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Out in Theaters: ‘OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY’

With every Holiday season comes the arrival of a new batch of Holiday movies. Some are geared towards the whole family, others exclusively for adults (read: stoned teenagers) but most are disposable garbage. Increasingly, we’ve seen an uptick in adult-oriented, hard-R holiday season comedies and with Office Christmas Party, Why Him? and Bad Santa 2 all in theaters this holiday season, there is no shortage for those looking to mix some raunch in with their ugly sweaters and eggnog. But at least with the former, you’ll find a few chuckles buried in among the coal. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘LA LA LAND’

Infectiously affable La La Land injects new life into a tried and true Hollywood tradition: the musical. A toe-tapping throwback to the tenure of Gene Kelley and Fred Astaire, Damien Chazelle’s Dom Pérignon-bubbly follow-up to excellent Whiplash is a joyous and bittersweet ode to a time when Hollywood peddled contagious cheer and catchy carols, pretty performers and movie magic. All that and more. Complete with lively choreography and an instantly antiseptic soundtrack, La La Land is an upbeat cure-all to the depressive onslaught of 2016 . And I don’t even like musicals. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘MANCHESTER BY THE SEA’

After debuting on Saturday night, Manchester by the Sea quickly became the buzziest film at Sundance. When Amazon made an unprecedented $10 million dollar deal to sweep up distributing rights, the echo chamber only got louder. On the one hand, writer/director Kenneth Lonergan must welcome the fat paycheck with open arms. And yet, such a lofty price tag sets a certain sky-high expectation for the film before its even had a chance to digest in anyone’s tummies or see the light of day for most viewers. All finances aside, Manchester by the Sea is a emotionally resonant tearjerker/masterful character study with Casey Affleck stepping up to the plate to claim some majorly overdue attention. Read More

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Blu-Ray Review: ‘PETE’S DRAGON’

Synopsis: “Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford), a woodcarver, delights local children with stories of a mysterious dragon that lives deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. His daughter Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard) believes these are just tall tales, until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley), a 10-year-old orphan who says he lives in the woods with a giant, friendly dragon. With help from a young girl named Natalie (Oona Laurence), Grace sets out to investigate if this fantastic claim can be true.” Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘NOCTURNAL ANIMALS’

In 2009, Austin, Texas native and noted fashion designer Tom Ford made his feature film debut with A Single Man. A delirious and stunningly photographed vision quest through loss and grief, A Single Man defined Ford as a filmmaker whose haute couture background greatly influenced his aesthetic and in turn his very process. Earning a Best Actor nomination for Colin Firth, A Single Man also established Ford as an actor’s director and helped in turn attract the likes of two of Hollywood’s finest, Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams, for his latest feature, Nocturnal Animals. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘RULES DON’T APPLY’

Following an 18-year hiatus, Warren Beatty returns to the silver screen with free-wheeling throwback Rules Don’t Apply. Following the twilight years of American aviation and film baron Howard Hughes as he slowly descends into paranoia and madness, Rules Don’t Apply affixes the bones of an old-timey romantic comedy to an unconventional biopic making for a nostalgic glimpse into film making’s past that’ll have you asking “Why don’t they make ‘em like they used to?” Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘MOANA’

Following the sage advice of her kooky grandma (a la Pocahontas) princess Moana must leave the enclosed life she’s always known behind (a la Aladdin’s Jasmine) to return a mystic item to the mountain from whence it came (a la Lord of the Rings). Moana, for its great many strengths, falters bringing a truly original tale to the screen, running on the fumes of Disney movies past to craft a well-loved, good-natured and visually decadent, but still somewhat second-tier Disney Princess potboiler, to the big screen in eye-popping 3D. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BLEED FOR THIS’

The boxing movies formula – arrogant but determined go-getter faces uphill battle and training montage to take on personal issues and superior veteran contender – is one that has been honed and sharped since Rocky defined it for the mainstream in 1976.  There have been an astounding number of excellent additions to the sports sub-genre (Warrior, The Fighter, Million Dollar Baby, and just last year, Creed, to name but a few) and many more middling efforts to boot. Bleed for This may not be one that goes down in history as a boxing great but with a knockout performance from star Miles Teller and plenty of heart and good humor, it’s enough of a contender to warrant ringside seats. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK’

Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk is a terrible name for a film. You know it. I know it. Everybody knows it. A clunky mouthful, the title is culled directly from the celebrated novel of the same name from Ben Fountain, who won several novelist awards for his work including the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, but that doesn’t mean that such a jargony mouthful needed to remain in place when translated to film. The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad name comes under fire again when you realize that Billy Lynn doesn’t really walk all that much, he kinda just plops down in his Dallas Cowboy stadium seat and remembers exchanging “I Love You’s” with Vin Diesel until it’s his chance to perform with Destiny’s Child. If the previous sentence didn’t make a lick of sense, welcome to Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
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Out in Theaters: ‘LOVING’

There is much to respect and admire about what Jeff Nichols has done with Loving. However its incredibly restrained tactics and slow as molasses narrative kept it at a bit of an arms length for me emotionally. But Nicols’ methodology is no mistake. Loving purposefully emulates its subjects – Richard and Mildred Loving, both of whom are played to quiet perfection by Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga – an interracial couple who accidentally change the course of post-Jim Crow American history when they become embroiled in a critical constitutional law case. Read More