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Anomalisa

In 1940, the boldest experiment to date in animation, “Fantasia,” hit the screens with a resounding thud. It wasn’t until decades later that this remarkable film was fully appreciated. Now along comes “Anomalisa” from Charlie Kaufman, the mind-bending screenwriter who gave us “Adaptation” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” among others. This revelation of animation will surely not meet the initial fate of Disney’s masterpiece, but it will send you home shaking your head, wondering if you got it all. It’s the story of book author Michael Stone (voice of David

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Spotlight

No movie about the newspaper business ever gets it exactly right, but this Tom McCarthy entry about the Boston Globe probe into sexual child abuse by priests comes pretty damn close. There is no brilliant superhero whose life is threatened at every turn but who saves the day from a menacing troglodyte. Instead, we are treated to an ensemble cast of journalists with rather human qualities — Walter Robinson (Michael Keaton), the head of the investigative team; the subdued Matty Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James); the antsy, bumptious Mike Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo); and the dependable Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams).

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The Revenant

If this adventure movie about frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) were about a superhero, we might have been able to swallow his survival of (1) a mauling by a grizzly, (2) getting buried alive by his hunting team, (3) dropping 200 feet over raging waterfalls and (4) going over an unfathomable monstrous cliff with his horse. He even has the strength, after all this, to save an Indian squaw from a rapist. The mauling by the bear alone would have left him with lacerated kidneys, a ruptured spleen, internal bleeding, and quarts of blood gushing over every inch of Indian territory from upstate New York to Little Big Horn. This is supposedly based on a true story.

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Carol

A story about the relationship between an unhinged, middleaged soon-to-be-divorced wife and mother and a vapid department store salesgirl is not something that promises to be edge of your seat material, in spite of the source material being a 1952 Patricia Highsmith novel. While director Todd Haynes’ hit-and-miss log of movies always makes us wonder what we’re in for, we did have hope (especially with Cate Blanchette in the title role) this would be one of his ups that could turn our heads around. He did manage to do that,

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Suffragette

For dozens of years women in England fought for the right to vote — and as their voices became louder, encountered an ever more intractable “no” from the men making the rules. In this fact-based drama, many gals didn’t give a damn about those rules. They banded into clandestine groups, some becoming militant (others would argue terrorist) in order to get what they believed should have been theirs from the beginning. Generally, politicians (men, if course) paid them lip service as most of the ladies went about their business, albeit frustrated. In this story of one of them, Cary Mulligan plays Maud Watts, a dutiful working-in-a-sweatshop wife

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Truth

In 2004, shortly before the presidential election, Dan Rather anchored a “60 Minutes” Wednesday segment produced by Mary Mapes claiming that family connections allowed George Bush to skip out of the draft during the Vietnam War by serving in the National Guard, a duty that he was allegedly less than honorable in fulfilling. For someone who contended that snorting coke in his 40s was a “youthful indiscretion” and who exhibited the brains of a porcupine while in office, this isn’t hard to imagine. But due to programming constraints and

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Room

This suspenseful story of a young woman, Ma, who was kidnapped at 17, held in captivity for years and raped repeatedly, is not your usual giddy holiday tale. Told through the eyes of her 5-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay), the result of her being sexually abused during her imprisonment in a 10-foot-by10-foot shed, we become quickly oriented to Ma’s struggle to make this cell hell a world of wonder for her kid — toys made of eggshells and cartons, self-directed puppet shows from hand shadows, summersaults, rhymes and story-telling, TV for what she tells him is a look at make-believe.

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Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

Anyone who has read the Walter Isaacson biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs may not have a lot to discover in famed documentarian Alex Gibney’s latest. We knew that Jobs could be, on any given day, as much of a jerk as a genius. We are aware he cheated his partner Steve Wozniak of a lot of money in the early years, that he got his girlfriend pregnant and claimed he was sterile until a DNA test proved him a liar, that he benefited greatly from backdated stock options, that, that he was more than occasionally insulting, vindictive, condescending and dismissive.

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Grandmarating

Grandma

After Grandma Elle, a lesbian, throws her 28-year-old lover out the door with seemingly no provocation other than screenwriter-director Paul Weitz demanded it, granny’s twentysomething granddaughter arrives with a problem. She’s pregnant and she needs $630 to pay a clinic for an abortion. O, but she needs it in seven hours because that’s when she has her appointment — and there just

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Diary of a Teenage Girl

This is definitely a film that will divide the sexes. Men will snort that every male in it is depicted as a jerk. Women will love it, perhaps for the same reason. If you’ve been a fan of French, German or Italian films, as we have, this coming of age piece about a teenager awakening to life and to her mom’s boyfriend may not sound all that original. It starts with fantasizing, moves to flirtation, creeps into the forbidden zone, and ends with exploration, separation and revelation.

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