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Redemption Is Possible, for Countries and Kids


Films about race and racism can be important. They’re also difficult to make. Witness Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation, which failed last year to convince moviegoers and award voters. Now, 2017 has been a better year for the genre. The dark and brilliant satire/suspense/horror/social commentary Get Out — it is not easy to categorize […]

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A Need for Vengeance


Frances McDormand is a force. It’s something in the actress’s voice, her eyes, her sense of humor and her quiet charisma. Look at her, engage with her character, and you are off on a trip. That’s certainly true for her role in Three Billboards Outside Edding, Missouri, a weird, wild, very good movie written and […]

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The Pain of Fathers and Daughters


Steve Carell has often said the way to deal with hardship is through humor. The man we know from The Office certainly knows how to make you laugh, but those projects were hardly serious or painful, setting aside the famous chest wax in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. As the title suggests, Last Flag Flying is no […]

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Some of the Young Embrace God and Country


Growing up with a Protestant minister for a father, I learned very little about Catholicism. I knew Christianity — the Dutch-reformed kind. Catholics? We didn’t like them and, supposedly, we weren’t like them. Now some of my best friends are Catholics. But as I write about a deeply Catholic film I know that I know […]

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Good Bye, Boy Scouts


Boys will not be boys. Boy Scouts will not be Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts will be Boy and Girl Scouts so says a new edict from the leadership of the Boy Scout organization: The Boy Scouts of America agreed Wednesday to start admitting girls into the Cub Scouts next year and to create a program for […]

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How to Look at Important Historical Men


Before I talk about the drama Marshall, a moment to catch up on a film that has been in theaters for a week. Loving Vincent tells a crime story of sorts about the death of my Dutch compatriot, the painter Vincent van Gogh, in a small French village in 1890. It is not the most […]

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Harvey Weinstein Flees to Europe, Ben Affleck Groped Actress, Too


Harvey Weinstein left on a jet plane to Europe to get treatment for “sex addiction.” He’s not avoiding prosecution for sex crimes. Of course, not. Harvey is also being divorced by his wife. More women are coming out and revealing the abuse and/or rape they received at his hands. Hollywood men are silent in solidarity. […]

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Get Back to Where You Once Belonged


Sweet Loretta Martin thought she was a woman But she was another man All the girls around her say she’s got it coming But she gets it while she can —The Beatles News of Hugh Hefner’s death last week struck me even harder than the 1975 breakup of Sonny and Cher. One falls into thinking […]

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Stuck With Each Other and a Dog


We are a nation of dog lovers. America houses 78 million canines, almost half of all households have a dog. As the companion of an insanely energetic, loving Vizsla named Charlie I’m partial to them, so to me this love of dogs confirms we inhabit the greatest country on the planet. The new survival drama/outdoor […]

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A Very Old Guy Walks Into a Bar


The only thing worse than awkward silence is small talk. That sentence in the new film Lucky sums up the mood of the character named Lucky, and of the film itself. Spare me the b.s., Lucky keeps telling his friends in the bar and diner of the tiny desert town where he lives his simple […]

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