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YESTERDAY: WHAT A LETDOWN

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A good idea is a rare and precious gift. Screenwriter Richard Curtis has had many of them, leading to such films as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Notting Hill. He and Jack Barth had another good one: What if…

TOY STORY 4: A SUMMERTIME TREAT

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I was dubious about the first sequel to Pixar’s wonderful Toy Story, which turned out to be terrific. But a fourth go-round for Woody, Buzz and company? I harbored doubts but I should have had more faith in the Pixar team.…

BLUE NOTE RECORDS: BEYOND THE NOTES

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As a jazz aficionado I expected to hear a lot of good music in this documentary and anticipated a certain amount of archival footage and interviews with some of the great musicians who appeared on the Blue Note label…

LATE NIGHT: SMART COMEDY, PERFECT CAST

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Mindy Kaling has written perfectly-tailored starring roles for herself and the great Emma Thompson in Late Night, a smart comedy that manages to be relevant without forgetting to be funny. Thompson is thoroughly believable as the longtime star of a…

GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS

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Two hours wasted: that’s how I feel after watching Godzilla: King of the Monsters. This bloated production starts out as an enjoyably tacky monster movie but doesn’t know when to quit. Every pseudo-scientific explanation (and there are plenty) has a…

THE SPY BEHIND HOME PLATE

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If someone submitted this story as a piece of fiction, no one would believe it. The notion that a popular baseball catcher had a superior intellect and wound up spying for the U.S. government is simply too outlandish…but it’s…

THE FALL OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE

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The gifted Quebecois writer-director Denys Arcand has only himself to blame for the slight feeling of disappointment that his new film engenders. The man who gave us such provocative films as Jesus of Montreal, The Decline of the American Empire, Stardom,…

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