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“Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything” (Netflix): If you are familiar with the voice of Latif Nasser from the WNYC show (and podcast) Radiolab, then you might also be familiar with how his exceptional brain works. Now you get to see him, not just hear him and, depending on your reacti…

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When you hear the words “graphic novel,” do you scoff and think (or say) to yourself, “Fancy name for comic books”? Or do you think of it as a genre in the same formulaic way we think of mysteries or romance or biographies? If either of these applies to you, allow me to offer this perspectiv…

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My binge week has consisted of a documentary on a sports legend, an extremely tense and exciting French espionage series, and an achingly well-done Irish story of young love. Read on for details.

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It’s been an exceedingly strange and troubling three-and-a-half years since Donald Trump assumed the office of president; and since governmental misdeeds that might at one time have led to scandal, outrage and appropriate punishments have slipped through the 24/7 news cycle like trash sent o…

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“Mr. Jones” (available to rent on Amazon Prime). Truth-tellers are often dismissed out of ignorance or fear. Such a man was Gareth Jones, a young Welsh scholar who, after interviewing Adolf Hitler in the mid-1930s, tried to warn British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his cabinet about the m…

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“Mr. Jones” (available to rent on Amazon Prime). Truth-tellers are often dismissed out of ignorance or fear. Such a man was Gareth Jones, a young Welsh scholar who, after interviewing Adolf Hitler in the mid-1930s, tried to warn British Prime Minister Lloyd George and his cabinet about the m…

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I’m so glad to have this space in which to give you my thoughts on various films and TV shows. However, I do admit to becoming overwhelmed at times with all that I’d like to watch and the number of hours in a day in which to watch them... even now in isolation. I sigh. I persist. I hope you …

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I have been busy binge-watching this week and have had a marvelous time doing so. Let’s start with three foreign films from the recent past that caught my eye—and I’m so glad they did:

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Season six of “Bosch” on Amazon Prime Video is one of the best so far, featuring all the excellent elements of the universe that make up Michael Connelly’s mystery novels about Hieronymus Bosch, LA detective: great shots of the city, intriguing plots, growing tension and suspense, and colorf…

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This week, I present a potpourri of bingeable stuff. Take your pick or take them all; I did the latter.

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I’ve never paid much attention to shoes—except for my mother’s high heels with the sassy polka dot bow that I coveted when I was a child, and my favorite red Oboz hiking boots that I consider friends. A few years back, a Malibu pal, Dan Bercu, suggested I try HOKA ONE ONE shoes, and he would…

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We read in the headlines that extreme religious sects all over the world are still gathering together in spite of advice to sequester in place. Their infection rate is huge, needless to say, and despite that, their leaders—imams, rabbis, ministers—are telling them not to listen to scientific…

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Need I say that these are terrible times we are living in and may be living in for the foreseeable future? At the moment, we’re in our homes—those of us fortunate enough to not be at immediate risk of losing shelter, food, heat, electricity, etc.—and trying to amuse ourselves. I’m thinking T…

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I am one of those admirers of Jane Austen who has read her books multiple times and seen all the various film and TV versions made from them. I have no problem with each new adaptation bringing its own “modern spin” to the stories and was thoroughly entranced by the version of “Emma” that be…

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Now that all the awards season hoopla is over and we’re in the beginning-of-the-year doldrums (meaning the release of movies that are most likely not award-worthy), I thought I’d review some noteworthy series streaming on TV and a small, independent film now playing in an art house theater o…

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The WWI drama, “1917,” has one of the most amazing productions I’ve ever seen. The cinemaphotography, with its opening super-long tracking shot (what did we do before Steadicams?) that follows two young men through battlefields, into trenches, underground headquarters, over rivers, all in re…

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As I was putting the finishing touches on this week’s review, the Academy Awards finalists were announced. In this column, and the next one in two weeks, I’ll catch you up on most of the films that qualified but that I haven’t yet reviewed.

