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Movie Reviews
'Moonlight': Illuminating
It is a subtlety among the ferocity, a nod to the human heart and that universal longing oft referred to as love. Framed in this context, it is at once frightening and romantic, yet all the same a positive paean to the commonality of our species. But you knew it was there all the time, shamefully hidden away amidst the Sturm und Drang of those mean streets.

'Bleed for This': Middleweight Contender
Based on a true story, the travail that was "The Pazmanian Devil's" career should please boxing fans who know the history, and perhaps viewers in general who appreciate a good old struggle against overwhelming odds. Miles Teller is convincing as the pugnacious protagonist, a portrayal only enhanced by its decidedly two-dimensional take. There is a hyper-reality here.

'Arrival': Quite a Trip
Now, don't be in a hurry once she gets to the tent-town army compound in Montana where the aliens' ovoid spaceship has decided to levitate about thirty feet off the ground. This isn't going to be easy. You see, as the philologist soon learns, the aliens' communication transcends mere conversation, but rather, encompasses the whole of their being. So it's quite intriguing when smart Dr. Banks, soon the team's tacit prom queen, starts getting hip to the Heptapods.

'Doctor Strange': Physician, Heal Thyself
In director Scott Derrickson's highly entertaining film based on the famed Marvel Comics character of the same name, we learn how the gifted neurosurgeon, superbly portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, earns his place among the pantheon of comic book superheroes. While fans of this universe should doubtlessly be pleased by the filmmaker's very imaginative rendition of what they hold so dear, those of us among the great unwashed needn't be afraid to dive in to this all-embracing,...

'Denial': Adding Insult to Injury
Director Mick Jackson's "Denial" is a solid, responsible dramatization of historian Deborah Lipstadt's defense in the English court of a libel suit brought against her and Penguin Books by Holocaust denier David Irving. While it is well written, acted and directed, and treats the subject matter with proper reverence, we can't help but feel there's something missing in this otherwise important, studiously informative chronicle ... something else we want to know. It's a bit hazy at first, this...

'Jack Reacher: Never Go Back': Doesn't Quite Grab You
I contemplated saving approximately 805 words by simply having the above overworked phrase stand as my review of director Edward Zwick's "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back." However, despite its relatively appropriate description of this action-thriller starring Tom Cruise as the title maverick, fear of a random audit by the American Film Critics Oversight Committee induced me to proceed with the usual study in tortured prose that follows.

'The Accountant': Adds Up Smartly
While the hands of our Brave New World's protagonist are indeed sullied enough to cause us consternation, he's usually been driven to it by environmental forces beyond his control. But the tie-breaker is our perception of what lies within the antihero's soul. Unlike those malevolent forces he'll wind up taking on before the closing credits roll, at least he's not inherently evil. Plus, he's usually better looking, too.

'The Birth of a Nation': A Painful Truth
Many scenes will have you cringing from the sheer inhumanity. Expect a random crushing of skulls, families separated, unthinkable, sadistic punishment and, almost as disturbing as the physical violence, there's the utterly disdainful obscenity of believing another person is your rightful chattel. And, because the slave owners possess an ever-increasing fear that the era of free labor might be ringing its death knell, add the resultant aura of seething hatred.

'Queen of Katwe': Commanding Performance
The plot cannily establishes a great contrast in pressing its humanistic message. Mixing chess, once a hifalutin' game of the nobility, with an almost unbearable portrait of bare subsistence, illustrates that the lines drawn between people are ridiculously artificial, and hence destined to be crossed.

'The Magnificent Seven': They Ride Again
Hombres and women folk hankerin' for a good old-fashioned horse opera with just a touch of newfangled sensibilities might want to mosey on over to a movie theater showing director Antoine Fuqua's remake of "The Magnificent Seven."

'Bridget Jones's Baby': Sweet, Cute and Crawls
I'm not so sure this is the right message to send to young viewers, but with the fertilization of an egg, Bridget Jones goes from disconsolate, self-described old maid to highly sought after mother of the heir to one of these suddenly very competitive suitors. These guys have cash. Each has his own way of fluttering his feathers in the hope of convincing her lady fair that he'd be the ideal consort.

'Sully': Down to Earth Ace
Director Clint Eastwood's "Sully," detailing the little-told backstory of Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger's "Miracle on the Hudson," is a competently dramatized paean to a very deserving hero, and much more entertaining than I had anticipated. Sure, Tom Hanks is going to be as good as ever, and Eastwood will bring his journeyman skill to the work. But in capturing the idea of a human being functioning at his very best, Todd Komarnicki's swell adaptation of the book, "Highest Duty," by...

'Southside with You': A Sensible Romance
The given is that both principals in Tanne's decidedly friendly treatment are altruists dedicated to "making a difference" in this world. Thus, those who don't agree that the viciously intransigent political atmosphere during President Obama's terms in office frittered away America's opportunity to make important progress may not enjoy the significance of the movie.

'Sausage Party": Food Orgy
A cast of terrifically voiced groceries live a charmed life at Shopwell's supermarket, flirting, exchanging store gossip and kibitzing with the glib abandon of food with a far off "use by" date. From soup to nuts, their joviality is promoted by the knowledge that The Great Beyond awaits.

'Indignation': A Fine Sadness
If you need a very literate affirmation that life can sometimes be brutal, sad, mocking, unfair and heartrending, then director/screenwriter James Schamus' diligent adaptation of Philip Roth's "Indignation" awaits you at the Bijou.

 
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