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  • 'Jane the Virgin' got turned on this season — and Gina Rodriguez digs it

    'Jane the Virgin' got turned on this season — and Gina Rodriguez digs it

    If the beloved narrator of “Jane the Virgin” was detailing the life of Gina Rodriguez, the actress who portrays the fictitious heroine at the center of the CW drama, he would likely describe the filming of the third season as climactic — then, of course, he’d scold you for interpreting that as...

  • 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...

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  • 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...

  • Patience is rewarded in suspenseful 'Berlin Syndrome'

    Patience is rewarded in suspenseful 'Berlin Syndrome'

    Director Cate Shortland and screenwriter Shaun Grant are often too reserved in adapting Melanie Joosten’s 2011 suspense novel, “Berlin Syndrome,” but when it counts, they deliver the necessary nail-biting anxiety. Telling the story of a psychopath and his sex-slave, the film balances the clinical...

  • Thriller 'Drone' embodies its title and not in a good way

    Thriller 'Drone' embodies its title and not in a good way

    Utterly dull thriller “Drone” tries to raise ethical and moral questions about modern warfare, but the audience can only dwell on the illogical plot and unsympathetic characters — if they can engage at all. The otherwise talented cast and the controversial issue itself deserve far better treatment...

  • Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers tangle in thriller 'Black Butterfly'

    Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Rhys Meyers tangle in thriller 'Black Butterfly'

    Following in the footsteps of “Deathtrap” and Stephen King’s “Misery,” the thriller “Black Butterfly” doesn’t exactly reinvent its “twisty cat-and-mouse game in an isolated location” plot. But thanks to tight direction by Brian Goodman and lively performances from Antonio Banderas and Jonathan...

  • Title says it all in provocative 'American Media & the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy'

    Title says it all in provocative 'American Media & the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy'

    Amounting to two-plus hours of conspiracy theorist porn, “The American Media & the Second Assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” directed and narrated by John Barbour, proves to be as long-winded as its accusatory title. A follow-up to Barbour’s 1992 documentary, “The JFK Assassination: The...

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