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  • The Cousin

    The Cousin

    ★★★

    Actor-director Tzahi Grad created The Cousin as a way of sharing his explorations of his own racism; as his character says, “My racism is natural, everyone is a racist. The question is what do you do with it? Do you surrender to it or fight it?” His character in the movie is in denial about his racism and working on a naively optimistic media project to bring Israelis and Arabs together. When the Arab handyman he hires is accused of…

  • Ocean's 8

    Ocean's 8

    ★★★½

    A respectable heist comedy that shines but doesn’t sparkle. The shine comes mostly from the charm of Sandra Bullock in tough girl cynic mode and Anne Hathaway milking subtlety out of what initially seems to be a shallow, vapid character. The heist is clever enough, but not dazzling. It does take advantage of the criminals’ gender in some of the details - as ringleader Debbie Ocean (Bullock) points out early on, “A him gets noticed. A her gets ignored. For…

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  • Passing Strange

    Passing Strange

    ★★★★½

    Filming a stage play is a fool's game; you can't capture the power, intimacy and intensity of a great live show. Spike Lee played that fool's game and won. This is an amazing film.

  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    ★½

    Looks like we're just going through the motions at this stage. Move things around on the screen. Plop actors in front of green screen to recite their dialog and execute their choreography. Sorta-kinda integrate them with the animation and backgrounds.

    Martin Freeman is the only actor delivering any nuance. He's still great whenever his pull-on feet aren't visible to distract from his performance. And seriously, the stockings that gave him hairy hobbit legs were sagging at times. Couldn't that have…