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Movie Reviews
'Going in Style': Bank Heist Steals Your Heart
A convivial give-and-take alternates between the sad economic facts about senior citizens in the richest country in the world having to choose between medicine and food, and the wacky, near burlesque, devil-may-care antics of these three indomitable regalers of life's pageant. And, just to pepper things with a little romance, when pretty Ann-Margret's Annie sets her cap for Albert, we cheer the ideal that love, like hope, springs eternal.

'Ghost in the Shell': Machine Politics
They have been duped into thinking that things will be better for them in their demagogue's phony world, and enthusiastically bear false witness to obfuscate the quest for honesty. Such is what is sown out of fear and in search of pie-in-the-sky solutions. It is much easier to believe in ideology than to face the hard facts of reality. It's not for nothing that the great philosopher assured that truth is beauty.

'Life': No Bowl of Cherries
Sure to be shocked, the viewer is left wondering why Espinosa, working from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, would paint such a depressing conclusion. You mean that's it? That's where we're headed? Well then, let me kill myself now. Even Schopenhauer, the granddaddy of pessimism, would be depressed.

'Beauty and the Beast': The Fairy Tale as Civics Lesson
Folkloric treatises like "Beauty and the Beast," our pre-constitutional primers in fairness, are among the very earliest of a child's civics lessons. Too bad ardent followup has lost favor in our homes and schools.

'Kong: Skull Island': Serious Monkey Business
To quote an eloquent teen in the theater lobby who ruminated it afterward with his pals, "That was a most satisfying movie experience." The 14-year-old in me agrees; the curmudgeon has reservations.

'Logan': Makes Some Sharp Points
No longer is there is simply black, white and gray, but rather, an acknowledgment of something more complicated. For example, Logan is good not just by what humanitarian instincts he might exhibit, but by his angst over the killing he's done to preserve life and knife-sprouting upper limbs.

'Get Out': Guess Who's Coming to be Terrorized?
Daniel Kaluuya's Chris Washington, an African-American photographer of some note, has been invited by Allison Williams' Rose Armitage, his white girlfriend, to meet her parents. Of course Mom and Pop live in a secluded, upstate New York hamlet. Y'know, lots of woods, desolation and spooky background music.

'Lion': A Prince of the Jungle
Fortunately, Saroo is too young to be afflicted with this rabid pessimism currently masquerading as populism. Fully in survival mode and still blessed with that idealism that distinguishes us from the savage beast, he traverses the landscape of India. We are aghast as the harrowing journey, based on a true story, thrashes our sensibilities. Bouncing from one train car to another and walking miles across inhospitable geography, it is heinous that this child must use his intuition to evade those...

'The Comedian': Requiem for a Funnyman
I've become magnanimous. All of which is my diplomatic, if not entirely apologetic way of touting a film that many of my so-called colleagues have marginalized if not downright denigrated. Well, they're all wrong. FAKE NEWS. Sad!

'20th Century Women': Vive la Différence
The literary conceit is that women hold the secrets to the life force, or that they are at least more interesting than men. I won't argue with that. After several decades trying to unravel the conundrum that la difference poses, I've come to accede that being in a total muddle about this subject is key to our evolutionary survival. Besides, I've got other things to worry about, like how to finally get that Ferrari, ensure world peace and find out once and for all where that missing sock goes.

'The Founder': The Original Hamburglar
It gets you thinking what you might have done, and wondering if you ever passed up such a seemingly divine signal. For when Kroc, the heretofore unsuccessful milkshake blender salesman, receives an order for not one but six blenders from San Bernardino's Dick and Mac McDonald, he isn't content to take the paltry commission. Nope, he gets out the map and makes a beeline for that first McDonald's eatery — a clean, shining example of gastronomic efficiency.

'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.

'La La Land': On the One Hand, and Then on the Other
The curious idea to have Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling play the sort of aspiring showbiz kids Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell portrayed in vehicles like "42nd Street" (1933) won me over despite the film's unrealistic plotting and a minor litany of incongruities.

'Why Him?': Why Waste Your Money?
In all fairness, Franco's billionaire dolt is occasionally enamoring by virtue of the innocence his lady fair assures lies just beneath his crude eccentricity. His caricature absurdity is even funny here and there. But he lacks the intriguing amiability we like to ascribe our fictional idiot savants.

'Manchester by the Sea': Set your Movie GPS
An intermeshing of various, different periods of Lee's life, while always returning to the present, smartly serves the exposition, engagingly builds the lore, and, daring to be existential, emphasizes the entire time continuum panorama that comprises our existence. It is this overall gist mixed with the minutiae of everyday life and the expectations that attend it, that exemplify "Manchester by the Sea's" Rembrandtesque mirror of our accomplishments, follies, dreams and disappointments.

 
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