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Movies

Philip Martin

Columnist: Philip Martin

Jennifer Christman

Weekend Editor, Columnist: Jennifer Christman

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Oh, Mother!

Darren Aronofsky rolls out an odd, over-the-top and artsy horror flick

Writer-director Darren Aronofsky wants to have his commercial cake and chomp down on some vexing personal issues, too, in Mother!, a very Rosemary's Baby-like intimate horror tale that definitely grabs your attention and eventually soars well over the top to make the bold concluding statement that, for some creators, art is more important than life. How the film's compelling star Jennifer Lawrence may feel about this sentiment is another matter, but this is a tale that, like any number of fanciful genre outings, pulls you in with its intriguing central dramatic situation and pushes you out with some mightily far-fetched plot contrivances.

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American Assassin

What role does emotion play in violence? This is the rather high-minded philosophical question at the core of the rather schlocky spy picture American Assassin, though the film itself doesn't offer any clear answers on that. It's difficult to puzzle out any morals about what motivates violence and how trauma manifests itself when the film just leans into more and more numbingly graphic images of human destruction.

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Horsing around in Toronto

TORONTO -- Growing up in rural New York, my family lived in a country house with a decent amount of acreage, and a separate barn out in back. It was only natural, then, that my sister, a dedicated "horse loon," would begin a constant assault on my parents to acquire one. Eventually, they relented, and one blizzard-strewn weekend we drove down to New York to pick up Mir, a retired police horse with a sweet disposition and a somewhat crafty sense of humor.

Previews

American Assassin

COMING ATTRACTIONS

Brad's Status, R Brad thinks his comfortable life in suburban California doesn't compare with those of his four college friends, until circumstances force them to reconnect. With Ben Stiller, Michael Sheen, Jenna Fischer, Luke Wilson; directed by Mike White. Sept. 22

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I'm there in spirit at Toronto festival

I got a Facebook message from a friend who's at the Toronto International Film Festival saying he'd like to get together. The title of a Todd Haynes film springs to mind: I'm Not There. I haven't attended TIFF in a decade.

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HOME MOVIES

Megan Leavey

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It slays rivals with $123 million

It, based on the Stephen King horror story, topped the box office in a record-breaking debut for a September release, a sign of hope for an industry reeling from its worst summer in more than a decade.

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Rumors off table at Louis C.K. Q&A

TORONTO -- "It's not a safe space, it's not a triggerless place, it just isn't," said Louis C.K., describing -- in no small understatement -- his darkly funny and squirm-inducing new movie, I Love You, Daddy, which debuted to warm applause and some revulsion at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend.

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Pfeiffer ends break with Mother! role

NEW YORK -- When Michelle Pfeiffer first read Darren Aronofsky's script for Mother! she had an understandable initial reaction.

Super Quiz: American scientists

1. Advocated planting peanuts and sweet potatoes to replace cotton

Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: I know we live in a tech-savvy world, but mobile phones can easily get lost or stolen. I went to an engraver and had a small plaque engraved with "Reward $50. Call ..." and my phone number at my office. I then glued it to my phone case. I could always replace the phone, but not the pictures, contacts and other info on my phone.

Horoscopes by Holiday

Happy birthday. You'll be awarded, and rightly so. You've grown stronger, better at what you do and certain enough of yourself to weather the very wind that would have ruffled your feathers long ago. Because of this, you can let down your defenses and accept new love, challenge and more with a lighter, abler attitude.

On Christianity

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: Does God ever give us a second chance, even if we've really messed up our lives? Or does He just give up on us? I hope not, although I can't blame Him if He does, at least in my case.

NW COMING ATTRACTIONS

Kingsman: Golden Circle, R With their headquarters destroyed and the world held hostage, Kingsman members find new allies: a spy organization in the United States known as Statesman. With Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges; directed by Matthew Vaughn. Sept. 22