Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella Offers a Fresh Take on a Classic

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Let’s face it: practically nobody was asking for a live-action remake of one of Disney’s most iconic films, the 1950 classic Cinderella. Aside from Disney seeking out some easy money, there really wasn’t any reason to take such a beloved animated film and remake it as a live-action film with actors your children probably don’t […]

Review: Wild Tales

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Beginning with a chills-inducing Twilight Zone-esque vignette aboard an airliner and ending with the quintessential disrupted wedding reception, Wild Tales was a deserved Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. Superbly directed with a jaundiced eye by Argentinian Damian Szifron, its six separate stories share a penchant for the perverse side of human nature. Overflowing with […]

Review: Buzzard

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Marty Jackitansky is hardly a character who elicits empathy. I found his nihilism amusing but also wouldn’t have minded a bit if someone punched him in the face. To say he lacks ambition is to say Freddy Krueger lacks menace. Oh, by the way, there’s a running theme in Buzzard where Marty (Joshua Burge) not […]

Sundance Shorts: Hotel 22

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Hotel 22 documents the long nights of the many homeless people in Silicon Valley who use the 22 bus line between Palo Alto and San Jose for shelter. I sat down with director Elizabeth Lo, a graduate of NYU Tisch and current MFA student at Stanford University, to talk about documentaries and the parts of […]

Review: Focus

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It’s one thing to encounter a film with an imaginatively playful screenplay that takes occasional liberties with common sense. It’s quite another to have your intelligence insulted in a manner as blatant and as numbing as the new Will Smith movie, Focus. Just when we are asked to fall for one outrageous scenario, another one […]

Review: The Last Five Years

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The intermittently uplifting yet just as often pompous The Last Five Years contains hardly any spoken dialogue. Pleasantly containing several songs of depth and wit, the film struggles with the thinnest of storylines and its too-pleased-with-itself structure. Anna Kendrick, who is very good, presents her character Cathy’s story backwards from the film’s end, while Jeremy […]

Review: Timbuktu

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A woman vehemently refuses to put on gloves (recently required) while selling fish in an outdoor market. A group of young men play fake soccer (recently banned) as they run around with an imaginary soccer ball. A coed group of friends risk playing live music (also recently banned) despite a potentially stringent penalty. The scene? […]

Review: Kingsman

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Director Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) sends his fetish for over-the-top chuckles and mayhem into an orbit of mostly unfunny inanity in the spy-flick send-up Kingsman: The Secret Service. Colin Firth, typically prim and proper and even more properly dressed, makes a valiant attempt to save the material from the abject failure it might have […]

Review: Leviathan

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It’s no wonder Kolya (a memorable Alexey Serebryakov), the main character of Leviathan, swigs vodka like it’s water. After witnessing an arbitrary and stiff, motor-mouthed reading of a local court ruling against him, it is no wonder an individual like Kolya comes to feel isolated and utterly powerless. It is not just that the insolent, […]

Review: 50 Shades of Grey

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Dakota Johnson is the best thing about Fifty Shades of Grey yet for all her acting chops here, she doesn’t hold a candle to her mom, Melanie Griffith, in, say, the zany, intense Something Wild. And if you’re trying to get a grip on this “dominant/submissive” thing, this film comes up squeaky clean (and half […]

A Dance Of A Challenge: Ballet 422 Review

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The lights dim, the audience quiets, the curtains lift, and an ensemble of strong, graceful men and women move through the air about the once empty stage in a traditional performance by the New York City Ballet Company. Ballet 422 takes its audience through the theatre wings and into the studio to show the step […]

Review: Jupiter Ascending

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Time is the most precious commodity in the universe, says Kalique (Tuppence Middleton) of the moderately bizarre yet pompously predictable House of Abrasax family, rulers of the world if you will. Ironically, the notion of time–as in wasted time–kept occurring during the screening of this latest offering from Andy and Lana Wachowski, filmmakers once responsible […]

