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There’s Bad, And Then There’s Intolerable

Movies: ‘Dirty Grandpa’

love bad movies. I admit it. A giant man-eating shark/octopus hybrid that terrorizes a Mexican beach resort for no particular reason? Sign me up.

A sword and sorcery flick, made for about $11 and featuring the worst sword fight in cinematic history, plus an evil warlock dressed up like Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard”? I’ll buy the 30th anniversary DVD.

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An Empty Return

Movies: ‘The Revenant’

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A Serious Matter Needing Better Treatment

Movie: ‘Concussion’
patricks@lakevillejournal.com

Just in time for the pro football playoffs comes Peter Landesman’s “Concussion,” starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a pathologist who identified what is now known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy in National Football League players.

Omalu, a Nigerian, has an uphill battle with his coworkers and colleagues, with the immensely powerful NFL and with resentful fans.

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A Hilarious, Appalling Look At Finance

Movie: ‘The Big Short’

This film, “The Big Short,” is a comedy that masks a growing anger, one you may share. Director Adam McKay has transformed Michael Lewis's bestseller, a dense book about the 2008 economic collapse and the people who profited from it, into a fast-paced film like his movies with Will Ferrell. 

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Fun, Long, With Spectacular Effects

Movies: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

There was an honest-to-God hubbub at The Moviehouse in Millerton, Thursday, Dec. 17, for the opening of the latest Star Wars film, J.J. Abrams’ “The Force Awakens.” Moviegoers lined up in the lobby of the upstairs theater, and chattered excitedly as they filed in and found their seats. I headed for the back of the house, as is my custom, and was comfortably set up, on the aisle, and as far away from the Nerd Zone as possible.

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Avoiding the Pain, Settling for the Surface

Movie: ‘The Danish Girl’

“The Danish Girl” is an oddly unmoving film. The subject is brave: the true story of a Danish man who risks sex-reassignment surgery in the 1920s with his wife's support. Yet somehow most of the emotional power the movie might have had is buried under director Tom Hooper's lavish, tasteful production and his determined avoidance of anything probing or unpleasant. 

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An Unerring Eye for Art And a Complex Life

Movies: ‘Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict”

This documentary film, “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict,” by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, examines the life of art patron, gallery owner and all-American screwball Peggy Guggenheim.

The film follows her life chronologically, from Guggenheim’s upbringing (her father went down on the Titanic) to her adolescent (and subsequent) rebelliousness and unassailable ability as a spotter of artistic talent.

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Finding a Way to An Authentic and Touching Film

Movies: ‘Brooklyn’

It is easy to imagine the sentimental and maudlin way Colm Toibin's bestselling novel, “Brooklyn,” might have been brought to the screen. But director John Crowley and screenwriter Nick Hornby went, instead, for the kind of melodrama American filmmakers almost never make anymore. Sincerity, tenderness, romance and a gentle, but not overbearing, nostalgia for a bygone era's look, feel and customs give the film a wonderful authenticity of time, place and emotion.

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Sewer Mutants Aside, A Long Movie

Movies: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2’

In Francis Lawrence’s “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2,” the audience gets a really long movie to go along with the really long title.

How long is long? Two hours and 17 minutes. 

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The Importance Of a Probing, Free Press

Movie: ‘Spotlight’

As “Spotlight” unfolds,  the terrific film about The Boston Globe's revelations of pedophile priests and their decades-long coverup and protection by the Roman Catholic Church, you are sucked into the movie not by the heroism of the reporters uncovering the damage done to young men for decades but by the determined, relentless way they do their jobs. The realism is gripping.

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