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Confession: I Didn’t Care for “Inside Out”

Inside Out is probably the most clever film yet to come out of Pixar Animation, but in no way is that the same as being its best. The film has been universally praised by critics for its creative ingenuity, and rightly so. Its story is groundbreakingly original: Riley, an eleven-year old girl having trouble adjusting after…

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An Awful “Rewrite” Tries to Kill the Rom-Com

Twenty years ago, Valentine’s Day at the movies would have been very different. A sexually explicit drama about young lovers who engage in BDSM play would have mustered a niche release, probably straight-to-DVD or late night on HBO following an episode of Real Sex. Meanwhile, an innocuous rom-com starring Hugh Grant would have opened on…

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A Marriage on Thin Ice in “Force Majeure”

They look like a perfect family – two attractive parents, a blonde daughter and an adorable little boy – but you can tell they have problems. On the first day of their ski trip to the French Alps, the wife complains to a stranger that her husband has been spending too much time at work.…

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The Challenge of “Gone Girl”

Every great murder mystery seeks two answers. The first answer is to the basic question of who committed the murder (after all, that’s why we call these stories “whodunits”). But the better entries in the genre probe deeper, seeking an understanding of the institutions that led to the murder in the first place. These films…

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“Begin Again,” “They Came Together,” and the New Rom-Com

The obituary for the traditional romantic comedy has already been written hundreds of times, but those who are just reading the headlines are missing the point. It’s not that the rom-com is dead; rather, the traditional form of the genre – with its outdated notions of love and regressive gender roles – has little use…

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The War Inside of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

You cannot serve two masters. That’s what the old adage says, but comic book movies have mostly been able to prove it wrong over the last decade. Consider the complexity of their challenge: Each movie must do service to the legions of dedicated fan boys who comprise the genre’s base and are all too willing…