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Portrait

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Jazz giants (Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Coleman Hawkins) gathered for a group portrait in 1958. Jean Bach’s Oscar-nominated film describes what went on behind the effort to rustle up the musicians, some of whom were not reliable and some of whom did not like each other. “It was like a family reunion,” one of them remembers in the film, which can be viewed for free on YouTube and which now feels like an almost unimaginable gathering of legendary talents.

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Even if you’re not nuts about the music of Joan Baez, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and others (I’m not), the film is worth watching for its portrait of people at a striking moment in time. An Oscar winner for best documentary, it’s a triumph of editing and reporting that is much more than a concert film.

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Wiener’s extraordinary memoir about navigating Silicon Valley during the height of a cultural shift provides a glimpse behind the curtain of the companies that claim to be building the future. This book paints a portrait of the misogyny, disillusionment and quest for progress at any cost that live at the core of Silicon Valley.

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Despite being a subtly critical look at Phyllis Schlafly, this biography is still well regarded by her acolytes. Felsenthal was a young feminist who became interested in learning more about Schlafly after she negatively reviewed Schlafly’s 1977 book, “The Power of the Positive Woman,” and was inundated with hate mail. Felsenthal, who consulted on “Mrs. America,” ended up spending time with Schlafly at home in Illinois and interviewing her family members. The biography “paints a really detailed portrait of Schlafly’s home life,” Waller says. It was recommended by a member of Stop ERA who was friends with Schlafly. Waller attributes the book’s popularity with supporters to glowing quotes about Schlafly from Stop ERA members, as well as the credit Felsenthal gives her for killing the amendment’s ratification. “There’s also a narrative that once Carol spent time with Phyllis that Phyllis turned her,” Waller says, “but I can assure you she’s still very much a feminist.”

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Pawel Pawlikowski made two staggering masterpieces in the last decade, both expressively black-and-white, both devastatingly taut. First was "Ida," then came "Cold War." It's a stunning back-to-back. The two films, so austere yet so expressive, feel like they come from another time. Choosing one isn't fair but I gravitate more to the "Cold War" for the sensual performances of Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot as lovers brought together and torn apart in postwar Poland. It's a romantic and bleak portrait of love and art under totalitarianism. — Coyle

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TRUMP: “This ambassador that everybody says is so wonderful, she wouldn’t hang my picture in the embassy. OK? She’s in charge of the embassy. She wouldn’t hang it. It took like a year and a half or two years for her to get the picture up.” — Fox News interview Friday.

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PANIC! Netflix made a major no-no decision for one romance classic, and naturally, Nat offers up a reason why. Plus, Rotten Tomatoes combats trolling, a phone with a 50-day-battery life span, a Hanoi artist painting peace portraits, and a chubby rat who needed help on today's 5 To Know with Nat Cardona!

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"Won't You Be My Neighbor?" is a depressingly good documentary about a singularly empathetic television personality. Fred Rogers (1928-2003) knew what he was up against in a culture, and an economy, built on marketable aggression. Against long odds he prevailed. Now he belongs to another time. Can his spirit of gentle reassurance possibly be revived, in any form? Premiering in 1968, "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood" offered a reliable security blanket to millions of young viewers. The ordained Presbyterian minister, husband and father seemed so unapologetically sincere, everyone assumed he must be hiding something. Without undue fawning, Neville's moving portrait does a lovely job of presenting Rogers as two people, the public figure and the private one, sharing the same closet full of zip-up sweaters. 3 1/2 stars. 1:34. -- M.P.

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Director Sean Baker is so good at showing us pockets of our world that most of us either don't see or don't want to see, and painting portraits of its inhabitants that manage to be both empathetic and unflinching. This time his subjects are the so-called "hidden homeless" living on the outskirts of Orlando in a low rent motel, featuring an all-timer nice guy performance from Willem Dafoe, and some truly exciting acting discoveries in the young Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite.

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