Posted in: Review

Luca

A pleasant if predictable fable about acceptance and diversity, Luca is a lesser effort from Pixar Animation Studios, which still places it above most animated feature films. It’s full of lovely animation and appealing characters, in a well-realized setting that draws from both mythology and history. For its target kid audience, Luca is perfectly effective, […]

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Every Single Someone

It’s often been said that movies reflect society, yet despite America’s terrible epidemic of gun violence, movies have rarely grappled with the issue, much less explored the topic of violence from the perspective of the often young, white men who choose to perpetrate it. Filmmakers’ reasons for staying away from this messy topic are understandable. […]

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Marathon

No one makes Christopher Guest movies like Christopher Guest, as filmmakers Anthony Guidubaldi and Keith Strausbaugh prove with their Guest-style mockumentary Marathon. But just because Marathon doesn’t match up to the brilliance of Guest films like Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show doesn’t mean that it isn’t entertaining, and Guidubaldi and Strausbaugh put together […]

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Effigy: Poison and the City

Frau Gottfried is killing people with kindness. Literally. The pretty German lady is always there when someone – a spouse, a relative, a neighbor – takes ill. She typically devotes days, even weeks to tenderly nursing them, even moving into their homes to see after their meals. It’s terrible all her patients end up dying. […]

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Too Late

Violet’s boss is horrible. He’s inhuman. He uses people. Eats them up, and then throws them away like garbage. He’s a monster, she tells her friends. “You mean, a metaphorical monster,” they say. Oh, if only. Show business is full of fiends, but the truth is, Bob Devore is a real one. A man-eating one. […]

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Bad Cupid

Love is blind – which is why, sometimes, you need someone to step in and save you from walking into traffic. That’s the idea behind Bad Cupid, an amiably offbeat comedy about a slacker named Dave. A loser who can’t believe he lost, he’s still obsessed with the girl who dumped him a year ago. […]

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What Lies West

What Lies West is a battlefield on which the screenplay’s earnest human insights war against the film’s inherent formal limitations. The ultra-low-budget feature was clearly made with love, but also under such restrictive stylistic and technical circumstances that it becomes difficult to look past those distractions and into the eyes of the characters. It’s hard […]

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The Water Man

The Water Man is the kind of movie that could go in several directions.  With elements of the hero’s journey, a coming-of-age story and a fairy tale, actor David Oyelowo’s feature directorial debut, is ultimately a throwback to ’80s family films like The Goonies, E.T. and Labyrinth. The movie centers on young Gunner Boone (This […]

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Four Good Days

Four Good Days strains itself to convey a hardened tale of mother-daughter turmoil through the lens of a bleak addiction drama to the point that it eventually feels like a dirge deliberately inflicted upon the audience. There’s incredible value in an unflinching cinematic portrayal of difficult material, but Rodrigo Garcia’s film seems hellbent on wallowing […]

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The Virtuoso

The Virtuoso is one of those movies so mind-bogglingly misguided that it’s difficult to discern whether the talented actors involved willingly grabbed a quick paycheck or if they mistook the material for something worthwhile. Caught somewhere between isolated character study and brooding shoot-‘em-up thriller but without a single clue how to actualize either perspective, the […]

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P.E.N.S. – Poetic Energy Needed in Society

Academia is not the street. Forget whatever you learned in college about Tennyson or Longfellow. Modern urban poetry is fast, unfussy, forceful. You don’t give readings, you compete in “slams.” You don’t recite your verses, you “spit” them. And if the audience sits there silently – then you know you’ve lost. If you’re really connecting, […]

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In Action

Sean Kenealy and Eric Silvera wanted to make an action movie in the worst way, and they did. No money for a cast of thousands? How about a cast of two. Low-budget? Closer to no budget, with the results of the team’s $20,000 Kickstarter campaign stretched to cover everything, from  dubious on-screen talent to some […]

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Touch

She is a woman without a country, married to a man with a past. And their troubled marriage – and her desperate, dangerous search for something more – will lead her down a risky path and into a deadly affair in Touch. Stripped to its essentials –erotic-thriller style and neo-noir fatalism — the movie sounds […]

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Wildcat

There’s a persistent competence on display in Wildcat that is at first reassuring but eventually frustrating. In this ultra-low-budget drama that takes place largely within a single, very small, set, the controlled environment allows for very few glaring missteps – the plot is relatively tight, the acting is reined in, and the limited on-screen space […]