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The period is now in ‘BlacKkKlansman’

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From Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X to Bamboozled, Spike Lee has always found ways to engage in stark and uncomfortable conversations about race when, for the most part, American society has barely dared to give lip service to the subject matter. We talk around it, gloss over it with broad generalities, or claim […]

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Nothing’s the same with these ‘Three Identical Strangers’

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Movies today have conditioned audiences to accept computer generated tricks as reality. We can watch actors play twins (Jeremy Irons in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers) or clones (Michael Keaton in Multiplicity) or identical robotic versions of the same character (Michael Fassbender in Alien: Covenant) and appreciate not only the performative efforts of the actors but […]

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This Mission matters

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Be prepared: I will spend a great deal of time in this review eating crow. As a movie lover and critic, I’ve always been hesitant to succumb to the charming embrace of Tom Cruise. Throughout his long and illustrious career, he has certainly proven to be an eager beaver, the most avid seeker of our […]

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‘Sorry to Bother You’ aims for the whole target, and doesn’t miss

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No one can tell you anything about Sorry to Bother You, the revolutionary new debut feature from writer-director Boots Riley. As the front man of the political hip hop groups The Coup and Street Sweeper Social Club, Riley has had songs included on soundtracks to movies like Superbad and The Losers along with performing and […]

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“Hearts Beat Loud” leads with dynamic soul

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Regular readers know I’m the stepfather of two wonderful daughters. My older, college-age daughter is also in a band that’s on the road this summer. She’s living a dream, one that belongs completely to her and her bandmates, which means that the attention they have garnered comes with no strings attached to their parents back […]

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“Whitney” unearths singer’s dark soul

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There really isn’t anything remotely “pop” centered in the filmmaking of Kevin Macdonald, the director behind the feature films “The Last King of Scotland,” “The Eagle,” and “How I Live Now” as well as the documentaries “One Day in September” (which earned an Academy Award for Documentary Feature in 2000), “Touching the Void,” and “Marley,” […]

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No country for an old “Sicario”

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A few years ago, we learned what a “sicario” was, thanks to screenwriter Taylor Sheridan (who with “Wind River” has proven to be a fantastic crime-fiction writer-director) and director Denis Villeneuve. In simple terms, the appellation is Spanish for a hitman, but in their broodingly brutal film, the “Sicario” in question was a man named […]

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The long con of “American Animals”

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Is this the new definition of true-crime reality? Jared Abrahamson, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, and Barry Keoghan (l-r) By T.T. Stern-Enzi Truth, no matter how much we disagree, has always been about perception. Two people view the same incident. Stop. Do two people actually view the same incident? From their different vantage points (even if […]

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The “First Reformed” shall be the last

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I find myself infatuated with Ethan Hawke’s face. About ten years ago, I would never have made such an admission because Hawke felt somehow slight to me. I deemed him to be forever indebted to Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua for allowing him to bask in the afterglow of “Training Day” (which garnered him an […]

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If you’ve seen one ‘Ocean’, you’ve seen ‘Ocean’s 8’

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Near the start of “Ocean’s 8,” we’re led to believe that Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is dead and his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) has just gotten sprung from the clink—on parole after pleading for a chance to live an honest life—but it’s obvious that you can’t trust a single word or account told by or […]

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Aimless and “Adrift”

Shailene Woodley portrays Tami Oldham in this adaptation of a true story, with Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp.

Can Jennifer Lawrence’s mini-me buoy this true-life disaster tale? By T.T. Stern-Enzi Tom Hanks and Robert Redford anchored films (“Cast Away” and “All Is Lost” respectively) where they had to shoulder the narrative burden on their own. Hanks did so with his quintessential good humor, while Redford with his rugged stoicism. Quite often, I imagine […]

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Taking pride in making no judgment

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I’ve never much liked the idea of tolerance. Who wants to be tolerated? And as a critic, I often find myself taking offense at the idea of casting judgment on the works of others. I’m not shy or retiring about offering my informed opinion about a film or the collected works of a filmmaker, but […]

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Learning humanity from the animals

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For most of his career, I have had a begrudging respect for the fastidious aesthetic of Wes Anderson. There is an undeniable craft on display in every single frame he composes that is meticulous and filled with obvious wit. His films live and breathe in the minute, carefully orchestrated details of the somewhat hermetically sealed […]

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Moms gone wild!

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A few years ago, we got an actual movie from Garry Marshall called “Mother’s Day”—a sentimental celebration of the great women who birthed and raised us—that failed to live up to the challenge every mother ever laid down for their progeny. The movie was little more than a homemade card scribbled on a cocktail napkin, […]

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Knowing your place

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Only recently have critics and audiences begun to focus on discrepancies in inclusion, both from the perspective of characters and themes, in filmmaking oeuvres, and largely the main target has sought to address gender inequality. We’ve spoken broadly about race, in particular the black-white dynamic, and made pointed efforts to signal a desire to avoid […]

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The finite limits of a cinematic comic book war

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Marvel’s big bad is here and the Avengers are everywhere else Avengers: Infinity War (L-R) Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Benedict Wong. By T.T. Stern-Enzi The universe is a mess. That’s not exactly how Disney/Marvel would like for critics to start off reviews of their latest franchise tentpole “Avengers: Infinity War,” but […]

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Ready, Set, LEGO!

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Be prepared for LEGO dazzle and delight when the BrickUniverse Convention for LEGO Fans visits the Dayton Convention Center August […]

We all live in a ‘Yellow Submarine’

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Coinciding with the 50th anniversary and theatrical re-release of Yellow Submarine, animator Ron Campbell is bringing his Rock Art Show […]

Four headliners and more this week at Downtown’s Levitt

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Delhi 2 Dublin, Kyle Dillingham, Sol Driven Train, Lao Tizer Band Delhi 2 Dublin (l-r): Serena Eades, Sanjay Seran, Ravi […]

The Oregon’s Seafood Stalwart

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Carving out history Jay’s Seafood Restaurant is a longtime pillar of the Oregon District dining scene. It’s steeped in lore […]

Destination Yellow Springs

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Yellow Springs artist exhibited (times two) Yellow Springs painter Christine Klinger is showing her work at the Emporium/Underdog Café through […]