Movie Reviews

Todd Solondz breaks new ground with old characters in Wiener Dog
Starring: Greta Gerwig, Danny DeVito, Julie Delpy, Ellen Burstyn, Kieran Culkin

Wiener Dog

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The Story: A Dachshund touches the lives of several people in a series of vignettes that only Todd Solondz could present. The Lowdown: A beautiful film (if you’re the type of person that appreciates Solondz's twisted brand of beauty), this is arguably the apogee of the filmmaker’s recent work. Hilarious and heart-wrenching in equal measure.
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Starring: Lou de Laage, Agata Buzek, Agata Kulesza, Vincent Macaigne, Joanna Kulig

The Innocents

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The Story: In post-World War II Poland, a French Red Cross nurse looks after a convent whose nuns have been sexually assaulted by Soviet soldiers. The Lowdown: A heavy, serious meditation on faith, womanhood and abuse that's not easy to watch but is worthy, thanks to its intelligence.
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Starring: Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich

Touch of Evil

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Perhaps the most legendary of all Orson Welles films, apart from Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil (1958) actually deserves its legend status—even if some of the legend is fabricated. (The notion put forth in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994) that Universal was spuriously offering up Charlton Heston as a Mexican to Welles is nonsense, since…
Starring: Boris Karloff, Melvyn Douglas, Ernest Thesiger, Gloria Stuart, Raymond Massey, Lilian Bond, Eva Moore

The Old Dark House

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James Whale’s The Old Dark House (1932) is not by any means the first Old-Dark-House movie, but it’s the only one adapted from the J.B. Priestley novel by that name (though in Britain, the book was called Benighted). (We will not discuss that 1963 abomination by the same title.) The movie — believed to be…
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Starring: Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth

Ghostbusters

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The Story: With ghosts invading Manhattan, three scientists and a transit system worker begin hunting them down. The Lowdown: A needlessly meandering and achingly jokey reworking of a supposed classic, one that leans too heavily on in-references and wastes a likable cast.
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Starring: Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, Olympia Dukakis, Amy Ryan, Joseph Gilgun

The Infiltrator

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The Story: An adaptation of the fact-based memoir of U.S. customs agent Robert Mazur, who went deep undercover to take down the Medellin Cartel by exposing Pablo Escobar’s money laundering efforts. The Lowdown: What should have been 90 minutes of pot-boiler fun turns out to be 127 minutes of pretension and tedium.
Absolutely Fabulous The Movie - 2016
Starring: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, Jane Horrocks, Chris Colfer

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

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The Story: Two aging, drug-addled socialites go on the run after one of them accidentally murders Kate Moss. The Lowdown: A shrill and grating attempt at creating commentary on the rich and famous, but one with no teeth and little direction.
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Starring: Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis

Death Becomes Her

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While it’s by no means a classic, Death Becomes Her might be more timely now than ever, considering the amount of social media scorn recently heaped upon former ingenues Meg Ryan and Renée Zellweger for their inability to remain perpetually youthful. A black comedy focused the obsessive quest to do just that, at any cost, might…
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Starring: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill, Rima Te Wiata, Rachel House, Oscar Kightley, Rhys Darby, Taika Waititi

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

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The Story: A troubled New Zealand teen — and self-proclaimed “gangsta” — is sent to live with a new adoptive family on a remote farm. But after his new “auntie” dies unexpectedly, he and his “uncle” must go on the run from the authorities to keep their family intact. The Lowdown: Wilderpeople is a coming-of-age story…
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Starring: Louis C.K., Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Albert Brooks, Dana Carvey, Hannibal Buress, Steve Coogan

The Secret Life of Pets

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The Story: A devoted terrier named Max finds his worldview challenged when his owner adopts a new dog. The Lowdown: While it lacks the polish of Pixar, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Studios’ fifth collaboration is a predictably inoffensive crowd-pleaser. It may not end up on any best-of lists for the year, but it’s entertaining, succinct and far less…
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Starring: Yo-Yo Ma, Kayhan Kalhor, Wu Man, Cristina Pato

