Posted in: Review

The Death of Louis XIV

So far the best film of 2017 concerns the dying, rotting carcass of the French Sun King and the most suspenseful moment in the film is when the king manages to digest a cracker. Director and co-writer Albert Serra’s The Death of Louis XIV is an 18th century version of a 48-hour stay in the observation […]

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After the Storm

At one point in Hirokazu Kore-eda’s After the Storm a character remarks, “We’re having too many typhoons this year” and by that point in the film you know that the character is referring to more than a weather pattern. The twenty-fourth typhoon is set to hit the Tokyo suburbs, along with a family unit that […]

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Dying Laughing

In this new Trump era of a Dice Clay President and bully pulpit bull, standup comedy has more relevancy than ever, at least in terms of political discourse and people interested in a greater understanding of the American presidency may find it more rewarding to read Richard Zoglin rather than Michael Beschloss. As such, documentaries […]

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The Space Between Us

As Stan Laurel once declared in Sons of the Desert, “Life’s not short enough.” The Space Between Us is a Disney Channel heart-beater between teens masquerading as a science fiction epic, hitting all the well-worn clichés so adamantly than a viewer who has lived through all this before longs for a short life span. Asa […]

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Maggie’s Plan

Woody Allen may have retreated to nostalgia but the Woody Allen films of the 1980s (Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors) of self-absorbed intellectual New Yorkers stalking the urban streets talking relationships and Kierkegaard live on in low-budget indie rom-coms (Appropriate Behavior, Listen Up Philip). But it has taken writer-director Rebecca Miller (The […]

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The Hateful Eight

In Quentin Tarantino’s epic talkfest The Hateful Eight, Samuel L. Jackson encapsulates the ethos of the film: “Let’s slow it down. Let’s slow it way down.” In this three-hour plus road show exhibition piece, Tarantino attempts to bring back the spectacular days of the 1960s, when true event films like How the West Was Won and […]

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Where To Invade Next

When the words “Michael Moore” are uttered to right wing Republican zealots, their eyes glaze over and they lapse into paroxysms of rage and retribution, the equivalent of the burlesque shtick of saying “Niagara Falls” or “The Susquehanna Hat Company.” Moore’s tub-thumping (Capitalism: A Love Story, Fahrenheit 911) left-wing stridency drove conservatives to distraction even […]

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45 Years

Charlotte Rampling’s icy steel gaze, sizes you up, takes you in and spits you back out. As a young woman – a sleek model and an even sleeker actress – Rampling was a motion picture glossy and her film roles (Farewell My Lovely, The Verdict) were post-modernist variations of the film noir femme fatale. In […]

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Entertainment

Gregg Turkington’s alter ego, Neil Hamburger – “America’s funnyman” – is a seedy, scowling phantom, sporting a cheap suit and a greasy comb-over, grasping multiple glasses of booze and coughing up phlegm over punch lines to jokes like “Why did God create Domino’s Pizza? To punish humanity for their complacency in letting the Holocaust happen,” […]

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The Forbidden Room

The climactic moment of the 1963 Jerry Lewis film Who’s Minding the Store? features a turbo-charged vacuum cleaner inflated to Hindenburg-like proportions after sucking up the merchandise of a department store. This tumescent orb has risen to the ceiling and Lewis, climbing to the top rung of a tall ladder, stabs it with a big knife. […]

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Taxi

Our country may be creativity bankrupt, corrupt and venal when it comes to filmmaking, and its filmmakers marked as victims and chumps (Keaton, Welles, von Stroheim and other case studies). Those who live within the system either engage in some form of slumming or else live in slums. But no American filmmaker has had to undergo […]

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The Stanford Prison Experiment

For a college student in the ‘80s and ‘90s who took Psychology 101 classes, one of the key moments of the semester was in studying the groundbreaking psychological experiments in social control and obedience to authority and watching the educational films that supported them. The granddaddy of these films, usually projected through a rickety, worn-out […]

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The Overnight

In the Woody Allen film Sleeper, a scientist informs Allen that his brain will be electronically simplified and Allen responds, “My brain? That’s my second favorite organ.” In defense of Woody Allen, why shouldn’t the penis take precedence over the brain? After all, it is an organ good at multi-tasking, has the ability to express itself, […]

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Love At First Fight

Fifty years ago, Bob Dylan wrote, “Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift.” In Thomas Cailley’s pathetically titled Love at First Fight, a dumbed-down English translation of the more provocative original title, Les Combattants, two surly and lost twenty-somethings live through their last summer before they need to make commitments to […]

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Maggie

A grieving father expresses a wish to the family concerning his terminally ill teenager – “Let’s enjoy the time we have with her.” But this is not Lorenzo’s Oil and the child is not suffering from ADL. In Maggie, somber father Wade Vogel (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must face the terminal status of his daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin). […]

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The D Train

The D Train, the creepy new dramedy with Jack Black, is a journey to the end of the line, the ultimate Seth Rogen-James Franco bromance film taken to its logical conclusion. This Is the End unfurled the flag and The D Train hoists it up the flagpole. It is just too bad that The D […]

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The Gunman

Laurence Olivier (nominated for an Oscar nine times and winning once), played towering roles – Othello, Hamlet, Henry V, Richard III. But in 1965, right after career defining roles in The Entertainer and Spartacus, he took on the role of a police detective in Otto Preminger’s dreary Bunny Lake Is Missing, prompting film critic Alexander […]