• The-Coronation-650x400

    Review: Legend of Korra “The Coronation”

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    “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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  • two-days-one-night-cannes-2014-5

    PFF23 Review: Two Days One Night

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    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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  • the-last-five-years-toronto-film-festival

    PFF23 Review: The Last Five Years

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    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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  • large_Human-Capital_web_3

    PFF23 Review: Human Capital

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    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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  • girlhood-karidja-toure-assa-sylla-lindsay-karamoh-marietou-toure

    PFF23 Review: Girlhood

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    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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Jun
15

Review: The Grand Seduction

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 […]

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Jun
15

Review: Supermensch: The Legend Of Shep Gordon

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 […]

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Jun
13

Review: 22 Jump Street

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 […]

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Jun
13

Review: How to Train Your Dragon 2

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 […]

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Jun
6

Review: Edge of Tomorrow

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 […]

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Jun
6

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

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 […]

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Jun
2

Review: Maleficent isn’t Maleficent in Maleficent

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 […]

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May
30

Review: Fed Up

Trying to swim through the haze of food warnings these days can be trying. In the documentary Fed Up a convincing case is made that we are often lost in the thicket of corporate advertising, ill-advised government subsidies, political posturing, and shoulder shrugging at all levels. Though it’s emotionally a lot harder for many of […]

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May
30

Review: Ida

Learning devastating truths can be daunting. Experiencing the unnerving discovery of post-war realities in as spare yet vivid a manner as presented in Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida verges on breathtaking. Pawlikowski shoots in black-and-white, uses an almost square screen format, has long stretches without dialogue, and forces the viewer to focus intently on the micro reactions […]

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May
30

Review: A Million Ways To Die in the West

Substituting a plethora of fart jokes and sudden bull-goring for actual brains, the screenplay for A Million Ways To Die In The West runs the gamut from raunchy to silly. Though not as frequent as in Seth McFarlane’s previous film, Ted, the laughs here spew forth despite the film’s fits and starts. You may need […]

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Immigrant
May
26

Review: The Immigrant

Even a strong performance from the estimable Marion Cotillard and a fairly good one from the always irascible Joaquin Phoenix fail to ignite the stodgy, humdrum The Immigrant. Supporting characters are uniformly stock, the story stretches plausibility, and Ellis Island seems like Alcatraz one day, a Barnum Bailey circus the next. Jeremy Renner as a […]

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The-Double
May
23

Review: The Double

The downright vapidness of the character of Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg in one of dual roles) is best summarized in a nursing home scene with his aged mother. After she remarks that her favorite song is now playing, he coldly replies, “There is no song; and you hate music.” Simon will go on to frustratingly […]

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