New Releases

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Wildlife

When we meet the Brinson family, Jerry (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeanette (played by Carey Mulligan) are sharing a tender moment in their living room. Their only son, Joe (played by Ed Oxenbould) watches his parents, visibly embracing this happy, unguarded moment between them. His careful, almost mournful look indicates that this is a…

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The Girl in the Spider’s Web

Lisbeth Salander is still at large. Known in some circles as The Girl Who Hurts Men Who Hurt Women, Salander is a brilliant online hacker, career criminal and a dark, elusive figure. Almost always attired in black and living a permanently transient existence, she is a ruthless enforcer of justice and a haunting presence. I…

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Bohemian Rhapsody

There is a powerful film trying to escape from within “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the Freddie Mercury rock biopic that plays it too safe. We meet a young, odd Mercury, played by Rami Malek in a performance that will make him a household name. In 1970, while Mercury works at Heathrow Airport hauling luggage and seeming unlikely…

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The Other Side of the Wind

Writing about Orson Welles is like being the last cop to show up at a crime scene; coming up with fresh clues and insights is nearly impossible when there are intellectual footprints  and film scholar fingerprints everywhere. I’ve never written a piece in my life about Welles’ “Citizen Kane” (1941), because nearly everyone else has….

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Halloween

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the series that gave her the unchallenged title of Scream Queen and launched her career. After years of establishing her versatility in various projects, Curtis once again honors her fan base with another deeply felt, complex take on Laurie Strode. In this distinctly different take on the series, Strode is…

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A Star is Born

The fear of being on stage in front of an audience is said to be among the most crippling phobias many face. How about magnifying that fear with knowing that you were never meant to be there in the first place, that your presence on a performance space in front of hundreds is an unnatural…

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Venom

My younger brother Marty had a Venom action figure that used to freak out my mother. It was likely due to how, if you pressed the button on the back of the figure, it would declare, “I wanna eat your brain!” Venom is an offshoot of Spider-Man and a towering, black-clad figure, who plainly resembles…

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First Man

There has never been a film about space exploration like First Man. While most possess a passing knowledge about NASA and Neil Armstrong’s “one small step for man,” the new film from writer and director Damien Chazelle places the emphasis on the struggles of the astronauts, not the spectacle of their occupation or the triumphant aftermath….

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Mid 90s

Comic and dramatic actor Jonah Hill’s Mid90s is his debut as a writer and director, a depiction of a deeply troubled childhood amidst the Clinton era.  While a young cast performs well enough, there’s little here to suggest Hill learned anything while working for pros like Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant, or the Coen brothers. In fact,…

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A Simple Favor

Paul Feig’s A Simple Favor is about how some friendships are so fulfilling and unexpected, we can’t believe our luck. When Stephanie, a widowed, lonely “supermom” (played by Anna Kendrick), meets the flashy, carefree Emily (played by Blake Lively), she’s visibly amazed that a wealthy, sophisticated figure in the fashion world would take an interest in her….

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