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    Review: Hail Caesar!

    Monday, February 8, 2016

    In Hail Caesar! co-directors Joel and Ethan Coen lean fairly hard on silliness. In what amounts to a simultaneous spoof of, and tribute to the Studio Era of Hollywood, the Coens provide commendable optics of splendid cinematography and surefire editing. Their presentation of a 27-hour trajectory of a day-in-the-life of studio “fixer” Eddie Mannix (Josh […]

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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16

Review: Man from Reno

Man from Reno is a dank motherfucking film. It’s fun, it’s sexy, and by God does it take you by the balls and keep running. So you best run with it. The film starts a bit slow with parallel storylines – one in the life of suicidal author of a bestselling detective series named Aki […]

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Apr
10

Review: While We’re Young

The hits barely outnumber the misses in While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach’s latest offering. A New York City-based comedy of manners that focuses on Ben Stiller’s and Naomi Watts’ characters’ mid-life crisis, the film has much of the feel of vintage Woody Allen. Well, not quite. I can’t remember Woody Allen ever getting anywhere near […]

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Apr
6

Review: Furious 7

Vin Diesel has stated that the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Furious 7, or as director James Wan wants it to be spelled, “Furious Seven,” was the hardest film he ever had to make due to the passing of Paul Walker.  Behind all of the puns, jokes, and ridiculousness of the stunts […]

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Apr
6

Welcome to the Dogpocalypse: White God–Review

White God is a film which goes out of its way to defy your expectations. Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, the film starts with a girl on a bike in a post-apocalyptic city: empty roads, cars with open doors, and a crushing silence. From around the corner come 200 dogs. The film jumps between genres a […]

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Mar
27

Review: Get Hard

Venemous comes to mind when attempting to describe this jittery new “buddy” comedy with Will Farrell and Kevin Hart. Followed closely by clueless. A stillborn yarn about a super-wealthy stuffed-shirt, James King (Farrell) who suddenly finds himself sentenced to time in prison, Get Hard is a barrage of hollow sketches sewn together with racism and […]

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cinderella
Mar
13

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella Offers a Fresh Take on a Classic

Let’s face it: practically nobody was asking for a live-action remake of one of Disney’s most iconic films, the 1950 classic Cinderella. Aside from Disney seeking out some easy money, there really wasn’t any reason to take such a beloved animated film and remake it as a live-action film with actors your children probably don’t […]

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Mar
13

Review: Wild Tales

Beginning with a chills-inducing Twilight Zone-esque vignette aboard an airliner and ending with the quintessential disrupted wedding reception, Wild Tales was a deserved Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. Superbly directed with a jaundiced eye by Argentinian Damian Szifron, its six separate stories share a penchant for the perverse side of human nature. Overflowing with […]

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Mar
9

Review: Buzzard

Marty Jackitansky is hardly a character who elicits empathy. I found his nihilism amusing but also wouldn’t have minded a bit if someone punched him in the face. To say he lacks ambition is to say Freddy Krueger lacks menace. Oh, by the way, there’s a running theme in Buzzard where Marty (Joshua Burge) not […]

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Feb
28

Sundance Shorts: Hotel 22

Hotel 22 documents the long nights of the many homeless people in Silicon Valley who use the 22 bus line between Palo Alto and San Jose for shelter. I sat down with director Elizabeth Lo, a graduate of NYU Tisch and current MFA student at Stanford University, to talk about documentaries and the parts of […]

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Feb
27

Review: Focus

It’s one thing to encounter a film with an imaginatively playful screenplay that takes occasional liberties with common sense. It’s quite another to have your intelligence insulted in a manner as blatant and as numbing as the new Will Smith movie, Focus. Just when we are asked to fall for one outrageous scenario, another one […]

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Philadelphia Film Festival 2015