In the Dark

Seeing “The Battle of the Sexes” and “Victoria and Abdul” back to back proves that sexual harassment has been around for ages. Not in same manner as being locked in a hotel room with Harvey Weinstein, but the more garden variety harassment women have put up with for, well, centuries.

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First things first. This is not a horror film in the true sense of the genre. It’s masquerading as a horror movie because it defies any kind of traditional category other than “carnival ride.” I haven’t had this kind of “WTH” response to a movie since Stanley Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut,” which in the end, I decided, was an elaborate practical joke executed purely by the filmmaker for his own pleasure.

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It must be in the genes because Hallie Meyers-Shyer, the director of “Home Again,” is also the daughter of Nancy Meyers, otherwise known as the queen of romantic comedies — albeit upper middle class and beyond. Everything about a NM rom-com is pretty — pretty people leading pretty privileged lives in pretty homes — and now her daughter offers the same heaping helping of unreality.

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Taylor Sheridan is probably best remembered as the deputy in “Sons of Anarchy” who didn’t make it past the second season. It’s best to think of him as a writer and director now, and in his two previous films, “Sicario” about the drug trade and “Hell or High Water” with two bank-robbing brothers, Sheridan has solidified his credibility as both.

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Everyone has a story. That’s why the memoir business thrives. In recent times, it really can be traced back to Mary Karr’s “The Liar’s Club” (1995), a raw account of her childhood under the care of two very dysfunctional parents who happened to live right here in Southeast Texas. It sparked a memoir renaissance as knowns and unknowns decided they also had stories to tell. Karr milked two follow-ups, one of which, “Lit,” has been purchased by HBO with the hopes that it will be adapted for television.

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It’s not easy revisiting the past, but sometimes it’s necessary. At least that’s how director Kathryn Bigelow felt about the epic Detroit riot of 1967. Ignited by an afterhours raid on a black nightclub by the Detroit police force, it lasted for days.

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Where were you when the wall came tumbling down? In the fall of 1989, Reagan was in the Oval Office and Eastern Europe was in a free fall. Frankly, I don’t remember where I was when the Berlin Wall finally fell, but as the premise for this movie, it intrigued me from the beginning.

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With the summer movie season halfway over, it’s time to look ahead. The temperature won’t move much through September and October, but the tone of movies will as the season moves away from the blockbusters and raunchy comedies to more dramas and serious fare with Oscar contenders competing for audience attention. A quick look reveals one trend toward horror films — not the usual stuff, but more psychological horror stories, with some major players.

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Talk about a hard sell: A comedy about a young woman in a medically induced coma near death is risky business. But what is it comedians always say? Comedy is nothing but mining your personal tragedies for laughs, and that’s what comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon have done in their touching, hilarious story.

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‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton

Directed by: Jon Watts

Rated: PG-13

 

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Marvel Studios has revamped “Spider-Man” for the third time. Tobey Maguire didn’t quite get it done and Andrew Garfield was just too morose to capture the character. But now, finally, I think Marvel has finally found what makes this character tick and it turns out just to let Peter Parker be himself — a nerdy teenager.

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