Breaking

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 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 stars out of 4 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 … 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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Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Stumbles Mid-Field

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ang Lee, 2016) – 1½ stars out of 4 Ang Lee has made many fine films, some of them great. Among the latter, I would count both Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi; among the former, Eat Drink Man … Continue reading

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Film Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange – 3½ (out of 4 Stars) Shamballa.  Is it an ancient demon, the key to Nirvana, or the title of a Three Dog Night song? Marvel Studios’ new entry into the comic book world realm is that of … Continue reading

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Film Review: Certain Women

Exquisite "Certain Women" Showcases Four Brilliant Actresses of Our Day Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016) 4 out of 4 stars Set in wintry Montana, Certain Women – the sixth full-length feature from Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff) – offers a narrative scope as majestic as the … Continue reading

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Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Astonishing return of Mel Gibson In case you hold a grudge because a movie star insulted someone you do not know about circumstances you have no familiarity with, Lionsgate feels your pain. They understand your anguish and disgust over Mel … Continue reading

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