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    ‘Cordelia’ Review: Going Underground

    A traumatized young woman and a strange musician form an unsettling connection in this disquieting psychodrama.Some films settle on your skin and are difficult to shake off. Such is the case with Adrian Shergold’s “Cordelia,” a capricious psychodrama that, despite clear reminders of Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion” (1965), is very much its own thing.Cordelia (an excellent Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who shares the writing credit with Shergold), is an anxious young actor whose career was stalled by a traumatic incident on the London underground. Now she lives in a faded basement flat with her twin sister, Caroline (also played by Campbell-Hughes), whose flinty demeanor suggests a growing frustration with her sister’s ongoing mental issues. Then Caroline disappears for a weekend trip with her boyfriend, and the flat that was once sheltering now seems sinister, the ringing landline and flickering light bulbs exacerbating Cordelia’s disquieting dreams.The possibility of romance with Frank (Johnny Flynn), a cello-playing neighbor, brightens the movie and softens Cordelia’s prickly personality. But Frank, too, seems off, his phone concealing creepy pictures of the sisters, whom he had thought were the same person. Venturing upstairs to Frank’s apartment, Cordelia finds it strangely decrepit, as if she inhabits the only livable space in a building that, like her sanity, is slowly decomposing.Enigmatic and imperfect, but nonetheless absorbing and consistently unsettling, “Cordelia” offers a haunting visualization of a breaking-apart psyche. The bruised, green-washed elegance of Tony Slater Ling’s interior shots, rain sheeting against the flat’s windows, fashions an unreliable space where people and events could be real or imagined, alive or dead.“I don’t know who I am,” Cordelia tells Frank. The wise viewer won’t expect her to find out.CordeliaNot rated. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Google Play, Vudu and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. More

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    ‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ Review: Gilded, Aged

    The latest entry in the “Downton Abbey” franchise is amiable enough — though despite its subtitle, it rests most of its extravagant weight on cozy familiarity.The title of “Downton Abbey: A New Era” pledges that change has arrived at the Grantham family’s mansion after six seasons of television, a previous film and a zeitgeist shift that has caused a chunk of the show’s original audience to start regarding its characters’ generational wealth with disgust and relish, as though it were a wheel of rotten Stilton. The stately series that began its story with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 has now arrived at the tail end of the 1920s. The choppy waters of modernity are materializing on the horizon. To stay afloat, this amiable sequel decides to ever so slightly democratize itself: The upstairs-downstairs division that has long separated the estate’s masters from their servants begins to leak.So does Downton Abbey’s roof, which motivates Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) to rent the cash-poor estate to a team shooting a silent film — makers of “kin-ema,” as Lady Mary’s father, Robert (Hugh Bonneville), calls it, disdainfully mispronouncing the name of the art form. (The moviemaking plot point may have been inspired by real life: The franchise’s shooting location, Highclere Castle, which resembles a vampire bat’s underbite, opened its doors to the show after Geordie Herbert, the Eighth Earl of Carnarvon and Queen Elizabeth II’s godson, realized that dozens of its rooms were rotting.)Simon Curtis, the director, and Julian Fellowes, the “Downton Abbey” creator who also wrote “A New Era,” proceed to have their own actors compete to see who can land the best meta-zingers about the profession. “I’d rather earn my living down at the mine,” Maggie Smith’s sniffy Dowager Countess quips. The obvious rebuttal is that her bloodline hasn’t earned its living at all — a dig that Fellowes is finally comfortable alluding to, if not saying outright, as when two newlyweds, Tom and Lucy (Allen Leech and Tuppence Middleton), vow to prevent their children from turning into the idle rich.Actors are just the people to upset the centuries-old social order. Two fictional movie stars, Myrna Dalgleish (Laura Haddock) and Guy Dexter (Dominic West), dress splendidly and command deference, even though she was born to a fruit seller and he pops down to the servants quarters to hit on the butler (Robert James-Collier), albeit with such sexless decorum that the target of his affection barely notices. While the lower classes flirt with upward mobility, the Dowager Countess inherits a villa from a Frenchman she briefly knew in 1864. What did she do to earn it? The grande dame is irked by the innuendo those around her express (tactfully, with widened eyes and bitten lips) — though she’s more aggrieved that everybody seems to reach for their funeral hats whenever she yawns. “I feel like Andromeda chained to a rock with you hovering,” she groans.Fellowes’s screenplay seems antsy to usher its characters to either the morgue or the wedding chapel, lest they start rotting, too. Four couples partner off, their rushed romances giving a jerky momentum to a pace that otherwise bobs along like a canal ride at an amusement park, gliding past pleasant scenes of children playing croquet, cooks readying feasts and women beaming graciously in glittering dresses. The sequel still rests most of its extravagant weight on cozy familiarity. Not only does the film copy-paste an entire subplot from “Singin’ in the Rain,” its opening aerial shot of pennant-bedecked white tents could have been lifted from “The Great British Baking Show,” that other pinnacle of British comfort-food entertainment. Yet, Fellowes manages to navigate “Downton Abbey” to charm both reactionaries and revolutionaries, finagling a sequence that allows the staff to usurp the formal dining room while the rich serve themselves at a buffet. The inversion gently rocks the boat, with no threat of tipping it over.Downton Abbey: A New EraRated PG for genteel allusions to adult situations. Running time: 2 hours 5 minutes. In theaters. More

