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Movie Reviews

'One Touch of Venus': Love at First Sight
I wish that I were reviewing one of the half-dozen movies certain to be made when this pox upon our house is no more. But until that glorious return to normality has us resuming all the simple joys of life we take for granted, going to the movies being among my favorites, I'll be retro-reviewing and thereby sharing with you the films that
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'Emma': Coming Late to the Party
Point of disclosure: I find no movies more difficult to review than those I've bunched into the category I call: "Film Adaptations of 18th and 19th Century British and American Comedies of Manners, and those More Currently Written Paeans, like 'Downton Abbey,' Emulating said Bygone Style to Please Adults who Grew Up on the
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'The Way Back': Hoosiers, Too
Occasionally, especially in unstable times, a predictable movie like Gavin O'Connor's "The Way Back," about a former basketball phenom on the skids who seeks grace by coaching the ragtag team at his alma mater, instills a salubrious sense of order, albeit for only 108 minutes.   Truth be told, I never really liked
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'The Call of the Wild': Mush to the Theater
In the closing credits of director Chris Sanders's presentation of Jack London's "The Call of the Wild," a wholesome tale of the courage, honor and loving devotion between man and dog that hopefully won't be lost on our adolescent population, there is a curiously inherent contradiction.   The lists of folks
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'Downhill': It's all Relative
"Downhill," an Americanized adaptation of Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's "Force Majeure," a Golden Globe nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, doubtlessly lost something in the translation. Indeed, this variation on a comedy-drama about a family on an Alpine ski vacation evokes a smidgen of its
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'Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn': With a Title Like That, Who Needs a Subhead?
Director Cathy Yan's "Birds of Prey," an exuberant exercise in over-the-top, slickly anarchic filmmaking starring Margot Robbie as the girl you bring home to Mom only during an LSD trip, jogged my memory of a sociologically provocative scene in "Diner" (1982).    Mickey Rourke's Boogie, a city
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'Oscar & The Greatest Movie that Might Never get Made'
Mrs. O'Shaughnessy, my landlady lo these many years, knocked on my door. "Telephone downstairs for you, Mr. Goldberger. I think it's that same nasty man who called you last year at Oscar time. Oh, 'tis a bad business, I fear."    Mrs. O'Shaughnessy, who prided herself on only letting her rooms to
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'Dolittle': Physician, Heal Thy Self
It was early in director Stephan Gaghan's "Dolittle," the umpteenth permutation derived of Hugh Lofting's 1920 novel, "The Story of Doctor Dolittle," when I began to bemoan my choice of occupation. Little on the screen could dissuade me from the self-pity. So, I resorted to fantasizing. What would have been so
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'1917': Mistaken Destiny
Anyone with half a brain knows that there's no such thing as a war movie … that there are only antiwar movies, of which director-writer Sam Mendes' "1917" is an iconic example. They also know that this harrowing, R-deserving delve into the bowels of humankind destroying each other with whatever new, technological device
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'Little Women': The Halberstadter Excuse
The seventh film adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women," exquisitely chiseled to fully expected, classic standards by director-writer Greta Gerwig, jogged my memory. I specifically remember the exact day in Dr. Halberstadter's class at Olde Ivy Film Criticism College when the good professor warned us that upon
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