8, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the Golden Globe-winning Western starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

TAKE TWO: “Carol” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 1, 2016 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ have very different takes on a new drama starring Cate Blanchett.

FREEZE FRAME: Russ’ Top Ten Movies of 2015 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 1, 2016 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the cream of the year's cinematic crop.

FREEZE FRAME: Review of “Joy” Plus 8 More Films ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 25, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The theaters are loaded for Christmas. Some are gifts and others are lumps of coal. Russ sorts out all the holiday film releases, including "The Hateful Eight," "The Big Short," "Daddy's Home," "The Danish Girl," "Carol, "Concussion," "Joy," "Youth," and "Point Break."

TAKE TWO: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 24, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons weigh in on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," a minor little indie release.

FREEZE FRAME: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Sisters,” “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip” #filmreview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 18, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ lets us know if the force is strong with series reboot, a Tina Fey-Amy Poehler comedy and the latest kids' opus featuring animated rodents.

TAKE TWO: “Brooklyn” #FilmReview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 11, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ offer insight on an old-fashioned romantic drama set in the 1950s.

FREEZE FRAME: “In the Heart of the Sea” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 11, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers Ron Howard's version of the seafaring epic that inspired "Moby-Dick."

TAKE TWO: “Chi-Raq” by Local Filmmaker Kevin Willmott ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 4, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Spike Lee's modern update of the ancient Greek comedy "Lysistrata" gets the once-over from Susan and Russ.

FREEZE FRAME: “Chi-Raq” and “The Letters” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 4, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Two movies with local connections are on Russ' agenda. A collaboration between KU professor Kevin Willmott and director Spike Lee and a biopic of Mother Teresa by a Clinton, MO native.

TAKE TWO: “Secret in Their Eyes” #FilmReview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 25, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ cover an English-language remake of an Argentinian Oscar-winner.

FREEZE FRAME: “Creed,” “Brooklyn,” “Trumbo” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 25, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ fills us in on the "Rocky" franchise revival, an old-fashioned romantic drama and a biopic about a blacklisted screenwriter.

TAKE TWO: “The Assassin” #filmreview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 13, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ discuss "The Assassin," the winner of the Best Director award at this year's Cannes Film Fest.

FREEZE FRAME: “Room,” “The 33,” “Labyrinth of Lies,” “Man Up” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 13, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Claustrophobia abounds in a kidnapping drama and a dramatization of the 2010 mine disaster in Chile. Russ also covers a German drama about Nazi persecution and a British rom-com.

TAKE TWO: “Our Brand is Crisis” #filmreview ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 6, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Sandra Bullock's political satire is the focus for Susan and Russ this week.

FREEZE FRAME: “Spectre,” “The Peanuts Movie,” “The Assassin,” “Miss You Already” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 6, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The latest James Bond opus, a reboot of a comic strip classic, a martial arts art film and a four-hankie tearjerker are on Russ' agenda this week.

TAKE TWO: “Coming Home” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 30, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ examine a heartbreaking Chinese drama about how 'rehabilitation' in a labor camp during the Cultural Revolution affected one couple.

FREEZE FRAME: “Our Brand is Crisis,” “Truth,” “The Keeping Room” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 30, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Sandra Bullock's political satire, the story of the downfall of Dan Rather and a feminist Western are on Russ' agenda for this week.

TAKE TWO: “Freeheld” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 23, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Julianne Moore stars in "Freeheld," a drama about a dying policewoman who tries to leave her pension benefits to her same sex partner.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Last Witch Hunter,” “Jem and the Holograms,” “Rock the Kasbah,” “Coming Home” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 23, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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A Vin Diesel Halloween movie, a Hasbro doll adaptation, a Bill Murray comedy and a Chinese melodrama all fall under Russ' scrutiny.

FREEZE FRAME: “Bridge of Spies,” “Steve Jobs,” “Goosebumps,” “Meet the Patels” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 16, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ guides us through two high-profile true stories, a horror comedy for kids and a documentary about Indian-American matchmaking.

