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Movie review: 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' is an honest examination of tricky voyage into womanhood

"I had sex today," 15-year-old Minnie Goetze declares, elated, astonished, in the early going of "The Diary of a Teenage Girl." Wide-eyed and raging with hormones and insecurity, Minnie - beautifully and bravely played by Bel Powley - talks into a cassette recorder in the privacy of her bedroom, ... Read more

Movie review: 'Digging for Fire' delves into mystery and marriage

The best thing to happen to filmmaker Joe Swanberg? His choice of cinematographer. Ben Richardson, who worked with the director on the recent Chicago projects "Drinking Buddies" and "Happy Christmas," teams up with Swanberg again for "Digging for Fire," which was shot on warm, pleasing 35 millime... Read more

Movie review: Dread hangs over excellent 'Marshland'

An aura of dread and ominous evil hangs over every frame of "Marshland" ("La isla minima"), a police procedural from Spain about two big-city detectives sent to Spain's southern wetlands to investigate a ghastly double murder. On their way home from a fair, two teenage sisters were seen hitching ... Read more

Movie review: 'Hitman: Agent 47' gives its best shot

At least 30 people get killed - by gunfire, car bombs, kerplunking tumbles from balconies and stairs - before the title "Hitman: Agent 47" even announces itself on screen. Read more

Movie review: 'Final Girl' sacrifices story for style

The "final girl" is a well-worn archetype originating in '70s and '80s slasher horror films, a character with whom filmmakers have been overly preoccupied since the days of "Scream." The prototype is Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween," the virginal innocent who, after much distress, torture, and pur... Read more

Movie review: Greta Gerwig powers fresh, fun 'Mistress America'

"Yours truly!" This is the catchphrase of the effervescent Brooke Cardinas (Greta Gerwig), freelance interior decorator, aspiring restaurateur, sometime singer, part-time tutor, and SoulCycle instructor whirling her way through New York City in "Mistress America." And when Brooke says it, she mea... Read more

'Straight Outta Compton' is straight outta the ordinary

While drugs, guns, and trap houses fill the first ten seconds of this film, the music remains the main focus throughout the movie. Read more

Mountain climber reaches new heights in documentary 'Meru'

Growing up in the flatlands of Mankato, Minn., Jimmy Chin never dreamed he'd become a mountain climber - until a trip with his family to Glacier National Park filled his head with grand ideas. Read more

Movie review: 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' is as rewarding as it is squirm-inducing

Even for freewheeling 1970s San Francisco, Minnie Goetze isn't your typical 15-year-old. An aspiring cartoonist, Minnie (the magnetic Bel Powley in what is rightly being lauded as the breakout performance of the year) roams the city with minimal supervision from her party-girl mother (Kristen Wii... Read more

Capsule reviews of feature films

AMY. 4 stars. An extraordinary documentary about Amy Winehouse, the British singer who died in 2011, at age 27, a victim of too much drink, too many drugs and too much fame. Soul-stirring, heartbreaking, the film uses a trove of archival film, much of it shot on smart phones by friends, lovers, b... Read more

'American Ultra's' unlikely stars: 'We threw ourselves into it'

"American Ultra" is one of the funniest, most action-packed movies of the summer, and much of its humor comes from the unlikely casting of Jesse Eisenberg as a stoner who morphs into a government agent killing machine. Read more

Movie review: 'Meru' is a documentary that soars

When three men, including filmmaker Jimmy Chin, set out to scale the Shark's Fin on Mount Meru in subzero temperatures 21,000 feet above the Ganges River, they knew they were in for the toughest climb that the Himalayas can dish out. Read more

Actress Connie Britton finally gets an action role

Connie Britton has played everything from a legendary country singer on the TV series "Nashville" to a sweet and caring mother in the feature film "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." Despite a diverse acting career, Britton has never been cast in the role of action hero. Read more

Family guide to new movie releases

"American Ultra" Read more

'Mistress America' stars on friendship, storytelling and 'gross' girls

"There's nothing grosser than a bunch of girls," Greta Gerwig is saying. Read more

'Lucky' Jesse Eisenberg has 2 very different films in theaters now

Even after a full day of phone interviews promoting his new movie "American Ultra," Jesse Eisenberg manages not to sound rote or weary. Read more

Movie review: 'American Ultra' is a genre mashup that kills

They say pot makes you paranoid. In Mike Howell's case, apparently not enough. Read more

Well-acted 'Straight Outta Compton' makes good case for important music

Nobody ever mentions the Beach Boys and N.W.A in the same sentence, for good reason. Yet Paul Giamatti plays very similar roles in the Brian Wilson biopic "Love & Mercy" and the N.W.A. biopic "Straight Outta Compton," which is rather ridiculous considering the former came out like five minute... Read more

Movie review: Is 'Straight Outta Compton' too edgy for teens?

Parents need to know that "Straight Outta Compton" is a biopic of the groundbreaking, incendiary rap group N.W.A., whose song "F---k tha Police" caused a huge stir in 1988. On one hand, the group blazed many new trails in music and is highly acclaimed today, but on the other hand, their behavior ... Read more

Movie review: Brother confronts his family's killers in 'The Look of Silence'

More than a companion piece - it's more contemplative and focused than the film preceding it - Joshua Oppenheimer's quietly devastating documentary "The Look of Silence" wouldn't have been possible without the 2012 project that brought Oppenheimer international reknown, "The Act of Killing." In t... Read more

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