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Howard Ashman and Paige O'Hara, in a scene from the Disney+ documentary 'Howard.'

‘Howard’ Review: Meet the Lyricist Behind Your Favorite Disney Tunes

There is nothing Disneyfied about this frankly intimate documentary on the late Howard Ashman, the brilliant lyricist behind such animated Mouse House musicals as The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Ashman was only 40 when he died of complications from AIDS in 1991. His life partner, architect Bill Lauch, picked up the …

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Echo review – a mesmerising mosaic of Icelandic festivities | Film

Don’t waste time looking for a narrative thread or common character in Echo. The third feature from director Rúnar Rúnarsson is a series of single-shot vignettes (56 in total), connected only by their setting: Iceland, around Christmas and new year. The brevity of these scenes doesn’t prevent them depicting nuanced emotions: a teenage girl visiting …

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María Mercedes Coroy in 'La Llorona.'

‘La Llorona’ Review: Dictatorships, Denial and the Spirits of the Dead

Folklorists will tell you that la llorona is a ghostly figure said to be a crying mother doomed to grieve for her drowned, dead offspring in perpetuity, and it takes a while to figure out how the Latin American legend fits into Jayro Bustamante’s extraordinary, eerie-as-hell horror movie. (It streams on Shudder starting August 6th.) …

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Casting review – film-set furore is a meta-salute to Fassbinder | Drama films

In a German film studio amid a half-built set, documentarian-turned-feature director Vera (Judith Engel) is trying to pull together a remake of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 film The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. This adaptation of Fassbinder’s own play, now considered a queer classic, featured an all-female cast orbiting around the manipulative titular protagonist. …

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Gillian Jacobs and Jishn Wiggins in 'I Used to Go Here.'

‘I Used to Go Here’: Gillian Jacobs Heads Back to College

“Critics are the worst kind of humans,” says Jemaine Clement in the role of David Kirkpatrick, a horndog college professor trying to comfort Kate Conklin (Gillian Jacobs), a former student whose first novel has just been savaged in The New York Times as an “amateurish beach read.” But the critic isn’t saying anything worse than …

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Endings, Beginnings review – seriously middling | Film

There’s a lot going on in Drake Doremus’s flawed, serious-minded movie about relationships and personal growth – more going on, in fact, that can be successfully expressed in the running time. But this is a decently intended film from a director whose 2011 drama Like Crazy I liked very much. Daph (Shailene Woodley) is, in …

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Beyond A Steel Sky Review - Foster The Future

Beyond A Steel Sky Review – Foster The Future

In the 26 years since Revolution Software released Beneath A Steel Sky, the adventure game has come full circle. After the genre struggled to adapt into 3D and was briefly declared dead by pundits, the genre’s resurgence occurred on two main fronts–the simplified, story-driven 3D games of Telltale, which focused on choice and consequence over …

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Michaél Richardson and Liam Neeson in 'Made in Italy.'

‘Made in Italy’ Review: Father-Son Bonding, Under the Tuscan Sun

There’s an indisputable emotional force at the core of this story about an estranged father (Liam Neeson) and son (Micheál Richardson) who travel together to Tuscany to sell a house that neither has seen since the car-crash death of the man’s wife. Made in Italy has nothing to do with the tragic 2009 loss of …

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Sheep and Wolves: Pig Deal review – animated fable is shorn of excitement | Film

A hair of the dog that no one ordered, here’s a sequel to the ropey Russian family animation Sheep and Wolves, in which predator and prey learned to live together in happy-clappy vegetarian harmony. Not improving much on the original, the new film is unimaginatively scripted with dull characters and second-rate animation – the wolves’ …

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