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Review: JACKIE, A Sublime And Intimate Look At An American Tragedy

Star-driven biopics are a dime a dozen in the annual awards race yet Pablo Larrain's searing new drama Jackie stands head and shoulders above the more conventional fare that flood theaters around this time of year. A deeply intimate story...

Review: MOANA, Stereotypes Are Overturned, and Also Reinforced, on the High Seas

Spectacular beauty is on display throughout Moana, the 56th theatrical feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Even better, the film's protagonist is an admirable young woman who is determined to come of age on her own terms, without any adolescent...

Review: ALLIED, In the Territory Between Tribute and Parody

A ripe potboiler, Allied resembles countless World War II motion pictures, yet its intended tone is difficult to discern. Is it meant as a tribute? Or a parody? The answer lies somewhere between the two, obviously, for a movie that...

Review: RULES DON'T APPLY, Imperfect, Awkward and Kind of Marvelous

Kind of marvelous in its apparently single-minded devotion to a slender tale, Warren Beatty's return to directing is weird and ragged and amusing and endearing. Rules Don't Apply, which also marks Beatty's return to acting after a lengthy absence, follows...

Black Nights 2016 Review: A MONSTER CALLS, Emotional Manipulation at its Finest

You might be able to argue that J.A. Bayona is not the most original filmmaker current working today, but there is no denying that he has a masterful understanding of how to direct a film that will grab (almost) all...

Review: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Slowly Lurks

There will be five of these? Really?? Harry Potter without Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good Harry Potter tale as much as the next guy… Actually, I truthfully don’t. Having never read the books, and having...

Blu-ray Review: Criterion's PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE Proves a Healthy Choice

Breezy yet tight, severe but affecting, Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch-Drunk Love is the confounding genius' mini masterpiece.   Shot through with affection and pathos to spare, the fact that the entire picture wears its sensitivities on its sleeves benefits the...

Los Cabos 2016 Review: LION Is Sickly Sweet Awards Bait

On its surface Lion is little more than awards bait, the kind of saccharine, melodramatic mess that gets trotted out to garner attention and weepy audiences. With the powerhouse Weinsteins behind the project, along with a retinue of actors such...

Review: BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK Goes Nowhere

No, this isn’t a movie about someone who’s had too much to drink in the first half, and then has trouble locating a restroom during the break. Although that may’ve been a better film. As we're now two years beyond the surprisingly...

Review: ARRIVAL Tackles Big Ideas With Pure Elegance

They should have sent a poet. The imagining of humankind's first contact with alien lifeforms is territory well-mined in popular fiction and probably best executed in Robert Zemeckis's wonderful 1997 film Contact. With such great works in the past, is...

Review: LOVING, Civil Rights Brought Home, Beautifully

There may be no more subtle, beautiful and accomplished film this year than Jeff Nichols' Loving. There might also be no film more in need of help being championed, a work surely going to be stampeded in a year where...

Review: TROLLS, Don't Worry, Be Happy

Beneath its cheerful surfaces, a noxious message underlies Trolls. The latest production from Dreamworks Animation features highly colorful visuals to enhance the tuneful karaoke of the primary narrative. The setup is that the monstrous, evil race of creatures known as...

Trieste 2016 Review: MORGAN is an Inconsistent Mess

A trend I began to notice a few years ago with much of Hollywood film (and some independent American cinema as well) was a sore lack of good scripts. Not even outstanding ones, just good scripts with good dialogue and...

Review: DOCTOR STRANGE Brings Psychic Psychedelic Action

Once upon a time, when Iron Man turned out to be quite watchable and it became known what exactly Disney and Marvel were planning with their "Cinematic Universe", we were wondering how the hell they were going to fit in...

Blu-ray Review: THE EXORCIST III

Out this week from Scream Factory, comes The Exorcist III. It's a brand-new 2K scan and the release I received, The Collector's Edition, provided both the theatrical and director's cuts. What's interesting with the latter is that it contains footage of...

Blu-ray Review: CARRIE Still Scares

Directed by Brian De Palma, Carrie is one of the all-time greats in the canon of horror. Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie collectively scared the living hell out of America as the awkward, oppressed daughter and zealot mother duo --- and they...

Book Review: STAR WARS ART: RALPH McQUARRIE Is A Giant Heavy Treasure Trove

(The Holy Star Wars Trilogy may have finally gotten itself a Bible...) Currently I'm 47 years old, and it's safe to say that for 39 of those years, I've been collecting stuff about Star Wars. Episodes IV, V and VI...

Review: THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, A Manipulative Wreck

Evoking its title, the new film adaptation of the popular Paula Hawkins novel The Girl on the Train wants to be perceived as running smoothly on its tracks through a variety of settings and scenarios. Sometimes, it travels a familiar...

Review: MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN is Better Burton

Even as Tim Burton's latest phantasmic studio sprawl tends toward momentum of the inert variety, it proves all the more that the filmmaker is indeed moving through time. Not quite 60 years old, Burton is still too young to qualify...

Review: DEEPWATER HORIZON, Heroes At the Mouth of Hell

Six years ago, nightmare images of an oil rig burning at night in the Gulf Coast seared themselves into memory. The fire raged high and furious against a pitch-black landscape, leaving one to wonder just what had happened ... and...