Movie Reviews

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'Joker': Doesn't Kid Around

And while there is some judiciously placed gallows humor to somewhat mitigate the mind-blowing stream of anxiety, unease and straight up terror, "Joker" is never a laughing matter.

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'Ad Astra': Stellar Search for Self

But while the movie's crystal ball-inspired doodads, gewgaws and thingamajigs are perhaps sublimated to suggest the deal with the Devil they insinuate, the profoundness of what might come to be is spookily evoked in Pitt's performance. His embodiment of the hero it'd take to navigate the Big Brother-inspired anxieties of this prophesied world is sublimely perceptive.

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'Downton Abbey': King of the Soap Operas

It is a soap opera on steroids, here polished to a buff equaling the shine of the Grantham silverware which, by the way, becomes a minor issue.

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'Hustlers': The Tacky Laps of Luxury

We are reminded yet again how little we've evolved since first we rose from the primordial mud. But methinks there's more to the deplorable modus operandi of the moneyed bigwigs who make like smalltime Caligulas at the uptown strip joints.

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'Before You Know It': Wherein the Critic Bemoans ...

Utt's anatomy of a family builds slowly, carefully and lovingly, its emotionally absorbing contemplations sure to win you over "Before You Know It."

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'Luce': Enlightening

Director Julius Onah, who co-wrote the screenplay with J.C. Lee, puts the tension level to the metal, intriguingly casting aspersions like so many crumbs upon the water, and in the process testing our ability to separate cogent facts from those that have been artfully manipulated.

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'The Peanut Butter Falcon': Wrestling With Bigotry

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this feature-length film speaks educational volumes about the disorder that is ostensibly its cause-célèbre.

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'Blinded by the Light': Guidance From Asbury Park

Yep, it's all packed in there: a feel-good saga of a likable young man fashioning his own great expectations, a swell score populated with The Boss' hits, and a humanistic message there for your illumination, provided you don't allow yourself to be "Blinded by the Light."

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'The Art of Racing in the Rain': Tearjerker & Tail-Wagger

This isn't a great motion picture by any stretch of the imagination. It's a 2 & 1/2. Yet man does not live by "Citizen Kane" (1941) alone. The films we really, really like often say more about us than the subject matter into which they delve.

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'The Farewell': And a Fond One at That

Personally affecting, "The Farewell" is a little movie with a big heart. And, because it's PG and suggested for the whole family, this is a perfect opportunity to make sure that spoiled little grandchild in your clan doesn't become the only freshman at Princeton who hasn't seen a subtitled movie.

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'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood': The Golden Age, Tarnished

The provocative and quirkily philosophical work is thoroughly entertaining proof that he is one of America's most accomplished, living directors.

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'The Lion King': Reigns On

Although most of the world is by now familiar with the saga, the combination of resplendent landscapes and superb voicing of the magnificently imaged players breathes a reinvigorating spirit into the franchise.

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'Yesterday': All Over Again

Like the cavemen in "Quest for Fire" (1981) who are committed to literally keeping the flame of life burning, Jack sees himself as the emissary from a time lost — the sole repository of the poetic genius that was The Beatles.

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'The Dead Don't Die': Having Fun With the Oxymoron

The brazenly oddball mechanisms he employs to build the scenario and make his points draw us into the nuttiness of his premise with the magnetic appeal of that naughtily mischievous kid who lived on your block.

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'Late Night': Funny Business

The essence of the late-night talk show is much more than what is visible to the drowsy eye. It is about the magic that can exist within the art of conversation. And in "Late Night," Emma Thompson as TV host Katherine Newbury, a practitioner in that black art, illustriously takes us behind the smoke and mirrors of keeping folks up past their bedtime.

Berkshire Snapshot

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