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    Movie Times | Movie Reviews | Theater Reviews
'The Hateful Eight': Guiltily Affable
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
06:21PM / Thursday, January 07, 2016
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You laugh in conflicted appreciation of Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight," a throwback Western contemporized with the director's signature nihilism. Yep, it's plenty violent, pardner ... permeated with it, you might even say. You can't watch this latest example of the filmmaker's brutality beyond the pale without contemplating the curious niche he has carved for himself, a strange world of ironic justice and topsy-turvy morality full of guilty thrills.

But while iterating similar sensibilities in most of his films, the auteur has honed his style to the point where he can surprise and abash us nonetheless. Any sentimentality exhibited is to the notion of

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Berkshire Tidbits: Food Pantry Donations Sought, Farmer's Market Returns
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
01:54PM / Monday, January 04, 2016
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  At Christmastime, a nice size ad in the Southern Berkshire Shopper's Guide with the words, "PLEASE HELP US" inside a festive green ribbon caught my attention. I saw, "Help the Family Services Food Pantry at CHP" in much smaller type.   Community Health Program provides high-quality health care to more than 16,000 Berkshire residents of all ages and economic levels. They are best-known for their Women, Infants and Children/WIC programs of nutrition services and access to healthy food.   There was a photo of packaged food and a paragraph that read: "Due to the high demand food is

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'The Big Short': Hifalutin' Finance
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:54PM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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Watching director Adam McKay's "The Big Short," you don't know whether to laugh or cry over the bald-faced bamboozlement perpetrated by the banks, Wall Street and other moneyed interests not quite so easy to identify.

"How could it go on and on?" you ask, and then, in a sober reflection, remind yourself that practically every institution forming the fabric of our civilization looks pretty crooked when you put a magnifying glass to it. It's just that this one, the world of finance, has become especially adept at profiting from humankind's hypocrisy and greed.

But hey, as the catchphrase in the GEICO commercials says, "It's what they do."

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Berkshire Tidbits: Brunch for New Year's
By Judith Lerner, iBerkshires Staff
10:35AM / Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington announced last week that, after a national search, it has chosen a new general manager. Daniel Esko, currently operations manager for Shire City Herbals in Pittsfield will become the Co-op's new manager.

Esko had worked in a variety of managerial positions at the Co-op and provided support, training and consulting services for a number of other co-ops over a 10 year period before he went to Shire City. He had previously worked at the Kushi Institute store in Becket and at Whole Foods in Boston.


"I'm incredibly excited to return to Berkshire Co-op Market," he said. "I am looking forward to working in partnership with the

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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': A Force to Be Reckoned With
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
12:15PM / Thursday, December 24, 2015
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Oddly, while I enjoyed director J.J. Abrams' "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the seventh in the franchise created by George Lucas, and was gratified to check it off on my dance card, I feel a little bit like the kid who dared blurt that the Emperor was naked. Sure, it's a good adventure yarn, a synergy of nostalgic notes and cutting edge notions.

But unless it still has to kick in, I've experienced no transformative epiphany. No glow emanates from me. I'm not speaking in tongues. What's more, though the nearby lake beckons, I'm confident I cannot walk its surface.

Yeah, yeah, I know ... it cost 18 trillion dollars and there are more "Star Wars"

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Berkshire Tidbits: Christmas Goodies, Year's End Events
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
12:48PM / Tuesday, December 22, 2015
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When you are on tiny Center Street in tiny West Stockbridge, you cannot miss noticing that Charles H. Baldwin & Sons, aka Baldwin's Extracts, isdressed for Christmas. Even from outside.

Giant handmade pink and blue wreaths of oversize shiny-wrapped candies, ornaments, ribbons and flowers surround the two front windows, making spirits bright as soon as you see them. If you fade the nicely paved street and overhead wires, you could be back in the 19th century when Charles Baldwin opened.

After three previous generations had made extracts before them, Charles H. Baldwin and his father, H. M. Baldwin, started the company and began making their first quality vanilla extract in 1888

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'Trumbo': Write and Wrong
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
03:34PM / Thursday, December 17, 2015
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Both fortunately and unfortunately, movies about bigotry and fearmongering in America always seem to be timely and appropriate. Hence, while director Jay Roach's engaging, wittily realized biopic about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo isn't especially artistic or cutting edge, it's dutiful, ultimately patriotic meditations in the cause of the First Amendment please our sense of justice.

Watching "Trumbo," we can't help but mull the current crop of political bloodsuckers looking to make hay of our worries. Is it just us smart people who know history repeats itself?

A reputedly accurate screenplay by John McNamara, based on Bruce Cook's biography,

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Berkshire Tidbits: Berkshires Featured on Barefoot Contessa
By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires
02:24PM / Monday, December 14, 2015
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Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten and her husband, Jeffrey, came to the Berkshires with friends. They shopped, they filmed and the Barefoot Holiday episode that aired starting this past weekend.

Berkshire Mountain Bakery, the actual bakery in Housatonic, behind the scenes where all the work gets done, made the cut. And baker-owner Richard Bourdon offering his Bread & Chocolate bread.

Robin's Candy and Rubiner's Cheesemongers & Grocers in Great Barrington are in the episode as is The Southfield Store.

Robin Helfand, owner of Robin's Candy, said they will be prominently featured. Her next-door neighbor Tune Street loaned her shop a large screen television to air the

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'Brooklyn': A Movie Destination
By Michael S. Goldberger, iBerkshires Film Critic
05:20PM / Friday, December 11, 2015
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Once upon a time, there were many more movies made like "Brooklyn" ... films that had a beginning, middle and end, and told a good story with a philosophical lesson or two to take home.

Oh, they weren't always as well realized as this coming-of-age saga about a young woman who emigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn in search of better opportunity. But they managed to engage us without a bunch of characters from alternate worlds, unending monster battles and a shameful body count ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

Understand, I don't want trouble from either the laser-makers union or the special-effects people who pile up the combat casualties for those short

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