• Sherilyn Forrester, Special to Tucson Local Media
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Life brings us great gifts: A coveted job, a stable marriage, a newborn full of promise. It also presents us with great, sometimes seemingly unbearable, losses: a fire that destroys everything, a protracted illness, the loss of a spouse. But the real smack in the head is when life gives us g…

  • Patrick King
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Fans of Jake Gyllenhaal and true-life dramas retold on film will find “Stronger” both heartbreaking and inspirational. Starring as 2013 Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman, Gyllenhaal teams up with movie newcomer Tatiana Maslany to give an emotional account of how Bauman persevered …

  • Logan Burtch-Buus
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Every time I watch a rendition of one of my favorite musicals, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s adaptation of the novel “The Phantom of the Opera,” I leave the show or turn off the television thinking the same thing: This performance could have used a lively Justin Bieber song.

  • Patrick King
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Each year, countless movies I review never live up to the pre-release hype, despite award-winning directors and easy-to-watch, proven big-screen stars headlining those films. But, like a history professor reading from a stack of term papers at the end of a college course, a gem will emerge o…

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  • Linda Ray, Special to Tucson Local Media
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In July, 2016, The Christian Science Monitor wrote a business article about an L. A. showcase of comedians who did not swear, discuss body parts or tell sex jokes. The promoter said many comedians wanted to perform clean, but didn’t want to be alone. He hoped to spin the showcase into a seri…

  • Patrick King
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From the screenwriter of last year’s highly acclaimed and Oscar-nominated best picture “Hell or High Water” comes another thoughtful and character-driven crime thriller. In “Wind River,” we find Taylor Sheridan not only providing the film’s ambitious script but also sliding behind the camera…

  • Patrick King
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Headlined by a trio of Hollywood heavyweights, this film adaptation of the 2005 best-seller by Jeannette Walls presents a riveting and raw look inside her real-life nomadic upbringing in a highly dysfunctional family. Riding the same harrowing and shocking family details that kept Walls’ nov…

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  • Mark Whittaker
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For decades, Miracle Mile was the place to be and be seen here in Tucson. It had lively clubs, upscale restaurants, social arenas and motor lodges for those visiting our quaint desert township; the main drag, if you will, of entertainment and nightlife vivacity. 

  • Patrick King
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The mega successful Academy Award-winning duo of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal team up for a third time in this true 1967 civil unrest story. The director and screenwriter from “The Hurt Locker” (2009) and “Zero Dark Thirty” (2013) once again raise viewer eyebrows over what’s fact and fictio…

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  • Matt Russell
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I knew that my time would eventually come, and turning 50 this summer seemed like the right context for comfortably and confidently ordering my first Singapore Sling.

  • Patrick King
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Disappointing, was my first thought after seeing this latest story from unconventional director Christopher Nolan. Like most of you, seeing this film’s gripping World War II movie trailer earlier this year instantly made it one of my most anticipated films of 2017. 

  • Mark Whittaker, Special to The Explorer
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What is it, exactly, about strip malls and fantastic food? Los Angeles literally prides itself on some of the tastiest and most exotic food coming from a hidden storefront, sandwiched between a vape shop and a bodega. It’s kind of the same here in Tucson. One of my favorite places to grab a …

  • Patrick King
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Fans of last year’s “Captain America: Civil War” will rejoice knowing that the same raw, yet spirited, Spider-Man returns in “Homecoming.” Brit and former gymnast Tom Holland once again provides an infectious charismatic face to the Marvel brand as Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man. His youthful …

  • Patrick King
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As a comic-book heroine continues her blockbuster dominance this summer, a much lesser known film has also grabbed moviegoers’ full attention. The self-distributed Native American story “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” has quietly sold out nearly every one of its appearances at multiplex theaters acro…

  • Matt Russell, Special to The Explorer
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In true Pavlovian fashion, all it took was last week’s news that India Prime Minister Narendra Modi was visiting our nation’s capital to trigger my intense craving for garam masala.

  • Logan Burtch-Buus
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Superhero splendor is in full effect at The Gaslight Theatre, which recently began showing another classic, “The Incredible Spider Guy,” a playful take on the classic Spider-Man storyline chock-full of Gaslight flair and hilarity.

