New Releases

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Red Sparrow

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Dominika, a Russian Bolshoi Ballet dancer whose promising career is cut painfully short. An onstage injury redirects Dominika into a life of spying, as her uncle (played by Matthias Schoenaerts) enlists her in the Russian intelligence-sponsored “Sparrow” program. Dominika must endure living in a remote location, where she is trained to…

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Annihilation

Writer/director Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” is about duality, specifically the uncomfortable contrast between suicide and self destruction. Because it’s a such a predictable, lumbering and thoroughly unpleasant film, it seems to have much less on its mind. Natalie Portman stars as Lena, a former soldier turned biologist who is abducted and forced to take part in…

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Fifty Shades Freed

So here we are, the third film based on the publishing sensation, created by E.L. James as “Twilight” fan fiction, which she transformed into a trio of hilariously crappy “books”. Hearing my wife read me aloud passages of those unfathomable bestsellers was such a riot, we’ve gone to every one of these movies on their…

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Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” is set in post-WWII London and centers around an upscale clothing designer named Reynolds Woodcock (played by Daniel-Day Lewis). While Woodcock’s clothing is gorgeous, lush and exquisite, his life has a hermetically sealed quality, as his daily schedule, work habits and tolerance for anyone outside his home is practically locked….

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The Post

In 1971, The Washington Post and The New York Times published revealing, damaging and highly classified documents involving the Vietnam War. These documents, called “the Pentagon Papers,” unveiled shocking revelations regarding former U.S. Presidents and then-current President Richard Nixon. In this Steven Spielberg-directed dramatization, Tom Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington…

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

There are no spoilers in my review of Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Here’s the loosest of plot summaries: Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) is still on that island with a long-gone Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). While the other rebels are fighting against the newly assembled evil Empire, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) remains…

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Coco

The title character of “Coco,” the new Disney/Pixar CGI masterpiece, is the great-grandmother of Miguel, a young boy and the main protagonist. Initially, it seems odd that the movie would be named after Miguel’s oldest living relative, who is depicted mostly sitting, barely moving and only somewhat aware of what’s going on around her. As…

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Three Billboards…

Writer/director Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri” begins with the reveal that Mildred Hayes (played by Frances McDormand) has rented three massive billboards that sit unattended in a field where town folk occasionally drive past. She pays Red (played by Caleb Landry Jones), the owner of the billboards, to post a three-part message on…

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Justice League

The Super Bowl of comic book movies for the DC Comics universe has finally arrived and it’s a major bust. Years of laying down the narrative ground work, establishing the classic comic book characters in their film forms and finding a way to wrap them all together in one big cinematic tamale has led to…

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Murder on the Orient Express

In this lavish remake of Agatha Christie’s classic mystery, “Murder on the Orient Express,” a long train ride through the snowy wilderness in 1934 is interrupted by a murder. An all-star cast embodies a handful of colorful characters, all of whom become suspects. Unfortunately for the killer at large, one of the passengers is Hercule…

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