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Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny and Adam Driver

“THE DEAD DON’T DIE” My rating: C+

104 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The world really doesn’t need another zombie movie.

On the other hand, the world can always use another Jim Jarmusch movie.

Except, I guess, when it’s a zombie movie.

The latest from the idiosyncratic Jarmusch,  “The Dead Don’t Die,” has been written and played for chuckles.  It adds nothing to the zombie genre (unless you count the last-reel appearance of an alien spaceship) but allows a huge cast of players (Carol Kane and Iggy Pop, for instance, as a couple of the voracious corpses)  to have fun riffing on the whole walking dead phenomenon.

In sleepy Centerville the sheriff, Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray), and his deputy, Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver), spend most of their time drinking coffee and keeping tabs on a forest-dwelling hermit (Tom Waits).

They mediate disputes among the citizenry, folk like a MAGA hat-wearing farmer (Steve Buscemi) and a black handyman (Danny Glover).

All the while,  Deputy Ronnie is oblivious to the fact that his co-worker, Deputy Mindy (Chloe Savigny), has a huge crush on him.

The two lawmen are a sort gun-toting Mutt & Jeff who face each new revelation of horrors with deadpan drollery.

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Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson

“LATE NIGHT” My rating: C+

112 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The funniest moments in Nisha Ganatra’s “Late Night” depict the consternation of a bunch of Ivy League-educated white-guy TV joke writers upon earning that they have to share their workplace with a woman.

A woman of color.

A woman who is as nice as they are jaded.

“Late Night” was written by (and stars) comedy phenom Mindy Kaling, who knows what it’s like to be the only minority woman in the joint. While in interviews Kaling has taken pains to point out that she personally was never treated as badly as her character is, her depiction of life in a male-dominated writers’ room roils with sexual conflict and class consciousness.

In other words, on certain topics the film is as timely as hell.

Alas, in other important areas it feels tired, cliched and passe.

The ever-watchable Emma Thompson stars as Katherine Newbury, long-time host of a late-night TV talk show.  Early on she’s paid a visit by a network bigwig (Amy Ryan) who almost gleefully informs her that she’s being replaced with someone hipper, funnier and more willing to push the envelope.

Faced with a career that is circling the drain,  Katherine makes a rare appearance in her show’s writers’ room to stir up the troops. She doesn’t really know these guys and in fact  has banned them from the set.  Unwilling to learn their names, she assigns each of them a number.

Perhaps some diversity would help. How about a woman writer?

Enter Molly (Kaling), an aspiring comic who works in a chemical plant and only gets a job interview because the same conglomerate that owns her factory also owns the network.  Against all odds — and with absolutely no professional resume —  she’s hired.

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Blythe Danner, John Lithgow

“THE TOMORROW MAN” My rating: 

94 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Not even the dynamic duo of John Lithgow and Blythe Danner can save “The Tomorrow Man,” a film so determined not to be your typical geriatric love story that it goes way too far in the other direction.

Ed Hemsler (Lithgow) lives in small-town America (it looks like Iowa) and is, to put it mildly, eccentric.

“I just want to be ready,” Ed tells his grown son in a telephone call, and we soon realize what that means.

Ed is a prepper. He has a secret room filled with survival supplies and he watches TV news constantly, looking for signs that it’s time to bunker down.  He’s arrogant, believing that the rest of us are self-deluding nincompoops. He keeps his house spotlessly clean. (Of course, he also imagines that the lady newscaster speaks to him directly.)

Ed isn’t a total loon. He can pass for more-or-less normal on his trips to the store to pick up bottled water, canned tuna and other essentials.

That’s where he spots Ronnie (Danner), a fellow septuagenarian who seems as timorous as Ed is self-assured.  Basically he stalks her (Ed knows his way around the Internet), planning out “accidental” meetings.

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Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench

“ALL IS TRUE” My rating: B

101 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Aside from what’s to be gleaned from his plays and poems, we know next to nothing about William Shakespeare.

Kenneth Branagh’s “All Is True” attempts to rectify that by imagining the great writer’s final days.

The screenplay by Ben Elton informs us up front that in 1613 at the premiere in London of “Henry VIII” a prop cannon started a fire that destroyed Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  At that point the bard vanished from public life; he is not known to have written another play.

According to “All Is True,” Shakespeare (Branagh, almost unrecognizable with receding hairline, beard and prosthetic nose) retired to his native Stratford on Avon to be reunited with the wife and children he had kept at arm’s length for decades.

It’s not a joyous homecoming. His arrival is met with indifference by wife Anne (Judi Dench), who has more or less been a widow to her husband’s literary and theatrical career. (“To us you’re a guest.”)

Nor are Shakespeare’s two grown daughters all that thrilled to have Daddy back in the bosom of their family.

Judith (Kathryn Wilder) is married to a joyless Puritan physician (Phil Dunster) who regards his father-in-law’s profession as inherently sinful. Desperate to produce a grandson who will inherit Shakespeare’s comfortable estate (her husband may be firing blanks), Judith is having an affair with a local merchant. She may also have contracted a sexually transmitted disease.

Younger daughter Susannah (Lydia Wilson) is unmarried and carries a huge chip on her shoulder. She knows that her father still mourns the death of his only son, 11-year-old Hamnet, 20 years before. She’ll always be an also-ran in his affections.

