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Ronald Pickup

Review: Darkest Hour

So you know all the stuff that was going on offscreen during Dunkirk? That’s centerstage in Darkest Hour, a historical drama that observes British higher-ups during a decisive moment in 1940. Most especially, it focuses on Winston Churchill, who had been Prime Minister less than a month when the evacuation of Dunkirk was executed. But that unlikely event—300,000 trapped British troops ferried across the English Channel from France—is merely one piece of Darkest Hour.

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Film Review: ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’

Judi Dench and Bill Nighy

Losing track of narrative beats is a terrible sin in expensive screenwriting classes, but not so important to actual movies. Here is a modest demonstration. The plot devices in this sequel are so stale that the movie itself loses interest in them halfway through its dawdling 122 minutes—and this is a good thing. By that time the contrivances of Ol Parker’s script have done their duty, and we can get to the element that turned the film’s 2011 predecessor into a surprise hit: hanging around with a group of witty old pros in a pleasant location. There are many worse reasons for enjoying movies.

In the first Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a group of elderly British expats in India found themselves warming to the charms of a dilapidated inn. Now the hotel’s hyperactive manager Sonny (Dev Patel, from Slumdog Millionaire) is planning his marriage—and wants to add a second establishment to build his success.

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