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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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  • Key-and-Peele-Movie-Keanu

    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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May
8

Review: Hot Pursuit (More like Hot Mess…)

Never at a loss for finding ways to disappoint us, Hot Pursuit is utterly devoid of a basis in anything resembling reality. Unfortunately, a comedy depends of plausibility every bit as much as a drama. Thus, this new Reese Witherspoon/Sophia Vergara female buddy flick becomes fatally unfunny almost as soon as it begins. Officer Cooper […]

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May
8

Review: D-Train

Trying to come off as simultaneously cynical and warm-and-fuzzy, D-Train succeeds somewhat tantamount to a flat tire. Starting with an insipid premise, and scaling new heights in screenplay vapidness, the new Jack Black vehicle possesses a jittery, shifting point of view and a horrid plausibility quotient. Its main character, Dan Landsman (Black), part schizoid and […]

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May
1

Avengers: Age of Ultron–Spoiler Free Review

I have seen the new Avengers movie, and it is beautiful. Avengers: Age of Ultron combines action and comedy the way the first Avengers did to make a well-crafted summer blockbuster. However, it is not without its flaws. One of the biggest problems Avengers: Age of Ultron will face is simply being the sequel to […]

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May
1

Review: Ex Machina

“What will happen to me if I fail your test? Do you think I might be switched off?” asks the lovely and stone-serious android Ava. Her examiner Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson), startled by her comment, need not look any further in answering his own question of whether Ava possesses a self-awareness, and perhaps, a consciousness. To […]

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May
1

Interview: Tenured Director Christopher Modoono

Based on his short film Teacher of the Year, Chris Modoono’s Tenured follows depressed elementary school teacher, Ethan Collins, who the administration is desperately trying to fire. Tenured is Modoono’s first feature and we recently got the chance to speak with him about the process of transitioning from a 17 minute short to a full […]

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May
1

Review: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Complaining about Avengers: The Age of Ultron may be as futile as complaining about the weather, but next to the first film in the series, the new installment is a dull cloudy day compared to its relatively sunny predecessor. Basically a non-aficionado who merely dabbles in the Marvel world, I identified with the deer-in-the-headlight gaze […]

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Apr
29

Interview: Misery Loves Comedy Director Kevin Pollak

“Do you have to be miserable to be funny?”  That’s the question posed by Misery Loves Comedy, Kevin Pollak’s labor of love to the comedy world.  Kevin is a comedian, actor, and, with the debut of this film, director who has been performing stand-up since he was 10 years old.  I spoke to Kevin about […]

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Apr
24

Review: 5 to 7

When Brian Bloom spots her, it’s purely love at first sight as he crosses the street toward the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan. More a magazine-cover caricature than a character of the flesh-and-blood variety, Arielle (Berenice Marlohe, Skyfall) will consistently stymie this well-meaning but insipid rom-com. She’s first of all French, we’re insistently reminded. The […]

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Apr
23

Tribeca Film Festival: The Driftless Area–Review

The Driftless Area has unintentionally given critics and the critical masses the perfect adjective to describe the film: driftless. Toted as a “neo-noir dark romantic drama-comedy”—I’m serious, google it—The Driftless Area follows Pierre (Anton Yelchin), a bartender from a small Midwestern town who finds himself mixed up in a surreal relationship with Zooey Deschanel’s Stella, […]

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Apr
17

Review: True Story

The lowest point of the uneven True Story occurs when Jill Barker (Felicity Jones) pays an impromptu prison visit to accused murderer Christian Longo (James Franco). Longo is charged with unceremoniously offing his wife and three kids and stuffing their bodies in suitcases, which he then threw over a bridge. He also curiously impersonated Jones’s […]

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Philadelphia Film Festival 2015