TAKE TWO: “99 Homes” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 16, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ discuss a social drama set against the background of the 2010 real estate collapse.

TAKE TWO: “Sicario” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 9, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on a morally ambiguous drama about the war on drugs.

FREEZE FRAME: “Pan,” “He Named Me Malala,” “99 Homes” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 9, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ fills us in about a Peter Pan origin story, a documentary about a Nobel Laureate and a searing social drama.

TAKE TWO: “Everest” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 2, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ get a grip on "The Everest," a mountain climbing epic.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Martian,” “Sicario,” “The Walk,” “Sleeping With Other People,” “Mississippi Grind” Movies ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 2, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ reviews a wide range of films this week, including "The Martian," focusing on an otherworldly Matt Damon, "Sicario," about a hitman and "The Walk," on a high wire act.

TAKE TWO: “Black Mass” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 25, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ shoot holes in "Black Mass," Johnny Depp's gangster flick.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Intern,” “Stonewall,” “Pawn Sacrifice” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 25, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers "The Intern," a comedy with Robert De Niro, "Stonewall," a film about the early history of the gay rights movement and "Pawn Sacrafice," a drama about chess master Bobby Fischer.

TAKE TWO: “The Visit” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 18, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ visit "The Visit," the latest title from quirky filmmaker, M. Night Shyamalan.

FREEZE FRAME: “Black Mass,” “Everest,” “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 18, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ gives the lowdown on "Black Mass," Johnny Depp's gangster flick, "Everest," a docudrama about a mountain tragedy and "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," the second in a Young Adult action series.

FREEZE FRAME: A Review of “The Visit” and “Queen of Earth” Films ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 11, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ reveals if "The Visit," M. Night Shyamalan's new horror flick is worth the visit and whether "Queen of Earth," a new drama with Elizabeth Moss is truly regal.

FREEZE FRAME: “A Walk in the Woods,” “Jimmy’s Hall,” “7 Chinese Brothers” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 4, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers "A Walk in the Woods," the latest from actor Robert Redford, "Jimmy's Hall," a social drama from Ireland and "7 Chinese Brothers," a wacky indie comedy.

TAKE TWO: “No Escape” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 4, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ share their views on "No Escape," an action thriller starring Owen Wilson and Lake Bell.

TAKE TWO: “Diary of a Teenage Girl” Film Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 28, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ discuss "Diary of a Teenage Girl," an unsettling drama about underage sex, based on an autobiographical graphic novel.

FREEZE FRAME: “No Escape,” “Zipper,” “We Are Your Friends,” “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “Mistress America,” “Z for Zachariah” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 28, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ gives us an overview of "No Escape," a thriller, "Zipper," a political soap, "We Are Your Friends," a drama about the LA dance scene, "Mistress America," a screwball comedy, "Diary of a Teenage Girl," a coming-of-age drama and "Z for Zachariah," a post-apocalyptic love triangle.

TAKE TWO: “Listen to Me, Marlon” film review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 21, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ share their takes on "Listen to Me, Marlon," a "autobiographical" documentary about one of the cinema's greatest actors.

FREEZE FRAME: “Hitman: Agent 47,” “Listen to Me, Marlon,” “Being Evel” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 21, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ takes a hit for us by viewing "Hitman: Agent 47," a video game movie and provides the lowdown on two documentaries about two eccentric celebs, "Listen to Me, Marlon" and "Being Evel."

TAKE TWO: “The Gift” is a Thriller ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 14, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ get creeped out by "The Gift," a new psychological thriller.

FREEZE FRAME: “Straight Outta Compton,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E” Film Reviews ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 14, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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"Straight Outta Compton," a drama about the rise of rap group NWA and "The Man from U.N.C.L.E.," a tongue-in-cheek spy thriller hit theaters this week. Russ gives the scoop.

