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Movie Reviews

'The No-Collusion Oscar Picks 2019'
The phone rang, as it usually does whenever I'm sitting in the third-floor witch's hat of my haunted Victorian home in some gothic-like, small New England town with a dark past, anguishing over my Oscar picks. The voice at the other end sounded like Alec Baldwin at first.   "Want to get all your picks right this year,
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'Serenity': It's all Just a Big …
Viewing director Steven Knight's "Serenity, a film consumed with the notion that things aren't what they appear to be, I was uncomfortably reminded that I don't like to figure things out. I don't do puzzles, don't fancy mystery yarns unless they're old classics or approach the inventiveness of "The Usual
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'Stan & Ollie': 'Old Fat & Skinny'
"Stan & Ollie," director Jon S. Baird's lovingly responsible biopic about Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, the world's most famous comedy duo, convivially invites you to bask in its embracing notions of love, friendship, loyalty and sense of duty.    The passion is such that, feeling protective of the boys,
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'Green Book': Because Look Out Old Macky's Back
There it was, the perfect opportunity I thought I wanted — staring me right in the face. A quadruple bypass procured the day after Thanksgiving 2018 can have that effect on a film critic.   What more reason could I conjure to call it a career, to be done with this movie reviewing stuff and finally retire to that long-fabled
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'Bohemian Rhapsody': Fate, Free-Will and Rock 'n' Roll
I once knew a rock band, The Original Kounts, and, because lead singer Howard "Richard" Tepp was my best friend, I was sort of the manager for a while sometime in the late 1960s. That was before Bob Crewe's Larry Brown ("Tie a Yellow Ribbon") walked into Newark, N.J.'s Indian Pizzeria and heard Howie singing to the
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'Colette': Liberté, Égalité and Literature
Watching director Wash Westmoreland's "Colette," about the life and times of Gabrielle Colette, the heralded French literary figure whose celebrated "Claudine" novels were published under her husband's name, I feared I wasted my life by never having moved to Paris.    Such hyperbolic
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'A Star is Born': Yet Again
With four "A Star is Born" iterations in the books and probably many more to come — expect one every ensuing generation — the universality of the tale is a given. Until some bold director makes a woman the established star, and the up-and-comer a male, the formula remains the same. He's a major star flirting with the
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'The Wife': Anatomy of a Marriage
We all know one or more couples who confound us entirely; folks who appear to be tragically immersed in a marriage made in Hell, and yet, for none of the usual rationalizations, like kids money or religion, persevere in their obviously troubled plight.   But don't you dare voice your criticism and pretend to know something
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'White Boy Rick': The Wild, Wild Midwest
My dad was a bench seat philosopher who, while a man of measured words, occasionally liked to opine from behind the wheel of our '51 Buick Roadmaster, the one with the Fireball 8 engine.   I look back at it as our quality time. Maybe it was a quick trip to Sears to buy some roofing material, or to get me some White Castle
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'Juliet, Naked': Anatomy of a Triangle
Ethan Hawke's Tucker Crowe in Jesse Peretz's intelligent, seriocomic "Juliet, Naked," had me thinking back to 1969 when, during a hiccup in my education, I visited my best friend, rock 'n' roller Howard "Richard" Tepp, in Malibu. It was the era of free love and, like the fictitious Tucker Crowe, Howie,
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