Review: Man Up

Man up paint

Most romantic comedies have the same basic plot. Boy meets Girl, otherwise known as the Meet Cute. Boy and Girl start hanging out more, and grow closer: The Relationship. Either the Boy or the Girl leaves for some reason- it could be a misunderstanding, a previous commitment, etc.: The Exit. Boy and Girl spend time […]

Review: Spotlight


A resistant Boston archdiocese that covered up a massive scandal of pedophilia among its priesthood is confronted by a crack Boston Globe team of investigative reporters in the excellent Spotlight. Among the obstacles the journalists face is a 53 percent Catholic readership who, along with the courts, were for many years manipulated into looking the […]

Review: The Assassin


Sometimes you just need to throw out the expectations provided by the conventionalities of film–plot, developed story arc, action itself. With the Assassin, Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s wuxia that was seven years in the making, a master of extreme craftsmanship throws the martial arts film on its head. The result is so beautiful to watch, you may […]

Review: Spectre


Rampant plot shortcuts, large stretches of filler, and a Daniel Craig so laid back this time out he actually seems anesthetized–all add up to a dry-martini-sipping James Bond caught in a movie that’s mostly all wet. The Bond franchise made strides toward reclaiming the high standing of the Sean Connery era with the advent of […]

Review: Truth


Portraying Dan Rather, Robert Redford perfectly captures the former CBS anchorman’s Texan vocal nuances. Yet Truth, the new film by James Vanderbilt (screenwriter, Zodiac), places its emphasis on Rather’s producer, Mary Mapes, in telling the story of their mutual downfall after televising an investigative report questioning George W. Bush’s military service. Cate Blanchett, as Mapes, […]

PFF24: Baskin


While the Turkish horror film Baskin is, throughout its run, a beautiful film with creative imagery, its inability to foster a tone of tension (mostly through the fault of its characters), leaves it with an empty feeling overall and to its violence. Baskin plays with a beautiful color palette from the beginning in its lighting […]

PFF24 Review: SPL 2: A Time for Consequences


The sad thing about SPL 2: A Time For Consequences is that I can’t get excited about writing a review for it. One would think that a movie with a title that over-the-top and with a trailer that features a bunch of insane action snippets would be fun and engaging to watch. Unfortunately, the movie […]

PFF24 Review: The Club


The Club, intelligently complex yet not in the least academic, has the dynamism of a thriller. Essentially a moral fable, the Chilean director Pablo Larrain follow-up to his Oscar-nominated Film No, is at once a bold tale rooted in the reality of the Catholic Church’s pedophilia scandal. Four exiled priests and a caretaker nun live […]

PFF24 Review: The Program


The narrative surrounding Lance Armstrong was just too good to offer much public resistance. His overcoming of testicular cancer diagnosed at age 21, his championing of promoting others to fight the disease, and not least, his seven consecutive Tour de France victories all clouded the many signals that something grim was awry. Stephen Frears’ The […]

PFF24 Review: Ixcanul Volcano


Dirt-poor with no running water nor electricity, and unable to read or write, Maria (unprofessional actress Maria Mercedes Coroy) is set up by her strong-willed, well-meaning parents for an arranged marriage to the foreman of the coffee plantation they inhabit. What transpires is a revealing glimpse into the Mayan culture of the Guatemalan highlands. Maria’s […]