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Sex, Classical Piano, Waitresses, Diners and Toast

Movies: ‘Five Easy Pieces’

Bob Rafelson’s “Five Easy Pieces” (1971) isn’t about actions. It’s about behavior. 
That was heady stuff in 1971 but it’s out of place in 2018, when “showrunners” babble freely about “story arcs” and everybody wants to know the “origin story” of the super-hero du jour.
Jack Nicholson plays Bobby Eroica Dupree, classically trained pianist, drifter, and all-around jerk. He admits to all three.

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When Black History is Directed by a White Man

Movies: ‘Green Book’

“Green Book” is a likable film: two mesmerizing stars, a buddy road trip, a serious look at the Jim Crow, segregated America of the 1960s told with humor mixed with danger and filmed in velvety, sumptuous colors of the period. It’s so likable that you forget it is told from the perspective of white people observing the indignities that the segregated South inflicted on all black people, including travelers from the rest of the country.

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A Cold World For Gay Teens In Christian South

Movies: ‘Boy Erased’

There was one moment when I laughed during “Boy Erased,” director Joel Edgerton’s sobering adaptation of Garrard Conley’s memoir. The scene is part of a flashback that illustrates how Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges, “Lady Bird”), a stand-in for Conley, came to enroll in Love in Action, an ex-gay Christian ministry program. 

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When Old TV Is So Bad It’s Delicious

Television: ‘The Slumber Party Massacre’

Hiya, gang!  Say — let’s fire up Amazon Prime and see what it has to offer!
“The Slumber Party Massacre” (1982) demonstrates, once again, why it is vitally important to keep a neat tool bench.
Why is it of vital importance?
Because you never know when a fiend armed with a drill will crash your slumber party and require repelling.

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All That Talent — But It’s Still An Annoying Mess

Movies: ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’

You might think that J.K. Rowling would rest on the success of her Harry Potter books and movies, all of which made her one of the wealthiest women in Great Britain. But no, Rowling’s imagination never seems to take a break: first Potter, then Comoran Strike murder mysteries published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and then back to fantasy with the first Fantastic Beasts film. Now comes the second in that film series, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.” It’s a mess.

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Sad But True Story of Author Forgeries

Movies: ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’

Melissa McCarthy usually dominates her movies, no matter how bad. Her figure overpowers the screen: She is big, blowsy, loud, vulgar, like a human steamroller flattening all in sight. So it is surprising how controlled and subtle her performance is in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

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Only Go For The Music

Movies: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

‘Bohemian Rhapsody” is a lackluster film that never gets to the heart of Queen’s famous lead singer, the self-named Freddie Mercury. Not that it seems to matter, since the film earned $50 million its opening weekend.

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Only Go For The Music

Movies: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

‘Bohemian Rhapsody” is a lackluster film that never gets to the heart of Queen’s famous lead singer, the self-named Freddie Mercury. Not that it seems to matter, since the film earned $50 million its opening weekend.

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‘Colette’ Seduces

Movies

‘Colette” begins with the delicate decadence familiar in Keira Knightley-esque period films: after being wakened by her mother, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Knightley) smooths her unruly hair into two braids and demurely pours tea for her parents and Willy (Dominic West), a potential suitor. After he goes, she leaves for what looks like a girlish romp through a meadow; but as soon as she unexpectedly calls out for him in a barn, and they fall into an impish embrace, we learn she may be in control of more than we thought.

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A Psycho Killer You Can Trust

Movies: ‘Halloween’

The Big Three Boogeymen of slasher flicks are Jason from the “Friday the 13th” series; Freddy Krueger of “Nightmare on Elm Street”; and Michael Myers of the many, many “Halloween” movies.
I always preferred Michael Myers — the strong, silent type who gets the job done.

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