Reaching the transgender tipping point

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This time it’s different. Since Christine Jorgensen became an international celebrity in 1952 as the supposed, but not actual, first recipient of a sex change operation, the media has been fascinated, titillated and afraid of transgender people, and the images the media produced expressed these emotions. The broadcast news and film have long dominated the [...]

A story of adolescence and coming of age

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This year’s Sundance breakout Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is the latest in the curious string of films based on dark young adult novels: The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, The Spectacular Now, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and, going back a bit, The Lovely Bones. As Gayle Forman, the [...]

Movie review: ‘Spy’

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Spy is the first Melissa McCarthy movie since Bridesmaids that is actually good. Bridesmaids made her a superstar and got her an Oscar nomination, but her subsequent movies, while profitable, have not deserved her talent. From Identity Thief to Tammy, the films have allowed McCarthy plenty of space to be funny, but they have been [...]

Movie review: ‘San Andreas’

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That San Andreas, a disaster film starring Dwayne Johnson, is bad should not surprise anyone. It is about what happens when a series of massive earthquakes caused by the great fault San Andreas – topping at 9.6 on the Richter scale – destroy California and how professional rescuer Ray (Johnson) saves his family in Los [...]

This dream team disappoints with ‘Tomorrowland’

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I think I am supposed to be perturbed that Tomorrowland only exists because Disney realized that the theme park attraction of the same name had even greater profit potential as a feature film. But bashing Disney for synergistic money mongering is lazy, mostly because that’s what Disney has always done. Most of the time, they [...]

Movie review: ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

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Before I went to see Mad Max: Fury Road, I spent a weekend watching George Miller’s three previous films about Max Rockatansky, all of which were filmed more than thirty years ago and starred Mel Gibson in the role that made him a superstar. I’d never seen them, and it hadn’t occurred to me to [...]

‘Pitch Perfect 2′ has a lot to live up to

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One of the reasons that the college a cappella competition comedy Pitch Perfect succeeded so well three years ago was that it was a huge surprise: the little film that seemed to be surfing on the success of TV’s Glee was actually really funny, really entertaining and really well made. Expectations were low; experiences were [...]

Movie review: ‘The D Train’

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I don’t know what to make of Mike White’s presence in a small role in the new film D Train, or of his name in the producing credits. White, who is a successful and talented screenwriter of The Good Girl and School of Rock, first became famous for writing and starring in Chuck and Buck, [...]

Another great piece of superhero entertainment from Joss Whedon

Robert Downey Jr. in Avengers: Age of Ultron The Avengers: Age of Ultron It should come as no surprise to my readers that I have a thing for superheroes. I’ve reviewed nearly every superhero movie released in the last five years, and in “DVR This” I’ve written about just about all of the TV series, [...]

Despite its flaws ‘The Water Diviner’ is a beautiful and moving movie

The 100th anniversary of World War I is passing by in the United States quietly mostly because, I suspect, how little the United States suffered during that war, compared to Europe and its colonies. Around 17 million soldiers and civilians died during the war’s four years; it wiped away huge swaths of the British, French, [...]

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