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Monthly Archives: December 2021

LICORICE PIZZA: VALLEY HIGH

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Paul Thomas Anderson grew up in the suburban L.A. sprawl known as the San Fernando Valley and has set several of his films there (notably Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch Drunk Love). His latest is a flashback to 1973, a kaleidoscopic series…
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PARALLEL MOTHERS: ALMODÓVAR’S LATEST

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Pedro Almodóvar is a master stylist and storyteller. As a longtime fan I am glad he is so prolific, because if one of his films doesn’t meet my (high) expectations I console myself with the knowledge that there is…
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BEING THE RICARDOS: IN BLACK & WHITE AND COLOR

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I’m not a fan of show-business biopics, on the whole. Too often the leading actors can’t capture what made the stars they’re playing so special. Others succumb to overly familiar Hollywood storytelling tropes. Being the Ricardos is a rare exception because…
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NIGHTMARE ALLEY: FILM NOIR PERFECTION

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Some filmmakers get so caught up in the look and feel of their films that they lose their grip on the storytelling. Others know how to tell a good story but don’t have the money or the clout to…
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THE TENDER BAR: CYNICS NEED NOT APPLY

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The Tender Bar is based on a memoir by J.E. Moehringer, adapted by the screenwriter of The Departed and Kingdom of Heaven, William Monaghan. It’s a rose-colored remembrance of his youth and transition to adulthood, with an absentee father…
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WEST SIDE STORY…AGAIN

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Was anyone hankering for a new film adaptation of West Side Story? Did this venerable musical need refreshing? I honestly don’t think so. The multi-Oscar-winning 1961 movie is unquestionably dated, but it is a product of its time and the prevailing…
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