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Movie Reviews

'Logan': Makes Some Sharp Points
Judged solely on its surface value, director James Mangold's "Logan," the third and reputedly final escapade of the Wolverine/Marvel Comics/superhero/X-Men series, rates a six on my excitement scale. However, bear in mind that loyal adherents of this franchise evaluate their cherished, alternate world of right, wrong and not so
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'Get Out': Guess Who's Coming to be Terrorized?
It is an eerie, unsettling experience when your every instinct smells dangerous deceit and yet numerous people claiming authority discount your fears as just so much paranoia and curious distrust. Worse even yet is when such shifty characters then try to convince you, despite their most egregious actions, that they have only your best interests
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'Lion': A Prince of the Jungle
Watching Garth Davis' "Lion," about a 5-year-old Indian boy who gets lost thousands of miles from his home, the innate humanitarian in you wonders just how many years of do-gooding it might take to put a dent in the horrific squalor the tale depicts. The poverty, the social equivalent of that stench-filled restaurant bathroom that
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'The Comedian': Requiem for a Funnyman
It's too bad I can't give you the Goldberger Guarantee for director Taylor Hackford's "The Comedian," an assurance of positive viewership I occasionally offer to close friends when I'm fairly confident they'll enjoy a particular movie. The warranty promises refund of the ticket price if any of those pals
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'20th Century Women': Vive la Différence
Folks who require a certain amount of shock, awe and disturbingly aberrant behavior in their cinema might do well to skip filmmaker Mike Mills' highly intelligent "20th Century Women" and perhaps instead focus on the 3-ring circus currently posing as our national body politic. However, if you're the sort who still believes
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'The Founder': The Original Hamburglar
'I think my father would have enjoyed John Lee Hancock's "The Founder," an enthusiastic account of how Ray Kroc, a previously failed salesman, turned the McDonald brothers' pioneering, fast-food restaurant into a worldwide phenomenon. But while he would applaud the title character's passion and persistence, he'd
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'La La Land': On the One Hand, and Then on the Other
I already knew I was somewhat of a dreamer, but my generally warm and starry-eyed acceptance of wunderkind writer-director Damien Chazelle's "La La Land," a throwback/homage to the nascent movie musicals of the 1930s, also confirms that I am a hopeless romantic. The curious idea to have Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play the sort of
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'Fences': Scales the Dramatic Heights
Denzel Washington's phenomenally touching, multitextured performance in August Wilson's "Fences" sings a heartrending paean to every dad who struggled to make a living, raise a family and preserve his human dignity in the face of herculean obstacles. Plying one of the most complexly realized, tragic American figures since
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'Why Him?': Why Waste Your Money?
For parents of a daughter approaching marrying age, James Franco's Laird Mayhew is your worst nightmare realized. On the positive side of the ledger, the Silicon Valley mega-billionaire would doubtless be a good provider. But topping the much longer list of negatives, he is a filthy mouthed libertine who thinks nothing of regaling you with
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'Manchester by the Sea': Set your Movie GPS
For those filmgoers who long for a movie with a beginning, middle and end, bereft of razzle-dazzle special effects and philosophy class mind benders, writer-director Kenneth Lonergan's soulfully touching "Manchester by the Sea" is just the ticket. But beware oh ye to whom such traditional fair initially appeals, as the astutely
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