Movie Reviews

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Starring: Viacheslav Fetisov, Anatoli Karpov, Alexei Kasatonov, Scotty Bowman

Red Army

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The Story: The story of the Soviet Union’s Red Army hockey team. The Lowdown: An occasionally interesting sports documentary that gives some insight into life inside the USSR and the idea of nationalism but adds little else.
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Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Rhys Ifans, Toby Jones, David Dencik, Sean Harris

Serena

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The Story: A corrupt timber baron makes a fatal choice in marrying a mysterious woman with a murky past. The Lowdown: Chock-full of melodrama and outrageous contrivances, there's no way to call Serena good, but it's one fascinating hot mess that's entertainingly trashy.
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Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Daniel Zovatto, Lili Sepe, Jake Weary, Olivia Luccardi

It Follows

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The Story: An implacable, nameless monster is passed on like an STD in this original, maybe even brilliant, horror thriller. The Lowdown: Horror fans — and indeed anyone interested in quality independent film — take note, this critically-acclaimed movie is the goods in the world of truly unnerving, but surprisingly nongory, film.
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Starring: Mira Sorvino, Sean Astin, Alexa PenaVega, Delroy Lindo, Ted McGinley, Brian Bosworth, Cybill Shepherd, Lee Majors

Do You Believe?

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The Story: Multistory tale of characters grappling with putting faith into action. The Lowdown: Less hysterical on the topic of religion than its predecessor, God's Not Dead, this is still the same old preaching-to-the-choir stuff — only overstuffed with characters, some better actors but little actual substance.
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Starring: Jon Hall, Leon Errol, John Carradine, Alan Curtis, Evelyn Ankers, Gale Sondergaard

The Invisible Man’s Revenge

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In Brief: Apart from his inevitable encounters with Abbott and Costello, The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944) was the swan song for the Universal "monster" who just never really caught on. James Whale's original The Invisible Man (1933) is one of the key horror classics of all time. The rather tepid, unfocused follow-ups are another matter. The problem seems to…
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Starring: Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, Alec Guinness, M. Emmet Walsh

Raise the Titanic

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In Brief: It's the movie that helped drive Lew Grade — or Sir Lew Grade or Lord Grade (depending on where you are in his career) — from the film business. It's also the movie that kept writer Clive Cussler from allowing any of his novels to be filmed for the next 25 years. (He…
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Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney

Insurgent

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The Story: "Divergent" Tris must stop the evil dystopian government of future Chicago and avenge the death of her family. The Lowdown: Dull, self-serious and derivative sci-fi of the teen romance variety.
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Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Henry Fonda, Charles Coburn, Eugene Pallette, William Demarest, Eric Blore

The Lady Eve

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In Brief: Preston Sturges’ The Lady Eve (1941) marked the writer-director’s move into the realm of the full-blown A picture with A-list stars — Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck — and the Paramount high gloss his first two films had lacked. The result was one of Sturges’ most popular films and probably as close as he ever…
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Starring: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance

The Gunman

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The Story: A sniper, years after a life-altering job, must go on the run to save his life. The Lowdown: An occasionally interesting yet overly unimaginative action flick with a miscast lead.
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Starring: (Voices) Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, Simon Abkarian, Gabrielle Lopes Benites

Persepolis

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In Brief: Pretty amazing film version of Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical comic Persepolis, about an Iranian girl growing up in the shadow of two oppressive regimes. Though playful in tone, it's a narrative that goes much deeper than one might expect. That said, this marks the fourth time this has been shown since the film's 2008 theatrical…
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Starring: Jack O'Connell, Sam Reid, Richard Dormer, Sean Harris, Charlie Murphy, Adam Nagaitis, David Wilmot

’71

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The Story: Following a botched military action in Belfast, a young Brit soldier is left behind to fend for himself as he tries to make it back to his barracks. The Lowdown: Exciting and very effective war thriller set during "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland. More thriller than political, but very well done.
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Starring: Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Nonso Anozie, Stellan Skarsgård, Derek Jacobi

Cinderella

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The Story: Live action version of the Cinderella story. The Lowdown: It looks terrific. It's also faithful to a fault — and that's exactly the problem, since it makes it on the dull, unadventurous side.
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Starring: Liam Neeson, Ed Harris, Joel Kinnaman, Boyd Holbrook, Vincent D’Onofrio

Run All Night

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The Story: A father and his estranged son must outrun his lifelong friend, a gangster whose son they had a hand in killing. The Lowdown: A competent, often entertaining action flick that gets bogged down with its need for heavy plot dynamics.
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Starring: Heinrich George, Kristina Söderbaum, Horst Caspar, Gustav Diessl, Paul Wegener

Kolberg

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In Brief: Kolberg (1945) is famous — or more properly, notorious — as Josef Goebbels' massively expensive propaganda flop. The idea behind this yarn about the town of Kolberg organizing a resistance front to Napoleon's army was that it was going to put the fight back into the German people. Well, not only was it…
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Starring: Harvey Fierstein, Anne Bancroft, Matthew Broderick, Karen Young, Eddie Castrodad, Ken Page

Torch Song Trilogy

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In Brief: Harvery Fierstein adapts and stars in this film of his hit play. It's often rather simply described as being about "a gay man's search for love." Well, yes, it is that, but it's a lot more. Fierstein plays Arnold Beckoff, an unattached professional drag queen with a history of failed romances that he…
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Starring: Elena Lyadova, Vladimir Vdovichenkov, Aleksey Serebryakov, Roman Madyanov

Leviathan

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The Story: A lower-middle-class man fights the system to save his land while struggling to hold his already splintered family together. The Lowdown: Grim and deeply pessimistic, the film is nonetheless compelling viewing and deserving of our attention.
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Starring: Marshall Thompson, Shirley Patterson, Kim Spalding, Ann Doran, Dabbs Greer, Ray Corrigan

It! The Terror from Beyond Space

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In Brief: Though it's pretty indefensible as objectively good in any normal sense, It! The Terror from Beyond Space (1958) is a towering classic of 1950s sci-fi horror cheese. It's more fun, more memorable and certainly more influential than the handful of big-budget sci-fi movies of the era. After all, none of its pricier brethren can lay…
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Starring: James Stewart, Josephine Hull, Peggy Dow, Charles Drake, Cecil Kellaway

Harvey

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In Brief: Mary Chase's play Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for drama, which speaks volumes about the value of a Pulitzer Prize. It is whimsy in its most virulent form — you know, the kind where we are told that crazy people are saner, nicer and better than the rest of us. The formula…
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Starring: Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Ronald Pickup, Celia Imrie, Richard Gere, David Strathairn

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

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The Story: Further events with the residents and operators of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The Lowdown: It's not up to the original and probably doesn't need to exist at all, but this follow-up is certainly a fine way to spend a couple of hours with our old friends from the first movie.
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Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, Nick Frost

Unfinished Business

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The Story: A businessman and his two inept partners travel the world trying to seal one huge deal before their company turns to ruin. The Lowdown: Incredibly maudlin, overtly unfunny R-rated comedy with an aimless, unsatisfying plot and zero likable characters.
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Starring: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnò, Dominic Rains

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

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The Story: A lone female vampire prowls the nearly deserted streets of Bad City, Iran. The Lowdown: Fascinating, moody, deliberately paced, often compelling — and very odd — take on the vampire genre mixed with the art film. It's also flawed in some serious ways, but on balance, it's certainly worth a look. It's also…