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‘Boyhood’: A Bittersweet Return to Adolescence

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– By Ben Escobar – If someone were to ask me about my favorite memory of my senior year of high school, the first thing that comes to mind is the life-changing night that I watched the masterpiece by Richard Linklater that is known simply as, Boyhood. Having not known much about the film, other than its iconic 12-year production using …

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‘Mary & the Witch’s Flower’: Studio Ponoc’s Safe But Assured Feature Debut

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(2017—Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “What’s done is done until it’s undone.” — The Incantation for “the Spell to Undo All Magic” Potential spoilers below It saddened the animation world in 2014 when Japan’s famous Studio Ghibli announced that it will go on an indefinite hiatus. This followed the announced retirement …

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Stitching Together a Perilous Romance in ‘Phantom Thread’

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(2017—Director: Paul Thomas Anderson) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “Kiss me, my girl, before I’m sick.” — Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) to Alma Elson (Vicky Krieps) Potential spoilers below When news broke that writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson was going to make a period romantic drama starring Sir Daniel Day-Lewis in what may end …

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‘The Last Jedi’: A Dense, Subversive, and Gripping Middle Act to the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

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(2017—Director: Rian Johnson) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “What do you know about the Force?” … “It’s a power that Jedi have that allows them to control people…and make things float.” … “Impressive. Every word in that sentence was wrong.” — Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) Potential spoilers below What …

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‘The Post’: Spielberg’s Express Delivery of Prestige Journalism

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(2017—Director: Steven Spielberg) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “You know, my husband once said that ‘the news is the first rough draft of history.’” — Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) to Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) Potential spoilers below To say that Steven Spielberg has had a storied career is one of cinema’s greatest understatements. …

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A Solid Concept Album Idea Becomes a Sparkling Cinematic Diversion in ‘The Greatest Showman’

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(2017—Director: Michael Gracey) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★½ (out of 5 stars) “You don’t need everyone to love you, Phin. Just a few good people.” — Wife Charity Barnum (Michelle Williams) to husband P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) Potential spoilers below When La La Land made its splash and won many hearts towards the end of 2016 (including …

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Grief Escalates to Restless Anger in ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

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(2017—Director: Martin McDonagh) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★ (out of 5 stars) Billboard #1: “Raped while dying” Billboard #2: “And still no arrests?” Billboard #3: “How come, Chief Willoughby?”  “I’m doing everything I can to track him down, Mrs. Hayes. I don’t think them billboards is very fair.” … “The time it’s took you to come out …

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An Unlikely Friendship Births a Cult Movie Phenomenon in ‘The Disaster Artist’

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(2017—Director: James Franco) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Even the worst day on a movie set is better than the best day anywhere else.” — Carolyn Minnott (Jacki Weaver) to Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), Juliette Danielle (Ari Graynor), and Philip Haldiman (Josh Hutcherson) Potential spoilers below Any cinephile worth their salt will, at …