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The Lies & Subtext of Familial Affection in ‘The Farewell’

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(2019—Director: Lulu Wang) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Chinese people have saying: ‘When people get cancer, they die.’ It’s not the cancer that kills them. It’s the fear.” — Mother Jian (Diana Lin) to daughter Billi (Awkwafina) Potential spoilers below Truth: Mind conforming to reality, grasping that what …

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Disney Declares Creative Bankruptcy With ‘The Lion King’ 2019

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(2019—Director: Jon Favreau) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★ (out of 5 stars) “While others search for what they can take, a true king searches for what he can give.” — King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) to Prince Simba (JD McCrary) (Also, following their initial mentions, I shall distinguish between the two versions …

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‘Midsommar’: More Beneath the Surefire Folk Horror Than You’d Expect

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(2019—Director: Ari Aster) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (with strong moral reservations) (out of 5 stars) “It’ll probably seem quite silly, but it’s like theatre.” — Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren) to Dani Ardor (Florence Pugh) Potential spoilers below When writer-director Ari Aster made his feature debut last June with Hereditary, a strong majority …

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Spider-Man Gives MCU’s Phase 3 a Stellar Finale in ‘Far From Home’

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(2019—Director: Jon Watts) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “You’re not a jerk for wanting a normal life, kid.” — Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) to Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) “Aw, I love Led Zeppelin!” — Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to Harold “Happy” Hogan (Jon Favreau) Potential spoilers below Of the …

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“Fab” Fantasy Gives Way to Sweet Yet Average Romance in ‘Yesterday’

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(2019—Director: Danny Boyle) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★ (out of 5 stars) “A world without The Beatles is a world that’s infinitely worse.” — Liz (Sarah Lancashire) to Jack Malik (Hamish Patel)  Potential spoilers below Ever since the summer of 2000, I have loved The Beatles. They were the only music I listened …

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‘Dark Phoenix’: A Pitiful Farewell for Fox 2000’s X-Men Franchise

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(2019—Director: Simon Kinberg) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★½ (out of 5 stars) “You’re not like the other doctors.” … “No, and you’re not like the other patients.” — Young Jean Grey (Summer Fontana) and Prof. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) Potential spoilers below Ever since the release of the first film back in …