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'Nostalgia' review: Gloomy sentimentality sinks ensemble led by Jon Hamm

A chain of events — a fire and a car accident, all seen only in hindsight or off-screen — connect the characters in "Nostalgia," a slow, talky and only faintly moving meditation on mortality and memory. Despite the efforts of a strong ensemble cast — featuring Bruce Dern , John Ortiz, Ellen Burstyn,...

  • 'Annihilation' review: Natalie Portman leads journey to the center of the blob

    'Annihilation' review: Natalie Portman leads journey to the center of the blob

    In the popular culture and various corners of our own lives, we confront the unknown in one form or another, learning something about our own fears and desires. The examples defy rational explanation. The Monolith in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The Mist in Stephen King’s novella. The Smoke Monster...

  • 'Early Man' review: 'Gromit' creator returns to animation

    'Early Man' review: 'Gromit' creator returns to animation

    Surrounded by body parts in a former aluminum warehouse on the outskirts of Bristol, in the southwest of England, Nigel Leach enthusiastically hands me an arm. "Feel that," he says, as I gingerly pinch the disembodied limb. Rather than a grisly crime scene, I'm on a tour of the puppet-making department...

  • 'Detective Chinatown 2' review: Manhattan murder mystery, Mandarin style

    'Detective Chinatown 2' review: Manhattan murder mystery, Mandarin style

    The public-service aspect of the boisterous genre mashup “Detective Chinatown 2” is simplicity itself. If the film encourages a few newcomers to check out the first and superior “Detective Chinatown,” as related (or replacement) viewing, then the sequel will have done its duty. In the 2015 introduction,...

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  • 'The 15:17 to Paris' review: Clint Eastwood's dramatic re-creation stalls at the station

    'The 15:17 to Paris' review: Clint Eastwood's dramatic re-creation stalls at the station

    An oddly misguided act of generosity, director Clint Eastwood’s “The 15:17 to Paris” may be the first film from Eastwood that lacks a storytelling compass and a baseline sense of direction. The docudrama follows a screenplay by first-timer Dorothy Blyskal, taken in turn from the nonfiction account...

  • 'A Fantastic Woman' review: A lover left behind, fighting for the right to mourn

    'A Fantastic Woman' review: A lover left behind, fighting for the right to mourn

    When the Chilean force of nature known as Daniela Vega barrels down a hallway, or stares down a dismissive, callous or uncomprehending obstacle, it’s a fierce sight to see. Vega, a trans Chilean performer trained in the theater and also known as a vocalist in her native Santiago, plays the leading...

  • 'The Cloverfield Paradox' review: 'Lost' in space, amid a lot of debris

    'The Cloverfield Paradox' review: 'Lost' in space, amid a lot of debris

    Streaming on Netflix after a surprise Super Bowl Sunday teaser, “The Cloverfield Paradox” is “Lost” in space — a faint, well-acted blip on the radar of your viewing life. It’s the third in a franchise begun a decade ago with the found-footage exercise “Cloverfield.” Efficient, streamlined and happily...

  • 'Winchester' review: Helen Mirren vs. ghosts in a pallid gun control debate

    'Winchester' review: Helen Mirren vs. ghosts in a pallid gun control debate

    Prior to a Thursday screening of “Winchester,” a ghost story whose protagonist comes down on the pro-gun control side of the firearms violence debate, a smattering of multiplex attendees and I watched a trailer for the new “Death Wish” (opening March 2). Bruce Willis plays a heroically murderous...

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