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Romance Fights to Survive Across the Iron Curtain in ‘Cold War’

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(2018—Director: Paweł Pawlikowski) (watch trailer here) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)     “Two hearts, four eyes, oy oy oy. / Crying all day and all night, oy oy oy.” “Believe in yourself.” … “I do. It’s you I don’t believe in.” — Wiktor Warski (Tomasz Kot) and Zuzanna “Zula” …

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Adam McKay & Christian Bale Storm Through the Fog of Politics in ‘Vice’

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(2018—Director: Adam McKay)  — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “You are the President. War is yours.” — Vice President Richard “Dick” Cheney (Christian Bale) to President George W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) Potential spoilers below Three years after The Big Short propelled writer-director Adam McKay from comedy auteur of the …

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‘If Beale Street Could Talk’: Intense Romance Colorfully Blends With Black American Struggle

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(2018—Director: Barry Jenkins) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “You ready for this?” “I’ve never been more ready for anything in my whole life.” Potential spoilers below Few will forget that infamous moment (see here and here) at the tail end of the 89th Academy Awards. Writer-director Damien Chazelle’s smash …

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’: Belated & Early-Peaking Yet Delightfully Gorgeous

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(2018—Director: Rob Marshall) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “Some people think a great deal too much. Of that, I’m certain.” — Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) to Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) Potential spoilers below 2018 was a banner year for Disney, who made over $7.33 billion in worldwide box …

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‘Into the Spider-Verse’: Dazzling Visuals Offset a Rushed Plot Full of Missed Opportunities

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(2018—Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “No matter how many times you get hit, can you get back up?” — Gwen Stacey/Spider-Woman (Hailee Steinfeld) to Miles Morales/Spider-Man (Shameik Moore) Potential spoilers below “All right, people, let’s do this one last time.” …

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‘Roma’ Finds Alfonso Cuarón at an Artistic Zenith

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(2018—Director: Alfonso Cuarón) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “We are alone. No matter what they tell you, women, we always are alone.” — Señora Sofía (Marina de Tavira) to Cleodegaria “Cleo” Gutiérrez (Yalitza Aparicio) Potential spoilers below Cinema in 2013 bolsters multiple candidates for “the most year-defining film”. The …