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Carlos Valladares’ Oscar Picks 2018

Even though the Oscars treats movies like a gambling bracket, I can’t resist the effortless urge to predict which middlebrow white elephant flick will win over the Academy this year, which unexpectedly nominated film should win and which masterpieces weren’t even considered. (And once again, a reiteration that the most magnificent moving-picture work from last…

Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ is a miracle of people-watching

The richly observed “Lady Bird” by Greta Gerwig is not a filmmaker’s debut. Gerwig has been honing her skills for years through her Noah Baumbach work (“Mistress America,” “Frances Ha”), about spunky twenty-somethings with nowhere to go. Now, she has made a film (her official solo directorial debut) which is stabler and less fancy-free than Baumbach’s screwballs —…