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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 …

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‘Mirai’ Brings to Life a Little Boy’s Household Adventure

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(2018—Director: Mamoru Hosoda) — by Renard N. Bansale — Low ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “Be nice to her, okay? You have to protect her.” — Okâsan/Mother (Kumiko Asô, dubbed by Rebecca Hall) to Kun (Moka Kamishiraishi, dubbed by Jaden Waldman) Potential spoilers below Among the handful of anime directors touted these past two decades …

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Disney Overload Distracts from Recycled Wonder in ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’

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(2018—Director: Phil Johnston & Rich Moore) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “There’s no law saying best friends have to have the same dreams.” — Shank (Gal Gadot) to Vanellope Von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) “What would Ralph say / If it turns out I stay / In this place called …

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A Narrative Fog Weighs Down a Franchise Baby Step With ‘The Crimes of Grindelwald’

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(2018—Director: David Yates) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “You’re too good, Newt. You never met a monster you couldn’t love.” — Leta Lestrange (Zoë Kravitz) to Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) Potential spoilers below When pinpointing a defining pop culture staple for many kids born between the mid-1980s and the …

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Rosamund Pike Fearlessly Clings to the Battlefield in ‘A Private War’

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(2018—Director: Matthew Heineman) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “I hate being in a warzone, but I also feel compelled…compelled to see it for myself.” … “Because you’re addicted to it.” — Marie Colvin (Rosamund Pike) and Paul Conroy (Jamie Dornan) “Of all the women in the world, I love …

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Struggling Outcasts Turn to Sophisticated Crime in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me’

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(2018—Director: Marielle Heller) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “I’ll have you know, I’m a better Dorothy Parker than Dorothy Parker!” — Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) to Jack Hock (Richard E. Grant) Potential spoilers below Money—or, more specifically, the lack of it—tends to twist the lives of many. It is …

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‘Mid90s’: Teen Spirit Thrives in Jonah Hill’s Directorial Debut

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(2018—Director: Jonah Hill) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “You literally take the hardest hits out of anybody I’ve ever seen in my life. You know you don’t have to do that, right?” — Ray (Na-kel Smith) to Stevie (Sunny Suljic) Potential spoilers below A common adage heard in every …

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The Pressures of a Confined Protector in ‘The Guilty’

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(2018—Director: Gustav Möller) — by Renard N. Bansale — High ★★★½ (out of 5 stars)  “No one is going to kill your mom, okay?” “Do you promise?” “I promise.” — Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) and Mathilde Østergård (voiced by Katinka Evers-Jahnsen)  “Was it snakes?” “Yes…Yes, it was snakes.” — Iben Østergård (voiced by Jessica Dinnage) …

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Ryan Gosling Becomes America’s Reluctant Hero in ‘First Man’

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(2018—Director: Damien Chazelle) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “We need to fail. We need to fail down here so we don’t fail up there.” — Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) to Manned Spaceflight Center director Bob Gilruth (Ciarán Hinds) and Astronaut Office chief Deke Slayton (Kyle Chandler) Potential spoilers below …

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Gaga & Cooper Bring the Grit & the Pipes in ‘A Star Is Born’

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(2018—Director: Bradley Cooper) — by Renard N. Bansale — ★★★★ (out of 5 stars)  “Hey.” “What?” “I just wanted to take another look at you.” — Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and Ally (Lady Gaga) Potential spoilers below A Star Is Born—the story of a crossroads romance between a fading and alcoholic male star and a …