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Taking aim at the best and worst of movies and television.

‘Julieta’ is Pedro Almodóvar at his best

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Manolo Pavón

Awash in color, feminine psychodrama and heightened emotion, Julieta is a classic Pedro Almodóvar film — or, more accurately, a classicized version of the Almodóvar films his fans have come to adore. Read more

‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage’ is way stupid fun

Vin Diesel & Deepika Padukone Stills from xXx: The Return of Xan

Paramount Pictures

Film scholar Tom Gunning coined the phrase “cinema of attractions” to describe the earliest, exhibitionist impulses of filmmaking, bits of spectacle that called attention to their own visibility and technological craft. Pure spectacle has since been subsumed into narrative filmmakin... Read more

Quirky ‘Brand New Testament’ is a mischievous riff on religion

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Music Box Films

From a bare-bones plot description, you might guess that The Brand New Testament — which was nominated in the foreign-language category at the Golden Globes — is a juvenile exercise in blasphemy. But this comic film from Belgi... Read more

Michael Keaton delivers a tasty side order of lies in ‘The Founder’

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The Weinstein Company

The Founder, the story of how the late Ray Kroc went from an obnoxious but seemingly harmless, low-rent food-service-industry salesman to the cutthroat ruler of the McDonald’s fast-food empire, is like a perfectly grilled slice of Kobe beef tucked between funct... Read more

‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’ comes alive

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BH Tilt

Faith-based films have a tough line to walk. A heavy hand with the message can leave them preaching to the converted, but too little faith might anger those most likely to part with their money to see them. Read more

Shyamalan mostly returns to form in entertaining ‘Split’

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Universal

M. Night Shyamalan’s Split begins with a jolt of dread and ends, nearly two hours later, with a twist guaranteed to spin your head. Read more

‘Monster Trucks’ stalls in a childish gear

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Paramount Pictures

Monster Trucks starts out with a relatively adult, science-fiction premise: that our current obsession with fracking could threaten underground, intelligent creatures unknown to us. Read more

‘20th Century Women’ a good film for the 21st

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A24

Set in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1979, the easygoing, wonderfully acted 20th Century Women is a movie about a boy and the estrogen in his life. The boy comes from writer-director Mike Mills’ memories of growing up in a benevolent, amorphous, vexing, highly stim... Read more

Wahlberg to the rescue (again) in ‘Patriots Day’

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Lionsgate

Patriots Day, Peter Berg’s film about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, lands with all the subtlety of one of the deadly explosions that claimed three lives and injured 264 others. Read more

‘Live By Night’ never comes alive

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Warner Bros.

With Live By Night there’s the sinking feeling that Ben Affleck should perhaps reconsider his tendency to star in the films he directs. Read more

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