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Christmas movies have, particularly over the course of the last 30 years or so, become a film genre unto themselves, complete with various subgenres contained therein. You’ve got your fantasy adventures, your romantic comedies, your musicals, your holiday horror films, and even the occasiona…

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Though she’s ventured into several different subgenres at this point in her career, for my money Sofia Coppola is never better as a filmmaker than she is when she’s focusing on the simple alchemy of human connection and repulsion. It’s what drove her directorial debut “The Virgin Suicides,” …

Cotton prices recently bounced back following a steady fall driven by the pandemic’s effect on U.S. and global demand, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service expert.

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Supernatural horror is, at its core, often an extended metaphor for real-life trauma, and as such the best stories to come out of the subgenre are often exercises in extreme empathy, designed to put you inside the hearts of minds of characters you might otherwise never encounter. 

Michelle Wulfson | The ItemA pile of debris builds next to a wayward tombstone at Martha Chapel Cemetery. 

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Everything’s bigger in Texas — including the number of ghost stories that keep us up at night. 

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It’s easy to find imitators in the age of what we’ve come to call “Peak TV.” How many series following an antihero with relatable problems turning to a life of crime emerged in the wake of “Breaking Bad”? How many new prestige crime dramas about the family behind the criminal enterprise foll…

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Though he’d trotted the character out in other, smaller ways in the years leading up to it, I always felt like Sacha Baron Cohen’s 2006 film “Borat” was something that couldn’t be repeated. It’s a very funny one-time thing, one that left a massive pop culture footprint in its day and helped …

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Since the start of the pandemic, many industries have had to cut funding, furlough workers, or shutter operations completely due to the economic disruptions caused by COVID-19. However, one rare example of an industry that has seen a boom in revenue and activity, is the gaming industry.

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There is value in updating a classic story for a modern audience. I’ve talked about this before, specifically in the context of recent successes like “A Star Is Born” and the Coen Brothers’ version of “True Grit,” and I think it remains true, especially if you’re talking about stories rooted…

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The problem with so many period pieces that hinges on people taking sides during the most volatile eras in American history is that they always run the risk of coming off like sermons. They emerge with a clear right side and a clear wrong side, draw those lines in the sand right away, and th…

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Stories about the end of the world are everywhere. There’s an inherent human tendency to want to imagine these things, and even take comfort in the ways that a piece of fiction can leave them neatly resolved with survival, hope, and clarity. It’s why films like “Outbreak” and “Contagion” tic…

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Manatees don’t live year-round in Texas, but these gentle, slow-moving sea cows are known to occasionally visit, swimming in for a “summer vacation” from Florida and Mexico and returning to warmer waters for the winter.

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There’s a certain joy that comes from the endless reinterpretations of a character like Sherlock Holmes, but with that joy also comes concern. 

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Sometimes you can pinpoint the moment a film loses you. If you’re paying close enough attention to the flow of the story, the overall balance of tone and character and plot, you can actually feel it shift, like a fraying rope suddenly dropping all of it tension.

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When Disney fans got their first look at the studio’s live-action update of “Mulan,” some were worried. This version, it seemed, would ditch the comic relief in the form of Mulan’s talking dragon pal, and also ditch the catchy songs that made the original animated film such a beloved rewatch…

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The Texas Indian summer is upon us. The temperatures begin to break into the 80s, the plants begin to revive a bit and we wholeheartedly wait on the first cool front. It is time to replace tired summer annuals with fresh fall color. 

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Even if you’ve never read a word of his dark, ambitious horror fiction, your world has likely been influenced by the work of H.P. Lovecraft. 

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For as long as she can recall, Sam Houston State University student, Amy Escobar, has enjoyed helping others and working with children. But upon entering college, she was unsure how she would turn that love into a career, so she initially pursued a different interest – chemical engineering.

Hurricane Hanna came and went with little fanfare but left South Texas with almost $400 million in direct and indirect damages to agriculture, according to a report by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

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There’s a moment early in “An American Pickle,” the new high-concept comedy film starring Seth Rogen in dual roles, where the whole thing could easily go off the rails. It’s the moment when screenwriter Simon Rich and director Brandon Trost confront the reality of their premise head-on, as j…

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There’s nothing wrong with a comedy film that begins and ends with the same amusing premise, with no attempt in between to grow or explore. Laughter is vital for its own sake, and I don’t need my comedy to teach me the meaning of life while it’s making me giggle. While this is true, it also …

editor's pick spotlight

I like comedies of all kinds, but I’m particularly attracted to comedies that manage to spring some kind of emotional punch on you when you’re least expecting it, because the rest of the film is layered with absurdity and joke-a-minute silliness. 

