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RACISM RECOUNTED

BlacKkKlansman recalls 40-year-old events and serves as a relevant message for confronting racism today   By Leonard Heldreth The films this month include two movies that are oriented toward minority groups and a biopic of an alcoholic, disabled cartoonist. BlacKkKlansman Spike Lee returns to the top of his form as director with BlacKkKlansman. Angry, messy, […]

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Movies aimed at smaller, but appreciative audiences

  By Leonard Heldreth The films this month were not designed to be blockbusters but were aimed at a limited but generally appreciative audience. DAMSEL In an opening scene that hints at Samuel Beckett’s plays, Damsel telegraphs its plans to take varying degrees of liberty with the Western genre. Two men sit on a bench […]

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HOME CINEMA

By Leonard Heldreth Our films this month are all about ghosts, aliens and demons.   A Quiet Place Horror movies often use sounds to frighten an audience—a creaking door, howling wind, rustling noises—but John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place is set in a world that tries to remain silent. The film starts with “Day 89” in […]

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MOVIE VARIETY

By Leonard Heldreth Films this month range from a mainstream gay love story to an animated tale set in Afghanistan. Love, Simon Love, Simon has received substantial critical and box-office attention for two reasons. First, it’s a successful teen romantic comedy in the style of Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, or other films by John […]

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DRAMA TAKE CENTER STAGE

New films are based closely on actual events By Leonard Heldreth All the films this month are close adaptations of real events and people. All the Money in the World Ridley Scott’s newest thriller is based on John Pearson’s 1995 book, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortune and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Getty. […]

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Two tales of love

Love stories underpin May’s picks By Leonard Heldreth Our films this month are two love stories, but neither fits the traditional Hollywood pattern. The Shape of Water The story of a beautiful woman pursued by an amorous beast has a long history in film, going back at least as far as silent films like The […]

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Home Cinema

HOME CINEMA Sequels, films about powerful women, and some short discussions constitute the column this month. Blade Runner 2049 Blade Runner 2049 is a direct sequel to the original film, and anyone expecting to understand and enjoy it should first watch Blade Runner The Final Cut. The original film has become available in three versions […]

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Robbery, allegory, war round out picks

By Leonard Heldreth Two films about bank robberies, a surrealistic allegory, and an epic war film are the recommendations for this month. Logan Lucky Stephen Soderbergh has returned to feature films after a 4-year hiatus during which he directed the HBO film, Behind the Candelabra, and completed all the episodes of the TV series, The […]

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Some films delight, others fall short

By Leonard G. Heldreth The films this month include two thrillers, a meditation on youth, and a nostalgic look at a Western actor, Sam Elliott. Wind River Taylor Sheridan, the screenwriter and director of Wind River, has had experience both in front of and behind the cameras. As an actor, he played in Sons of […]

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Home Cinema

This month’s reviews cover a variety of films from Victorian suspense through revenge action, animation, World War II combat, and music documentaries. My Cousin Rachel Daphne Du Maurier’s 1951 novel, My Cousin Rachel, has been filmed twice before. The first was in1952, starring Olivia deHavilland and Richard Burton; Du Maurier disliked the film version, saying […]

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The supernatural takes the stage in October

All of the films this month have science fiction plots; three of the four are sequels, and the fourth depends for its plot devices on earlier science fiction films. Alien: Covenant The latest film in the “Alien” franchise most closely resembles the first two films in the series. It brings back Ridley Scott as the […]

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Suspense, horror films examine race in September picks

By Leonard Heldreth This month we examine the eccentricities of European businessmen, cringe in two suspenseful films about people trapped, and explore the Amazon basin in the early 20th century. Is Toni Erdmann the best 162-minute German comedy you are likely to see? Is it even a comedy, although it has several hilarious scenes? Certainly, […]

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Hot summer, cool movies

By Leonard Heldreth This month we look at an award-winning Iranian film, a film about black women mathematicians, two documentaries, and Hugh Jackman’s last Wolverine film. What do you get when you insert an Iranian production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman into a film about a husband and wife trying to keep their […]

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Monsters, a Pulitzer-winning play, a musical round out July’s picks

By Leonard Heldreth A monster movie involving a child, a filmed prize-winning play from the ’80s, a retro musical—quite a cross-section for July. Do not be deceived. A Monster Calls is not a typical genre horror film, despite the fact that it contains a fiery 40-foot tall creature who can knock over a building with […]

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Award-winning, high art and strange films

Moonlight Barry Jenkins’s second feature, Moonlight, describes a boy’s coming of age in a tough Miami neighborhood, but it is one of the quietist, most delicate, and most nuanced films ever made about becoming a man. Based on MacArthur-Award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney’s short play, In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, the film presents a […]

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