Sundance Reviews: Saturday

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On April 15th 1989, thousands of Liverpool supporters traveled to Hillsborough Stadium for what was described as “a fine day for football”, but 96 never came home. Too many fans entered the same sections of the stadium, causing crushing and overcrowding.  The event remains infamous to this day.  However, Saturday, directed by Mike Forshaw, does not follow […]

Review: Mommy

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French Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan (he made and starred in I Killed My Mother at 19) seriously gets in your face with the extravagantly jarring Mommy. The brutal arguments between tantalizing, violent-prone, just-released-from-juvenile-detention, ADHD 15-year-old Steve (Antoine-Olivier Platt) and his tough yet unconditionally compassionate single mom, Diane (a great Anne Dorval) have to be seen […]

Review: Black or White

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Director and screenwriter Mike Binder will be called on the carpet by the gripe-happy protectors of the politically correct. He’ll be accused of tripping over stereotypes as he presents the story of a custody battle over a racially mixed seven-year-old, Eloise. Despite being a little obvious around the edges, Black or White essentially presents a […]

Review: Two Days One Night

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In the haunting Two Days, One Night, directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne add a profound level of morality drama to their customarily brilliant trove of social reality themes explored since their outstanding first film, Le Promesse (1997). What is unique this time is they are working with an actress who is emerging as one of […]

Review: American Sniper

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Far from an excerise in yahoo-ism, American Sniper offers us a film startlingly immediate in its action scenes. Coming to be known as “The Legend,” Navy Seal Chris Kyle, its subject, went through four tours in the Iraq War, in which he performed around 160 official “kills.” (and apparently another hundred unofficial ones). The film […]

Review: Inherent Vice

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Inherent Vice will likely be a polarizing film. It is bound to either bring belly laughs and fresh insight on the one end of the spectrum, or confusion perhaps to the point of walking out of the theater on the other. Those hidebound filmgoers who see the need to evaluate every film in terms of […]

Review: Selma

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Selma builds its way toward a celebration of the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Sharply focused on the key months leading up to a series of three nonviolent protest marches in Selma, Alabama, it agonizingly captures the textures of human toil and determination that led to the momentous legislation. Director Ava DuVernay […]

Review: Big Eyes

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The paintings in Big Eyes remind one of the most insipid examples of a summer boardwalk art show. Bulging-eyed lonesome-looking urchins, pretty much in cookie cutter fashion, dominate each canvas to the point where the rest of the painting seems to have disappeared. In many ways, a miscast Christopher Waltz, normally a very fine actor, […]

A Film Critic’s Thoughts on Film in 2014

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In a year where two highly innovative English language films (Birdman and Boyhood) stood above the pack, it was foreign language films in 2014 that contained much of the lifeblood of the year’s cinema. Pawel Pawlikowski weaves a magical, deeply meditative spell with the lean and sublime Ida, a black-and-white film shot in a nearly […]

Worst Films of 2014

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No matter how many great films were released this year, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” year in Cinema. Each year a slew of great movies will hopefully be released, but no matter how good they are they will perpetually be accompanied by a tidal wave of dreck. Simply put, for every No Country […]

Best Films of 2014: Part Two

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Every year Cinedork compiles a list of the Top 20 films released from the beginning of January through the end of December based on which films earned the highest marks on the infamous Pretentious Film Majors Five Star Scale. As in years past, our list is dotted with likely Oscar contenders as well as several […]

Best Films of 2014: Part One

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Every year Cinedork compiles a list of the Top 20 films released from the beginning of January through the end of December based on which films earned the highest marks on the infamous Pretentious Film Majors Five Star Scale. As in years past, our list is dotted with likely Oscar contenders as well as several […]

Review: Into the Woods

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Rife with colorful characters and brimming with the signature rhyming banter of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, Into The Woods is the closest thing this Christmas season to a rewarding family film. Just don’t expect things to come with a ribbon wrapped around them. If the mashing of familiar Grimm fairy tales into a not-so-conventional […]

