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The United States vs. Billie Holiday

Hollywood loves a good downward spiral tragedy, especially when it involves a celebrity, real or imagined. The beautiful and talented disintegrate in full public view, from drugs, alcohol, or self-destructive behavior. We can’t look away. These stories are also Oscar-bait (look at all the nominations for A Star Is Born incarnations, or Renee Zellweger walking …

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Land (2021)

Land (2021)

While visiting friends in the rural area around Missoula, Montana, I heard about what the locals termed “mountain bachelors”. These were guys who purposely had fallen off the grid, often due to trauma (like Vietnam vets, for instance), living up in a remote cabin away from society. They’d emerge every now and then to check …

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The Mauritanian

The Mauritanian

The titular character in The Mauritanian is a man named Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahir Rahim), who was arrested in the chaos after 9/11 as a terrorist, and tossed into the United States’ infamous offshore Guantánamo prison. He, like hundreds of other international accused criminals, are left there to rot not just without trial, but without …

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Wild Mountain Thyme

Wild Mountain Thyme

Rosemary (Emily Blunt) has loved neighbor farm boy Anthony (Jamie Dornan) ever since they were wee children in the Irish countryside. But a misunderstood love rivalry with another girl has led them to grow up as grumpy single farmers with a symbolic fence between their land. Anthony’s dad (Christopher Walken, sporting an every-now-and-then Irish accent) …

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Even if you don’t have the personal experience of being a victim of domestic violence, you quickly get the inkling that Sandra’s husband is a bully, coiled with a flair for violence. It is telling that Sandra (Clare Dunne) has what looks like a permanent black eye, with burst vessels under her eye that seem …

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Some Kind of Heaven

SYNOPSIS: With Some Kind of Heaven, first-time feature director Lance Oppenheim cracks the manicured facade of The Villages, America’s largest retirement community – a massive, self-contained utopia located in Central Florida. Behind the gates of this palm tree-lined fantasyland, Some Kind of Heaven invests in the dreams and desires of a small group of Villages …

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Wander Darkly

We barely have met couple Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) before they get into a horrific car crash after an unpleasant date night. We know enough that they are young and beautiful, and share their lives with a house and a newborn baby—but no wedding ring, which seems to be stubbornly agreed upon …

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