• Son-of-Saul-stalone

    Review: Son of Saul

    Tuesday, February 2, 2016

    The Nazi’s weren’t content with the devastation of all their other combined horrors. They also devised a Sonderkommando squad consisting of Jews forced to perform the disposal of bodies and other deplorable tasks related to the executions. Robbing them of their only comfort–that of innocence–the concentration camp commanders granted those in the Sonderkommando meager extras […]

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  • oscars-winners-envelopes

    Best Films and Performances Snubbed By The Academy Awards

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    I concur with many of the eight films nominated for Oscar’s Best Film of the Year. In relative order of preference, Spotlight, Brooklyn, The Big Short, Mad Max: Fury Road, Bridge of Spies, and The Revenant are among my own selections of best films of the year. Since it was an especially good year for […]

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  • 1401x788-068-ANOMALISA-008R

    Review: Anomalisa

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016

    OK, you want something really different, here you go. You don’t need to know this to enjoy it, but Anomalisa, one of the year’s most creative efforts, throws around Fregoli syndrome like water. Main character Michael Stone (David Thewlis), who’s some kind of retail business guru/writer (“May I Help You Help Them?”) checks into a […]

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  • THE HATEFUL EIGHT

    Review: The Hateful Eight

    Saturday, January 9, 2016

    Sadly, we cannot undo the unconscionable acts propelled by racism and sexism throughout our history. A large part of fixing these problems is coming to grips with what actually occurred. Viscerally experiencing the shameful humiliations is a good start. In The Hateful Eight, Quentin Tarantino, never one to shy away from harsh realities, holds a […]

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  • carol-cannes-film-festival-3

    Review: Carol

    Thursday, December 31, 2015

    Flooded with luminescence, Todd Hayne’s Carol is a rapturous example of what occurs when sumptuous cinematography and art direction meet superlative acting. Rooney Mara is absolutely devastating as Therese, a young aspiring photographer who takes on a job in a department store in the early 1950s. She meets the much older, more talkative and aristocrat-like […]

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  • 21626637065_987e23b3de_o

    Review: The Big Short

    Thursday, December 31, 2015

    Like all superb art about significant political events, The Big Short holds a mirror to human beings caught up in forces beyond their control. Highly entertaining and often comical, the film focuses on several maverick financial rocket scientists who go against the grain, trying to take the upper hand in the way they know best. […]

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  • concussion

    Review: Concussion

    Thursday, December 31, 2015

    It took former NFL players to start killing themselves at an alarming rate for something to finally be done about it. Suffering from the deleterious effects of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) due to repetitive, jarring physical contact, some have shot themselves in the chest rather than the head in order to allow scientists to autopsy […]

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  • The-Danish-Girl-e1441120044697

    Review: The Danish Girl

    Monday, December 14, 2015

    Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina) continues her prolific year as a very impressive actress and Eddie Redmayne follows up his Oscar-winning role in The Theory of Everything with The Danish Girl. Redmayne plays Einar Wegener, a landscape artist in 1926 Copenhagen, who went on to become one of the first recipients of transgender surgery. Redmayne, like the […]

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  • james-white-1-credit-courtesy-of-the-film-arcade

    Review: James White

    Friday, December 4, 2015

    The gut-wrenching, unflinching James White, the inaugural film by Josh Mond, brazenly pulls onto your jacket’s lapels with a sharp array of tight closeup shots and equally closeup feelings. In actor Christopher Abbott, Mond (producer of the excellent Martha Marcy May Marlene) has found a wonder of nature. They provide a character that utterly sticks […]

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  • trumbo-movie-bryan-cranston

    Review: Trumbo

    Thursday, December 3, 2015

      Excluding a “where they are now” segment, Trumbo ends with Dalton Trumbo giving his 1970 WGA Laurel Award acceptance speech. In this speech, Trumbo speaks about the importance of remembering the blacklist, in order to heal. More than anything else, this seems to be the thesis of the movie. There were no heroes or […]

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Recent Articles

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Oct
27

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 […]

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Oct
27

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 […]

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Oct
27

PFF24 Review: Dheepan

If you haven’t seen Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet (2010), do whatever it takes to catch up. Also, don’t miss Auduard’s latest, Dheepan, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes. Dheepan is the story of a “fake family” of refuges from war-torn Sri Lanka. Former Tamil Tiger Dheepan (Antonysaythan Jesuthasan, himself a former boy soldier), in […]

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Oct
27

PFF24 Review: 600 Miles

The highly versatile Tim Roth stars as Hank Harris, a DEA agent who gets kidnapped by a small time Mexican gun runner in 600 Miles. Sicario it is not. The film’s early scenes depict twerpy south-of-the-border Arnulfo (Kristyan Ferrer) acquiring automatic weapons at Arizona gun shops and gun shows. His pesky gringo friend Carson (Harrison […]

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Oct
19

Review: Bridge of Spies

Returning to the suspense realm he so strikingly presented in Munich (2005), Steven Spielberg tackles the Cold War era in Bridge of Spies with resounding success. Tom Hanks stars as an unwitting spy straight out of Frank Capra. Hanks plays James Donovan, an insurance lawyer with no apparent political leanings (although he had worked as […]

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Oct
16

Review: Steve Jobs

An impossible perfectionist, an utterly vainglorious egomaniac, an intently focused mover and shaker, Steve Jobs also sucks at life outside the workplace. Yet he’s somehow not a total asshole. Leave it up to his biographer and people who knew him to pass judgement on the accuracy of Michael Fassbender’s performance as Steve Jobs. On the […]

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Oct
9

Review: 99 Homes

To steal a sports metaphor, when Michael Shannon is in one his his “zones” the result is pure magic. In 99 Homes, Shannon portrays Rick Carver, a calm-as-a-monk, slyly ruthless opportunist. His game? Real estate repossession manipulation and outright scams, and he’s a hall-of-fame level competitor. The plot device here is Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield), […]

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Oct
8

Review: The Walk

An unnerving, exhilarating, you-are-there capturing of the sensations an aerialist experiences is really all that matters in The Walk. Director Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Forest Gump, Cast Away) tells the story of Philippe Petit, who walked a high wire strung between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center not long before the […]

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Oct
5

Review: Mississippi Grind

A couple of apparent losers get acquainted during a poker game in some godforsaken Iowa town. One, Gerry (a terrific Ben Mendelsohn), is a fascinating degenerate gambler who probably couldn’t stop if someone told him the world would end tomorrow if he didn’t. The other player, Curtis (an equally good Ryan Reynolds), is like-able although […]

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Oct
2

Review: The Martian

There’s not a whole lot of real substance in The Martian, and even less surprise. What it does nicely maintain, though, is a frisky well-above-average entertainment level. Director Ridley Scott has been around so long he practically makes cinematic moves in his sleep, and most of them work. While it may all seem a bit […]

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Philadelphia Film Festival 2015

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Nov
23

Review: Man Up

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 […]

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Nov
6

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 […]