‘Blinded by the Light’s’ Pakistani family drama awkwardly mixes with Springsteen tunes (Movie review)

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love the way Javed (Viveik Kalra) loves Bruce Springsteen in “Blinded by the Light.” The Pakistani-British youth sings and dances in the street once he gets the Boss bug. He smiles when listening to the lyrics. He writes about the Boss for his school paper. He wins an essay contest and a trip to America by waxing poetic about Springsteen.

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Throwback Thursday: ‘The Vicious Kind’ (2009) is a sour yet sweet exploration of families and human behavior (Movie review)

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hanksgiving plays a small role in “The Vicious Kind” (2009). There’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it turkey dinner, and one character sleeps through the holiday. But the fall Connecticut setting is prevalent and it’s ultimately a sweet-and-sour indie film about family, making it a good (if not always good-natured) under-the-radar Turkey Day pick.

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Hilarious Florida roast aside, ‘Big Mouth’ takes a step backward with hit-and-miss Season 3 (TV review)

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lthough “Big Mouth” Season 3 (October, Netflix) ultimately delivers enough good episodes that I give it a soft recommend, it is a clear step back from its first two seasons. In the worst episodes, the writers get so caught up in their timely messages about sexual identity, dress codes and objectification of women that they forget to make those episodes funny.

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PKD flashback: ‘Confessions of a Crap Artist’ (1975) (Book review)

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onfessions of a Crap Artist” (1975) was the public’s introduction to Philip K. Dick’s non-science-fiction novels. Even though he wrote it in 1959 – along with eight other mainstream novels from 1950-60 – it wasn’t published until a decade and a half later, and it was the only non-SF book published in his lifetime. The rest were published posthumously, most from 1984-88, and the last two in 1994 and 2007.

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First episode impressions: ‘Almost Family’ (TV review)

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 dramedy starring Brittany Snow and produced by Jason Katims should be at the top of my list of must-see fall shows, but the preview for “Almost Family” (Wednesdays, Fox) looked somewhere between weird and bad. The pilot episode of this series based on the Australian show “Sisters” (and probably with less input from Katims than his past shows, like “Friday Night Lights” and “Parenthood”) turns out to be surprisingly not terrible. But it lacks a great hook or winning formula, which explains why the makers of the trailer had a hard time cutting together something that’s easy to define.

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Throwback Thursday: It’s nice to see more of Mr. Miyagi in the otherwise forgettable ‘Next Karate Kid’ (1994) (Movie review)

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en years after the first “Karate Kid” and five years after the Daniel LaRusso trilogy wrapped, the studio tries to wring some more blood from the stone with “The Next Karate Kid” (1994). Thanks to the legendary Pat Morita as Mr. Miyagi and future acting star Hilary Swank as the titular Julie, it turns out to be a passable kids’ movie.

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‘Veronica Mars’ becomes a great character piece, ramps up the threat level in Season 4 (TV review)

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eronica Mars” Season 4 (July, Hulu) had me so deeply invested in the people more so than the mystery – and it’s still a top-shelf mystery – that I wondered “Has it always been this way?” It’s been a few years since my last rewatch of the UPN/CW seasons, and while the father-daughter relationship between Keith (Enrico Colantoni) and Veronica (Kristen Bell) has always been central to the series, I had a sense that other players were chess pieces more so than characters, and that the mystery always reigns supreme.

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Mamet Monday: ‘Vanya on 42nd Street’ (1994) is a clever, money-saving film that only pretends to be a play (Movie review)

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anya on 42nd Street” (1994) is structured unlike anything I’ve seen before. It starts with the actors walking along the packed sidewalks of the Big Apple to a decrepit abandoned theater where they are rehearsing “Uncle Vanya,” David Mamet’s translation of the 1898 Russian play by Anton Chekhov. But then we – along with a few friends of the play’s director, Andre Gregory – are soon watching the play itself, in its entirety.

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First episode impressions: ‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2 (TV review)

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f the first episode is any indication, “Big Little Lies’ ” second season (9 p.m. Eastern Sundays on HBO) lacks the zest of the first but has so much momentum in the wake of the death of Perry (Alexander Skarsgard) that there won’t be a shortage of reasons to tune in. David E. Kelley returns to teleplay duties, working from a story co-written with “BLL” novelist Liane Moriarty, but Jean-Marc Vallee has handed the directing reins to Andrea Arnold. The show’s mesmerizing quality ebbs during the memory-refreshing, regrouping episode “What Have They Done?,” even though the transporting theme song by Michael Kiwanuka is back, subtly remixed.

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