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Music Unites Family in the Visual & Audial Splendor of ‘Coco’

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(2017—Director: Lee Unkrich) ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Remember me / Though I have to travel far / Remember me / Each time you hear a sad guitar…” Potential spoilers below Coco finds Pixar at the height of its powers as the preeminent storytellers of western cinematic animation. It originated from a concept centering on Mexico’s Día de Muertos (Español: “Day …

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‘Justice League’: The DCEU’s Underwhelming Yet Harmless Group Venture

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(2017—Director: Zack Snyder) Low ★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Sorry, guys; I didn’t bring a sword.” — Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck), transferring mid-battle into the tank-like Nightcrawler Potential spoilers below Compared to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and Fox’s X-Men franchise, Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has struggled to recognize the need for legs and feet before one can …

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Ranking Superhero Cinema at the Edge of ‘17

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— by Renard N. Bansale — Potential spoilers below November’s Thor: Ragnarök and Justice League have finished off 2017 in terms of superhero cinema. As such, I have the opportunity to look back on that subgenre of films from this year and consider which ones I prefer more than others. I have learned, now having surpassed my annual goal of …

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Kenneth Branagh Carries the Old-Fashioned ‘Murder on the Orient Express’

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(2017—Director: Kenneth Branagh) High ★★★ (out of 5 stars) “I believe it takes a fracture of the soul to murder another human being.” — Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) to Mary Debenham (Daisy Ridley) Potential spoilers below Every new generation receives updated adaptations of classic works of literature. Their quality may tend to trend downward, but each serves as an apt …

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‘Outlander’ is Not Just Star-Crossed Love

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– By Carly Twehous – Spoilers below These days, nobody talks about Outlander without first mentioning the star-crossed romance between Claire and Jamie, the feminist perspective, and, of course, the “masterfully filmed” sex. As I tend to be someone who avoids both forlorn romances, material that become more propaganda than actual feminism, and unnecessarily frequent and gratuitous sex scenes, I …

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‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’: A Lesson in Loving One’s Neighbor

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This article is part of our Classic Film Throwback series – By Sam Hendrian – Thanksgiving is almost here again, and as soon as it is over, Christmas movies will abound on television. While more Christmas movies exist than anyone could ever count, Hollywood has not been as generous to the Thanksgiving holiday. Fortunately, we still have a few Thanksgiving gems …

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The Fear of Rejection in ‘Back to the Future’

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This article is part of our Classic Film Throwback series – By Sam Hendrian – “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” So goes the classic quote that ends Back to the Future, one of the most enduringly popular movies of all time. Released in 1985, its story of a likable high school “slacker” who gets transported back in time …

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May the 3% Be Ever in Your Favor

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– By Carly Twehous – Mild Spoilers Below Out of The Hunger Games craze, audiences were smothered by a sudden influx of YA dystopian dramas, complete with love-triangles galore, forlorn female heroes, and social philosophies just out of reach and hidden by romance. (Seriously. The entire purpose of The Hunger Games is that the Capitol distracts the districts from their …

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Reluctant Revenge and Biblical References in ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’

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(2017—Director: Matt Reeves) Low ★★★★ (out of 5 stars) “Maurice was right. I am like Koba. He could not escape his hate…and I still cannot escape mine.” – Caesar (Andy Serkis) Potential spoilers below The rebooted Planet of the Apes prequel trilogy has become the defining trilogy of the 2010s, managing to improve with each installment. Rise of the Planet …