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    ‘Digger’ Review: A Man Defends the Land Against Development

    The Greek filmmaker Georgis Grigorakis takes an elemental theme and layers it with family conflict.“Digger,” the debut feature by the Greek writer and director Georgis Grigorakis, is the familiar story of a local eccentric facing off against mercenary industrialists desperate to acquire and tear down his property.Nikitas (Vangelis Mourikis) is an aging farmer living alone in a mountain cabin in northern Greece, where the trees block out the sunlight and the air drips with moisture. Along with his drinking buddy neighbors, he resists the encroaching mining company, but his struggle is disrupted when his estranged adult son, Johnny (Argyris Panadazaras), appears, demanding compensation for his share of the land.This standard setup, in which an individual contends with the forces of modernization that wreak havoc on the environment and phase out traditional ways of life, also plays out in films like “Aquarius” (2016) and “Dead Pigs” (2018). Against those inventive and formidable dramas, “Digger” doesn’t exactly stand out — perhaps because its terse David and Goliath conflict doesn’t yield satisfyingly punchy results.Grigorakis describes the film as a “western,” with motorbikes replacing horses and muddy forestlands instead of empty plains. The brooding masculine showdown between father and son, however, is its greatest claim to that label, with the intergenerational rift also complicating the film’s anticapitalist stance.Years ago, Johnny’s mother left Nikitas, their rural abode and their unconventional lifestyle to raise Johnny in what she considered a normal environment. Abandoned, Nikitas dedicates himself entirely to preserving the land. When Johnny returns penniless decades later, after his mother’s death, he considers such devotion a testament to the ignorance and callousness of a crazy old man.These views are upended over the course of the film, which sees the two men laboring side by side, gradually revealing their unique skills and dilemmas. This makes for a predictably redemptive outcome, yes, but it also goes to show that choosing the right course of resistance — like escaping a pool of quicksand — might be counterintuitive.DiggerNot rated. In Greek, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 41 minutes. In theaters. More

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    ‘Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Review: Remember Them? (No?)

    This Disney reboot combines animation and live-action comedy with an irreverent, self-referential attitude.As a general rule, movie reboots proceed from a basic assumption about interest and familiarity — that audiences adore some bygone franchise, and will be eager to see it resuscitated.The charming conceit of the director Akiva Schaffer’s “Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” an ironic reboot of the short-lived cartoon series for children that aired on the Disney Channel from 1989 to 1990, is that hardly anybody remembers the original “Rescue Rangers,” and that few who do remember it fondly.A wry take on the material that combines animation and live-action comedy, the movie has some of the hip flair and anarchic meta-humor of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” as well as an irreverent, self-referential attitude that’s rather appealing.In the universe of this “Rescue Rangers,” cartoons live among humans. Chip (John Mulaney) and Dale (Andy Samberg), decades removed from the fleeting success of their Disney Channel series, are washed up and disconsolate, desperate for another shot at fame. After their former co-star Monterey Jack (Eric Bana) is abducted, they find themselves embroiled in a real-life caper — one that involves not only a helpful human detective (Kiki Layne), but also a variety of familiar cartoon faces, including a middle-aged Peter Pan (Will Arnett) and Ugly Sonic (Tim Robinson), the janky-looking version of Sonic the Hedgehog who was hastily redesigned after online backlash in 2019.These kinds of cross-universe cameos have been done before, notably in the 2012 animated movie “Wreck-It Ralph” and last year’s “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” But this odd “Rescue Rangers” menagerie is surprising and eclectic, with some niche nods and deep-cut references, which is fitting given the conspicuous insignificance of the material and its heroes.If there’s going to be a movie about nobodies like Chip and Dale, it only seems right that it should include such wide-ranging animated allusions as “South Park,” “Rugrats” and “The Polar Express.”Chip ’n Dale: Rescue RangersRated PG. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. Watch on Disney+. More