Review: Unbroken

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Even before the release of Unbroken, Angelina Jolie had already enough of a track record to discredit Sony honcho Amy Pascal’s recent hacker-leaked statement that Jolie was “minimally talented.” Jolie’s acting work has been more than adequate, and occasionally has exhibited great strengths. Her first directing job, In The Land Of Milk and Honey, whose […]

Review: The Imitation Game

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If you’re looking for a crowd-pleaser among the handful of films released nationally on Christmas Day, look no further than The Imitation Game. Benedict Cumberbatch gives one of the year’s best performances as the genius dork with zero social skills and a heavy dose of what we would now recognize as Asperger-like traits. Appealing in […]

Cinedork’s Picks for the Best Christmas Movies

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  As Christmas day draws near, you and your family may be looking for a movie to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Look no further! We here at Cinedork have complied a list of our favorite holiday films to make choosing what to watch a little easier. No matter what kind of Holiday you […]

Review:The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

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Gather round kids, it’s time for another unnecessary sequel, because The Hobbit: The battle of the Five Armies is here. As if turning one book into a trilogy wasn’t bad enough, when asked if this would be the end of the Middle-Earth saga, Peter Jackson replied, “It doesn’t have to be.” One can only hope […]

Review: Top Five

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A down in the doldrums Andre Allen (Chris Rock) makes a serious film (“Uprize!”) about a Haitian slave rebellion. He intends to deflect the lingering stereotype associated with years of making dumb “Hammy The Bear” movies, in which he actually wears a bear suit. In the best tradition of art imitating life, Top Five, also […]

Review: Wild

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Reese Witherspoon, adeptly portraying Cheryl Strayed, author of the 2012 memoir of redemption, Wild, often seems distractingly preoccupied with her backpack. Scripted by English novelist Nick Hornby, and directed by Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club), the movie itself too often seems satisfied with rather meek surface things at the expense of going deeper. Witherspoon is […]

Review: Point and Shoot

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Stricken with obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew Van Dyke nonetheless acquires a masters degree in Middle Eastern studies at Georgetown University. Then a new obsession joins his old one. Lamenting his knowledge of the Middle East as one confined to the intellectual plane, Van Dyke sets off on a backpacking motorcycle excursion of the area. Covering 35,000 […]

Review: The Babadook

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The horror genre gets a chilling redo with the critically acclaimed Australian film, The Babadook. Taking its cues from the 1950s and 1960s ghost stories that slyly suggested horror rather than threw it in your face, it also marks the feature directorial debut of Jennifer Kent. Much has been made that The Babadook represents a […]

You’ve Probably Never Heard Of It: Layover

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  In his feature film directorial debut, Joshua Caldwell explores territory that similar films often avoid. Layover finds its characters during their post coming-of-age lives as they try to figure out what to do next. They are trapped in society’s assumption that they’ve already lived their lives in their twenties and it’s time to settle […]

Review: Foxcatcher

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It’s as dramatic as when you first lay eyes on Robert DeNiro in Raging Bull. In Foxcatcher, Steve Carell is not at all the Steve Carell with whom we’ve become accustomed. There’s not a sliver of the character from The Office or The 40 Year Old Virgin to be found. Nor does Carell, fitted with […]

Take 2: Nightcrawler

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Not sure what to check out at the movies this week? With all the hype surrounding Foxcatcher and next week’s release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay-Part 1, it’s easy to forget the films that are settling their theatrical runs. As remedy to that problem, we offer “Take 2” a series of reviews released a few weeks […]

Review Haiku: Dumb and Dumber To

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A haiku: Cringe-worthy, inane. Jim Carrey had me laughing: Guess that is enough Send to Kindle

Review: Rosewater

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Oppressive, delusional regimes will use nearly anything to preserve power, including the demeaning brutality of solitary confinement. In Jon Stewart’s powerful, perceptive adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir of his 118 days in an Iranian prison in 2006, we see the resiliency of the human spirit. We also witness a prisoner fighting back by exploiting […]

