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Orson Welles documents a family’s dizzying decline in ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’

The writer L.P. Hartley once opined that “the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.” Since “The Magnificent Ambersons” was released in 1942, critics have lamented that crucial parts of Orson Welles’ second movie never made it past customs into the present. After a test screening of the film went badly, studio…

‘Tom of Finland’: A strong biopic of Finland’s iconic gay erotica illustrator

Dome Karukoski’s biopic “Tom of Finland” brings to light the salient effect Touko “Tom” Laaksonen’s work and life had on the gay community. Gaining prominence in the 1950s-1970s, Tom’s audacious and venereal erotica helped to give pluck and validity to a people ostracized beyond measure. Through this compelling, albeit conservative work in regards to its…

“Casa-Bland-Ca”: Robert Zemeckis’s hoary, indulgent “Allied”

Robert Zemeckis’s dull nostalgia shop “Allied” holds two brilliant actors hostage for a wartime romance, which evokes, but never lives up to the legacy of “Casablanca.” Their on-screen chemistry is immediately unleashed the moment Max Vatan (Brad Pitt), a Canadian intelligence officer stationed in North Africa, takes Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard), a French resistance fighter,…