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    ‘Deception’ Review: Verbal Fetishism

    In Arnaud Desplechin’s sly adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1990 novel, a middle-aged writer draws inspiration for his next book from discussions with his mistress.Leave it to the French to idealize adultery in the name of artistic freedom — which is not to say that “Deception,” the latest feature by Arnaud Desplechin, should be dismissed as only a navel-gazing masculine reverie.True, its hero is a philandering middle-aged novelist; he has an affair with a divine younger woman; and there’s even an imaginary trial where said novelist stands before a jury of women accusing him of misogyny.But, if you can tolerate these passé indulgences, there’s also something slyly compelling about this ethereal, pillow-talk-heavy drama.“Deception” is a fairly faithful adaptation of Philip Roth’s 1990 novel — a book that Desplechin has long desired to commit to screen. No wonder, the two men share a fixation with unsavory intimacies and narcissistic-but-tender protagonists.Divided into 12 chapters, it follows an American expatriate, Philip (Denis Podalydès), who is working on a new book, though we hardly ever see him write. Mostly, he’s wrapped up in discussions with his nameless English mistress (Léa Seydoux). These talks are his writing process, his mistress, his muse.Philip also reconnects with past lovers — like the cancer-ridden Rosalie (a vibrant Emmanuelle Devos). At the same time, his actual wife (Anouk Grinberg) remains in the margins, tucked away at home.At a certain point, one character observes, writers stop “translating reality into fiction” and begin to “impose fiction on reality.” Philip technically travels between New York and London, but the film plays like a chamber drama, with dreamy fade-outs and occasional strokes of fantasy contributing to the idea that what we see is a version of Philip’s novel.At the film’s beginning, Seydoux’s paramour describes Philip’s office in expert detail, and retorts with a challenge: “Now let’s see how well you’ve been paying attention.” It’s an intriguing comment that opens up a question as the film unfolds: attention, yes, but of what kind?DeceptionNot rated. In French, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. Watch on Mubi. More

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    ‘Emergency’ Review: Party Over

    A celebratory evening takes a turn when college friends find a young woman passed out in their house.If you have a low threshold for bad decision making, “Emergency” might test your patience. But the film smartly navigates the iffy steps its characters take. Those choices cascade when the best friends and college seniors Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ Cyler) arrive home to find their front door ajar and a young white woman passed out on the living-room floor. Their housemate Carlos (Sebastian Chacon) hasn’t a clue. The dilemma Emma — that’s her name and she’s played by Maddie Nichols — presents upends their plans to become the first Black men to complete the college’s evening-long party circuit known as the “legendary tour.”Kunle wants to call 911. Sean, who’s been vaping for hours, says no. Carlos could go either way. Sean’s resistance isn’t simply the result of the fog of weed. And this is the spiky point of the director Carey Williams and the writer KD Dávila: What happens when what should be a simple call to the police isn’t?“Emergency” infuses a college comedy with lessons about race and entitlement. In the decision-making department, Emma and her older sister Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter) have some explaining to do — or would, were their sense of privilege not so unquestioned.Thanks to some good filmmaking decisions, “Emergency” is rife with tart observations about campus life. It is evocatively shot by Michael Dallatorre, particularly the montage of how Sean imagined the party night unfolding. Still, the best choice comes in casting Cyler and Watkins. The wise slacker and the guileless nerd couldn’t be more different, which makes the testing of their bond as friends, but also as Black men, rich and resonant.EmergencyRated R for pervasive language, a cloud bank of weed smoke and some sexual references. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. In theaters now, streaming on Amazon May 27. More

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    What Is Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival?