FREEZE FRAME: “Fantastic Four,” “Irrational Man,” “The Gift,” “Shaun the Sheep.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 7, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ marvel's at the failure of "Fantastic Four," Marvel's latest and reviews "Irrational Man," a Woody Allen drama, "The Gift," a psychological thriller and "Shaun the Sheep," an stop-motion animated feature.

TAKE TWO: “The Stanford Prison Experiment” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 31, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ consider "The Stanford Prison Experiment," an unsettling true story about an ill-fated 1970s psychological study.

FREEZE FRAME: “Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation,” “Vacation,” “Infinitely Polar Bear,” “The Stanford Prison Experiment.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 31, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers "Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation," Tom Cruise's latest, "Vacation," the re-boot of a classic comedy, "Infinitely Polar Bear," a Mark Ruffalo drama, and "The Stanford Prison Experiment," the screen version of a textbook psychology experiment.

TAKE TWO: Film Review of “Amy” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 24, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The tragic life of singer Amy Winehouse is profiled in "Amy," a heartbreaking documentary.

FREEZE FRAME: Film Review of “Pixels” and “Paper Towns” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 24, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ provides fair warning on "Pixels," Adam Sandler's new sci-fi comedy and "Paper Towns," the latest dramedy aimed at young audiences.

TAKE TWO: “Trainwreck” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 17, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan disagree on "Trainwreck," the outrageous new comedy from Judd Apatow.

FREEZE FRAME: “Ant-Man,” “Mr. Holmes,” “Trainwreck,” “LIla & Eve” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 17, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers "Ant-Man," homeboy Paul Rudd's entry into the Marvel universe, plus "Mr. Holmes," Ian McKellan's take on an aging detective, "Trainwreck," Amy Schumer's movie debut and "Lila & Eve," a thriller with J. Lo and Viola Davis.

TAKE TWO: “Magic Mike XXL” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 10, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Is a sequel to the "Magic Mike" hit about male strippers worth a ladies' night out? Susan and Russ give us the lowdown.

Freeze Frame: “Minions,” “Amy,” “The Gallows” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 10, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the movie bases with "Minions," a kids' flick, "Amy," an intriguing documentary about Amy Winehouse, and "The Gallows," a low-budget horror entry.

FREEZE FRAME: Terminator Genisys, Magic Mike XXL ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 1, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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They're both back. Arnold is a time traveling cyborg in "Terminator Genisys" and Channing Tatum is an exotic dancer in "Magic Mike XXL." Russ lets us know if either is worth our time.

TAKE TWO: “Me, Earl & the Dying Girl” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 1, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ tackle "Me, Earl & the Dying Girl," a comic drama about the friendship between teens when one has leukemia.

FREEZE FRAME: Ted 2; Max; Me, Earl & The Dying Girl ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 26, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Is Ted 2, a film about a raunchy teddy bear bearable? Is "Max" a movie dog? Is "Me, Earl & the Dying Girl," the big winner at Sundance, worth the hype? Russ weighs in.

TAKE TWO: Inside Out ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 26, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan (a critic and a psychotherapist) give us the lowdown on how a child's emotions are depicted in "Inside Out," the latest Pixar outing.

Take Two on “Four Way Stop” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 19, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders gives us a look at "Four Way Stop," a drama from the Free State Film Festival.

Freeze Frame: Get the “Dope” on “Inside Out” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 19, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers two films from opposite ends of the cinematic spectrum. "Inside Out" is an animated Pixar offering, and "Dope" is an R-rated Sundance hit.

Take Two: Remembering Brian Wilson in “Love & Mercy” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 12, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ give some love to "Love & Mercy," the Brian Wilson biopic.

Freeze Frame: “Jurassic World,” “About Elly,” “Madame Bovary,” and “Gemma Bovary” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 12, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ lets us know if "Jurassic World," the latest in the dino franchise has bite and covers "About Elly," a strong Iranian film and two adaptations of Flaubert's classic, "Madame Bovary" and "Gemma Bovary."