Review: The Theory of Everything

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In Les Miserables, Eddie Redmayne sang a song called “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables. In The Theory of Everything, playing Stephen Hawking, Redmayne might very well have changed the words to “Missing Answers to Begging Questions.” Redmayne and co-star Felicity Jones, who portrays Hawking’s first wife, Jane Wilde, do a fine job but director James […]

Review: Laggies

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It gets a little complicated when assessing Laggies. Sam Rockwell has become such a mesmerizing force onscreen he often elevates a work he appears in by several notches. Last year’s The Way, Way Back would have been a rather good film without him; with him, it rose to one of the year’s best. In Laggies, […]

Review: Force Majeure

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Force Majeure presents a situation between a married couple that forces us to reflect on how our own response to the same situation might be similar or different. Swedish Director Ruben Ostlund demonstrates great control with a deft sense of humor that bursts forth to perfectly offset the many tense moments of conflict. Philosophical speculation […]

Review: Interstellar

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Human perception of reality has always baffled me. Everything mankind has observed in the universe is translated into ideas that we can understand only through observation, consequently taking some unknown percentage of what exists out of the picture. We only see the light which our brains convert into the images by which we define our […]

Review: Revenge of the Green Dragons

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Revenge of the Green Dragons is the largest mess of a film I have ever seen. Directors Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo managed to create a film based on true events that somehow transcends all sense of time and reality. The film supposedly starts out in the early eighties, but it immediately feels like a […]

Review:Big Hero 6

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Curiously enough, Cars 2 was on TV the day before I watched Big Hero 6. Needless to say, the juxtaposition had a very positive effect on my viewing experience of the latter. Big Hero 6 is the next Disney Marvel adaptation, only this time it’s animated and completely unrelated to the Marvelverse. This was a […]

Review: Listen Up Philip

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Writer-director Alex Ross Perry is no stranger to controversy. When his prior film, The Color Wheel, dropped a particularly vile plot bomb at its climax, it seemed like a crude tack-on from another movie. In Listen Up Philip, Perry launches a much slower-igniting agitation but one equally demoralizing. Jason Schartzman plays Philip Lewis Friedman, a […]

Review: Art & Craft Explores a Hermit and His Passion

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Art & Craft opens on a quiet, bald man. He’s entering an arts & crafts store to pick up some paper, a few brushes and other miscellaneous tools any artist would need. However, Mark A. Landis is not just any artist. He is the greatest forger of all time.  For more than thirty years, Landis […]

Review: Horns Is About As Corny As It Gets

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Daniel Radcliffe plays Ignatius Perrish, a man (though audiences will have trouble seeing him as anything other than Harry Potter) who literally becomes the devil and brings out the devil in everyone he meets, all by the unbreakable power of two awkward-looking horns—hence the title. Aside from a cute opening and corny phrases like “Are […]

PFF23 Review: Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere

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Chadron, Nebraska has a solo traffic light which is the only one in three counties. The nearest mall is two hours away. It couldn’t be much further away from Lincoln and Omaha. Its population of 5600 are the quirky types you’d expect in an isolated prairie town. Dave Janetta’s Love and Terror on the Howling […]

Review Haiku: The Duke of Burgundy

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A haiku: Sadomasochism, Two women love butterflies: All too civilized. Send to Kindle

Review: The Guest

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Go no further than The Guest to satisfy your Halloween movie urge. Conjuring up memories of 1980s tongue-in-cheek, winking and slashing classics, The Guest boasts a smart, fascinating Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as a returning soldier who makes an unexpected house call to the parents of a comrade who died in action. The picture of […]

Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya, the latest film from Studio Ghibli, is based on the Japanese folktale “The Old Bamboo Cutter.” The most impressive part of this movie is the subtle changes the animation undergoes to reflect the feelings of the characters. Every frame of this film is like a beautiful painting straight from feudal […]

