• 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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Aug
3

Review: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

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

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3

Review: Irrational Man

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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Jul
31

Review: The Stanford Prison Experiment

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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Jul
29

Review: Vacation

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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Jul
24

Review: Southpaw

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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Jul
16

Review: Trainwreck

Rip-roaringly, outrageously funny, then in its final turns predictably conventional, the Judd Apatow-directed Trainwreck presents the one and only Amy Schumer. Both the film’s lead actor and its writer, Schumer portrays a character, Amy Townsend, who takes the words of her rough-hewn dad in the film’s opening scene, and boldly personifies them. “Monogamy isn’t realistic,” […]

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Jul
10

Review: Amy

Director Asif Kapadia took what was the blessing of Amy Winehouse’s family and record company and then relentlessly actually made the film that needed to be made on the life of Amy Winehouse. His biopic wisely throws out any political correctness and eschews a safe approach for an ultimately honest one. The results offer a […]

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Jun
28

Review: The Overnight

Jason Schwartzman, fresh off a relentlessly acerbic performance as a misanthrope writer in Listen Up Philip goes intense again in The Overnight. Similarly, it’s not his fault this film about would-be swingers comes up limp. Schwartzman goes into overdrive with a gushing likability this time that is practically the flip side of his rotten-egg personality […]

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Jun
19

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

In a recurring animated sequence in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a moose suddenly appears and instantly tramples a small unidentified mammal. Symbolic of the school knockout’s treatment of the film’s lead character Greg (Thomas Mann), the sequence sets the tone for this quirky, steadfastly unsentimental film about important stuff. It also reveals […]

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Jurassic World
Jun
12

Review: Jurassic World

Director Colin Trevorrow, fresh off the delightful, small-budget ($750,000) Safety Not Guaranteed, steps up to the $150,000 million Jurassic World. To quote some street jargon, Trevorrow’s not playing. The first flat-out summer blockbuster, Trevorrow’s film knows when to go hard and when to tread lightly. In the spirit of executive producer Steven Spielberg, Trevorrow’s screenplay […]

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Philadelphia Film Festival 2015

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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 […]