Take Two: An Interrogation of “An Honest Liar” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 5, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ give us their perspective on "An Honest Liar," a documentary about magician and professional debunker, The Amazing Randi.

Freeze Frame: “Love & Mercy,” “Spy,” and “Entourage” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 5, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Check out reviews of "Love & Mercy," a biopic of Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, "Spy," a secret agent spoof with Melissa McCarthy, and "Entourage," the big screen version of an HBO series get the once-over from Russ Simmons.

Take Two: “Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 29, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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"Kumiko: The Treasure Hunter," a character study about a disturbed Japanese woman gets the once-over from Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons.

Freeze Frame: “San Andreas” and “An Honest Liar” in Theatres ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 29, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ warns us about "San Andreas," a disaster flick starring The Rock and explains why "An Honest Liar," a documentary about magician "The Amazing Randi" is worth your time.

Freeze Frame: “Tomorrowland,” “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter,” “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 22, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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"Tomorrowland," Disney's big budget sci-fi extravaganza and two art house flicks -- "Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter," "The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared" -- are on Russ' agenda this week.

Take Two: Go to a Nearby Theater for “Far from the Madding Crowd” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 22, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ cover "Far from the Madding Crowd," a lushly produced romance adapted from Thomas Hardy's classic 1874 novel.

Freeze Frame: Thumbs-Up for “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Far From the Madding Crowd” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 15, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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In a really unusual week, Russ gives 'thumbs way up' to three new movies, "Mad Max: Fury Road," "Pitch Perfect 2," and "Far From the Madding Crowd."

Take Two: “D Train” Derailed ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 15, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take down a Jack Black comedy, "D Train," that needs to be derailed

Take Two: “The Clouds of Sils Maria” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 8, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ share the reasons why "The Clouds of Sils Maria" is a smart but off-putting movie is a mixed bag.

Freeze Frame: Lame Hollywood Moves with “Hot Pursuit” and “The D Train” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 8, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ explains that two lame buddy Hollywood comedies -- "Hot Pursuit" and "The D Train" -- are the best that Hollywood can offer us this week.

Take Two: “Ex Machina” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 1, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ agree that "Ex Machina," the new science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence is the best movie of the year, so far.

Freeze Frame: “Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “The Clouds of Sils Maria” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 1, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Could two films be more divergent? Russ takes on "Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron," the comic book juggernaut, and "The Clouds of Sils Maria," an art film about a aging actress.

Take Two: “Woman in Gold” Sparkles with Helen Mirren ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 24, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ check out "Woman in Gold," the latest Helen Mirren vehicle, about a woman who attempts to reclaim art stolen by the Nazis.

Freeze Frame: “Ex Machina,” “The Water Diviner,” and “Little Boy” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 24, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ thinks "Ex Machina," a new sci-fi effort is the year's best so far. "The Water Diviner," Russell Crowe's directorial debut, and "Little Boy," a new faith-based offering are also covered.

Freeze Frame: You’ll “Like” Horror Flick “Unfriended” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 17, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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"Unfriended," a unique and original new horror entry gets a few "likes" from Russ.

Take Two: “Merchants of Doubt” Spin on Climate Change ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 17, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ weigh in on "Merchants of Doubt," an insightful documentary about climate change spin doctors.

Freeze Frame: “Merchants of Doubt” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 10, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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FREEZE FRAME: "Merchants of Doubt"
Russ scrutinizes a frightening but important documentary about professional spin doctors who create confusion about the concept of climate change.

Take Two: “Selma” and Racial Stereotyping ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 10, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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In the aftermath of a racial stereotyping controversy surrounding the film "Get Hard," Susan and Russ take a look back at the recent civil rights flick, "Selma."

Freeze Frame: “Furious 7” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 3, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ marvels at the empty-headed joys of "Furious 7," the latest action epic in the "Fast and Furious" franchise.

Take Two: “Get Hard” Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 3, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ have very different takes on "Get Hard," the goofball comedy starring Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell.

