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    PFF24 Review: Dheepan (Opening this week at the Ritz Bourse 5/27)

    Friday, May 27, 2016

    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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    Review: The Nice Guys

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    In his last two directorial efforts (Kiss Kiss,Bang Bang; Iron Man 3) veteran screenwriter Shane Black enjoyed having Robert Downey Jr. as his lead. Lucky him! This time it’s Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling. They don’t merely reinforce the material here–they propel a breathtakingly-paced yet lax script into the smart-and-funny category. That is not to […]

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    Review: Love and Friendship

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    Step aside, Blanchett. Make room, Winslet. There’s a new Kate in town. Actually, she’s not new at all. More like rejuvenated. Kate Beckinsale, who’s best work might have been her previous collaboration with director Whit Stillman (Last Days of Disco, 1998) reunites with Stillman in a spot-on, deliciously devilish Jane Austen adaptation. In Love and […]

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    Review: Money Monster

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    The villainous hedge fund in Money Monster is an outfit lamely called IBIS Clear Capital (presumably the moniker ISIS was already taken). Unfortunately the rest of the film is seriously marred from equally obvious manipulations. On the occasions when the film’s three screenwriters don’t resort to cheating and short-cutting the material, this Jody Foster-directed effort […]

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    Review: Captain America – Civil War

    Monday, May 9, 2016

    Kudos: Nineteen year-old British actor Tom Holland takes a pretty decent Marvel movie to a higher level of fun. With the help of a spot-on Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Holland busts out a vexatious yet wholesome new version of the decidedly non-Marvel Spider Man. He’s an oasis in the take-itself seriously Marvel desert. […]

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    Review: Papa: Hemingway In Cuba

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Is there any doubt Ernest Hemingway would have deplored the gross sentimentality displayed in Papa: Hemingway in Cuba? Short of being merely misguided, this sloppily mounted biopic of the gifted writer in 1959 Havana commits the even greater sin of not seeming to care about its subject. The first film shot in Cuba since that […]

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    Interview: Jordan Peele–Keanu

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key have been a comedy writing/ performing pair since their work together in the early 2000s. They honed their distinct brand of comedy  during their tenure at MADtv . In 2012, with the launch of their eponymous sketch show, Key and Peele’s names became permanently associated with writing and performing  brilliant […]

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    Review: Embrace the Serpent

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Forget Apocalypse Now. Toss aside Conrad’s venerated Heart of Darkness. When it comes to obtaining a vivid realization of the essence of Amazonian culture, check out Ciro Guerra’s amazing Embrace of the Serpent. The stunningly shot black-and-white Colombian Oscar nominee frames two separate interactions, 40 years apart, between a pair of white explorers and an […]

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    Review: Everybody Wants Some!

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Everybody Wants Some!! is Richard Linklater’s most deceptive film. On its surface it is light as a feather but hang out with it for its 100-minute (and far too short!) length and its 11 unique characters leave an indelible impression. Linklater, the director of numerous classics (Before Midnight, Boyhood) is also adroit at the offbeat […]

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    Review: Miles Ahead

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Unfortunately Don Cheadle, despite displaying savvy acting chops in playing the ever irascible Miles Davis, does a disservice to one of the 20th century’s leading jazz musicians. In Miles Ahead, which Cheadle directed and co-wrote, unmoored diversions plague what amounts to more of a made-up buddy/heist picture than a serious look at a complex man. In […]

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Recent Articles

05
Aug
21

Review: American Ultra

A stoner comedy by nature relies on an undercurrent of paranoia. In American Ultra Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) quickly loses the edge of thinking everyone is after him when–lo and behold–before long everyone is indeed after him. Also gone with the stoner conceit is the notion that this film is somehow a comedy. What looks […]

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Aug
17

Review: The End of Tour

A film consisting primarily of two writers talking to each other turns out to be The End of the Tour’s strength rather than its weakness. David Foster Wallace (an excellent Jason Segal) at one point says to Rolling Stone magazine profiler David Lipsky (Jesse Eiesenberg), “David, this is nice. This is not real.” As close […]

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Aug
14

Review: The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Given the plethora of technical bells and whistles in Guy Richie’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (the extra punctuation is as wearying as much of this film so I will only reference the title once) the onus is on Richie to provide sufficient plot and character. He almost makes it on the character front but if […]

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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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W.A.S.P. 2014
Aug
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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Philadelphia Film Festival 2015

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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: 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 […]