Review: Nightcrawler

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Lou Bloom is a sick pup. That he has no clue of his particularly eerie insularity makes him all the more entertaining. And scary. In a performance which is particularly outstanding, Jake Gyllenhaal gives us a Lou who is bent on making it in the big world out there–in this case, Los Angeles, and specifically, […]

Review: The Mule

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Based on true events, Tony Mahony’s comedic thriller, The Mule, features co-director Angus Sampson in the role of working class fool, Ray Jenkins: a nice, innocent, and naïve guy, living in a small neighborhood in 1983 Australia with his protective parents. He is forced out of his comfort zone when his childhood friend, Gavin (Leigh […]

Review: Goodbye to Language 3D

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Jean-Luc Godard on several occasions in his new film, Goodbye to Languge 3-D, places two images atop each other. Close one eye, you’ll see one image; close the other, a different image. Do neither and you’ll get a headache. Small price to pay for the experience of indulging the French master and allowing him to […]

Review: 52 Tuesdays

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The Australian drama 52 Tuesdays, directed by Sophie Hyde, follows 16 year old Billie as she struggles to adjust to her mother’s gender transition. When Billie’s contact with her mother is limited to Tuesdays after school and she is forced to live with her father, she undergoes her own transition into womanhood through unusual sexual […]

Review: Birdman

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Long takes consisting of swooning, uniquely-angled camera shots are set to the riveting backdrop of a hypnotically spare solo jazz drum. Weaving Antonio Sanchez’s dazzling minimalist score around the action and as an ironic comment on it, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarittu has created a movie that essentially plays as much like a brilliant piece of […]

Review: Whiplash

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Channeling both Lee Marvin and Nurse Ratched, J. K. Simmons plays Terence Fletcher, absolutely nailing one of those rare movie performances that manages to go over the top without a trace of insincerity. He’s, of all things, the music instructor from hell–his veins popping out when he’s going off. His idea of teaching includes relentless, […]

PFF23 Review: Two Days One Night

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In the haunting Two Days, One Night, directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne add a profound level of morality drama to their customarily brilliant trove of social reality themes explored since their outstanding first film, Le Promesse (1997). What is unique this time is they are working with an actress who is emerging as one of […]

PFF23 Review: The Last Five Years

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The intermittently uplifting yet often pretentious The Last Five Years contains hardly any dialogue that is not sung. Pleasantly containing several songs of depth and wit, the film struggles with the thinnest of story lines and its pleased-with-itself structure. Anna Kendrick, who is very good, presents her character, Cathy’s story backwards from the end, while […]

PFF23 Review: Human Capital

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Human Capital blends a razor-sharp depiction of Italian class tension with an engrossing mystery. Based on a novel by American author Stephen Amidon, the film unfolds in separate chapters, each of which repeats the same events from the different perspectives of various characters. The film, deriving its title from the world of insurance, boasts powerful […]

PFF23 Review: Girlhood

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When Marieme establishes footing in a girl gang outside of Paris, she seems content to gain an identity she never was able to get from her traditional, broken family. A brother who treats her terribly eventually forces her to abandon her three girlfriends in the gang because she violates what he perceives as a cultural […]

PFF23 Review: Mommy

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French Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan (he made and starred in I Killed My Mother at 19) seriously gets in you face with the extravagantly jarring Mommy. The brutal arguments between out-of-his-mind, tantalizing, violent-zero me, ADHD 15-year-old Steve (Antoine-Olivier Platt) and his tough yet unconditionally compassionate mom Diane (a great Anne Dorval) have to be seen […]

PFF23 Review – The Overnighters

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A third act revelation either enhances or compromises the unique documentary The Overnighters–see it and decide. Pastor Jay Reinke opens his church and even his own home, to eventually thousands of migrant job-seekers, including some with criminal records, in the oil-boom North Dakota town of Williston. Reinke’s the kind of guy who would give you […]

