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Movie Reviews

'Joker': Doesn't Kid Around
If van Gogh were alive today and dabbling in film, I expect that he might create something as artistically maddening as Todd Phillips' "Joker." But we must tread carefully. The controversy is there for the taking.    Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck, who will ultimately evolve into his alter ego, the Joker,
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'Ad Astra': Stellar Search for Self
"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves." — Shakespeare   While I don't love director James Gray's "Ad Astra," a space cowboy adventure about an accomplished astronaut's (Brad Pitt) mission to locate his legendary astronaut dad (Tommy Lee Jones), previously presumed dead
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'Downton Abbey': King of the Soap Operas
Director Michael Engler's "Downton Abbey," a feature film continuation of the TV series that eluded me in its entirety during its very successful run, is full up with the stuff of royalty. I shouldn't laugh at the silliness of the outmoded form of government, which is truly my first inclination, big democrat that I am. But
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'Hustlers': The Tacky Laps of Luxury
Am I that naïve? I sat there aghast as some took in stride the vengeance being meted out by former strip club employees upon their predominantly Wall Street clients in director Lorene Scafaria's "Hustlers," a scathing dramatization of Jessica Pressler's New York Magazine expose.   Said financiers are assembly
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'Before You Know It': Wherein the Critic Bemoans ...
Wherein the Critic Bemoans the Vanishing of Local Moviehouses, Extolls the Virtues of Independent Films, Makes the World Safe for Democracy and Sings an Homage to the Family "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." — Leo Tolstoy, "Anna Karenina."   This quote came
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'Luce': Enlightening
"It's complicated."   Thus spake Luce Edgar, heretofore the brilliant and handsome apple of every teacher's eye at his high school in Arlington, Va., when the senior's stellar reputation suddenly comes into question. Guilty or not of the swirling accusations, rumors and innuendoes, Kelvin Harrison Jr.'s
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'The Peanut Butter Falcon': Wrestling With Bigotry
It is big-hearted, pleasantly pie-in-the-sky save for some routine tumult in the climax, and provides a good service in dramatizing the realities of living with the genetic disorder known as Down syndrome. But my problem as I viewed "The Peanut Butter Falcon" is that I was more fascinated by the lead actor, Zack Gottsagen, than by the
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'Blinded by the Light': Guidance From Asbury Park
When, what and where was your coming-of-age episode, the epiphany that heralded your entrance into adulthood? You better know, just in case someone decides to film a biographical sketch detailing how you came to be you. I venture to guess that for many folks, at least in the Western World, it had to do with learning, y'know, the truth about
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'The Art of Racing in the Rain': Tearjerker & Tail-Wagger
'Despite a plot-slowing traffic jam midway and the accumulation of saddening clouds in the later laps that almost turns matters into a dirge, director Simon Curtis's "The Art of Racing in the Rain" featured enough enthusiasm and albeit over-the-top sweetness to win me over.    Hey, it's about auto racing
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'The Farewell': And a Fond One at That
Every so often, some philosophically inclined sort seeks a window into your soul by asking, "If you could spend time with anyone now deceased, who would it be, pray tell?"    Akin in hypocrisy to first wishing for world peace or a cure for cancer before asking for a Ferrari whence blowing out my birthday candles, I
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