Movie Reviews

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Starring: Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huck Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Isabella Rossellini, Barry Bostwick

Incredibles 2

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The Story: The Parr family, also known as the superhero team The Incredibles, fight to regain the legality of their collective avocation as a mysterious villain known as Screenslaver threatens to undermine their efforts. The Lowdown: Visually stunning but narratively regressive, director Brad Bird's return to Pixar lacks the punch of its predecessor.
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Starring: Trevor Jackson, Jason Mitchell, Jacob Ming-Trent, Lex Scott Davis, Andrea Londo

Superfly

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The Story: Cocaine dealer Youngblood Priest goes after one big score  after a nightclub shooting makes him contemplate getting out of the game. The Lowdown: Inferior to the original but true to its spirit, mindless fun aimed squarely at the adolescent male id.
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Starring: Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Jake Johnson, Jeremy Renner

Tag

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The Story: Five friends reunite every May to play the same game of tag that's been going on for 30 years... The Lowdown: ... but this year the greatest player of all time is threatening to retire, which someone thought was a good idea for a movie.
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Starring: Erik Odom, Andie Morgenlander, Dustin Whitehead, Luke Beavers, Mondy Carter, Mary Katherine O'Donnell

Luke and Jo

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The Story: A struggling screenwriter confronts his demons after meeting a young musician while promoting his script at a film festival. The Lowdown: A locally produced independent drama that makes the most of its budget — and its picturesque Asheville setting — while telling an emotionally resonant story.
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Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyoko Kagawa, Tatsuya Mihashi, Isao Kimura

High and Low

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In Brief: For his 1963 suspense film High and Low, Akira Kurosawa seems to have been actually trying to draw the wrath of those who find his work too “Western” by choosing the Ed McBain novel King’s Ransom for his source material. What could possibly be more Western — indeed, more downright American — than…
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Starring: Victor Mature, Hedy Lamarr, Angela Lansbury, George Sanders, Olive Deering, Russ Tamblyn, Henry Wilcoxon

Samson and Delilah

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In Brief: Cecil B. DeMille's historical epics are an acquired taste in my book, but even those with accepting palates may find Samson and Delilah (1949) hard to swallow. Despite its (mostly) remarkable cast and suitably grandiose scale, it's perhaps the most forgettable of DeMille's biblical films. Sure, Hedy Lamar looks gorgeous and George Sanders gets to be sleazy,…
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Starring: Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Philip Ettinger, Cedric the Entertainer, Michael Gaston, Victoria Hill

First Reformed

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The Story: A reverend with a depressing back story and an even more depressing congregation contemplates extreme measures as his church, funded by a malignantly narcissistic oligarch, prepares to celebrate its 250th anniversary. The Lowdown: A spiritual sequel to Taxi Driver that places the emphasis on the spiritual, as writer/director Paul Schrader returns to form.
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Starring: Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, Ann Dowd, Milly Shapiro

Hereditary

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The Story: A family confronts a seemingly accidental tragedy, only to discover that its roots are buried in a far deeper occult history. The Lowdown: A staggeringly accomplished feature debut for writer/director Ari Aster that mixes metaphor with metaphysics to genuinely ghoulish ends.
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Starring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter

Ocean’s 8

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The Story: Debbie Ocean, recently released from prison, puts a team together and sets a long-planned Met Gala heist into motion in this spinoff of the Soderbergh-directed series. The Lowdown: While the all-star cast is the best thing going for it, the film lacks the energy, style and overall sense of cinematic fun offered up…
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Starring: Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Jenny Slate, Zachary Quinto, Charlie Day, Dave Bautista

Hotel Artemis

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The Story: In a future Los Angeles beset by riots over water, a tough-as-nails nurse operates a boutique hospital for the city's most powerful criminals. The Lowdown: As sleazily stylish as it is stupefyingly slipshod, this not-quite neo-noir is likely to engender little more than a resounding "So what?"
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Starring: Jozef Kroner, Ida Kaminska, Hana Slivkova, Frantisek Zvarik, Helena Zvarikov

The Shop on Main Street

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In Brief: What would happen if Ernst Lubitsch's To Be or Not to Be had some unholy love child with Schindler's List? I don't know, and I don't want to know — but it couldn't possibly be more depressing than Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos' 1965 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film, The Shop on Main Street (Obch o Na Korze).…
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Starring: Alex Sharp, Elle Fanning, Abraham Lewis, Ethan Lawrence, Nicole Kidman

How to Talk to Girls at Parties

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The Story: An alien from a suffocating culture ends up in England at the beginning of punk's explosion. The Lowdown: An endlessly playful piece of science fiction that's rewarding if you have the patience for its romanticized nature.
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Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Betty Gabriel, Harrison Gilbertson, Simon Maiden, Benedict Hardie, Melanie Vallejo

Upgrade

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The Story: In a near-future society built around technological dependency, a Luddite turns to tech in order to avenge the murder of his wife. The Lowdown: A poor-man's-Tom-Hardy and bargain-basement-Jared-Leto meet homicidal Siri.
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Starring: Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Geraldine James

Beast

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The Story: Sheltered, 27-year-old Moll falls for scruffy woodworker Pascal, who might secretly be the serial killer the police have been hunting for the past 10 years. The Lowdown: A dark and haunting psychological thriller that figures out how to surprise while still being completely open with all the clues.
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Starring: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin

Adrift

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The Story: Based on real events, in 1983 a young couple are blown off course during Hurricane Raymond and spend 41 days lost at sea. The Lowdown: Shailene Woodley gives a career-best performance in a film that's both harrowing and strangely life-affirming in equal measure.
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Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Dan Bakkedahl, Eleanor Worthington-Cox

Action Point

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The Story: A ne'er-do-well divorced man must redeem his relationship with his daughter and save his liability landmine of an amusement park from corporate interests through a variety of ill-advised hijinks. The Lowdown: Light on action, even lighter on point.
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Starring: Deborah Kerr, Sabu, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Esmond Knight, Jean Simmons, Kathleen Byron

Black Narcissus

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In Brief: Sensuality and spirituality collide in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's hyperstylized melodrama Black Narcissus (1947) in a way that few other filmmakers could have balanced so deftly. While it may arguably fall short of other Powell/Pressburger pictures, such as The Red Shoes (1948) or I Know Where I'm Going (1947), Black Narcissus represents the duo at the height of their powers and…
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Starring: Leon Vitali, Stanley Kubrick, Ryan O’Neal, Matthew Modine, Danny Lloyd, Stellan Skarsgård, R. Lee Ermey

Filmworker

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The Story: The life and career of Stanley Kubrick's longtime personal assistant Leon Vitali is explored, exposing a depth of obsession rivaled only by the great auteur himself. The Lowdown: A revelatory documentary that sheds light on the unsung hero behind Kubrick's final three films, painting a portrait of unparalleled devotion and self-sacrifice.
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Starring: Alden Ehrenreich, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton

Solo: A Star Wars Story

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The Story: Recalcitrant rogue Han Solo falls in with a bad crowd when his plan to work his way back to a lost girlfriend runs afoul of both the Empire and a band of outlaws. The Lowdown:  Han shoots first, but you'll ask plenty of questions later.
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Starring: Fred Allen, Oscar Levant, Charles Laughton, Anne Baxter, Marilyn Monroe, Farley Granger

O. Henry’s Full House

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In Brief: For O. Henry’s Full House (1952), 20th Century Fox brought in all the star power it could muster (mostly from the studio’s roster of contract artists), five name directors and the literary clout of no less than John Steinbeck to introduce the five episodes that make up the film. In doing so, the studio…