    Cannes’s sidebars and parallel festivals kick off today (other than Cannes Classics, which opened yesterday with a restoration of “The Mother and the Whore.”)One you’ll likely hear chatter about is Un Certain Regard, the official selection’s largest sidebar of new films. The section’s name is usually translated into English as “a certain look”; this doesn’t quite capture the spirit of the event, which is about looking to new horizons and filmmakers.In effect, Un Certain Regard functions as a low-key mirror image of the main competition. Screenings are in the Salle Claude Debussy, which doesn’t have the same evening-dress-code restrictions as the larger Grand Théâtre Lumière, where the competition films play. The program has its own jury, with this year’s chaired by the Italian actress Valeria Golino. And while the prizes are not nearly as scrutinized as the Palme d’Or, Un Certain Regard’s top award has in the past gone to filmmakers who went on to have major careers, like Thailand’s Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos.That said, Un Certain Regard can’t simply be described as a lineup of up-and-coming filmmakers. Occasionally, the programmers throw a past Palme contender like Sofia Coppola, or Claire Denis, into the mix, which inevitably looks insulting to those directors, regardless of whether that’s the intention. Un Certain Regard also frequently serves as a platform for actors making their feature-directing debuts. This year, Riley Keough is here with “War Pony,” which she directed with Gina Gammell. It’s billed as a coming-of-age story about two young Oglala Lakota men. More

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    Rosmarie Trapp of the ‘Sound of Music’ Family Dies at 93

    She was the last surviving daughter of the baron and the would-be nun depicted in the stage musical and 1965 film.Rosmarie Trapp, a member of the singing family made famous by the stage musical and film “The Sound of Music” and the last surviving daughter of Baron Georg Johannes von Trapp, the family patriarch, died on May 13 at a nursing home in Morrisville, Vt. She was 93.The Trapp Family Lodge, the family business in Stowe, Vt., announced her death on Tuesday.Ms. Trapp (who dropped the “von” from her name years ago) was the daughter of Georg and Maria Augusta (Kutschera) von Trapp, the would-be nun who became a governess with the family and ultimately married the baron.Rosmarie is not depicted in “The Sound of Music,” which focused on the seven children Georg von Trapp had with his first wife, although she was in fact almost 10 when the family fled Austria in 1938 after that country came under Nazi rule. Among the many liberties “The Sound of Music” took with the family’s story was the timeline — Georg and Maria actually married in 1927, not a decade later.In any case, Rosmarie did travel and perform with the Trapp Family Singers for years and was a presence at the lodge in Stowe, where she would hold singalongs for the guests. She acknowledged, though, that it took her some time to embrace the fame that the musical thrust upon her after it debuted on Broadway in 1959, beginning a three-year run, and then was adapted into a 1965 movie, which won the best picture Oscar.“I used to think I was a museum,” she told The Chicago Tribune in 1997, when she was evangelizing on behalf of the Community of the Crucified One, a Pennsylvania-based church, “but I can’t escape it.”“Now I’m using it as a tool,” she added. “I’m not a victim of it anymore.”Some of the children of Baron Georg von Trapp singing during a Mass in his honor in 1997 in Stowe, Vt., where the family runs a lodge. From left, Maria von Trapp, Eleonore Campbell, Werner von Trapp, Rosmarie Trapp and Agathe von TrappAssociated PressRosmarie Barbara von Trapp was born on Feb. 8, 1929, in Aigen, a village outside Salzburg, Austria. The family began singing publicly in the 1930s in Europe, but the baron had no interest in cooperating with Hitler once the Nazis took control, and so the family left Austria, taking a train to Italy. (The “Sound of Music” depiction of the departure was fictionalized.)The family gave its first New York concert, at Town Hall, in December 1938 and soon settled in the United States, first in Pennsylvania, then in Vermont.“We chose America because it was the furthest away from Hitler,” Ms. Trapp told The Palm Beach Post of Florida in 2007, when she spoke to students from the musical theater program and Holocaust studies classes at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens.The family singing group continued to perform into the 1950s. Late in the decade, Ms. Trapp and other family members went to New Guinea to do missionary work for several years. Ms. Trapp’s father died in 1947, and her mother died in 1987.Ms. Trapp’s brother, Johannes von Trapp, is the last living member of the original family singers and her only immediate survivor.The Trapp Family Singers repertory, of course, included none of the songs later composed by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for “The Sound of Music,” but when Ms. Trapp gave talks like the one at the Florida high school, she would gladly take requests for a number or two from the musical. What did she think of the film?“It was a nice movie,” she told The Post in 2007. “But it wasn’t like my life.” More