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What They Had

‘What They Had’ – a family comes to terms with Alzheimer’s

It’s Christmas and the family has gathered in Chicago. During an otherwise normal holiday dinner, the hostess, Ruth (Blythe Danner), with a sweet smile asks her guests, “And how do you two know each other?”

Given that Nick (Michael Shannon) and Bridget (Hilary Swank) are brother and sister and Ruth is their mom, it’s a bit awkward.  It is also a bittersweet reminder that her Alzheimer’s isn’t getting any better.

A Star is Born

‘A Star is Born’ – Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga carry the movie

A star isn’t exactly born in the newest iteration of the well-worn classic. After all, most of us have heard of Lady Gaga somehow, somewhere.

Besides, this isn’t even – technically – her feature film debut. According to IMDB, she’s already appeared on the big screen in “Machete Kills” “Muppets Most Wanted” (as herself) and “Men in Black 3” as “alien on TV monitors.”

Colette

‘Colette’ – a wobbly #MeToo movie of la Belle Époque stars Keira Knightley

Those of us with a particular fondness for the old “Seinfeld” series might recall the episode in which Jerry and the gang consider going to a movie called “Rochelle, Rochelle: A Young Girl’s Strange Erotic Journey from Milan to Minsk.”

Keira Knightley’s utterly silly new movie isn’t called “Colette, Colette,” but it might as well have been.

"The House with a Clock in its Wall"

‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ – amazing-looking movie with quirkiness

Taken on purely architectural terms, the titular structure in “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is a cunning cross between the “Addams Family” manse and Mother Bates’ place in “Psycho.”

Cinematically, however, it’s on far trickier turf. Eli Roth, who took torture-porn to new…heights?…in “Cabin Fever” (which I saw and admired) and the “Hostel” movies (I took a pass), makes a bid for Tim Burton territory.  In many ways, he’s successful.