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‘BEATRIZ AT DINNER’ OFFERS FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Disarming in its simplicity, Beatriz at Dinner establishes a believable premise for a dinner party where things go terribly wrong. It’s a tribute to writer Mike White, director Miguel Arteta and their...

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SCORE: A FILM MUSIC DOCUMENTARY

Score is the result of many years’ effort. Matt Schrader has been building a library of conversations with film composers, which he has compiled in a book and a two-disc DVD set. I find it remarkable...

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THE BIG SICK

I don’t know how someone puts his life story on film, playing himself without a trace of self-consciousness…yet that’s what comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani has done in this disarming film, which he...

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OKJA: GO AWAY, PIGGY

Okja is one of the strangest movies of this or any year in recent memory. You may have read about its high-profile debut at the Cannes Film Festival. I can’t imagine what audiences there made of this...

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NO MAPS ON MY TAPS

I can’t believe it’s been almost forty years since I first saw this enchanting documentary. Now, thanks to Milestone Films, I’ve had a chance to revisit it and I’ve fallen in love with it all over...

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‘DUNKIRK’ MISSES THE BIG PICTURE

Dunkirk may be the most understated World War Two movie ever made. That doesn’t mean it’s anemic in depicting the horror of combat; quite the contrary. But in his effort to avoid the clichés and...

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‘DETROIT’ OFFERS HINDSIGHT BUT LITTLE INSIGHT

No one can sustain a gut-wrenching sequence quite like director Kathryn Bigelow, who brought us The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. The central set piece of Detroit is a long, excruciating exercise...

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WIND RIVER: A WINTRY FILM WORTHY OF SUMMER VIEWING

Having scripted Sicario and Hell and High Water, Taylor Sheridan has taken on directorial duties as well with his new film Wind River and scored a solid hit. Jeremy Renner plays a man who works for the...

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FROM ALBERT BROOKS TO BETTY GRABLE: A SURVEY OF DVDs AND BLU-RAYS

I am back on an exercise bike every morning, which gives me an opportunity to catch up with DVDs and Blu-rays. Obviously, I’m not going to screen Lawrence of Arabia this way, so I choose my discs...

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THE GLASS CASTLE: A BEST-SELLER COMES UP SHORT

The Glass Castle is a deeply-felt adaptation of journalist Jeannette Walls’s best-selling memoir about growing up with impoverished and irresponsible parents. The story is told piecemeal and in...

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CALIFORNIA TYPEWRITER: EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN

I am a sucker for this kind of film. California Typewriter celebrates the durable, once-ubiquitous device that computers put out of business and the grass-roots spirit that drives people like Tom...

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LOGAN LUCKY: NOT AS GOOD AS ITS CAST

Logan Lucky is a likable-enough redneck heist movie set behind the scenes at a NASCAR championship event. At two hours it’s longer than it ought to be and takes too much time recapping how the central...

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AMERICAN ASSASSIN: ALL IT KILLS IS TIME

I didn’t believe a single moment in American Assassin. That’s a shame, because it arrives in theaters with a solid pedigree. Based on a prequel in the late Vince Flynn’s popular series of spy novels,...

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HOME AGAIN: COMEDY IN THE COMFORT ZONE

Critics are gunning for first-time writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer. They’ve often attacked her mother, Nancy Meyers, for making highly-polished romantic comedies with good-looking actors who live...

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WHY ‘MOTHER!’

Lesson for today: never marry an artist, especially a poet. There! I’ve just saved you two hours. To be clear, I would never discourage anyone from seeing a film that interests them, especially someone...

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KINGSMEN: FOOLS GOLD

For Matthew Vaughn, too much is never enough. Excess, hand-in-hand with bad taste, marks most of his films, even when they’re entertaining. We can debate the merits of Kick-ass, but there’s not much to...

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VICTORIA & ABDUL: A PERFECT SHOWCASE FOR JUDI DENCH

James Barrie defined the word ‘charm’ by writing, “If you have it, you don’t need to have anything else; and if you don’t have it, it doesn’t much matter what else you have.” Victoria & Abdul has...

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AMERICAN MADE: CRUISE OUT OF CONTROL

If audiences are growing weary of seeing the legend “Based on a true story…” at the beginning of movies, they haven’t discouraged Hollywood from continuing to mine a seemingly  bottomless reserve of...

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LUCKY: A TESTAMENT TO HARRY DEAN STANTON

Lucky is a remarkable film, a living testament to the talent and formidable screen presence of the late Harry Dean Stanton. It was written as a vehicle for the nonagenarian actor by his longtime...

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OUR SOULS AT NIGHT

I love watching Robert Redford. He still has the effortless charisma that made him a star more than fifty years ago, and he’s ideally matched with Jane Fonda in Our Souls at Night. It’s their fourth...

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