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Sparking Joy On Television

Television: ‘Tidying Up With Marie Kondo’

Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying-Up,” published in English in 2014, captured the attention of U.S. cultural enthusiasts and skeptics alike; the ideas behind the book filtered into the collective consciousness even for those who hadn’t read it. Netflix’s new special, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” has revitalized this intrigue, quickly becoming a show people watch for not only the vicarious catharsis of watching others organize their homes, but for inspiration to do it themselves.

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A Foreign Affair

Movies: ‘Cold War’

It’s likely many moviegoers will be turned off by just the idea of seeing “Cold War,” which is one of five films, along with “Roma,” nominated for Best Foreign Film at this year’s Academy Awards. Paweł Pawlikowski (who directed 2015’s Best Foreign Film winner “Ida”) is also nominated for Best Director, foreign or not, and Łukasz Zal’s work on the film is nominated for Best Cinematography. 

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Two New Movies Tackle Discrimination In The 1970s

Movies: ‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ and ‘On The Basis of Sex’

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Clint Plays Clint Like No One Else Can

Movies: ‘The Mule’

Clint Eastwood plays himself in his new movie, “The Mule.” He plays himself in the same sense that Cary Grant played himself in “North By Northwest” and “The Philadelphia Story.” Not many actors can say that.
Whether peering out from under his flat cowboy hat, or down the barrel of his .44 Magnum, Clint plays Clint. And that’s that.

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Another Spectacular Season For Mrs. Maisel

Television: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’

The 2018 Emmys took a surprising turn for anyone who hadn’t been paying attention to the cult-like followings of TV streaming service originals: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” was nominated for six and won five, including Outstanding Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress. The second season, out now on Amazon Prime, is likely to pull a similar feat. This time deepening its exploration of secondary characters that revolve around Midge, the 1950’s housewife turned stand up comedienne, as she continues to reach for the limelight. 

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Three Christmas Queens, Also Who Is Joe Alwyn?

Movies: ‘The Favourite’ and ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

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Dafoe’s van Gogh Is A One Man Show

Movies: ‘At Eternity’s Gate’

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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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