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“Hit and Run" (Netflix) Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a song called “Things Are Seldom What They Seem” for one of their operettas, and so it is with this Israel/U.S. co-production, a nine-episode series. A happily married man, an Israeli tour guide, says goodbye to his wife who is on her way to…

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Today, I focus on an episodic TV show, a foreign film and a documentary, none of which have received much attention but all of which deserve some.

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The Oscars are now history (and wasn’t that an interesting production and wasn’t it admirable for the range of non-white winners?), movie theaters are starting to open up in some areas, more and more Americans are vaccinated, but we’re not yet back to normal—whatever “normal” turns out to be…

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I found myself deeply moved by two limited series, one a documentary, one fiction but “based on true fact,” each of which I binged in the past week. Both are about powerful men and the influential women in their lives in the first half of the 20th century, and both illuminate how far we have…

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The Oscars are here, but they’ll be nothing like you’ve ever seen before. With screening and TV on the ins and wide screen on the outs for the past year, look out for a radical change. The movies are still good in quality but different in taste, many coming from the likes of Netflix and Disney+.

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The envelopes are carefully being stuffed and tuxes and shimmery gowns are being laid out with care. There is also a new film to go with the sacred holiday. It’s called “Resurrection” and it’s all about the Biblical saga.

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“Raya and the Last Dragon” (in theaters and for rent on Disney+). So many recent Disney animated films have been about “girl power”—smart, sassy, brave young women, the total opposite of the long ago softer, waiting-for-a-prince heroines that defined Disney for a couple of generations. It’s …

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We can finally dine indoors. We can talk to the elephants and visit museums and zoos—things are getting somewhat back to normal. But perhaps the biggest plus of all: We can dive into our popcorn boxes and watch full screen movies—movies the way they were meant to be seen (unless you have a h…

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“One Night in Miami” (Amazon Prime Video) is a fictional depiction of what actually occurred in a hotel room in 1964: a conversation among recently crowned boxing champ Cassius Clay (soon to be known as Muhammed Ali), football star Jim Brown, civil rights leader Malcolm X and singer-songwrit…

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Those words were used around the globe to describe the intense interview with Oprah Winfrey and former royals Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. On Monday, millions of Brits woke up to read the rags with those sizzling headlines.

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“Nomadland” (Hulu) I don’t use the word “masterpiece” very often, but “Nomadland” deserves the appellation here, for sure. Chinese-born director Chloe Zhao and lead actress Frances McDormand have created a stunning, unconventional film about a world most of us are not aware of. The economic …

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“The Dig” (Netflix) Ralph Fiennes has always been a character actor, as opposed to a leading man. Even when he did get cast as the lead—and he had that special “star quality” as well as a face that was heart-stoppingly beautiful—it was as a complex character that his actorly brilliance pulle…

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“Lupin” (Netflix). “A gentleman thief of Paris” is the hero of a series of books written by Maurice LeBlanc between 1905 and his death in 1941. In this highly recommended, updated French adaptation, Lupin is portrayed as a crafty French-Senegalese con artist and enacted by Omar Sy, an extrem…

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What an interesting year it turned out to be, film and TV-wise! I was happily ensconced in my favorite movie theaters for the first part, where I saw some forgettable films (post-awards season droppings), including another reworking of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” starring a little-known actress na…

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This week I’ll write briefly about some of the shows I saw in the past two weeks. We’re all still quarantined in our homes, so perhaps this will add to the list of interesting programs available on TV and streaming. First, let’s discuss “The Prom.” A singing-dancing-glittering array of major…

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I wanted so badly to love “Mank” (Netflix): I’ve always been drawn to tales of the writers who originally congregated at the Algonquin Round Table in 1920s New York and then made the trek out to Hollywood, where writers were paid ridiculous sums to craft often-silly and formulaic screenplays…

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“The Queen’s Gambit” is all the rage now, and deservedly so. In case you needed to be convinced that being a once-in-a-lifetime chess prodigy/genius is hell, all you need to do is watch the seven intense episodes of this new Netflix drama. “Chess?” you say, “I haven’t played in years!” or, “…

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First off, there’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” (Prime Video). Heidi Schreck wrote and stars in this filmed version of her award-winning play. I was lucky enough to see it in a theater and tuned in to see how they did with the always-problematic transfer of a one-set play to film. For…

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“My Octopus Teacher” (Netflix) Superlatives really aren’t enough to describe the joys of watching this documentary. It’s the story of one man’s personal journey of being brought out of depression/burn-out by a loving connection to a sea creature that seems capable of friendship and trust. Th…

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For some reason, the shows I watch lately seem to be set in the colder climes of Europe and are either adapted from or influenced by well-known mystery novelists, namely Nicholas Freeling, Henning Menkel and Jo Nesbro.

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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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