Category: ARTS & FILM

All the Money in the World—above all, the “expunging” of Kevin Spacey—and The Shape of Water

JOANNE LAURIER—When Elisa starts communicating with the “Asset,” she comes to the attention of Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg), a scientist at the lab and also, it turns out, a Soviet spy. Realizing that both the Russians and the American military want to destroy the endearing amphibian-man, who has great healing powers, Robert helps Elisa, Zelda and Giles rescue the being. Normal boundaries are transcended by Elisa and her other-species love.

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Best films of 2017, and other matters

DAVID WALSH—Capitalism in terminal decay corrupts and defiles every significant aspect of social life and culture. In regard to the content of the latter, a malignant social inequality, the domination of a handful of predatory conglomerates, the vast self-absorption of the majority of the “creative” class and their indifference to the conditions of the broad mass of the population, the general decline in historical and social knowledge, all these phenomena and other related ones make themselves felt very strongly at present.

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Downsizing: Alexander Payne’s take on climate change, overpopulation, social inequality … and more

JOANNE LAURIER—Alexander Payne’s new film Downsizing, is an uneven, but engaging science-fiction satire that proposes to solve the earth’s ecological and other problems by “downsizing,” or physically shrinking, human beings. The creator of such noteworthy films as Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002) and Nebraska (2013), Payne employs, in Downsizing, a generally light touch in attempting to address pressing social ills.

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Actor Matt Damon comes under attack for his criticisms of the sexual misconduct campaign

DAVID WALSH—Damon’s comments were mild, and, in fact, in the course of them, he endorsed the disgraceful and cowardly erasure of actor Kevin Spacey, one of the first victims of the recent sexual scandals, from Ridley Scott’s new film All the Money in the World. The actor called Spacey’s removal from the completed work, which involved replacing the latter with Christopher Plummer and refilming 22 scenes, “smart” and “a total business decision by Ridley.

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