Melanie Dishman's archive

It’s too premature to pick Oscar winners, with most of the major contenders just now reaching theaters. But the list is beginning to take shape and already there are frontrunners in the major categories. Two words: “The Artist.” But I’ll get to that later.

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‘My Week with Marilyn’

Starring: Michelle Williams,

Eddie Redmayne

Director: Simon Curtis

Rated: R

Based on the memoir of Colin Clark, who was a 23-year old production assistant on a movie when he met Marilyn Monroe in 1956, this is faithful recreation of the era and the iconic star, thanks to a stunning portrayal by Michelle Williams.

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Establishing a sense of place is as important to an Alexander Payne movie as the complex characters he crafts. Five years ago it was the wine country of “Sideways,” and before that the plain-spoken Midwest in “About Schmidt.” For his latest film, Payne uses the backdrop of Hawaii, with all its lush landscapes and island sensibilities, but as the main character Matt King (George Clooney) narrates in the beginning, just because it seems like paradise doesn’t mean its residents don’t have problems.

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‘J. Edgar’

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio,

Armie Hammer, Naomi Watts

Director: Clinet Eastwood

Rated: PG-13

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The last two months of the year are the best for movie lovers. It’s not that summer movies don’t have their place, but I’ve had enough of super heroes for one year. So bring on the holidays filled with movies of every kind, from comedies to dramas and those important Oscar contenders, and did someone say puppets?

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