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Stephanie Zacharek

Cate Blanchett plays the title character in Carol.; Credit: courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Cold and Dreamy, Carol Examines Women in Love

Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin's sweet nectarine of a jazz standard "Easy Living" figures, in a glancing yet potent way, in Todd Haynes' Carol, adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1952 novel The Price of Salt. Although the lyrics speak of contentment — "Living for you is easy living/It's easy to live......
Based on a true story

Spotlight Is a Rallying Cry for the Power of Newsprint

Newspapers are dead, except in the hearts of anyone who has ever loved them — which means there are still narrow slivers of hope. One of them now comes to us in the form of a movie: Tom McCarthy's bold, shirtsleeve-sturdy newsroom drama Spotlight, which shows how a team of......
Bradley Cooper in Burnt; Credit: Photo by Alex Bailey

Bradley Cooper's Burnt Is a Restaurant Drama You'll Want to Send Back

Before Anthony Bourdain published Kitchen Confidential in 2000, mere mortals who simply eat in restaurants had little idea about the drinking, debauchery and drug use rampant among the folks responsible for getting their fettuccine alfredo to the table. The book was eye-opening if true, and a rambunctious, vicarious pleasure even......
The Assassin; Credit: Courtesy of Well Go USA

Watching The Assassin Is Like Floating on a Gold-and-Lacquer Cloud

Hou Hsiao-hsien's The Assassin is the Taiwanese director's first foray into the martial-arts genre. It may also be his most resplendent film yet: Watching it is like floating along on a sumptuous gold-and-lacquer cloud. Hou favorite Shu Qi (who also starred in Millennium Mambo and Three Times) plays Nie Yinniang,......
Matt Damon stars in The Martian

Matt Damon Has More Spirit in Him Than The Martian Does

Desperation, anxiety, stubbornly saying yes to survival: If grand struggles are your thing, there are plenty in Ridley Scott's The Martian, based on Andy Weir's popular novel, which was first self-published in 2011 and then picked up by Crown in 2014 — itself a rare seedling that took root against......
Anne Hathaway and Robert De Niro in The Intern; Credit: Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures © 2015 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The Intern Works Hard, But De Niro's Hardly Working

Some veteran filmmakers try to capture the younger generation and fail to get it right, coming up with characters and faux with-it dialogue that invite lots of "Oh, Mom!" eye-rolling. That's not the problem with writer-director Nancy Meyers's The Intern, in which retiree Robert De Niro finds meaning in life......