Movie Reviews

The Promise

Release Date: April 21, 2017

April 28, 2017 by

Drama

The TV reporters attending last Friday's opening of The Promise were claiming that this was the first movie made about the Armenian genocide; the statement was later corrected as the first Hollywood movie about it. It's neither the first good movie nor the first bad movie about it, as one notes below. Watching The Promise-it played at Cinequest-a person who knew nothing about the... Read More

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Tommy's Honour

Release Date: April 14, 2017

April 14, 2017 by

Drama

The title of Tommy's Honour--"It's your honor, Your Honor," as that line to Ted Knight goes in Caddyshack--puns on the superior golf skills and the integrity of the sport's early champion Tommy Morris Jr. His feats are still in the record books nearly 150 years later. This biopic, which played at Cinequest this year, is directed by Jason Connery. He's the son of Sean, one of Eart... Read More

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The Curse Of The Cat People

Release Date: March 2, 1944

April 14, 2017 by

Drama Scifi Fantasy

Despite the snazzy title, 1944's Curse of the Cat People has as much pity and tears in it as chills. Young Amy (the excellent Ann Carter) lives in Tarrytown's Sleepy Hollow. She's too strange a 6-year-old to make friends. Her elderly neighbor Mrs. Farren (Julia Dean) who is an old actress and perhaps demented, gifts Amy with a ring. After being joshed by the family's servant (the no... Read More

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Ghost In The Shell

Release Date: March 31, 2017

April 10, 2017 by

Action Adventure Drama Scifi Fantasy

In the horrifying, dystopic future year of 2017, Scarlett Johansson has her face sawed off-"scanned" is the parlance. Her kissable visage is used as a model for a digital avatar, roaming around Neo-Sorta-Kinda-Tokyo killing her fellow avatars with a blaster. She's a federal cop called Major (Johannsen)-with human brain in a synthetic body-on the trail of terrorists assassinating ... Read More

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Boss Baby

Release Date: March 31, 2017

April 10, 2017 by

Animation

Strangely, having human characters in a full-length animated 3D cartoon makes the ambience more cartoonish. Zootopia turned the animals human, whereas The Boss Baby takes place in cartoonland. It's vibrantly colorful, delightfully odd and seriously under the influence of Looney Tunes: Chuck Jones' Walter Mitty pastiche "From A to ZZZ" (1954) and Bob Clampett's "Baby Bottleneck" (194... Read More

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Life

Release Date: March 24, 2017

April 01, 2017 by

Scifi Fantasy Suspense Thriller

In space, no one can hear you scream: "For God's sake, don't coddle that damned face-hugging alien!" Daniel Espinosa's Life throws the science-fanciers a few (human) bones. Take xenobiologist Ariyon Bakare's Hugh Derry, crooning over a little bugger brought to the International Space Station by the Pilgrim 7 Martian probe. Talking to it, petting it in its glove box, and then goosing... Read More

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After The Storm (Umi Yori Mo Mada Fukaku)

Release Date: March 17, 2017

April 01, 2017 by

Drama

There are still Westerners who have never seen a Japanese movie that didn't have swordsmen in it. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda's new dramedy After the Storm shows what they're missing. It's his funniest and funkiest film yet. That said, the cheaper, smudged side of Japan shows up in all his movies--like in the not-so-sweet hereafter of After Life, the grubby kids left to fend for t... Read More

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Personal Shopper

Release Date: March 10, 2017

March 24, 2017 by

Drama Suspense Thriller

Very sexy and very scary, Personal Shopper is Oliver Assayas' follow-up to Clouds of Sils Maria, the film that proved a sharp and sensitive director could find a virtue in Kristen Stewart's air of neutrality. Assayas makes a display of this actress's humid eyes, firmly set mouth and smooth physique, but the ghost story isn't all about her vulnerability--it follows a few sidebars abo... Read More

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Beauty And The Beast

Release Date: April 7, 2017

March 16, 2017 by

Family Musical Scifi Fantasy

During the reign of Louis XVI or thereabouts, pilfering a rose from a cursed castle's garden is punishable by life imprisonment. The castle's owner is an ornery, hairy and horned monster (Dan Stevens). But he'll accept a substitute prisoner, like loyal daughter Belle (Emma Watson), who arrives to ransom her father (Kevin Kline) and take his place. One of the blandest, most nervou... Read More