PFF23 Review: Breathe

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Lou de Laage excels as Sarah, the new kid in town in Breathe, the impressive, confident first feature directed by French actress Melanie Laurent (Inglorous Basterds, Beginners, Enemy). The story of an opposites-attract teenage friendship between Sarah and Charlie (Josephine Japy) that gradually turns abusive never feels fake. As secrets about Sarah are gradually revealed, […]

Review: Fury

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Imagine the chilling opening beach scene from Saving Private Ryan–only for an entire film. It’s no wonder since director David Ayer (the vastly underrated LAPD flick, End of Watch) is at the helm. No brutality, however gory and explicit, is spared. No doubt there will be cries of “war porn” with Fury but they would […]

Review: The Best of Me is Bested by Most Other Romantic Films

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The Best of Me opens on a peaceful image of water overlooking a huge oil rig and set against an orange sky. This peaceful imagery is reminiscent of the sort of epic beauty made familiar by previous and more prominent romantic films (i.e. The Notebook). Dawson Cole ( James Marsden), our hero, works on repairing […]

Men, Women & Children is not the Anti-Social Media Film You’ve been Waiting For

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Writer-director, Jason Reitman, addresses the subject of social media and how it affects the way human beings interact with one another in this solid adaptation of Chad Kultgen’s novel, Men Women & Children. As bad as this movie could have been, especially with a cast lineup that includes Adam Sandler and teen heartthrob du jour […]

Review: Kill the Messenger

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Jeremy Renner made a splash in the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker. After equally talented performances in supporting roles in American Hustle and The Immigrant, he’s back in a starring role in the well-intentioned, occasionally stirring Kill The Messenger. Renner plays Gary Webb, a journalist with the minor-league newspaper The San Jose Mercury News in 1996. Iran/Contra, […]

Review: The Judge

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Hank, a slick, iconoclastic Chicago defense lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) asks prospective jurors what message is on their bumper sticker. In the very first scene, he also pees on his opposing prosecutor while they both visit a men’s room. The wildly uneven yet ultimately successful The Judge constantly veers between a deep, estranged father/son tale […]

Review: Gone Girl

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The less said about the plot of Gone Girl the better. Suffice it to say it is a biting, grisly crime film equally concerned with the nature of secrets in marriage, public media image, and the criminal mind than with the nuts and bolts of linear narration. Yet the story is so mind-blowing it would […]

Review: Annabelle

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Despite the constant opportunity to fall short Annabelle, the spinoff of James Wan’s The Conjuring, manages to be a genuinely scary and satisfying addition to the franchise. By its nature, Annabelle presents a lot of challenges that could be damning for a less skilled filmmaker.  Not only is it a horror film about a haunted […]

Review: The Skeleton Twins

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Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader, playing estranged twins with depression issues, discordantly slip into Saturday Night Live mode once too often during The Skeleton Twins. At the film’s outset Maggie (Wiig) shows up in the hospital room of Milo (Hader) after he unsuccessfully tried to kill himself. The call to inform her of this event, […]

Review: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them is a distillation of two separate movies subtitled “Him” and “Her.” Viewers will get a chance to see the original two films in October. After watching “Them” a disturbing paradox presents itself. Admittedly, what seems like a half-baked, occasionally dull synthesis might have been caused by too harsh a […]

Review: A Walk Among the Tombstones

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Veteran screenwriter Scott Frank (Get Shorty, the underrated Out of Sight) directs revenge movie honcho Liam Neeson in this at once ugly and grim suspense-cum-horror tale. Based on the novel by Lawrence Block, Neeson portrays Matthew Scudder, an unlicensed private investigator and former NYPD cop. The film contains plenty of familiar crime movie fodder: Scudder’s […]

Review: The Drop

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A viewing of The Drop prompted a repeat examination of Tom Hardy’s “one man” film from earlier this year: the unique and compelling Locke. Taken in tandem, it’s hard to think of two recent performances that have displayed such a stunning array of acting chops. In The Drop, Hardy plays Bob Saginowski, a skittish, deliberate, […]