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While East coast states have found a moment of relief from disastrous COVID-19 infections, Texas has begun to surge as a new hotspot entering the second wave of the pandemic. The severity of its effects will depend on the population.

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Judd Apatow’s comedies tend to be at their best when they’re about not just redemption, but the hard work of coming to terms with life as it is before moving forward into real change. That sounds really heavy, because it is, but when Apatow is operating at his best, his tales of charismatic …

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Spike Lee has never had a fallow period. His career is marked by constant creativity, reinvention, and experimentation, but there are times when he seems to shine a little bit brighter. These days, whether you want to blame the political climate or the actors he’s working with or a renewed s…

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It is a beautiful Saturday morning at first light. The morning air is a crisp and the sultry heat of deep summer has not begun. The garden has transitioned from late Spring to Summer and it is the time of year, we plan and plant for ... to enjoy.

editor's pick spotlight

Biographical films, and many “based on a true story” films in general, carry with them a certain risk that in many ways has nothing to do with “accuracy.” Yes, every time a biopic about a famous figure comes out there are articles charting the facts of the story against the way the film port…

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I love watching debut films, because they are often among the purest distillations of absolute creativity you’re likely to find in the careers of even the most accomplished filmmakers. If you’re making your first movie, odds are you’ve had to find a way to do more with less, to stretch your …

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Romantic comedies come in many forms, even now at a time when the subgenre is enjoying a boom of stories on streaming and cable services that it didn’t have a couple of decades ago. It’s easy to label the subgenre “predictable” because of the expected ending of each film, but that does a dis…

I considered writing something about the allure of “The Last Dance,” the fascinating ten-part Michael Jordan miniseries, just as it was starting its run on ESPN a little more than a month ago. At the time, though, I decide to defer, to wait to see what kind of conclusions the documentary wou…

editor's pick

Even though Walker County is in the middle of a Texas May, the odd swings in weather have allowed gardeners to continue to plant some items. If you hurry, you can still get okra in the ground. Southern peas, sweet potato slips, watermelons and cantaloupes should be going in this week.

editor's pick spotlight

I’ve written many times before about the comfort of a well-told story that nevertheless fails to innovate within its chosen genre or subgenre. I don’t need movies to reinvent the wheel with each new installment. I don’t need the pretension of a storyteller trying to convince me that they’ve …

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I think we’ve always kind of collectively underestimated Hugh Jackman, not as a performer but as a stripped down, fundamental actor. Perhaps it’s because he got his breakthrough in superhero movies and kept playing in that sandbox for almost two decades, or perhaps it’s his love of musicals …

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There are certain stories that are always going to catch my eye, and stories of darkness in a small community are usually among them. From “Fargo” to “Hell or High Water,” I love stories that crack the veneer of sleepy small town life to show the often savage underbelly. Throw in a good sens…

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With two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Walker County, Huntsville and New Waverly Independent School Districts remain confident in their ability to provide for their students until school resumes its regular schedule, tentatively on April 6.

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There’s a daring magic trick certain period dramas pull off that others, wisely, don’t bother trying at all. The best films in the genre – whether they’re taking us back to 1950s America or Medieval France – are able to depict the period in which they’re set with a degree of faithfulness whi…

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The husband and wife team behind Wood Hath Hope Ministry has been keeping communities like Huntsville safe for 44 years by providing inmates the tools they need to succeed after release.

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If you follow entertainment news at all, you may know that “The Hunt” was originally supposed to be released last September, but was pulled from the schedule by Universal Pictures due to concerns about its subject matter. Depending on where you’re sitting in terms of ideology and sensitivity…

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It’s that time of year again! The Walker County Master Gardeners will be holding their annual Spring Sale on Saturday, March 14 at the Walker County Demonstration Gardens. The sale begins at 8:00 a.m. and concludes at Noon. Old familiar favorites will be offered along with lots of new plants…

editor's pick

The track record of a studio like Pixar is both a blessing and a curse. On the blessing side, since their first feature film debuted in 1995 the Disney-owned computer animation powerhouse has built a monumental track record of quality that’s included more-or-less constant box office success,…

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A Southeast Texas film professor and director whose works have been featured around the world is set to premiere her latest work at the Prison City Film Festival next week. 

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