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  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    ★★½

    I'm outraged. This film's title is false advertising.

    Instead of leaving the theater LESS miserable, I was MORE miserable!

    Why, you might ask?

    1) The singing made me feel uncomfortable. (Ann & the actual Broadway stars were the exception.) Hearing Russell and Hugh sing evoked the feeling of being on an awkward first date. (I consoled myself by eating popcorn, the same way one might pick at a salad while a well-meaning stranger tells a really LONG story.)

    2) So many…

  • A Royal Affair

    A Royal Affair

    ★★★★

    Neither overly opulent, or over-dramatized, "A Royal Affair" is a historical, costume drama that avoids becoming pedantic. It deftly observes the complex relationships between the odd/mentally ill King Christian VII of Denmark, his wife, Caroline, and his royal physician, Johann Struensee. In addition to this love triangle, there's another delirious, damaging dance going on between the forces of feudalism and the advocates of progress and the Enlightenment.

    Christian's madness is almost a character unto itself. He's portrayed as a sensitive,…

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  • Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook

    ★★★★★

    The advance praise and Oscar buzz for this film sounded simply ludicrous, with all the others in the field, including "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Amour," "Lincoln" and "Argo."

    I got to see this right after New Year's, with no bias or expectations.

    This is a sparkler of a film. A New Year's Eve fireworks over the Space Needle sparkler of a film. One of the few films recently I'd be willing to see twice.

    Bradley Cooper delivers his best…

  • Rust and Bone

    Rust and Bone

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    This is a long review, and it’s filled with spoilers. Don’t proceed unless you have a boat. The boat is: you can read a very long, edited essay that's overly analytical. And you’ve seen the movie.

    Beware: past this point, there be theoretical dragons.

    “Rust and Bone” on the surface is about an orca trainer’s terrible accident, and the mixed-martial arts fighter who helps her transcend tragedy. It is a strange premise. Yet it succeeds.

    French director Jacques Audiard tells…