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Small troupe packs UpStage for Alan Ball’s comedy

Documentary begins as a look at ER heroics, then asks us to re-examine health care.

Brendan Gleeson gives a powerful performance as a priest told he’s about to be killed.

Run-of-the-mill movie about nonconformist teen opening society’s eyes has been put together patchily.

A 1970s-era updating works; a realignment of the comedy’s moral center does not.

Scary effects get lost amid hokey sentiments, an imbecilic script and bland performances.

When a movie explores real emotions en route to its gladdening end, when it takes time to touch on serious issues along the way, it earns the right to make us feel good.

But when it does, this mix of science fiction and spirituality finally coalesces.

Toppman: One-of-a-kind-film, shot over more than a decade, ranks among the year’s best. Grade: A

Sympathetic, warts-and-all depiction of James Brown is capped by a dazzling performance by Chadwick Boseman.

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Lawrence Toppman
Lawrence Toppman is a theater critic and culture writer with The Charlotte Observer.
CharlotteObserver.com