Movie Reviews

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'After': Of Good Girls and Bad Boys

You know the stereotype. He is the ubiquitously tattooed bad boy on the outside, yet capable of quoting from "Wuthering Heights" or "The Great Gatsby." But perhaps so could Hannibal Lecter.

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'Dumbo': A Relevant Elephant

Albeit etched with a caustic edge to grant it a realistic PG instead of a Pollyanna G, director Tim Burton makes sure his "Dumbo" remake contains all the elements necessary for the ethical considerations that have been an integral part of fairy tales ever since Oog first adorned the cave walls with his template for Animal Crackers.

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'Us': It Takes Two to Terrorize

Granted, the "scare me, scare me" crowd may be disappointed by the dearth of old-fashioned, unremitting shocks to body and soul. But if one gives serious thought to this feature-length affirmation of cartoon pundit Walt Kelly's theorem that we have met the enemy and he is "Us," it's probably the scariest prospect of all.

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'Gloria Bell': For Whom the Loneliness Tolls

But whether because of her humanity or also for her loveliness, we like Gloria, and hope that John Turturro's suitor turns out to be at least a reasonable facsimile of the gallant knight on the white horse come to rescue our gal from dying with her song still inside her. But again, leave it to me to also have a trifling problem with Turturro's character.

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'Transit': As in, Letters of ...

Perhaps it's his form of audio-visual touch-n-feel in an attempt to make us appreciate the uncaring horror inflicted on those caught in the vice of tyrants playing at government.

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'Captain Marvel': Brave New Suffragette

You don't have to be the dad of a little girl to have a cheering interest in the awesomely positive message that "Captain Marvel" blasts across the screen.

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'Greta': Guilty Thrills

I am an outsider to horror, what Alexis de Tocqueville was to American history. And so, while viewing director Neil Jordan’s "Greta," about a lonely older woman who has a rather odd way of seeking companionship, offered no epiphany, it did provide an egoistic pleasure that may shed a glimpse of light.

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'Isn't It Romantic': It's to Laugh

Admittedly, there is some witty, satirical commentary on the current state of courting among the millennial set. But for the most part, the circumstances and jokes that ultimately lead Natalie to a greater understanding of love's more altruistic properties and purposes don't rise above the usual shtick seen in any run-of-the-mill TV sitcom.

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'The No-Collusion Oscar Picks 2019'

The phone rang, as it usually does whenever I'm sitting in the third-floor witch's hat of my haunted Victorian home in some gothic-like, small New England town with a dark past, anguishing over my Oscar picks. The voice at the other end sounded like Alec Baldwin at first.

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'Serenity': It's all Just a Big …

Once upon a time, a screenwriter penning a fantasy that painted him into a corner could flee the strictures of his premise and weave a magical ending by suddenly having his protagonist awake from a dream, i.e., "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). Now, as employed in "Serenity," the Brave New Cyber World has created a newfangled escape clause for fiction writers needing to explain away flights of fancy for which there is no logical explanation, at least not in our old, plain, three-dimensional world.

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'Stan & Ollie': 'Old Fat & Skinny'

I and my Baby Boomer ilk were introduced to the legends via morning and midafternoon movie shows on TV in the '50s, when stations rented their films at bargain basement prices. We immediately loved them and claimed them for our generation.

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'Green Book': Because Look Out Old Macky's Back

Anyone with a heart and a half-decent upbringing will be abashed by the stark divulgences about intolerance in America so artfully unearthed as Mahershala Ali's Don Shirley, the world famous pianist, is escorted on his tour through the Deep South by Viggo Mortensen's Tony Lip.

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'Bohemian Rhapsody': Fate, Free-Will and Rock 'n' Roll

All this self-indulgent perspective noted, I thank director Bryan Singer for jogging these memories into high-relief via his superb biographical film, "Bohemian Rhapsody," which astutely and soulfully details the birth of the group Queen and the star trajectory of its lead singer, Freddie Mercury.

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'Colette': Liberté, Égalité and Literature

Such hyperbolic self-examination, while exaggerated for my own literary purposes here, is nonetheless proof of what a fine period piece this film is. Still, while boasting Keira Knightley in a superb title portraiture, those indifferent to belles-lettres and avant-garde sensibilities need not apply.

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'A Star is Born': Yet Again

However, putting my prejudicial pride of ownership in abeyance for the sake of fairness, there's no discounting the superb job Lady Gaga and Cooper do in issue No. 4.

Berkshire Snapshot

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