The Music of Strangers

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The Story: An examination of life and art through cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble. The Lowdown: A good-hearted and well-meaning documentary that feels a little stiff and flimsy considering its subject matter.
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Starring: Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza, Sugar Lyn Beard

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

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The Story: Two goofy brothers with a penchant for destruction-causing high jinks are forced into finding dates to their sister's wedding, only to be fooled into taking two hard-partying friends. The Lowdown: A loud, unoriginal comedy that's a forgettable hodgepodge of equally bad movies.
Les Cowboys #4-IMdB
Starring: François Damiens, Finnegan Oldfield, Agathe Dronne, John C. Reilly

Les Cowboys

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The Story: When a young French girl disappears, her father and brother risk everything to find her. The Lowdown: Very loosely based on John Ford’s The Searchers, Les Cowboys explores deep and decidedly timely topics while maintaining a thematic resonance with its source material.
Tickled #1-IMdB
Starring: David Farrier, Dylan Reeve, David Starr, Hal Karp, David D’Amato

Tickled

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The Story: An investigative journalist stumbles across a series of fetishistic internet videos depicting an alleged sport known as “competitive endurance tickling.” As he pursues the story, what he finds is more disturbing and bizarre than could possibly have been expected. The Lowdown: Don’t let the deceptive premise or trailer fool you, Tickled is a…
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Starring: John Stuart, Judy Kelly, Edgar Norfolk, Richard Cooper, Drusilla Wills

The Black Abbot

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A somewhat uninspired comedic take on the standard “old dark house” mystery thriller, The Black Abbot (1934) was produced on the cheap and it shows. Director George A. Cooper attempts to hide his hastily slapped-together sets through creative staging, and tuxedos from the wardrobe department make the cast look like there on their way to…

Friday the Thirteenth

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This is probably not the Friday the Thirteenth you’re thinking of. Victor Saville's 1933 drama offers an ensemble cast in a polished Brit melodrama with a clever premise, in which 12 people cross paths on a doomed bus. The events that lead to their fate unravel in flashbacks following the accident. Director Seville exhibits his…
Too Late for Tears-IMdB
Starring: Lizbeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy

Too Late For Tears

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Perhaps better known for his work in science fiction, including the 1953 War of the Worlds and 1964 cult classic Robinson Crusoe on Mars, director Byron Haskins was also responsible for 1949’s Too Late for Tears.  This often overlooked film noir may not have the name recognition of something like Double Indemnity or Out of…
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Starring: Will Harlan

El Chivo

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A stirring documentary about accomplished “Ultra Runner” Will Harlan, El Chivo explores the motivations and psychology behind long-distance running while providing a compelling character study of a notable local. By capturing candid glimpses of Harlan’s life on his bucolic Barnardsville farm, local filmmaker Rod Murphy goes beyond Harlan’s headline-grabbing victory in the grueling 50-mile Caballo…

Man Bites Dog

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A biting satire, this 1992 Franco-Belgian Cannes darling may have been too dark for mass appeal. That said, it’s humor is undeniable, and its commitment to its low-budget pseudo-verite aesthetic is commendable. A serial killer waxes philosophic about his work while the film crew following his exploits becomes increasingly complicit in his crimes. Hijinks ensue.…
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Starring: Peter Ustinov, Maggie Smith, James Mason, Diana Rigg, Sylvia Miles, Roddy McDowell

Evil Under the Sun

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In Brief: Arguably Agatha Christie’s most well-known character, Hercule Poirot is something of a known quantity in most corners. However, those primarily familiar with David Suchet’s 24-year run playing the Belgian detective, or Albert Finney’s portrayal (possibly the best Poirot ever) in Sidney Lumet’s 1974 Murder on the Orient Express, will find plenty to enjoy…
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Starring: Ruby Barnhill, Mark Rylance, Penelope Wilton, Jemaine Clement, Rebecca Hall

The BFG

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The Story: A young girl is whisked away to a magical land by a big, friendly giant. The Lowdown: A generally kindhearted and sweet-natured adventure film that could use a bit more whimsy and a shorter runtime.