Review: Starred Up

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When it comes to an intensely raw portrayal of prison life, it would seem hard for any film to top Steven McQueen’s Hunger (2008). Startlingly, Starred Up submerges itself into even deeper territory. Weaving a father/son (they’re new prison mates) plot with starkly observed, uncanny realism, David Mackenzie’s film also includes three of the year’s […]

Review: Trip to Italy

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British comics Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan share an amusing penchant for performing incessant spot-on impressions in The Trip To Italy. In Michael Winterbottom’s sequel to 2011’s The Trip, the semi-fictional pair have the enviable task to take an all-expenses-paid excursion along Italy’s Liguria and Amalfi coast. Their mission: write a few reviews of high-end […]

Review: When The Game Stands Tall

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Family values, family values. It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. There’s no “I” in team. The wording of these bromides is changed slightly but they come thick and heavy in When The Game Stands Tall. Jim Caviezel plays high school coach Bob Ladoucer whose team at De La […]

Review: Rich Hill

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As a chaser to Richard Linklater’s monumental Boyhood, take a peek at this Sundance award-winning documentary profiling three destitute white kids from rural Missouri. Their level of poverty and all-around impoverishment makes Linklater’s screen kid look like he’s part of the Trump family. Three distinctively different kids emerge. One is all-get-out upbeat, another, mostly dour […]

Review: The Giver

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The goal: get rid of suffering and dissension and along with them, any shade of diverse thinking. First, trash emotion–have everyone pop pills everyday to suppress it. Leave out books, animals, and any changes in the weather while we’re at it. Now eliminate color. Yes, color. Such is the world of The Giver, the new […]

Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

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Way back when Marvel Studios announced Guardians of the Galaxy, fans collectively raised an eyebrow. Even those of us who are familiar with the comics were perplexed as to why Kevin Feige and company would create a franchise around such an obscure group of characters. However, after seeing the finished product, I can definitely say […]

Review: Get On Up

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The main thing I wished to grab hold of from a James Brown biopic was a facsimile of the incredible rush I’d received when I saw him live at The Arena in Philadelphia in the late 1960’s. Get On Up may not quite get all the way there there but it’s a more than adequate […]

Review: Magic in the Moonlight

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Colin Firth plays Stanley, a frenetic, highfaluting Houdini-like magician who performs in Chinese makeup and relishes debunking spiritual mediums in his spare time. In Woody Allen’s Magic In The Moonlight, his 44th film, Stanley poses as an “import-export” businessman and goes after young spiritualist Sophie Baker (Emma Stone). Stanley, according to his fellow magician sidekick, […]

Review: A Most Wanted Man

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It’s hard not to wonder how throughout his career Philip Seymour Hoffman’s gearing up for roles like John le Carre’s Gunther Bachmann may have fed his demons. In his last starring role before his untimely death from a drug overdose earlier this year, Hoffman’s character, a German intelligence agent specializing in defusing potential terrorist operations, […]

Review: Boyhood

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Like Seinfeld, Boyhood is about nothing in particular. Yet its staggering charm is that it manages to be about the things that matter most. The Richard Linklater film accomplishes no small miracle in reflecting a slice of life that, as it stretches over 12 years, boasts an authentic take on existence itself. It is unique […]

Mixed Review: Wish I Was Here

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In our first ever “mixed review” Don and I (Steve) will both be reviewing Zach Braff’s new film “Wish I Was Here” since we were both on completely opposite ends of the spectrum. An effective lead character in a comedy-drama (dramedy) need not be particularly likeable. Depth or charisma are traits that often compensate when […]

Review: Land Ho! (Video)

Cinedork

A pair of ex-brothers-in-law meet for the first time in years and take a break from the frustrations in their lives to road trip the expansive, Icelandic countryside. Mitch, the New Orleans native, is a recently retired surgeon bored with the dreariness of his post-career life; and, so eager to meet young, attractive women that […]

Review: Begin Again

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You can make the same movie twice if you’re Woody Allen, or, of course, Michael Haneke. Less famous directors know the risk going in, yet John Carney stuck to his guns in putting forth essentially a bigger-budget, A-list version of his similarly themed, very good 2007 film, Once. Once (later a hit Broadway musical) evoked […]

