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Martha K. Baker

The year was '68. ABC squatted on the third rung of network news -- it would have been fourth if there'd been four networks. The struggling corporation had to come up with something to raise ratings on coverage of the 1968 political conventions, and it came up with pitting Gore Vidal against William F. Buckley Jr.

There's something about "Tangerine." Once it gets its hooks into you, you have to rethink it after an initial revulsion. It's as raw as sewage, but it's also kinda funny and very urban, so, to some, it proves to be the very essence of an independent film.

Gone are the days when a film by Woody Allen suggested anything remotely avant garde. Except for "Blue Jasmine," the Woodman has been churning out unfunny comedies and unenthralling mysteries since the early 1990s, if not before, each film a quote of an earlier one of his or of Ingmar Berman's.

Can't go wrong with Diablo Cody writing the script, Jonathan Demme directing, and Meryl Streep starring. "Ricki and the Flash" is awfully good as it attacks meritorious points about marriage and motherhood and music, including that Mick Jagger's seven children by four wives look up to him, whereas Ricki's children hate her.

Anyone familiar with David Foster Wallace knows that the renowned novelist committed suicide in 2008. The title of this excellent film alludes to that end as well as literally to the end of the book tour for Infinite Jest. "The End of the Tour" is a writer's story; in fact, it's two writers's stories.

They're short and squishy or tall and Twinkie-shaped. They're yellow, serious, screaming yellow, and they have excellent toofies. They have one eye or two, one green or one hazel, and they wear goggles, helpful when they fall on their faces. And after reaching civilization, the leaders wear overalls. They're Minions.

In these centennial years of The Great War, it is wise to look again at Vera Brittain's astonishing, best-selling autobiography of her early adulthood. The paperback runs more than 650 pages, so this 129-minute film version is episodic at best, hitting high spots spot on.

"Aloft" is either a tragedy, almost Greek in its depths, or it is the most pretentious mess of inarticulate hogwash in the slop jar of life. "Aloft" is also not predictable, which is almost always a plus; however, this film begs for a bit more clarity.

Don't be confused. Emma Bovary is a 19th-century novel about the titular woman, whose married name is spelled with an a. "Gemma Bovery" is about a modern lass, a Gemma, not an Emma, whose last name is spelled with an e. But, mostly, "Gemma Bovery" is about her neighbor.

I tried. As a full-service film reviewer, I tried to tease out the name of the pee-pee prosthetics producer for "The Overnight." She or he is to be applauded for attention to detail "down there." Would that writer/director Patrick Brice had worked as hard on the rest of the largely flaccid film.

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