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Movie Reviews

'Rules Don't Apply': The Politics of Entitlement
Maybe it's because I've recently had my fill of bragging billionaires that I was slow to build interest in director-writer-actor Warren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply." The partially fantasized biographical sketch about the much mythologized Howard Hughes also starts off sluggishly and is a mite jagged. It isn't until
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'Moonlight': Illuminating
The DNA of everything that is wrong, sad and perplexing about race relations in the U.S. is poetically discerned and illuminated in filmmaker Barry Jenkins' Oscar-worthy "Moonlight." Jenkins ingeniously utilizes the low-budget, art house look of his sociologically profound film about a young black man's journey in ghettoized
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'Bleed for This': Middleweight Contender
To accent boxer Vinny Pazienza's close-knit family in director-writer Ben Younger's "Bleed for This," turning points in the pugilist's remarkable saga are inevitably marked by the clan crowded around the dinner table eating, with hardly room for a bread stick among them. There is a basic, anthropological purity in the
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'Arrival': Quite a Trip
You know how sometimes between sleep and consciousness you can tell the future? Well, good for you if you can; it doesn't happen to me, not anymore. I've been stuck in this reality mode since the 1960s ended. But, just in case you tune in, Dr. Leary, there's a fascinating variant of that "Twilight Zone"-like mind trip in
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'Doctor Strange': Physician, Heal Thyself
Back in the day, when I was a weekend Hippie hanging out at a friend's home I deemed the clearing house of all things late 1960s, travelers of all stripe would pop in, flop into a beanbag chair and regale us with tales of their adventures. The chronicle might begin with, "Been going through some really heavy changes, man," often
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'Denial': Adding Insult to Injury
A-10345 Point of disclosure: That was the number on the inside of my mother's arm ... my personal proof that there was a Holocaust. The A denoted Auschwitz. The numbers added up to 13. She said it was her lucky number. I don't think she'd mind me telling you. While there were times when Dorothy Goldberger (R.I.P.) absolutely
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'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back': Doesn't Quite Grab You
It is what it is. I contemplated saving approximately 805 words by simply having the above overworked phrase stand as my review of director Edward Zwick's "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back." However, despite its relatively appropriate description of this action-thriller starring Tom Cruise as the title maverick, fear of a random
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'The Accountant': Adds Up Smartly
"Why would I want to see Ben Affleck do taxes?" Thus inquired a friend's wife when he asked if she'd like to see "The Accountant," director Gavin O'Connor's action-packed crime drama starring Affleck in the title role. To which I reply, "exactly." The snazzy, left-handed glorification of the
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'The Birth of a Nation': A Painful Truth
Watching writer-director Nate Parker's "The Birth of a Nation," a biography of the slave Nat Turner that concludes with the namesake rebellion he led in 1831, you can't help but anguish over the idea that only 155 years ago slavery was perfectly legal in the Southern United States. That kind of historical realization always
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'Queen of Katwe': Commanding Performance
You should see director Mira Nair's "Queen of Katwe," especially if you want to feel miserable, sad, perhaps a little guilty, frustrated and angry on the way to becoming a better person. It's the true story of how Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan girl, had her life changed after learning the game of chess. But that's just the
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