Posted in: Review

You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get: An Interview with “Koch” Director Neil Barsky

Regardless of whether the camera was on or off, former New York mayor Ed Koch talked politics, says Neil Barsky, director of the documentary Koch. That says everything. Koch, who ran New York from 1978 to 1989, adored the attention and understood the theatrics behind politics, but couldn’t find the off switch. The lights were […]

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2013 Independent Film Festival Boston Recap and Reviews

As the 11th year of Independent Film Festival Boston kicked off on the night of April 24, the city of Boston was still reflecting on a quiet act of renewal from earlier in the day. That morning, the city’s famed Boylston Street officially reopened, nine days after terrorist bombs tore through the avenue, killing and […]

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The 10 Best Movie Ass-Kickings of All Time

We can’t get enough of well done action. Heck, even mediocre thrills fill us with solid cinematic entertainment. From car chases to foot races, gun fights to swordplay, pitting man against his enemy (or monster, or machine) usually ends up in an entertaining, if unrealistic, catharsis. With Tom Cruise trying his hand — again — […]

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Iron Man 3

Throughout Iron Man 3, billionaire playboy philanthropist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) suffers disorienting panic attacks – a direct result of his involvement in last summer’s The Avengers. Stark, still relatively new to the hero game, is having a difficult time processing the miraculous – and existence-threatening – challenges he faced in New York City: […]

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Generation Um…

The opening moments of Mark Mann’s Generation Um… cast a spell, or possibly a hex, of a vague nineties-ish aura. There’s some insistent dialogue between two young women, recalling both a poor man’s Tarantino and a poor man’s Kevin Smith, about whether “shat” is a word. There’s Keanu Reeves, who began that decade doing iconically […]

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Love Is All You Need

Starting off your movie with a round of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore” is never promising, especially when the story features broken-hearted northern Europeans reconnecting with love down in sunny Italy. To be sure, Susanne Bier’s romance comes slathered in a certain kind of schmaltz. But she holds back at certain key moments, keeping her film […]

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The Iceman

Pity the cast of Ariel Vromen’s dreckish and embarrassing hitman saga The Iceman. With a few exceptions (say, David Schwimmer, who can’t escape his character’s marked-for-death imbecility), the performers here take Vromen and Morgan Land’s screenplay about real-life assassin Richard Kuklinski quite seriously indeed. It’s understandable, since one does have to go to work with […]

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Worst Movie Ever? I Spit On Your Grave

Welcome to the first installment of “Worst Movie Ever?,” where every month we’ll examine a universally panned movie to determine if merit lies in its critically deposited scorn. With the recent passing of Roger Ebert, this first choice, Meir Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave (originally titled Day of the Woman) is fitting. The great […]

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The Contrarian: Attack of the Clones is a Film of Incalculable Historical Significance

What does Palme d’Or winner Amour, Sundance Grand Jury winner Winter’s Bone, and The Evil Dead remake all have in common?  They might never have been made were it not for the unwavering vision of George Lucas and a little movie called Star Wars: Episode 2 – Attack of the Clones. Clones was the first […]

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The Big Wedding

Writer/director Justin Zackham must have some kind of movie Midas Touch. His script for The Bucket List attracted Oscar winners Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, while his current release, The Big Wedding, offers four Academy Award favorites-Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and Robin Williams. Both films are benign burlesques catering to a crowd […]

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Kon-Tiki

Call it Life of Thor! As depicted in Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg’s Kon-Tiki, the story of Thor Heyerdahl (Pål Sverre Hagen), the Norwegian-born writer, ethnographer and thoroughly badass adventuring expert, and his 1947 raft trip from Peru to Polynesia affords similar wonders of the ocean as Ang Lee’s mediocre Oscar-winner. And yet Kon-Tiki is […]

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Mud

A small-town way of life that’s slowly disappearing. A young boy’s coming-of-age set against the possible dissolution of his parents’ marriage. A drifter who inspires both awe and anxiety in the people he influences. A bayou riverbank filled with secrets and struggles. These are the narrative elements writer/director Jeff Nichols works with, and against, in […]