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    Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Still love old Tom Cruise Yet it’s the Ferguson lass Who thrills with much class 4 (out of 5) stars Send to Kindle

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    Review: Irrational Man

    Monday, August 3, 2015

    Emma Stone, now firmly entrenched as Woody Allen’s actress of the moment, performs a rather difficult feat in Allen’s new film, Irrational Man. She manages to save a flawed if compelling production from potentially falling off the cliff. Allen’s tone here is one of almost seriousness. The subject: another rehashing of the Crimes and Misdemeanors/Match […]

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    Review: The Stanford Prison Experiment

    Friday, July 31, 2015

    A well-known staple of Psych 101 textbooks, the 1971 exercise depicted in the film The Stanford Prison Experiment also has plenty of detractors in the field. As a docudrama, the film contains very good acting and, if you don’t bother to think about it too much, can seem quite the provocative conversation catalyst. Philip Zambrano […]

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    Review: Vacation

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    There’s the “hot spring” that turns out to be raw sewage. Add a ravishing female sports car driver who pulls up next to Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) and flirts herself all the way to a grotesque highway death. Then there’s the young brother (Steele Stebbins) who torments his far more delicate older brother (Skylar Grisondo) […]

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    Review: Southpaw

    Friday, July 24, 2015

    At no time will you mistake Southpaw for Rocky. Forget Raging Bull. It’s certainly no Nightcrawler, which contained a masterful Jake Gyllenhaal. Southpaw confounds, gives occasional reason for praise one minute, then slugs itself in the foot just as quickly. Gyllenhaal’s duke-it-out, hardscrabble performance here is the reason to see this movie. However, you’ll want […]

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Review: Whiplash

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, […]

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Review: Legend of Korra “The Coronation”

“The Coronation” sets up a lot of conflicts and plot devices that will likely pay off big time later in the season.  First and foremost, the ruthless Kuvira has been pushed firmly into “main antagonist” territory.  She has the makings of a great villain. She’s savagely intimidating and always gets what she wants; a potentially […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Two Days One Night

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 […]

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PFF23 Review: The Last Five Years

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 […]

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Oct
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PFF23 Review: Human Capital

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 […]

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Oct
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PFF23 Review: Girlhood

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 […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review: Mommy

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 […]

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Oct
21

PFF23 Review – The Overnighters

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 […]

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Oct
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PFF23 Review: Breathe

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, […]

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Oct
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Review: Fury

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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