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Due to the perceived short attention span of industry voters, in late November and into December theaters are bombarded with all the films that their makers consider worthy of awards. Unless I want to camp out in a theater or on my couch, I cannot see them all, but I promise in the coming co…

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I was not really looking forward to three-and-a-half hours of yet another movie about gangsters from Martin Scorsese, brilliant and respected filmmaker though he certainly is. But I knew it needed to be reviewed, and so I did... and am I glad! “The Irishman” can take its place as a cinema cl…

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“You and I travel to the beat of a diff’rent drum...” If those lyrics sound familiar, then you might also know it was 18-year-old Linda Ronstadt’s singing debut with a group called The Stone Ponys in 1967. She soon went out on her own and proceeded to sell more than 100 million records over …

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“Ready or Not” is a hoot. Funny, macabre, violent but in a silly way, well acted and written, a Grand Guignol of a modern-day take on Gothic horror stories. I went to see it without knowing anything about it, and I’d like to not give any of it away, except to say it involves a wealthy family…

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It may be the times we live in, but we seem to be awash in stories about the children of immigrants who choose a different road from their parents’ culture and the tension it causes (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Big Sick”). Or just children who are different enough from their birth family so as…

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A week spent with the grandchildren meant age-appropriate films. Today I will talk about those films, but stick around—at the end, there will be a review of a decidedly inappropriate-for-kids film. Let’s do “The Lion King” first, because it just opened in very, very wide release. “Screen sat…

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I was housebound for a couple of weeks, so I got to watch a lot of new and returning shows on the streaming channels. Here are my thoughts:

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If you’re going to do a comedy about a woman running for president that is even remotely based on reality, then you need to cover a lot of territory and deal with deep-rooted prejudice against a woman being in charge, old white guys running everything, backroom deals, sexual harassment, how …

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Malibu resident Jo Giese is an award-winning radio journalist, author, teacher and former TV reporter. To that impressive list, let’s add: an insatiable world-traveler who dresses with an exuberant color palette, a fabulous hostess, adoring wife, community activist, loyal friend and last, bu…

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Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, so good in “The Killing” on TV from 2011-14, are together again in a highly suspenseful eight-part series named “Hanna” on Amazon Prime. It opens in Romania, where a man named Erik (Kinnaman) and a woman steal an infant from what looks like a state-run medica…

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“Us” informs us, right at the start, that there are tunnels and caves deeply buried beneath the surface of the U.S., most of which have never been explored. Then, it opens on a scene of a little girl getting lost at an amusement park and wandering into an eerie house of horror peopled by not…

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It’s looking like female superheroes can actually carry a film and Brie Larson does a fine job as Carol Danvers-who-will-become “Captain Marvel.” The tone of the film is lighter than most of the Marvel releases, and little bits of the origin story are revealed throughout, instead of the usua…

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It was with some disgruntlement that I went to see the Oscar-winning “Free Solo” this past weekend. Not only is rock climbing not my thing, I had been rooting for “RBG.” I’ll confess that my before-the-fact disapproval was totally off-base. No, I’m not about to take up rock climbing—the thou…

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I don’t usually take an entire column to discuss the Oscars, and if you’ve been reading me for the past few years, you also know that I don’t think it’s possible to designate anything as “The Best” unless the competitors have created similar works—more suited to genre books or timed athletic…

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January and February are considered the “dump months” for movie releases: the ones the studios don’t expect to garner great reviews or box office proceeds. Also, by the time the Oscar race starts later in the year, these won’t have a chance to be remembered, unless there is a PR push for the…

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Early in 2018, we were treated to “RBG,” an excellent documentary about celebrated Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which introduced a couple of generations to some important not-too-recent history: the legal battle for equality for both sexes and Justice Ginsburg’s huge role in fu…

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“A Simple Favor” is a clever film, filled with lots of twists and turns—perhaps one or two too many?—and enhanced by two fine actresses, Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively. The movie, which takes place in an upscale Connecticut town, is about an unlikely friendship between Stephanie and Emily, t…

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There is an art to crafting a successful nail-biter, especially one where we already know the ending because it’s based on something that actually happened. Think of “All the President’s Men” and “Munich” and how we could hardly catch our breath from the tension on the screen. Alas, “Operati…

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I desperately needed to stay away from politics and too much world sadness this week, so I decided to begin my viewing with a romance. The formula for romance is: Boy meets girl, sparks fly. Alas, there is an insurmountable obstacle (referred to henceforth as I.O.) to their love (the conflic…

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“Mission Impossible: Fallout” is one of the best installments so far in the MI franchise. An alternate title might be “See Tom Run,” not to mention “Jump and Parachute and Freefall and Hang from an Airborne Helicopter.” Yes, Tom Cruise does all his own stunts; the man, at age 55, is in great…

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It’s been a stellar few months for documentaries: “RBG,” “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” “Whitney,” the HBO film on Robin Williams. “Three Identical Strangers” belongs on the list but I need to warn you that the less you know about the film before seeing it, the better. I won’t go into it much …

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