Film Review

They're Here!

Arrival is one of the best science fiction/mystery films to be released about first contact since Jodi Foster's thought-provoking film Contact. Measured against Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece 2001, it's a solid 8.5. In fact, it takes one of the central themes of that film and offers an interesting take on how would our God-fearing mankind interact with EBEs (extraterrestrial biological entities)? In fact, this movie is not so much about the aliens as it is about mankind's own internal dialogues about reacting to such a monumental event. Let's face it folks, mankind to this point in time, has been fueled by our emotional fears in just about all of our political and cultural intolerances since mankind first started recording tribal differences right up to our current religious-fueled international battles. Beyond what will ET look like and behave like, how will we interact with ET? How will we communicate with them? And what will ET think of humans and our small-minded, violent ways? Read more »

Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends: Woody Allen's Godson Tries to Direct a Comedy

Quincy Rose, the godson of Woody Allen and the offspring of the late Mickey Rose (an Allen collaborator on films such as Bananas and a writer for The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson), has just scribed, directed, produced, and edited his second feature film, Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends (FEFEF) so roll out the red carpet and blow the horns. Such an amazing lack of talent has seldom been contained in a mere 117 minutes. Read more »

El Ganzo Boasts "Unique Love Between a Black Gay Man & White Straight Woman"

As noted above, the invite for Steve Balderson's latest feature, El Ganzo, swore that something special was going to occur between a gay man of color and a white female within its running time. Here was an intriguing come-on, one hard to cold-shoulder, so I didn't. Happily, the film is a well-acted, beautifully shot, two-hander about a couple of gentle souls, thrown together by fate, who wind up the better for the confrontation. Read more »

Girl Trouble: When Women Watch Movies

The Intervention's appealing ensemble. (Courtesy Paramount)

It's no secret that women are still mostly used as beards in studio bromances or scenery in tentpole actioners. But even smaller character-driven films can’t always be counted on to provide satisfaction for those of us yearning to recognize some aspect of ourselves on screen. Faced with intimate stories that fail to bring female characters into focus or ambitious tales that mirror but don’t alleviate the special joys of being a girl (worldwide), female audiences are mostly left to get enlightenment or escape by dreaming ourselves into male characters and stories. Read more »

Stephen Frears Hits All the Right Notes with Florence Foster Jenkins

Totally relaxed in his Ritz-Carleton suite on Central Park South, his arms spread wide on a rather tasteful couch, Stephen Frears held court not at all like the monarch in his biggest success, The Queen, (2006). His press conference for his latest effort, Florence Foster Jenkins, will take place one hour later with about 40 journalists in attendance. His stars -- Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and The Big Bang Theory’s Simon Helberg -- would then be asked 95% of the questions. Not surprising. Directors, for the most, part do not drive traffic to web sites, sadly, even ones as near legendary as Frears. Read more »

The Childhood of a Leader: From Jean-Paul Sartre to Robert Pattinson

If actor-turned-director Brady Corbet’s post-World-War-I saga, The Childhood of a Leader, did little more than send American readers to Jean-Paul Sartre’s lesser known short story of the same name, one would be thanking the cinematic gods for its appearance. Read more »

Jason Bourne Gets Even More Fast and Furious

Lickety-split is how everything goes in the latest Jason Bourne adventure starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass, an old hand at shaping this series (The Bourne Supremacy (2004)); The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)). Read more »

Lesbian Lives Matter in Summertime

Quite early on in Catherine Corsini's embraceable French import Summertime, a group of young Parisian women run through the streets, laughing aloud while pinching male asses. Viva, Simone de Beauvoir! The buttocks-ravished men are both startled and outraged. How dare they be made into sexual objects. One gent even starts attacking a lass, but to her rescue comes farm-girl/tractor-driver/physically strapping Delphine (Izïa Higelin). Read more »

From Dusk Till Dawn: D.J. Cotrona Is TV's New George Clooney

Logo has declared D.J. Cotrona one the "hottest men of horror TV," not that far behind The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus. His video clips have made top tumblr posts, and he's included on one fan's Secret Celebrity Crush page right above Marlon Brando. What's more, you can observe Cotrona doing some heavy lifting on ONTD (Oh No They Didn't), and literally hundreds of other sites are still salivating over his bare-chested shots from G.I. Joe: Retaliation, his second film with Channing Tatum. The first: Dear John. Read more »

The BFG: Spielberg’s Ode to Cannibalism, Gas Emission, and Roald Dahl

When The New Yorker's critic Pauline Kael was reviewing the screen adaptation of D.H. Lawrence's The Fox, she insisted: "If you are going to see a movie based on a book you think is worth reading, read the book first. You can never read the book with the same imaginative responsiveness to the author once you have seen the movie." Read more »

Paul Rudd Learns The Fundamentals of Caring

"How would you wipe my ass?" is not a question asked at every job interview, but it is in the Netflix adaptation of Jonathan Evison's enthusiastically praised 2012 novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caring.

The Boston Globe critic, in fact, raved that the book reminded him of "Little Miss Sunshine meets Rain Man." The New York Times insisted the work was "infused with a sad rage that makes good comedy great," and the LA Weekly added that here was "a literary version of a good grunge song." Read more »

The Neon Demon or Another Reason to Hate Top Models and Danish-Born Directors

The Danish-born director, Nicolas Winding Refn, has helmed a few popular movies such as Drive (2011), Bronson (2008), and the Pusher trilogy. This success has been only slightly marred by a handful of far-less-favored works including Fear X (2003) and Only God Forgives (2013) starring Ryan Gosling. Read more »

Hany Abu-Assad: Being a Savior is a Burden

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards," noted Soren Kierkgaard, but what if you don't see much of a future for yourself and those around you? Will you just become mired in the past? That's the plight of many of the characters in the critically acclaimed offerings of Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad, whose contentious works have twice been nominated for Best Foreign Film Oscars: Paradise Now in 2006 and Omar in 2014. Read more »

Susan Sarandon’s Mommy Issues

What happens when the private persona of a performer bleeds over into the public creative sphere? The line is so fragile it often rends our ability to lose ourselves in the fictional world of art. Read more »

Tribeca Review: Bugs or “Waiter, Can You Put a Fly in My Soup?”

Will maggot fat oust coconut oil as a foodie favorite? Is PepsiCo replacing the corn flour in its Fritos with ground cricket corpses? And, hey! Who doesn't want to bite into some chicken with garlic and saffron sauce topped with crumbled buffalo worms?

Answers: Possibly. Not yet. Less people than you might think. Read more »

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