Freeze Frame looks at “Get Hard,” “Home,” “It Follows” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 27, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ wonders about racial stereotypes in the Will Ferrell/Kevin Hart comedy, "Get Hard" and covers the animated fantasy, "Home" and the creepy horror entry, "It Follows."

Freeze Frame: “Insurgent,” “The Gunman,” and “Do You Believe?” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 20, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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"Insurgent," the second installment in the "Divergent" series, "The Gunman," a Sean Penn action flick and "Do You Believe?," a faith-based drama are up for Russ' inspection.

Take Two: “Run All Night” From This Action Thriller ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 20, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on "Run All Night," Susan and Russ take on Liam Neeson's latest action thriller.

Freeze Frame: “Cinderella,” “Run All Night” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 13, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Two movies that couldn't be less alike are in the spotlight this week, "Cinderella," a Disney fairy tale and "Run All Night," a violent mob thriller.

Take Two: “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 13, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Should they have made a sequel to "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," the popular film about British seniors in India? Susan and Russ weigh in.

Freeze Frame: “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” and “Song of the Sea” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 20, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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"Hot Tub Time Machine 2," an unnecessary comedic sequel, and "Song of the Sea," an Oscar-nominated animated feature are the subjects of this week's reviews from Russ.

Freeze Frame: “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Still Alice,” “Mr. Turner” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 13, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the so-called "hottest" movie of the year, plus a spy spoof, an Oscar contender and an art house flick. Listen to reviews of "Fifty Shades of Grey," "Kingsman: The Secret Service," "Still Alice," and "Mr. Turner" during this episode of Freeze Frame.

Freeze Frame: “Jupiter Ascending,” “Two Days, One Night,” and More ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 6, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ sorts through a sci-fi opus, a French language social drama, a 3-D cartoon and a medieval action fantasy. The movies are: "Jupiter Ascending," "Two Days, One Night," "The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water," "Seventh Son."

Take Two: “Black or White” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 6, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ take on "Black or White," Kevin Costner's drama about contemporary race relations.

Take Two: Cake ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 30, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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"Cake," Jennifer Aniston's dark drama about a woman addicted to pain killers, is the focus of Russ and Susan's review this week.

Freeze Frame: “A Most Violent Year,” “Black or White, “Project Almanac” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 30, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ fills us in on an 80s-style crime movie, a social drama about race relations and a teen time travel opus when he reviews "A Most Violent Year," "Black or White, and "Project Almanac."

Take Two: “American Sniper” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 30, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ cover "American Sniper," the biggest war movie in box-office history.

Freeze Frame: “The Boy Next Door,” “Song One” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 23, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Can J-Lo generate the thrills? Is Song One worth singing about? Russ chimes in on both "The Boy Next Door," "Song One."

Freeze Frame: Reviews of “American Sniper” and “Foxcatcher” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 16, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ reviews two tragic true stories, one of a Navy Seal sharpshooter and the other about a paranoid schizophrenic millionaire.

Take Two: “Big Eyes” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 9, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ check out the bizarre true story of 60s era artists, Margaret and Walter Keane.

Freeze Frame: “Selma,” “Inherent Vice” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 9, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Is "Selma" worth marching to? "Inherent Vice" nice? Russ weighs in on these very different films.

TAKE TWO: “The Interview” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 2, 2015 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ have very different opinions about the most controversial movie of the year.

FREEZE FRAME: “The Best Movies of 2014” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 2, 2015 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ does his annual Top Ten countdown of the year's finest cinematic offerings.

Take Two Goes on a “Wild” Trek ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 26, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan share their views of the big-screen adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's bestselling memoir about her harrowing 1100 mile trek on the Pacific Crest Trail.

“Unbroken, “Into the Woods,” “The Imitation Game,” “Big Eyes” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 26, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ reviews the Christmas Day openings, including Angelina Jolie's directorial effort and the adaptation of the Broadway musical, "Into the Woods."

