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There’s a discernible but unemphasized irony in Pablo Larrain’s No, and it may be expressed with a secular version of the line from the 18th-century poet William Cowper’s hymn: “God does work in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.”


A consumer alert is probably in order at the outset of our consideration of Danny Boyle’s new art-heist movie, Trance. For the first 10 or so minutes, the music score’s volume may endanger your hearing as its hard-driving, bumpety-bump synth music almost overwhelms anything else on the soundtrack, including dialogue. After several minutes, it flattens out to a less hammering electronic drone that still aurally oppresses. Both of them must exceed the safety limit of 85 decibels.

The Sapphires

What do you get if you combine The Commitments and Dreamgirls with Cool Runnings, Rabbit Proof Fence, and a soupçon of Imitation of Life? You get something guaranteed to appeal at least in part to pretty much every audience, even if it’s really not possible to keep so many plates spinning. It helps an awful lot that The Sapphires, an Australian movie adapted from a stage show that was a hit Down Under, seems wholly innocent of calculation.


Named for the jersey its protagonist wore for ten seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers, a number that has since been universally retired from baseball, 42 takes on the daunting task of telling the story of Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play in major league baseball. You youngsters in the audience may need to be told that at the time baseball was America’s game, making Robinson a figure of instant national importance—and, in many quarters, deep hatred.

The Place Beyond the Pines

Writer-director Derek Cianfrance, who entered prominence with his Oscar-nominated Blue Valentine, claims to have written (with his collaborators Ben Coccio and Darius Marder) 37 drafts of the script for his follow-up film. That’s not hard to believe, as The Place Beyond the Pines plays like a story that has been labored to death.

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