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I CALLED HIM MORGAN Review

I am usually not a fan of music documentaries; they often feel self-infatuated, and having worked as a music columnist, I am a bit fatigued by them. Yet I Called Him Morgan is a refreshing, absolutely fascinating doc about the life and death of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan, told by those musicians who played alongside him, as well as - amazingly - by his own murderess.

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WHEN THE BOUGH BREAKS (2017) Review

One of the hottest topics on the national stage at the moment is the future of our country’s healthcare system. As I write this, there's probably no more timely discussion than that of accessible, affordable access to healthcare for all Americans.

It’s no mystery that the criminal justice and healthcare systems in the U.S. have yet to catch up with scientific research, most especially that of mental health. Point of View Pictures’ When the Bough Breaks (not to be confused with last year’s When the Bough Breaks by Sony Pictures or the 2006, 1994 or 1947 films of the same name) centers around the taboo topic of psychosis after giving birth, as well as postpartum depression and the more general “baby blues” that many women, across all walks of life, cultures, geography and age, experience.

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MOANA Blu-ray Review

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ DVD/Blu-ray digital combo for its latest princess pic, Moana, is absolutely packed with special features. A suitable follow-up to its big-screen release, the take-home version of Moana provides tons of footage from the years leading up to the film, when the filmmakers were visiting Oceania to research the characters, locations and music that would inspire the film.

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THE SENSE OF AN ENDING Review

It's always difficult to critique a film based on a beloved book. One has to judge the film on its own merits, no matter how true it hopes to stay to its original written form or despite whatever clever methods the filmmakers could concoct. For The Sense of an Ending, the screen adaptation of British author Julian Barnes’ 2011 novel, I’m afraid that the film fails to capture the same essence as the novel. Nevertheless, on its own, the picture is a great character study, and some might find it to be an important statement on youth and regret.

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BEFORE I FALL Review

What if you lived the same day over and over again? What would you do? If it were me, I might try to visit to every single city in the world that I could reasonably travel to in one day. I would try and meet interesting people, try every type of food dish, read every book. I would attempt to learn different languages, dance styles or musical instruments. Sure, I would have to lie, beg, borrow and steal, but in short, it wouldn’t be the same day for me; I would only wake up in the same place.

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HIDDEN FIGURES Review

Opening on a delightful confrontation between a fickle lawman and the film’s three main characters – all women of color – in Virginia’s Jim Crow era, the historical dramedy Hidden Figures comes out of the gate with a bang and offers an unapologetic glimpse at the tone of the story that will follow.

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MISS SLOANE Review

I love heist movies. I couldn’t care less about the big prizes, but there’s something exhilarating about seeing the layers of an onion peeled back, something thrilling about watching a mastermind play all the chess pieces that were there in front of you the whole time, something gratifying about witnessing a ragtag team surmount seemingly impossible odds.

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LION Review

May none of us ever know the pain and hopelessness that comes from becoming forever separated from our family. Losing a child, or becoming a lost child, seems to be one of the most unimaginably horrible things that could happen – but happen it did to Saroo Brierley and to his family.

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MOANA Review

Unless your heart is made of stone or you simply hate music, it’s more likely than not that you will leave the theater humming at least one of the unbelievably catchy tunes from Disney’s Moana, courtesy of Grammy-winning composer Mark Mancina, Somoan artist Opetaia Foa’i and the great Lin-Manuel Miranda, of Hamilton fame.

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THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT Review

Many of us outsiders are absolutely captivated by North Korea and its regime of dictators – myself included. We hear one bizarre story after another, and things only seem to be getting weirder and more horrific as the years pass.

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A FAMILY AFFAIR Review

I went into A Family Affair cold, not knowing what to expect other than what was in the trailer. This movie, as it turns out, is essentially a portrait of a 95-year-old woman told by her 30-year-old grandson. But what differentiates this from any old home video is most certainly the filmmaker Tom Fassaert’s cinematography and at least one major secret that his grandmother is hiding.

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DON’T THINK TWICE Review

Mike Birbiglia’s sophomore feature, Don’t Think Twice, chronicles the lives of six friends in New York City who spend their nights as the resident cast members of an improv comedy troupe called The Commune.

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ZOOTOPIA Blu-Ray Review

If you didn’t catch Zootopia in theaters, now may be the time to pick up a copy of the movie on video. This great little underdog story about big dreams with important messages about prejudice is more than just a silly film that features animals wearing clothes.

The plot centers around Judy Hopps, a bunny who decides she wants to be a police officer in the big city, rather than stay at home and work for her family’s carrot business. As a “prey” animal, she isn’t taken too seriously, so when she’s given the opportunity to prove herself by solving a major missing-mammal case, she – er – hops on the opportunity.

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THE FINEST HOURS Blu-Ray Review

One of the most fascinating Coast Guard rescues in history is told through the eyes of director Craig Gillespie in the Disney film The Finest Hours, now available on Blu-ray/Digital HD. Starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Eric Bana and Ben Foster, the movie centers around two men who helped to save the lives of 30+ men in an amazing story of resourcefulness, sacrifice and hope.