Take Two Reviews “Top Five” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 19, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan examine the raunchy big-screen comedy, "Top Five," written, directed by and starring Chris Rock.

“The Hobbit 2,” “Night at the Museum 3,” “Wild” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 19, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ takes a look at the finales of two popular movie franchises as well as a new drama starring Reese Witherspoon.

Swank, Jones Star in “The Homesman” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 12, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan seek common ground on a bleak Western entry.

Films: “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” “Top Five,” “The Bobadook” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 12, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ reviews Ridley Scott's revisionist version of the Biblical story of Moses, Chris Rock's edgy comedy and an Australian horror flick.

Russ Simmons Reviews “Homesman” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 5, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Tommy Lee Jones directs Hillary Swank in a dark Western based on the 1988 novel by Glendon Swarthout. Russ has a review.

Review of “Rosewater” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: December 5, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan share their views on the directorial debut of Jon Stewart from "The Daily Show."

Take Two Reviews “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 21, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan find common ground on this film about the dystopian future.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 21, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the latest in the wildly popular YA sci-fi movie series starring Jennifer Lawrence.

“Rosewater” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 14, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show" makes his filmmaking debut with the new drama, "Rosewater."

Sneak Peak on “Film Noir” Festival ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 14, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan give us a sneak peak at the Film Noir offerings at the Alamo Drafthous

“Citizenfour”, “Interstellar” and “Big Hero 6” Reviews ORIGINAL BROADCAST: November 7, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ reviews the latest from filmmaker Christopher Nolan, a zippy Disney animated flick and a documentary about Edward Snowden.

‘St. Vincent’ with Bill Murray ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 31, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan have slightly different perspectives on the sentimental Bill Murray comedy, "St. Vincent."

Reviews of ‘Birdman’ and ‘Nightcrawler’ ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 31, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us the latest on a couple of possible Oscar contenders open this week, including the eccentric black comedy, "Birdman" starring Michael Keaton and the dark thriller, "Nightcrawler" with Jake Gyllenhaal.

“Men, Women and Children” and “Fury” Movie Reviews – Freeze Frame ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 17, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ covers the brutal Brad Pitt WWII flick, "Fury" and the ensemble drama "Men, Women & Children," starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Garner.

Take Two: “Fury” with Brad Pitt ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 17, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan weigh in on the ultra-violent Brad Pitt war drama, "Fury."

Take Two: “Gone Girl” Movie Review ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 10, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Kansas City native Gillian Flynn's novel "Gone Girl" is the top movie at the box office and Russ and Susan agree that it's an early Oscar contender.

Film Reviews: The Judge, The Notebook, and Kill the Messenger ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 3, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Freeze Frame with Russ Simmons reviews three films: The Judge with Robert Downey, Jr and Robert Duvall, The Notebook, an ultra bleak Czech film, not to be confused with the love story film of the same title, and Kill the Messenger, a film following a journalist in the 1980's who broke a story about a twisted CIA-sponsored program to arm the Nicaraguan contras through introduction of crack cocaine in the U.S. in the 1980's.

Gone Girl: “What have we done to each other?” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 3, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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This review covers "Gone Girl," a movie getting a lot of well-deserved attention, based on the book of the same title by Missouri author Gillian Flynn.

Movie Review: “The Good Lie” Has a KC Link ORIGINAL BROADCAST: October 3, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan check out "The Good Lie," a film about Sudanese refugees that takes place in Kansas City.

The Drop: James Gandolfini’s Last Film ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 19, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The Drop is a 2014 American crime drama film directed by Michaël R. Roskam and written by Dennis Lehane. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2009 short story "Animal Rescue". Lehane also adapted the script into a 2014 novel of the same name. The film stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz and James Frecheville. It was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, and was released theatrically on September 12, 2014.

“Life Of Crime” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: September 6, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders give their takes on the offbeat new comedy Life Of Crime, starring Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, and Mos Def.

“And So It Goes” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 5, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons review Rob Reiner's new film, And So It Goes, starring Diane Keaton and Michael Douglas.

