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Movie Reviews

'Leave No Trace': Makes Its Mark
It would be silly not to give a full, 4-popcorn rating to "Leave No Trace," Debra Granik's trenchant, contemporary drama about a PTSD sufferer who lives off the grid in the Portland, Ore., woods with his teenage daughter. However, when movies are this good, there is a tendency on the critic's part to judge them against other
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'Ant-Man and the Wasp': Going Molecular
Y'know how in organic chemistry they show you a molecular construction and then ask you to identify it from another angle? Well, I can't do that, which is why I'm a film critic and not a dermatologist. And it's worked out pretty well, except until now, when I'm faced with trying to explain the pseudo-scientific ins and outs
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'Incredibles 2': The American Family to the Rescue
I doubt I've ever said this in a review, so here goes: "Incredibles 2," an intelligently humorous follow-up to the 2004 original, is good fun for the entire family. There, said it.   Just don't let the opportunity for bonding among parents, children and crotchety Aunt Edna, if you deign to charitably invite her,
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'First Reformed': An Inconvenient Proof
It is unfortunate. But it only makes complete sense that Paul Schrader's dark and starkly truthful "First Reformed" will be one of 2018's most important movies. Whether or not you like its profoundly intense take on current events and how that intersects with the crisis of conscience Ethan Hawke's Reverend Ernst Toller is
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'Ocean's 8': What's Bad for the Gander is Bad for the Goose
Watching director Gary Ross' "Ocean's 8," starring Sandra Bullock in a feminine spinoff of the "Ocean's 11" (1960) franchise, I couldn't help but get cynically philosophical. Did I somewhere along the way of reviewing movies fall into a Rip Van Winkle-like sleep, only to awake and find that stealing obscene
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'Adrift': Cast Away in an Inconvenient Genre
If your idea of a good time is anguishing aghast on tenterhooks as a couple of shipwrecked young lovers try to survive against all odds in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, director Baltasar Kormákur's "Adrift," loosely based on a true story, is for you. I, for one, don't really get the thrill, and have yet to receive a
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'Solo: A Star Wars Story': The Stuff of Heroes
I liked "Solo: A Star Wars Story" about as much as I could possibly like this genre of film, and recommend it as a starter movie for those who have avoided such techno-extravaganzas like the plague, but who now wish to experience one while still compos mentis.    At worst, it is relatively harmless, your
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'Book Club': Can Be Judged From Its Cover
The grist and gist of the pleasantly engaging but no-great-shakes "Book Club," directed by Bill Holderman and starring four of our national treasures, reminded me of an informing moment a few years back. My wife, Joanne, and I were driving across the Neversink River in the Catskills just as Mick Jagger and that band of his came over
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'Life of the Party': Celebrates the Joys of Mediocrity
If you redo in black and white director Ben Falcone's "Life of the Party," wherein suddenly divorced Deanna (Melissa McCarthy) returns to college after dropping out 20 years ago, you've epitomized any number of escapist comedies that populated theaters during the Great Depression.    Light, frothy confections
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'Tully': The Helping Hand that Rocks the Cradle
There is a surprise twist in director Jason Reitman's "Tully," about a mom whose domestic struggles increase exponentially when she adds a third child to her already challenging brood.   Ordinarily, this wouldn't be big news. Lots of movies toss us an O. Henry in the ninth inning, some preceded by clues, others
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