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Kong: Skull Island

Release Date: March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017 by

Action Adventure

In IMAX 3D, Kong: Skull Island is a battle of gigantic scowls between Samuel L. Jackson and a 10-story gorilla. It's an epic stare-down, rivalling the squint-offs of Lee Van Cleef and Clint Eastwood. Jackson shows maximum indomitability as a Vietnam era officer called Packard, bitter over the course of the war. In 1973, Packard escorts a scientific expedition helmed by Bill Randa... Read More

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Logan

Release Date: March 3, 2017

March 06, 2017 by

Action Adventure Scifi Fantasy

Let's assume that adamantium gives you heavy-metal poisoning, that it's as bad for your system as depleted uranium. Even the uncanny healing powers of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) are breaking down from the things the government did to his skeleton. It's not lupus. It might as well be. Here we find Logan¬タヤa.k.a. Wolverine, one of the most iconic of the X-Men¬タヤmoonlighting as a limo... Read More

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Kedi

Release Date: February 10, 2017

March 06, 2017 by

Documentary

Filming cats is likely tougher than herding cats, but Ceyda Torun's positively enchanting Kedi ("Cat") is an intimate portrait of a tribe of Istanbul cats¬タヤscads of calicos, gingers, even a few coon-cats escaped from Norse freighters. Kedi is also a look at what's left of an old city of twisty pedestrian streets, surrounded by an ever-narrowing ring of office towers and skyscrapers... Read More

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I Am Not Your Negro

Release Date: February 3, 2017

February 11, 2017 by

Documentary

Raoul Peck’s tremendous documentary I Am Not Your Negro shows great intelligence and relevance. Rather than a rehash of the 1960s struggle, it’s a demonstration that the struggle never ended. The subject is James Baldwin, and an unfinished manuscript. Baldwin never got farther than 30 pages into his study of three lives in the Civil Rights movement. All three of the leaders were mar... Read More

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Nineteen Eighty Four

Release Date: October 10, 1984

February 11, 2017 by

Drama Romance

For some reason, George Orwell's 1984 is a current best-seller on Amazon. Something to do with the new administration and its forward-thinking views on the mutability of facts? I wouldn't want to speculate. Orwell's satire was based on the author's time working for the good guys—at the BBC, where he was a wartime propagandist. He even named his protagonist "Winston" as if to hono... Read More

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Salesman (Forushande)

Release Date: June 24, 2016

February 02, 2017 by

Drama

In The Salesman, we have a look at how Iranian artists are standing on crumbling ground. It was a winner at Cannes, for best actor and script, and now it's national news because of the Trump administration's ban on Iranians entering our nation. Academy Award winning director Asghar Farhadi (A Separation) has said he's not attending the Oscars this year, even if the ban is lifted.... Read More

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Toni Erdmann

Release Date: December 25, 2016

January 26, 2017 by

Drama

Loveable if not ordinarily hilarious, Toni Erdmann explores both sides of a situation familiar to many. Winfried (Peter Simonischek) is "Dude" Lebowski's German cousin, a shaggy joker retired from something or other. After his elderly dog dies, he's at loose ends. So he decides to surprise his daughter Ines (Sandra Huller) at her job in Bucharest. She works as a consultant—which is ... Read More

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Founder

Release Date: January 20, 2017

January 26, 2017 by

Drama

Director John Lee Hancock (The Alamo) has gone from Davy Crockett to Ray Kroc—arguably a lesser kind of American hero. Kroc was the burger baron who franchised McDonald's from the original owners, a pair of idealistic restaurateurs from San Bernardino. The McDonalds' "Spee-dee" assembly line method revolutionized the way Americans and a lot of the world eat. Making the Golden Arches... Read More

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20th Century Women

Release Date: December 28, 2016

January 24, 2017 by

Drama

There is weight in the charming 20th Century Women—seriousness that keeps it from blowing away like a load of Styrofoam peanuts in the wind. That weight comes from the realization of how remote the seemingly near past actually is. Mike Mills' third and best film (after Beginners and Thumbsucker) is also the closest to his models in the French New Wave. This fictionalized memoir r... Read More

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