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No Home In A Cruel America

Movies: ‘Lean On Pete’

Horse movies occupy a special place in the pantheon of animal cinema. Dog stories are lessons in loyalty, but horse stories are about transformation, and an almost spiritual connection with a larger force. At the most awkward, unlikely time of their life, a young boy or girl, through a kind of divine intervention, will encounter a magnificent, often untamed stallion who will test the child’s resolve and  gift them with a unequivocal sense of trust. It is the intensity and romance of this bond that will carry the child victoriously into maturity.

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Jon Hamm in ‘Beirut’ Is Finally A Movie Star

Movie: ‘Beirut’

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Superheroes Redux Again

Movies: ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Why not see “Avengers: Infinity War,” the 19th and penultimate film in the long-running Marvel canon of comic book, superhero movies? (Its sequel — someday Hollywood may just dispense with first movies and make only sequels — will lumber into theaters as next summer’s blockbuster.) 

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Stars Shine in Twilight Love

Movies: ‘The Leisure Seeker’

Who wouldn’t go to a movie that had Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland as the lead actors? They are both so good. 
You have seen them in so many movies, playing all sorts of roles for so many years. Neither of them has lost one bit of their punch or unique style. 

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Fake News Kennedy Style

Movies: ‘Chappaquiddick’

Most of us of a certain age remember Chappaquiddick. On July 18, 1969, U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy’s car drove off Dike Bridge on the tiny island of Chappaquiddick, off of Edgartown, Mass., two days before the first man stepped on the moon. 

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When Dogs Rule

Movies: ‘Isle of Dogs’

Wes Anderson must have more patience — and imagination — than any other film director. The small, intensely personal worlds he creates, with their gorgeous sets that might be dioramas and  idiosyncratic soundtracks, are like no other. Whether using meticulous, handmade stop-motion animation, as he did in the under-appreciated “Fantastic Mr.Fox,” or live actors speaking wry dialogue in unexpected situations, as in “Moonrise Kingdom,” Anderson rarely disappoints.

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Spielberg’s Virtual Morality Thrills

Movies: ‘Ready Player One’

Your affection for Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” will depend on your knowledge of video games and your reaction to the moral message it delivers. Of course, you may just enjoy his brilliant way with framing, pacing and editing: The film zips along with breathless action while it unloads tons of detritus from the pop culture of the 1980s, Spielberg’s heyday.

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Two New Films About Gardeners as Artists

Movies

The spring of 2018 could provide great cross-pollination for gardeners and flower lovers ­­— and it has nothing to do with what’s going on outside.
There are two new documentaries about important garden designers: “The Gardener” about the Hudson River Valley’s Frank Cabot, who founded The Garden Conservancy; and “Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf” about the creator of the Dutch Wave movement and designer of the High Line in lower Manhattan. 

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A New Take On Heroism

Movies: ‘7 Days in Entebbe’

There are days in your life you will always remember. 
I vividly remember where I was and how I felt when I learned that Israeli commandos had rescued scores of Israelis that had been held hostage in far away Entebbe, Uganda.
An overwhelming sense of immense euphoria came over me in hearing the miraculous news.
What a feat! How could they have pulled this off? What a stupendous logistical accomplishment. Couple that with the bravery of these young Israeli soldiers who risked their lives to save so many of their own.

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Funny and Brutal

Movies: ‘The Death of Stalin’

Power in Joseph Stalin’s U.S.S.R. empire was based on his whims and the loyalty of his cabinet, men terrified of being purged without warning. Toadies all, they crawled and slithered around him, ready to do his bidding and enforce the terror of his rule. They certainly did not want to join the millions of people who had already died by his order.

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