27 May 2017

The Unknown Girl (2017)

Before I talk about two brothers from Belgium and review their impressive new murder mystery — The Unknown Girl — I’m going to step up on my soapbox and talk about heroes and villains. Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker have always been, for me, the least-interesting characters in their own franchises. Temperamental Hermione

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13 May 2017

A Quiet Passion (2017)

The brilliant Terence Davies cast — Cynthia Nixon in — A Quiet Passion as the great — Emily Dickinson. The poet’s played by Emma Bell — In the opening scenes — Where Emily embraces doubt — And authenticity. But then — the wonder of the sight — family portraits change!

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30 Apr 2017

Personal Shopper (2017)

Just as Olivier Assayas’s new film Personal Shopper keeps shapeshifting from horror movie to socio-economic commentary to erotic thriller to paranormal murder mystery… so this review keeps shifting as I write it. I haven’t published my comments until now because I couldn’t figure out where to begin in describing all that

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17 Apr 2017

Don’t Think Twice (2016)

Improv comedy is a demanding art. Making a movie about an improv team — one that is both dramatic and funny — that’s even more challenging. Mike Birbiglia succeeds!

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14 Apr 2017

Get Out (2017)

Earlier this month, my students wrote film reviews of Ava DuVernay’s film Selma.  I pulled sentences from each of them and projected them onto a screen, asking the class to help each other repair grammatical errors in some of the weaker sentences. (This is a great exercise. The class wakes up

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06 Apr 2017

Song to Song (2017)

The latest Terrence Malick pageant of glamorous lovers and their interior-monologues meanders into monotony.

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14 Jan 2017

Paterson (2016)

1. It’s as if director Jim Jarmusch heard about the year that I just survived and somehow decided to bless me, so he studied the movies that have given me particular blessings in the past, and then he went and made a movie that makes make me laugh and cry

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06 Jan 2017

Cameraperson (2016)

[UPDATE: Cameraperson is now streaming on Amazon Prime.] “Things means things.” That’s what my high school poetry teacher used to say as I blinked at seemingly unrelated elements of a poem. Now I know what he means. The details of our lives, however arbitrary, will talk with one another if

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12 Sep 2016

Sully (2016)

Sully is a fine film — a compelling, suspenseful account of a few hours in which one man, who had been responsible and brave and reliable his whole life, made the best decisions under incredible pressure and saved all “155 souls” on US Air 1549 from death. In doing so,

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31 Aug 2016

The BFG (2016)

Once upon a time, a father and son saw Steven Spielberg’s “The BFG.” You won’t believe what happened next.

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