MASTERS OF THE AIR – Review by Susan Granger

From Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, the same production team that gave us Band of Brothers (2001) and The Pacific (2010), comes a new, nine-part series Masters of the Air about the heroic W.W.II pilots who set the stage for D-Day. The 8th Air Force, 100th Bomber Group – known as the “Bloody Hundredth” because of their high casualty rate – was stationed at England’s Thorpe Abbotts Base. In less than six months in 1943, 34 out of 36 crews were shot down. Their high casualty count was attributed to their orders to fly daylight missions over Nazi-occupied territory, while the British stealthily dropped their bombs at night.

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MAESTRO – Review by Diane Carson

In Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein comes most vividly and euphorically to life when he’s conducting. The same may well apply co-writer/director Cooper who so comprehensively embodies Bernstein that he all but jumps off the screen during performances. It is thrilling to experience Cooper channeling such rapture throughout his and wife Felicia Montealegre’s tangled theatrical lives.

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MAESTRO – Review by T. J. Callahan

There is creative directing and editing, phenomenal makeup, a soaring score and flawless acting from the entire cast, but Bradley Cooper as famed maestro Leonard Bernstein and Cary Mulligan as his supportive yet suffering actress wife Felicia Montealegre Cohn, are pitch perfect. Cooper gave his all to the roles he played in front and behind the camera being personally given the director’s wand from co-producer Steven Spielberg and spending six years learning to use the conductor’s baton in order to film a six minute London Symphony scene live.

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THE FABELMANS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

The creative life is a circus for an artist, with allures impossible to resist. Director Steven Spielberg’s semiautobiographical drama The Fabelmans shows his early fascination with movies; yet instead of making himself the focus—a portrait of the blockbuster pioneer as a young Steven, if you will—he crafts an intimate story that credits his parents as his inspiration.

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THE FABELMANS – Review by Diane Carson

The Fabelmans presents director Steven Spielberg’s family story. Spielberg, who needs no introduction, has co-written, produced, and directed his most personal movie to date, the autobiographical The Fabelmans. Beginning January 10, 1952, in New Jersey, progressing through 1964 high school graduation, and concluding a year thereafter, the story profiles this family, anchored in Sammy, i.e., Steven. Beginning with his first film, Sammy is captivated.

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CITIZEN SPIELBERG by Lester D. Friedman – Book Review by Diane Carson

Lester D. Friedman’s Citizen Spielberg offers a serious, sustained, long overdue analysis of director Steven Spielberg’s entire filmography. Informed by a thorough knowledge of the wide-ranging criticism on Spielberg, Friedman assesses existing scholarship and, in many instances, establishes a fresh, insightful, and convincing new perspective. He fairly evaluates dismissive attitudes toward this prolific, popular director while offering a thoughtful, evenhanded consideration of Spielberg’s films.

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THE INNOCENTS, THE BFG, MICROBE & GASOLINE, LIFE ANIMATED and other July 1 openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

Top picks among this week’s opening films are Anne Fontaine’s harrowing post World War II drama, The Innocents, plus Steven

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