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They call her an “indominus rex.” She’s the one causing all the trouble in the jolly new summer movie winner “Jurassic World.”You’ve never encountered that species name before – not even the last time you and your favorite young child were perusing his or her favorite dinosaur book. If you were sufficiently impressed in your own youth (who wasn’t?), you well remember the o…

Movies

“I’ll See You In My Dreams” couldn’t be more Blythe Danner’s movie if it tried.For her first major starring role on film since Sidney Lumet’s “Lovin’ Molly” in 1974, her character, Carol, is a widow whose husband died 20 years ago. When she looks at photos of her late husband, the photos you’re seeing are of the real Danner looking at photos of her and her late husband, TV…

Movies

Don’t kid yourself. There is genius to “Entourage.” Believe me, it would be better for us all if that weren’t so, but there you have it.In making this vulgar and rather awful satiric comedy about, among other things, why Hollywood makes so many vulgar and awful movies, they managed to get the following people to do cameos:Liam Neeson, Piers Morgan, Matt Lauer, Mike Tyson, …

Movies

Q: Have you heard the one about California turning into cookie dust?A: It’s San Andreas’ fault.“San Andreas” doesn’t just topple San Francisco and flood the bay area with a tsunami, it takes Los Angeles down, too. Inhabitants of Bakersfield aren’t very happy either but, hey, most of us wouldn’t recognize the town’s skyline if we were staring right at it, so no Hollywood fi…

Movies

Turn Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” upside down and you’d have Andrew Niccol’s “Good Kill.”Niccol’s film isn’t as powerful or as well-made as Eastwood’s – not by a long shot. But there’s nothing disingenuous about it either. I had far less trouble believing it than I did Eastwood’s powerful portrait of a prodigious sniper who left behind a memoir and a variety of distu…

Movies

If you could raise Thomas Hardy from the dead and ask him which actress was closer to his heroine in “Far From the Madding Crowd” – Carey Mulligan who stars in the new one or Julie Christie who starred in John Schlesinger’s 1967 version – I’d be willing to bet that he’d find Mulligan a lot closer to what he had in mind.Which is exactly why I greatly prefer Christie.Christi…

Comedy

William Knoedelseder is the autor of “I’m Dying Up Here” one of the best books of the last few years about the huge changes in stand=up comedy. The book is known for, among other things, containing one of the fullest treatments of the onetime close personal friendship of David Letterman and Jay Leno, when both were struggling young comics in Mitzi Shore’s Comedy Store in L…

Movies

There is nothing funny about Borderline Personality Disorder. Those afflicted with it sometimes can’t help but cause suffering for themselves or others – or both.And that’s why “Welcome to Me” is only about half as funny as it should have been.Let me confess that I love the premise of this movie anyway. It’s brilliant. It is often very funny. And Kristen Wiig is just the r…

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If you see it at all, you’ll want to stick around for the blooper reel at the end of “Hot Pursuit.” It’s the funniest sequence in the movie, by far.Come to think of it, the sequence behind the movie’s opening credits is absolutely charming, too. It promises a sweetness, charm and big-hearted whimsy that the movie itself doesn’t begin to provide. What we see in that opening…

Movies

Thank God for actors – the real ones who are paid vast sums to be mere movie stars but who need, every now and then, the things that real actors crave. Witty, pithy, eloquent lines to say, for instance, along with actual human emotions to convey, the more complex the better.If it weren’t for them – and writer/director Joss Whedon’s all-too-infrequent desire to please them …

Movies

The best sci-fi usually comes in one of two flavors: spectacular or smart. It’s not that they never intermingle, of course. But when people, say, first saw “Star Wars” in 1977, it wasn’t braininess that they called up their friends and told them about. Same with Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park.”“Ex Machina” is very smart. That’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s just that it…

Gusto

Al Pacino not only deserved “Danny Collins,” he was smart enough to sign on when the opportunity presented itself. He’ll be 75 on April 25. It’s the kind of unusual movie you hope 75-year-old acting powerhouses will find offered all wrapped up in yellow birthday paper. He’s not been faring all that well lately. Ham is tough to serve on a regular diet. And when he can fin…

Gusto

There is, it seems to me, a crucial scene missing in “Woman in Gold.” It’s the one where we, in silent but intense contemplation for at least 15 seconds (perhaps even 30), look at the Gustav Klimt masterpiece that the movie is about. I’m hardly saying that you don’t see the painting, the “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” You certainly do. But you are never encouraged – or…

Movies

“What is the opposite of ‘the world is your oyster’?” asks the hero of Noah Baumbach’s witty and ultra-smart new film “While We’re Young.” That’s how he’s feeling.We are, as we usually are with Baumbach, in the world of smart New York talk, Woody Allen subdivision, whose intellectual people say bright and witty things while trying to ignore all those emotional swords hangi…

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“I can’t do more funerals,” growls Vin Diesel in his basso profundo early on in “Furious 7” as he and his fast and furious buddies bury the fictional friend who was dispatched in “Fast and Furious 6.” You don’t get plot foreshadowings that are unintentionally darker than that in megaplex action extravaganzas. Nor do you often get hugely successful film series that had the…