‘Leap!’ goes from ‘Swan Lake’ to swan dive

Just about everything you might expect to be annoying about an animated, 19th-century film about dueling Parisian child ballerinas cripples “Leap!” It’s essentially a Barbie movie with twice the budget, worse characters and even less plausibility (but better pop songs.) Theoretically, the film should soar; aside from “Dance Moms” sensation Maddie Ziegler, the cast features Elle Fanning, Mel Brooks and even Kate McKinnon. It’s also not lacking visually; “Leap!” offers a stunning reimagining of Paris 100 years ago. But the film, beyond a surface level, is a frenzied mess. Fanning voices Félicie, a young girl living in an 1880s...

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Editors’ summer 2017 pop culture picks

Film: “Mommy Dead and Dearest” (Kirby) This twisted story, about a Louisiana woman who claimed her daughter was suffering from numerous life-threatening diseases to gain public sympathy and charity money, first caught my attention with a 2016 BuzzFeed story. The documentary, directed by Erin Lee Carr, offers an even more intimate window into the fraught relationship between Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blancharde, that culminated in Dee Dee’s violent death.   Music: “The Man” by The Killers (Ceili) The Killers’ lead single from their new album, “Wonderful, Wonderful” (debuting Sept. 22), is a refreshing twist from their previous hits...

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The Best — and Worst — Films of the Summer

Film-wise, this was the best summer in recent memory (no thanks to “The Emoji Movie”). Here are the top five films worth watching if you didn’t manage to catch them in the last few months, plus the ones you should steer clear of. The Best: “The Big Sick”: On a surface level, “The Big Sick” seems to contend with too many rom-com cliches (debilitating illness, cultural crosshairs and disapproving parents, to name a few). But the film, which tells the real-life love story of writer/star Kumail Nanjiani and his now-wife, Emily Gordon, never lags or feels derivative. Everything topical, from...

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Miami alum appears in new Netflix special, recalls working at Bagel & Deli

The self-explanatory new Netflix series, “The Standups,” features six episodes with six comedians, one of whom is Miami alum Beth Stelling. Stelling was raised in Dayton, and graduated from Miami in 2007 with a theater degree. Heavily involved with on-campus organizations, she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi and Miami Theatre and performed in “The Vagina Monologues” during her time at school. Stelling met her boyfriend of three years at Miami, and deemed Upham Arch her favorite Redhawk tradition. As she notes in her “Standups” episode, she also “served two tours in bagel shops,” the first of which was Oxford’s...

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‘Wonder Woman’ challenges cinematic patriarchy

It’s a good year to be a woman in film. Unless, of course, that film is directed by Michael Bay or stars Tom Cruise. But Polynesian princesses, alien ass-kickers and, most notably, Wonder Woman herself, are having a moment. And my god, do they deserve it. Obviously I’m biased by default, but this film is not just good because it was directed by a female (the formidable Patty Jenkins) or stars one (the indomitable Gal Gadot). “Wonder Woman” is proof that it’s possible to achieve cinematic quality in a female-focused action film while highlighting what women are capable of,...

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