Breaking

In Moving “Lion,” Dev Patel Roars

Lion (Garth Davis, 2016) 3 out of 4 stars Based on the memoir A Long Way Home, by Saroo Brierley, Lion tells the tale of how Brierley, born in extreme poverty in India, came to be adopted, as a young child, by … Continue reading

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“Paterson” Celebrates the Magic of Our Ordinary World

Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016) 3½ out of 4 stars Ever since his first theatrical feature, Stranger Than Paradise, in 1984 – which won the Caméra d’Or (Best First Feature) award at the Cannes Film Festival – American indie auteur Jim Jarmusch has accumulated a … Continue reading

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Enjoyable, if Simplistic, “Hidden Figures” Sheds Needed Light on Hidden History of NASA

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2016) 3 out of 4 stars Hidden Figures is the second feature from writer/director Theodore Melfi, who brought us St. Vincent in 2014. Where that film was a low-key, offbeat comedy starring Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy and Naomi … Continue reading

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The Dilemma of “Jackie”: Beautiful to Behold, Unbearable to Watch

Jackie (Pablo Larraín, 2016) 1 out of 4 stars We first meet her in close-up, shot in muted grays and blues, with a series of oddly centered compositions, smoking, walking, and then greeting a journalist – never named, but clearly Theodore White – … Continue reading

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“La La Land” Is a Magical, Musical Paean to the Hollywood Dream Factory

La La Land (Damien Chazelle, 2016) 4 out of 4 stars From its exuberant opening musical number, set atop a traffic-jammed Los Angeles freeway overpass, La La Land announces its intention to win your heart through whimsy. With songs and score (alternately … Continue reading

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In Weary “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Take on the Death Star

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Gareth Edwards, 2016) 1½ out of 4 stars Gradually, over the course of the 39 years since the release of the original Star Wars film (now redubbed “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope”), the transmedia universe in … Continue reading

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Ho, Ho, Ho: “Office Christmas Party” Delivers Just Enough Laughs to Justify Its Existence

Office Christmas Party (Josh Gordon/Will Speck, 2016) 2 out of 4 stars There is something both comfortably and distressingly familiar about Office Christmas Party, a simultaneously laid-back and frenetic comedy about underdogs who triumph over adversity of their own making. Filled … Continue reading

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In “Moana,” Disney Offers a Powerful and Delightful Fantasy of Female Derring-Do

Moana (Ron Clements/Don Hall/John Musker/Chris Williams, 2016) 4 out of 4 stars Moana, the 56th animated feature from the Walt Disney Company, gives us a ravishing musical confection about a young Polynesian woman who must journey far and wide to save not … Continue reading

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The Delightful “The Edge of Seventeen” Breathes New Life into Teen Comedy

The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2016) 4 out of 4 stars A delightfully offbeat coming-of-age tale, The Edge of Seventeen gives us Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Nadine, a surly teenage girl whose first words of the movie are a declaration … Continue reading

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“Trolls” Offers Positive Lessons in a Saccharine Setting

Trolls (Walt Dohrn/Mike Mitchell, 2016) 2 out of 4 stars The newest film from Dreamworks Animation, Trolls is based on the collection of plastic dolls created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam in 1959. Originally called Good Luck Trolls, they’ve had … Continue reading

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