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Out in Theaters: ‘LEAN ON PETE’ 

Scruffy name aside, Andrew Haigh’s deeply felt and heartstring-plucking Lean on Pete is a sorrowful spirit trip through America’s discarded backcountry where a boy wants desperately for belonging. Haigh’s emotionally draining adaptation of Willy Vlautin’s 2010 novel of the same name is of the traumatic animal movie ilk. Not for the weak-spirited, the film from A24 constantly tests the resolve of its protagonist, putting him in increasingly difficult circumstances. Even the life of the titular Lean on Pete, a racehorse on his last leg, lies under constant threat as his unsympathetic owner makes passing threats of sending him off to the glue factory with all the remorse of stepping on a bug. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘LOVE & FRIENDSHIP’

In Whit Stillman’s sprightly and effervescently comical Love & Friendship, the Victorian era gets an uproarious facelift. Based on Jane Austen’s novella ‘Lady Susan’ (but going by the moniker of yet another Austen title), Love & Friendship is a frilly costume drama plump with acidic joviality and atypically boiling over with meaty guffaws. For those who typically avoid hifalutin, period piece fare, which Stillman’s picture appears to be from an arm’s length, expect to rather entreat with a tongue-in-cheek send up; a welcome vacation from formality and frivolity. His one-of-kind character piece is injected with barbed zingers, sharp witticisms and a tangy, irreverent touch, like a creampuff fluffed full with key lime paste but still absolutely delicious. Read More