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Marjorie Baumgarten

It’s not a hard-hitting expose, but Wim Wenders’ new documentary, “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” allows the pontiff to speak simply and eloquently about the state of the world. It’s a soothing balm. more

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Get ready for the March 4 Academy Awards with this handy guide to Isthmus’ reviews of the Best Picture nominees. more

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Taylor Sheridan’s third writing-directing effort, “Wind River,” is not his strongest script. But it’s an affecting, atmospheric film, set on a windswept Indian reservation in Wyoming. more

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What happens when a young black man visits his girlfriend’s suburban family? Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele”) delivers an insightful, funny and scary debut as a writer/director in “Get Out.” more

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“I Am Not Your Negro” is a masterful documentary that brings to life the words and ideas of James Baldwin, one of the nation’s greatest essayists and public intellectuals. more

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Isabelle Huppert is a daring, complicated character in Paul Verhoeven’s new psychological thriller “Elle.” It’s one of the best films of the year, writes Marjorie Baumgarten. more

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In “Don’t Think Twice,” writer/director Mike Birbiglia examines the dynamic of a New York City improv troupe. It features Keegan-Michael Key as a member who gets an invitation to play on a bigger stage. more

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The West Texas crime movie “Hell or High Water” features sensational performances by Jeff Bridges, Ben Foster and Chris Pines. The trio — and an excellent soundtrack — creates a memorable summer movie experience. more

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Tilda Swinton plays a David Bowie-esque rock star who has retreated to an Italian island in “A Bigger Splash.” The film has some memorable performances, but fails to live up to its name. more

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In one of the best performances of his career, Don Cheadle plays Miles Davis in “Miles Ahead,” an audacious riff on the life of the jazz great that does little to elucidate his genius. more

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In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s punishing new film, “The Revenant,” Leonardo DiCaprio plays an explorer and fur trapper facing unspeakable torments. more

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Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara create sparks in director Todd Haynes’ period-perfect romance, “Carol.” more

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Sylvester Stallone is in fine form in “Creed,” a surprisingly good movie where the former boxer mentors the son of his former nemesis. more

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Tower Records began as a single store in Sacramento and grew to become an international icon. The excellent new rock documentary “All Things Must Pass” follows the rise and fall of the retail giant. more

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“Dope” is a coming of age tale of African American teens that quickly morphs into a peppy caper film. more

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Artists pour out their souls on canvas and other media, yet it's always difficult to capture that process in reverse. How does one create a film about a painter when the subject's work should already speak for itself? more

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Clint Eastwood revisits his long preoccupation with guns and their capabilities, although the recoil of "American Sniper" doesn't have the same moral reverb of his finest work. more

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Tommy Lee Jones' second movie as a director is no conventional Western. Look no further than the direction traveled by the film's characters -- west to east -- for confirmation. more

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Jon Stewart's big-screen acting work has been spotty, but "The Daily Show" host's debut as a film director is a much more auspicious occasion. As the writer, director and producer of the film adaptation of Maziar Bahari's book "Then They Came for Me" more

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Although playing the unabashed curmudgeon next door is the kind of thing Bill Murray could do in his sleep, the treasured actor brings everything he has to the role of Vincent MacKenna in "St. Vincent". more

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