Apparently Hamnet inherited his father’s writing talent (“wit and mischief in every line”) and Shakespeare, still grief stricken all these years later, decides to honor his dead offspring by creating a garden outside the family home.

The Shakespeare women are resentful of this male-centric obsession. (“It’s not Hamnet you mourn. It’s yourself.”)

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Taron Egerton as Elton John

“ROCKETMAN” My rating: B+

121 minutes | MPAA rating: R

I’m not sure exactly what I expected from “Rocketman” — probably just another musical biopic — but this retelling of the rise and near-fall of Elton John is nothing short of terrific.

Oh, sure, it has the standard-issue narrative — musical genius rises from nothing to fame and fortune, then almost loses it all in a whirlwind of drugs, drink and ego — but writer Lee Hall (“Billy Elliot”) and director Dexter Fletcher (“Eddie the Eagle”) keep finding inventive, eye-popping ways to tell the story.

It doesn’t hurt that they had access to the Elton John musical library of hits (at one time he was selling nearly five percent of all albums worldwide) or that young star Taron Egerton (of the “Kingsmen” franchise) is absolutely riveting in the transformational starring role.

Toss in a slew of very fine supporting performances (especially Jamie Bell as Elton’s long-time lyricist Bernie Taupin) and you have one of the best musical biopics ever made, one that blows “Bohemian Rhapsody” out of the water.

The film begins with the flamboyantly attired Elton (orange sequined jumpsuit, red angel wings, horned helmet) charging into a rehab group session.

As he “shares” with the other addicts, the film shoots back in time to the boyhood of little Reggie Dwight (Matthew Illesley), keyboard genius and unloved son of an emotionally numb military man (Steven Mackintosh) and a borderline floozie mum (Bryce Dallas Howard, utterly convincing as a working-class British mater).

The first sign of just how off the rails this film is willing to go comes early with a scene set in the local pub where the teenage Reggie (now played by Egerton) witnesses a bar brawl and in one complex, uninterrupted shot stumbles out into the streets singing “Saturday Night’s All Right for Fightin’,” weaving in and out of dozens of gyrating dancers.

It’s a bacchanal of music and sex and heavy-breathing (it’ll leave audiences breathless) and announces that “Rocketman,” though remarkably factual, will at times be played like a Felliniesque musical fantasy. (At times I was reminded of Julie Taymor’s Beatles tribute “Across the Universe”…and that’s a very good sign.)

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Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne

“NON-FICTION” My rating: 

108 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Non-Fiction” is populated by intellectuals conversing about literature, books, the internet, blogs versus real news and the changing cultural landscape in our electronic world.

All that endless talkiness could be off-putting, except that these characters are French, which means that in addition to being smart and clever and wonderfully jaded, they’re also having affairs all over the place. Nothing like illicit sex to take your mind off the depredations of social media.

“Non-Fiction” was written and directed by Olivier Assayas, whose most recent efforts — “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Personal Shopper” — were weighty personality studies dabbling in fate and the supernatural.

But this is comedy — or at least what passes for comedy in French highbrow circles. Which is to say that nobody should expect belly laughs.  A whimsical smirk, maybe.

The tone is set in the first scene in which the schlubby writer Leonard (Vincent Macaigne) visits his editor and publisher, Alain (Guillaume Canet). They chat about how the reading public for “serious” novels like Leonard’s is dwindling (“Writing makes people hysterical”) and debate the value of Twitter (“People sharing witticisms…it’s very French…Tweets are modern-day haikus”).

The two men are old acquaintances who can joke about the projects that flopped (“We didn’t kill many trees”). Over lunch they muse aloud about whether real books will be supplanted by electronic delivery systems.

Eventually, as they are parting, Alain announces that his firm won’t be publishing Leonard’s latest manuscript. Leonard, he says, is out of phase with the times.

Next we meet Alain’s wife Selena (Assayas regular Juliette Binoche), an actress starring in a TV police show. She is noncommittal about her husband’s rejection of Leonard’s latest novel. Actually she’s not at all ambivalent, having been Leonard’s secret lover for  years.

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“SHADOW” My rating: C+ 

116 minutes | No MPAA rating

There was a time, children, back in the primordial 1990s, when Chinese director Yimou Zhang was on the cutting edge of cinema.

Never mind that he was working in an artistically repressive Communist society — Yimou excelled at turning out thought-provoking period dramas like “Red Sorghum,” “Ju Dou” and “Raise the Red Lantern.” Turning to a modern setting he delivered the sublime “The Road Home.”

Then Yimou discovered kung fu and since then has been devoted to lavish chock-sockey extravaganzas like “Hero,” “House of Flying Daggers,” and the execrable Matt Damon spectacle “The Great Wall.” Forget the intimate drama; he’s now painting on a massive and messy scale.

His latest, “Shadow,” is typical of the new Yimou.

For starters it is an absolute triumph of cinematic design, telling an ancient tale through sets and costumes reduced to the simplest black and white. The only touches of color are provided by human flesh and copious splatters of gore.

The story?  Sheesh, I was afraid you’d ask about that.

Well, there’s this kingdom, Pei, ruled by a handsome but utterly corrupt young idiot (Ryan Zheng) who comes off as the Asian equivalent of Jeoffrey Baratheon.

The king’s success lies largely with the prowess of his general, Zi Yu. Except that Zi Yu isn’t who he seems.

Okay, listen carefully. I’m not going through this twice.

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