Review: Snowpiercer (w/ Video)

Cinedork

The year is 2031 and as a result of climate change as well as humanity’s drastic response to it, the Earth has fallen into a post-apocalyptic winter. The remaining survivors are forced on board a train that circles the globe at breakneck speeds. The train has become a microcosm for society at large, with its […]

Review: Tammy

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Sorry to bring up Lucille Ball, one of the comic icons of the early TV generation in relation to–er, Melissa McCarthy. Yet I can’t help but liken the rotund, too-easily-misunderstood McCarthy to a sorry replica of Ball (Lucy on steroids if you will). You want to grasp the thrill of experiencing an underdog who digs […]

Review: Happy Christmas (Video)

Cinedork

Writer/Director Joe Swanberg has quietly become a very prolific filmmaker, turning in over 10 films since 2011 many of them with largely improvised scripts. But his last movie, Drinking Buddies, was met with greater enthusiasm thanks largely to its relatable subject material and cast of known actors. Happy Christmas is a movie that has similar […]

Review: Obvious Child

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Obvious Child tackles the subject of an aspiring stand-up comedian (played by real life stand-up Jenny Slater) who decides to get an abortion after a one-night stand. Just when this bracingly funny film seems too intent on toying with its subject, Slater and director Gillian Robespierre soon shift gears into a resonant realism. The rest […]

Review: Jersey Boys

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Let’s first get something out of the way. It’s just too good to be true that a running theme in Jersey Boys depicts a creative relationship between Four Seasons group members Bob Gaudio and lead singer Frankie Valli (both executive producers of the film) while leaving out a key element in the group’s success. Producer […]

Review: The Grand Seduction

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In a perfect world, by its sheer innocuousness a film like The Grand Seduction would deflect harsh judgement. Problem is, the goings-on in this film reach so far into the corny corner, they did finally transform this viewer’s tolerance from initial submission straight to irritability. Heaven forbid how much dumber still this would have been […]

Review: Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon

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Nowadays 68-year-old Shep Gordon loves his home in Maui and reflects on having hung out with the Dalai Lama. Before he goes on to manage the likes of Alice Cooper and Anne Murray, start a film studio, and amass a probable vast fortune and a wealth of celebrity friends, we are treated to his reminiscence […]

Review: 22 Jump Street

Cinedork

The history of sequels is tricky. For every Back to the Future 2, there’s a Teen Wolf Too. For every Toy Story 3, a Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted. And for every Godfather 2 there’s a Godfather 3. While making a sequel to a well-liked movie seems like common sense to most, the truth is that […]

Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

Cinedork

Return to Berk, a magic land where Vikings ride Dragons. Follow Hiccup, sexy, sexy, older Hiccup, as he explores uncharted territories with his faithful buddy Toothless. Watch as our hero once again proves to his dad, the evil Drago, and others that they just need to give peace and love a chance, man. The sequel […]

Review: Edge of Tomorrow

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It’s a small pity many more viewers will catch this admittedly entertaining film than 2011’s far better Source Code. While both are sci-fi endeavors with a Groundhog Day-like time-loop as their touchstone, Edge Of Tomorrow edges into a muddled zone of plausibility despite its highly engaging first half. Luckily, Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt play […]

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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You would think disease films are the bane of critics far and wide. The casual assumption is here comes another Love Story in its umpteenth incarnation replete with maudlin sentimentality and wooden stereotype characters. This film treatment of the wildly popular young adult novel The Fault In Our Stars manages to avoid much of the […]

Review: Maleficent isn’t Maleficent in Maleficent

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When it was announced that Disney would be making a movie starring Maleficent with Angelina Jolie cast in the lead role, the news was met with unfiltered excitement from people raised on the Disney Princess classics. So much excitement that you briefly forget we’re culturally motivated to instinctively push back against the idea of a […]