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  • Daring 'Manifesto' channels artistic declarations through a spirited Cate Blanchett

    Daring 'Manifesto' channels artistic declarations through a spirited Cate Blanchett

    Condensed into a feature-length film from a multiscreen video installation, Julian Rosefeldt’s invigorating “Manifesto” moves among a baker’s dozen of vignettes, each one pairing a different character played by Cate Blanchett with a 20th century art movement. From a raging homeless man to a heartless...

  • Getting down to the basics in Peter Brook's 'Battlefield'

    Getting down to the basics in Peter Brook's 'Battlefield'

    Peter Brook’s “Battlefield,” which opened at the Wallis on Wednesday for a brief run through Sunday, is itself the ultimate brief run. It is the last word in concentrated compression by theater’s greatest condenser. “We look for indefinably precise things,” Brook told The Times 30 years ago as...

  • 'Buena Vista Social Club: Adios' returns Cuban musicians to spotlight

    'Buena Vista Social Club: Adios' returns Cuban musicians to spotlight

    The 1997 “Buena Vista Social Club” album and Wim Wenders’ accompanying 1999 tour documentary re-introduced the world to the long-forgotten yet infectious Cuban sound of son. Lucy Walker’s follow-up, “Buena Vista Social Club: Adios,” is both prequel and sequel to Wenders’ film. This vital documentary...

  • Bryan Cranston retreats and observes in literary drama 'Wakefield'

    Bryan Cranston retreats and observes in literary drama 'Wakefield'

    The film “Wakefield,” adapted from an E.L. Doctorow short story originally published in the New Yorker about a disgruntled family man’s retreat into hermit-like introspection, has been lovingly traced over by writer-director Robin Swicord (“The Jane Austen Book Club”) into a neat movie package...

  • A long 'Long Strange Trip' about the Grateful Dead is ultimately worth the journey

    A long 'Long Strange Trip' about the Grateful Dead is ultimately worth the journey

    There was a moment in rock history when the future Velvet Underground and the future Grateful Dead, bands that could hardly be more stylistically different, had at least one thing in common: They both called themselves the Warlocks. However small the Venn-diagram overlap between their fan bases,...

  • Stirring doc 'Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower' captures emergence of a young leader

    Stirring doc 'Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower' captures emergence of a young leader

    Hong Kong high school student Joshua Wong certainly doesn’t look like the type of person who could pull hundreds of thousands of teenagers away from their electronics and get them to rally behind a formidable resistance movement. But that’s the compelling point of entry for the skillfully immersive...

  • Sci-fi drama '96 Souls' is straight-faced silly

    Sci-fi drama '96 Souls' is straight-faced silly

    In “96 Souls,” writer-director Stanley Jacobs undertakes the difficult task of executing a completely nutty premise with absolute sincerity. It’s the tale of a scientist, Dr. Jack Sutree (Grinnell Morris), who has been working on a “Smell-o-Vision” of sorts — a breakthrough that would enable one...

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