Movie Reviews

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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.

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'The Wife': Anatomy of a Marriage

We all know one or more couples who confound us entirely; folks who appear to be tragically immersed in a marriage made in Hell, and yet, for none of the usual rationalizations, like kids money or religion, persevere in their obviously troubled plight.

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'White Boy Rick': The Wild, Wild Midwest

If you were already of the mindset that we regular folks are helpless at the hands of the moneyed interests both above and below ground, who are of course in cahoots, this film will throw further fuel on your fire of disgruntlement.

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'Juliet, Naked': Anatomy of a Triangle

Translation: It's a love story, but a hesitant one worried about all the baggage Cupid must drag over the finish line if the fabled musician and the modest docent are to sail off into the sunset. We have hope, but also allow for the possibility that reality will rear its devastating head.

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'Operation Finale': Crime & Punishment

Whether it's a simple matter of history repeating itself or the dynamic of readily available similarities and metaphors offering us insight into our own current debacle, the hairs on the back of our necks stand up when Eichmann scoffs at the notion of truth ("Whose truth?" he rants) and calls Jews animals. Sound familiar?

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'Puzzle': She's Come A Long Way, Maybe

We know full well that for every passive Agnes who experiences an epiphany regarding her plight and potential, there are tens of thousands resigned to suffering in quiet desperation. There will be no police coming to their homes, no counselor offering a safe house or a cellular phone until Madame Surreptitiously Abused can find a life away from her thankless condition. It is a quiet violence. At best maybe she's had a longtime confidante to hear her unaddressed cries.

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'Crazy Rich Asians': Poor Little Rich Millennials

Back in New York, when Rachel accedes to accompany her boyfriend/NYU history prof to Singapore, so he can be his childhood friend's best man, she has no idea that he is well-heeled.

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'BlacKkKlansman': There's no Politics like Show Business

This is stirring stuff, devotedly ferrying the viewer from intriguing adventure yarn to the realization that racism, whether in its inept reaction to inner-city violence or through the reckless injustice perpetuated at our borders, has tacitly become official policy.

Berkshire Snapshot

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