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Nearly 20 years since 1996’s Mission: Impossible, which would spawn five sequels, the action franchise shows that it’s still got what it takes to deliver an action-packed, suspenseful and ultimately very satisfying summer flick.

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I had fully expected to leave Happy Madison’s latest film, Pixels, disappointed and frustrated with yet another missed opportunity by Adam Sandler and his crew.

But I was surprisingly tickled by this little action-comedy that tells the story of four former child video gamers who have become forty-something adults and must once again tap into their otherwise seemingly useless expertise of classic video games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Centipede and Galaga to save the world from an alien invasion.

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Since coming into our collective public consciousness in a big way, thanks to NBC’s Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central’s popular “roasts,” stand-up comedian Amy Schumer just keeps getting bigger, even hosting the 2015 MTV Movie Awards this past April. Her titular TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, is controversial and inventive and awesome, giving us women a voice that is strong, goofy and unapologetically honest.

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It’s undeniable that there is a telltale speech pattern that is considered by many as “the gay voice,” an accent or way of speaking that is common among gay boys and men.

You have likely wondered it at some point. Do gay men “put on” the vocal drawl with which they have become associated – or is it an innate, intrinsic series of inflections in their voice that is simply part of who they are?


Top 10 Films of 2015 So Far: Mary Leslie

It’s mid-year list time, and I have decided to take a slightly different approach to my list of top films, breaking them out into genre, rather than in a traditional ranking. 

For those who are still looking for a great

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*Review score based on quality of the product and not the film itself.*

If you’re not yet familiar with Japan’s Studio Ghibli, then Spirited Away – its 2001 animated tale about a young girl named Chihiro and her fantasy adventure – should be your introduction.

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To be honest, I wasn't all that interested in Pixar's latest venture, Inside Out, which - in the film's trailer - had little discernible plot and only a brief introduction of the characters - personified human emotions: Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear.

But Pixar has yet to let me down thus far, so without hesitation, I eagerly went to see its most recent animated feature, featuring the voice talents of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Bill Hader.

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You don’t need to have seen the first Pitch Perfect film to appreciate Pitch Perfect 2, which easily stands alone as a great comedy that appeals to a broad audience. Elizabeth Banks' first feature-length film is a serviceable companion to the franchise’s 2012 original, bringing back the outstanding musical numbers that were injected with plenty of humor that made the first one so appealing.

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I really wanted to like Slow West, especially after seeing the trailer, which, I must say, makes this film look way more entertaining and comedic than it actually is. It made Slow West look like a witty Western that was copiously packed with action scenes and starred a skilled set of actors slinging a bit of dark humor.

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Tribeca 2015: TOTO AND HIS SISTERS Review

Romanian documentary Toto and His Sisters (Toto si surorile lui) is a great example of how fact can be far more captivating than fiction.

Writer/director Alexander Nanau takes an unflinching look on the lives of three siblings – Ana-Maria (17), Andreea Violeta (14) and Toto (10) – who must take care of themselves and each other amid an abysmal, poverty-stricken, drug-riddled environment. With absent fathers and an imprisoned mother, the trio must find ways to feed and clothe themselves, get an education and avoid becoming pulled into the treacherous grip of heroin addiction, continuously looming over them.

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Although its characters are not as adorable, kind and tender as Disneynature’s trailer for Monkey Kingdom would like you to believe, the documentary still manages to have us rooting for some of the more ruthless members Temple Troop, a family of Sri Lankan toque macaque monkeys, by its end.

Opening with the aptly selected theme song, “Hey, Hey We're The Monkees,” from the 1960s Monkees television show, the film offers up a montage of these playful “temple monkeys” bounding back and forth between ancient ruins and tree branches and swinging from each other’s tails.

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Frédéric Tcheng’s feature-length documentary Dior and I offers an unprecedented look inside one of the few high fashion (haute couture) houses that still employ some of the most talented seamstors and seamstress in the world, tirelessly working in traditional studios (ateliers) assembling by hand what will hopefully become runway-ready frocks.

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INTO THE WOODS Blu-ray Review

Director Rob Marshall, whose prior musical works include Chicago and Nine, brought writer James LaPine and songwriter Stephen Sondheim’s famed play “Into The Woods” to the big screen last year, and the film is now out on Blu-ray for purchase.

The intertwining stories of luminous characters like Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack (of the beanstalk variety) make up this epic fairy tale set to Sondheim’s songs against production designer Dennis Gassner’s magical backdrop. Film Pulse’s Blake Crane wrote a great review when the film initially hit theaters, which you can read here (, so I won’t go too much into a critique of the film itself. For thoughts on the DVD/Blu-ray/Digital combo pack, read on.


Outfest Fusion Festival Lineup Announced for 2015

The Outfest Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival has revealed its lineup for 2015.

Presented by HBO, the two-day fest will be held at the legendary Egyptian Theatre and will feature a digitally restored version of the ’90s film Paris is