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  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

    The Pirates of the Caribbean films have enjoyed a robust life as tech-demo blu-rays queued up at Best Buy to show off high-definition TVs and state-of-the-art surround-sound systems. Dead Men Tell No Tales, something like the sixteenth installment of this apparently unending maritime franchise, will soon join its predecessors amidst the din of the home-theatre sales floor — another glorious exhibition of crystalline 1080p picture and roaring subwoofer bass. Until then it simply occupies space at the multiplex, earning unjust…

  • Paris Can Wait

    Paris Can Wait

    ★★★

    On my way to an early-morning press screening of Paris Can Wait I was by some charmed coincidence reading A.J. Liebling’s reminiscences of French gastronomy, Between Meals, which includes this marvellous account of the dining habits of legendary gourmand Yves Mirande: “In the restaurant on the Rue Saint-Augustin,” Liebling writes, “M. Mirande would dazzle his juniors, French and American, by dispatching a lunch of raw Bayonne ham and fresh figs, a hot sausage in crust, spindles of filleted pike in…

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  • Suicide Squad

    Suicide Squad

    ½

    Something I’ve learned writing about the cinema professionally for a number of years is that there are bad movies and bad times at the movies, and the latter are considerably worse. Bad movies can be laugh riots, howlers, like shoddy horror pictures or inane science-fiction, to be indulged in or cackled through or suffered with glee. Bad movies are often likeable, or somehow charming, or else might endear themselves to you with personality or ambition, like, say, Southland Tales or…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★½

    My attention was seized, watching La La Land a second time — no longer in thrall to a flamboyance one can hardly help but find seductive — by a rather trifling detail. There’s a moment, easy to overlook amid the whirlwind of whip-pans, showtunes, and dance numbers, in which the anonymous patron of a Hollywood studio-lot coffee shop, technically uncredited but specified on IMDB as “Coffee Shop Customer #2”, approaches Mia (Emma Stone), the barista, and demands to know whether…