“Boyhood”, “Get On Up”, and “Guardians Of The Galaxy” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: August 4, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us a preview of Richard Linklater's epic 12-year project, "Boyhood", featuring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and Ellar Coltrane, as well as the new James Brown biopic "Get On Up", starring Chadwick Bozeman, and Chris Pratt in the eagerly-anticipated Marvel flick "Guardians Of The Galaxy".

“Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 29, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review the provocative, academic documentary Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, directed by Nicholas D. Wrathall.

“Lucy”, “And So It Goes”, “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”, and more ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 28, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us a look into Scarlet Johansson's sci-fi thrill ride "Lucy", directed by Luc Besson, as well as the new Rob Reiner/Diane Keaton/Michael Douglas vehicle "And So It Goes".

Top Two Favorite Films of 2014 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 22, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan give their picks at the halfway point of the year for their top two favorite films of the year: Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Locke, and Gravity.

“The Purge: Anarchy”, “Venus In Furs”, KC Fringe Fest and more! ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 21, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons gives us a sneak peek into the sequel The Purge: Anarchy, Roman Polanski's Venus In Furs, the Roger Ebert biopic Life Itself, Planes, Fire & Rescue, Sex Tape, a look into the films premiering at the KC Fringe Festival, and much more.

“Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes”, “Third Person” & The KC Fringe Fest ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 14, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us a preview of the sequel "Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes", starring Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, and Keri Russell, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis' "Third Person" as well as a glimpse at the KC Fringe Festival.

Susan and Russ chat about the pros and cons of Melissa McCarthy’s road comedy, “Tammy.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 6, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ chat about the pros and cons of Melissa McCarthy's road comedy, "Tammy."

Russ takes a look at Melissa McCarthy’s comedy, “Tammy” and the sci-fi flick for kids, “Earth to Echo.” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: July 7, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us a peek at Melissa McCarthy's screenwriting debut, "Tammy", as well as "E.T." redux "Earth To Echo", as well as "The Double", "Begin Again", and "Deliver Us From Evil".

“The Rover” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: June 24, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan and Russ review the new Robert Pattinson and Guy Pearce film, the Mad Max-esque Australian film The Rover.

“Neighbors” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 13, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders review the raunchy new Zac Efron and Seth Rogen comedy, Neighbors.

“The Railway Man” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: May 6, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons give their opinions on Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman's British WWII drama, The Railway Man.

“Under The Skin” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 29, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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The new erotic-sci fi thriller Under The Skin with Scarlett Johansson is analyzed by Susan and Russ.

“The Unknown Known” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 22, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Errol Morris' documentary on the controversial former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, The Unknown Known, is given the once-over by Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders.

“Draft Day” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 15, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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KKFI's Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons review Kevin Costner's new movie, Draft Day, a manipulative, soap-y story about the front office of an NFL team.

“Draft Day”, “Oculus”, “The Unknown Known”, plus more ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 14, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons profiles Kevin Costner's latest flick Draft Day, creepfest Oculus, Errol Morris' documentary The Unknown Known, about Donald Rumsfeld, and Rio 2, as well as Lunchbox, Rob The Mob, and much more.

“Noah” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 8, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Mad Max meets Titanic meets the Bible as FOX 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders review Darren Aronofsky's Noah, starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly.

Captain, Particle Fever and KC Film Fest ORIGINAL BROADCAST: April 7, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons profiles Captain America: The Winter Soldier with Chris Evans, the Higgs-Boson documentary Particle Fever, and gives us an update on the Kansas City Film Fest happening this month.

“300: Rise Of An Empire” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 25, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Fox 4's Russ Simmons and KKFI's Susan Sanders review gladiator action flick 300: Rise Of An Empire, starring Aussie actor Sullivan Stapleton and Eva Green.