  • Patrick King
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Veteran actor Sam Elliott has that famous authoritarian deep voice we can all recognize on television from the other room. He also has that legendary bushy mustache that seems to walk into movie scenes minutes ahead of the star—like in 1993’s “Tombstone” as Virgil Earp. But Elliott’s six-foo…

  • Mark Whittaker
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When you step inside the brightly painted café Atomic Frog, with its pastel greens and electric blues, it’s hard to imagine it any other way. Sitting snug in the Thornydale Plaza, right behind Mountain View High School, the new-fangled, old-fashionedice-cream parlor would have a very differe…

  • Patrick King
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Seventy-six years since her inception, one of the most popular comic book characters of all-time has finally hit the big screen. And what an amazing and historic arrival “Wonder Woman” has made upon audiences. With domestic box office sales topping $100 million for its opening weekend, this …

  • Matt Russel
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Performing in Carnegie Hall and having dinner at the White House are two of the highest honors that have ever been bestowed on me. That is, until the Russell Melt Down was unveiled.

  • Patrick King
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Returning to its successful beachcombing techniques that made it one of the world’s most watched television programs ever, this big-screen comedy reboot exudes unabashed sexy hard bodies with a simplistic, yet effective, crimefighting element. An entertaining and humorous adventure bolts fro…

  • Patrick King, Special to Tucson Local Media
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With the unexpected but widely applauded 2015 sci-fi  thriller “Ex Machina,” film-goers saw how intriguing and tricky the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) can be for humanity. These synthetic lifeforms, built to accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently than us, quickly turned th…

  • Matt Russell, Special to Tucson Local Media
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I take my food seriously, so it should come as no surprise that preparations for National Elote Day have begun in earnest at the Russell residence.

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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Few modern war films give a voice to the enemy. Speaking parts are usually reserved for the battlefield’s victor, with only short glimpses of the losing opponent scrambling through a thick jungle or getting shot down in the sky from behind. 

  • Logan Burtch-Buus, Special to The Explorer
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Finding the right bit of entertainment can always be a bit of a hassle, especially as the summer sun begins to beat down on our necks, forearms and ears. Instead of searching through online listings, ads and previews, take a moment to consider Logan’s top five things to do this week.

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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As one of my most anticipated films of 2017, I was anxious to see how this next volume of “Guardians of the Galaxy” stacked up to its first mixtape. I unapologetically gave that first edition a well-deserved Top 5 ranking on my Best Films of 2014 list. In fact, this charming group--led by sp…

  • Matt Russell, Special to The Explorer
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I certainly don’t have plans to quit my day job, but I must admit that the plastic pig trophy looks great on my mantle.

  • Logan Burtch-Buus, The Explorer
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Sailing the Spanish Main in search of a treasure chest of cursed gold, saving the woman you love and foiling the aspirations of a pirate crew is an endeavor full of adventure, danger and a bit of romance. Add the cast and crew of The Gaslight Theatre to the mix, and the resultant performance…

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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“The Promise” premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival billed as a dual-threat romance and war story. After an enthusiastic reception from festival goers, this early 1900s true Armenian Holocaust account was quickly picked up by a distribution studio and given last weekend as its relea…

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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We’ve been awed by brilliant movie minds before, each attempting to cope with the deep personal pain their special brain powers often creates. Russell Crowe shocked us in “A Beautiful Mind” as a Nobel Laureate in Economics. A young Stephen Hawking at Cambridge was superbly personified by Osc…

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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Attending my second faith-based film in as many weeks, the Christian sermons espoused in last week’s “The Shack” and now “The Case for Christ” are both profound and interesting, yet take starkly different paths towards one’s belief in Jesus Christ.  Whereas “The Shack” invoked an exuberating…

  • Matt Russell, The Explorer
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When the deadliest gunfight in Arizona history inspires the name of a beer that will compete for craft glory later this month, suffice it to say that the brewers are in it to win it.

  • Patrick King Special to The Explorer
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I’m not quite sure why faith-based films draw such skepticism and low marks from movie critics in general.  These reviewers can’t all be atheists or non-believers.  Perhaps many have difficulty wading into religious waters on company time.  Others might find it personally safer to judge a sp…

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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No Oscars are awarded to movies released in the calendar months of March and April. These two months are reserved for only fodder films—appetizers if you will—for huge blockbuster summer action adventures kicking off on Memorial Day weekend and lasting until “Back to School” commercials swar…

  • Logan Burtch-Buus, Tucson Local Media
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Though rain may have postponed the festivities, the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance (SAACA) has rescheduled the Cruise, BBQ & Blues Festival & Car Show for this Saturday, April 1 at the Oro Valley Marketplace (12155 N. Oracle Road). In its ninth year, the event will inclu…

  • Patrick King, Special to The Explorer
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The best opening weekend for the month of March ever, Disney’s live-action movie “Beauty and the Beast” hauled in a record-breaking $170 million in the U.S. alone. The wholesome love story also flexed its animation muscle globally, taking in a record $350 million worldwide—making it the bigg…

  • Matt Russell Special to The Explorer
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When I first interviewed Pat Connors more than a decade ago, I learned about the pairing of fried avocados and Irish whiskey.