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‘Stronger’: Jake Gyllenhaal in Another Stellar Performance

Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a stellar performance as Jeff Bauman, the Boston Marathon Bombing victim who is associated with "Boston Strong" and who helped identify the bombers.

Jake Gyllenhaal turns in a stellar performance as Jeff Bauman, the Boston Marathon Bombing victim who is associated with “Boston Strong” and who helped identify the bombers.

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‘Brad’s Status’ is Almost Too Much

Brad (Ben Stiller) at the moment of reckoning brought on by taking his son, Troy (Austin Abrams), on a tour of Ivy League colleges.

Brad (Ben Stiller) at the moment of reckoning brought on by taking his son, Troy (Austin Abrams), on a tour of Ivy League colleges.

by Sandra Olmsted

In Brad’s Status, director Mike White delves into the emotional struggles of Brad (Ben Stiller) at the moment of reckoning brought on by taking his son, Troy (Austin Abrams), on a tour of Ivy League colleges. Although clearly Brad and his wife Melanie (Jenna Fischer) have much to be thankful for, Brad sincerely believes his college buddies have fared much better than he has. Stuck somewhere between jealousy and regret, Brad questions his whole life from a glass-half-empty perspective. Even though there are moments of truth, pathos, and humor, Brad’s real status is revealed in near monologue form.

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“Victoria & Abdul”: Oscar-Worthy Period Drama

Queen Victoria, Empress of India, (Judi Dench) and her humble subject Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal).

Queen Victoria, Empress of India, (Judi Dench) and her humble subject Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal).

By Sandra Olmsted

Director Stephen Frears’ account of the real life friendship between Queen Victoria, Empress of India, (Judi Dench) and her humble subject Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), a Muslim clerk, reveals historical events that only recently came to light.

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“Battle of the Sexes”: Game, Set, Zeitgeist

Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) left in photo, and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) right in photo, star in "Battle of the Sexes."

Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) left in photo, and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) right in photo, star in “Battle of the Sexes.”

By Sandra Olmsted

By 1970, women in any number of roles in society were demanding equality. They wanted to sign for their own loans, choose any careers, succeed on their own merit, and be paid the same as men for the same jobs. This was never more true than in the world of sports.

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Rebel in the Rye: J.D. Salinger Still Reclusive

Nicholas Hoult portrays writer J.D. Salinger in the film about his life "Rebel in the Rye."

Nicholas Hoult portrays writer J.D. Salinger in the film about his life “Rebel in the Rye.”

by Sandra Olmsted

Although J. D. Salinger became both one of the 20th century’s most famous and read authors, very little is known about the man himself. Debut director Danny Strong bites off the problem making a bio-pic about the famously reclusive writer with Rebel in the Rye. Fortunately, for the most part, Strong rises to the occasion.

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mother! Metaphoric but Hard to Watch

By Sandra Olmsted

mother lawrence bardem crowd

Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star in mother!, a new horror film in theaters now.

Writer/director Darren Aronofsky’s extended metaphor on the creative process is interesting, disturbing, and probably alluring to some. The film portrays the creative process as essentially violent and destructive and seems to say that very little of value is created by artists and writers.

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