Movie Reviews: Need for Speed, Single Mom’s Club, and Others ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 17, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons previews the latest movies opening this week: Need For Speed starring Aaron Paul, indie film Tim's Vermeer, biopic Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Tyler Perry's Single Mom's Club, starring Wendi McLendon-Covey, and Better Living Through Chemistry starring Sam Rockwell and Olivia Wilde.

“Divergent, “Grand Budapest Hotel,” and “Muppets: Most Wanted” Film Reviews ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 24, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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FOX 4 film critic Russ Simmons breaks down for you the latest films opening at your local theater this week: sci-fi film Divergent, starring Kate Winslet, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, starring Ralph Fiennes, indie horror flick Enemy starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Muppets: Most Wanted, and Blood Ties starring Clive Owen and Marion Cotillard.

“Tim’s Vermeer” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 18, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review Penn & Teller's documentary, Tim's Vermeer, about inventor Tim Jenison's efforts to duplicate the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer.

“The Wind Rises” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 11, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review the Impressionistic Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises, a look at the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed Japanese fighter planes during World War II.

Freeze Frame: 3-7-14 to 3-13-14 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 10, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons previews anticipated sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire, the family-friendly Peabody & Sherman, French export Stranger By The Lake, and restaurant documentary Spinning Plates.

“In Secret” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 4, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders review the adaptation of Émile Zola's novel Thérèse Raquin, the film In Secret, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Jessica Lange.

Freeze Frame: 2-28-14 through 3-6-14 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: March 3, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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KKFI and Fox's Russ Simmons profiles Son Of God, the Oscar-nominated Japanese animated film The Wind Rises, and Nonstop featuring Liam Neeson.

Movie Review: “The Past” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 25, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders give their takes on Asghar Farhadi's Iran-via-Paris drama The Past (Le Passé), starring Bérénice Bejo and Tahar Rahim.

Movie Reviews: Pompeii, 3 Days to Kill, Barefoot ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 24, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us a look at visual epic Pompeii, In Secret with Jessica Lange, Kevin Costner's Three Days To Kill, and romantic drama Barefoot.

Movie Review: “The Monuments Men” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 18, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan review The Monuments Men, directed and acted in by George Clooney, about the men who risked their lives to protect international treasures and works of art from the Nazis in WWII.

Movie Reviews: Robocops, About Last Night, Gloria, and More ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 17, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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The remakes of Robocop and About Last Night are previewed by Russ Simmons, as is A Winter's Tale with Colin Farrell, Asghar Farhadi's The Past, Chilean film Gloria, and the remake of 1981's Endless Love.

Movie Review: “Labor Day” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 11, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons gives us a look at visual epic Pompeii, In Secret with Jessica Lange, Kevin Costner's Three Days To Kill, and romantic drama Barefoot.

Movie Reviews: Legos, Monuments, Vampires and A Field in England ORIGINAL BROADCAST: February 10, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons profiles cartoon satire The Lego Movie, The Monuments Men starring George Clooney, teen comedy Vampire Academy, and horror film A Field In England, set in 1648.

Take Two: “Her” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 21, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Susan Sanders and Russ Simmons discuss the Oscar-nominated science-fiction romance Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlet Johansson.

Movie Reviews: August: Osage County, Her, Lone Survivor, and Jack Ryan ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 20, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives us a preview of August: Osage County with Meryl Streep, Her starring Joaquin Phoenix, and much more.

Russ Simmons Reviews the Worst Movies of 2013 ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 14, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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Russ Simmons gives his Worst Of… picks for 2013.

Take Two: “The Great Beauty” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 14, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ and Susan discuss Italian film A Great Beauty by Jep Cambardella.

Take Two: “The Wolf Of Wall Street” ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 7, 2014 | Fridays, 12:30 pm, Saturdays, 5:58 pm)

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Russ Simmons and Susan Sanders chat about Martin Scorcese's raunchy, Oscar-nominated film The Wolf Of Wall Street

Movie Reviews: Fruitvale Station, American Hustle and More ORIGINAL BROADCAST: January 6, 2014 | Noon on "Arts Magazine"

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