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Our picks from the highest-grossing box office list for July 4 weekend

Bringing in nearly $98 million box office, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, released in 2011, was certainly popular. It’s the highest grossing July 4 weekend release, according to boxofficemojo.com. But, is this really the caliber of film we want to enjoy on the nation’s birthday? If so, then enjoy it. For those who seek more from their movie-watching experiences, I have found five Independence Day releases that offer more substance than the usual fare. And no, Independence Day is not one of them.

The whole premise for that Transformers movie is wrong. Courtesy of Earthsky.org

The whole premise for that Transformers movie is wrong.
Courtesy of Earthsky.org

Get ready for the rousing speeches.

Get ready for the rousing speeches.

The movie that sits at 11 on the highest-grossing July 4 weekend releases is Men In Black. Barry Sonnenfeld directed this film following the success of Get Shorty (which isn’t too shabby either). While he might have strayed a bit in his career, Sonnenfeld was one of the best cinematographers in the early ’90s. His skill translated well to directing, especially in his early pictures.

A great example of Sonnenfeld's camera skills.

A great example of Sonnenfeld’s camera skills.

 Men In Black redefined the way we see sci-fi comedies and aliens in general. The camera’s movement in relation to the scenes is a thing of beauty, as it adds its own element of comedy to the production. If nothing else, revisit this for a look at a young Will Smith, fresh off Fresh Prince, arguing with Tommy Lee Jones.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Before we knew Will Smith would be a scientologist with two annoying famous kids.

Before we knew Will Smith would be a scientologist with two annoying famous kids.

Next up, The Perfect Storm, which comes in at 15 on the July 4 list with just over $41 million. This movie is a raw drama with some big-budget special effects. The drama might be a little too raw, but the movie still makes good use of the actors to deliver a visual and tense story. Read the rest

Riverfest faves

Riverfest — your chance to see national and regional talent play for more than 250,000 people on the banks of the Arkansas River — is less than 10 days away. Let the countdown begin! If you don’t recognize one of the choices, check out the Riverfest Spotify playlist here.

Chicago the band in Chicago the city

Chicago the band in Chicago the city

Which act at Riverfest are you looking forward to most?

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Tell us your favorite movie mom

sally field

Sunday is the day for celebrating mothers. And in the spirit of the Little Rock Film Festival, which opens the very next day, why don’t you tell us:

Who is your favorite movie mom?

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New stars added to the Star Wars universe

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Earlier this week, Lucasfilm announced the cast of its forthcoming addition to the Star Wars franchise. From the official Star Wars press release:

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Director J.J. Abrams says, “We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”

How do you feel about the Star Wars: Episode VII cast?

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Literary classics on the silver screen

A toast ... to F. Scott Fitzgerald!

A toast … to F. Scott Fitzgerald!

What's the best film adaptation of a well-known book?

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Don’t see your favorite? Post it in the comments below.  Read the rest