Film Reviews

In Moana, Disney Offers a Powerful and Delightful Fantasy of Female Derring-Do

Moana (Ron Clements/Don Hall/John Musker/Chris Williams, 2016) Moana, the 56th animated feature from the Walt Disney Company, gives us a ravishing musical confection about a young Polynesian woman who must journey far and wide to save not only her people, but the … Continue reading

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The Delightful The Edge of Seventeen Breathes New Life into Teen Comedy

The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig, 2016) 4 stars out of 4 A delightfully offbeat coming-of-age tale, The Edge of Seventeen gives us Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) as Nadine, a surly teenage girl whose first words of the movie are … Continue reading

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Trolls Offers Positive Lessons in a Saccharine Setting

Trolls (Walt Dohrn/Mike Mitchell, 2016) 2 out of 4 stars The newest film from Dreamworks Animation, Trolls is based on the collection of plastic dolls created by Danish woodcutter Thomas Dam in 1959. Originally called Good Luck Trolls, they’ve had … Continue reading

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Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Stumbles Mid-Field

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ang Lee, 2016) – 1½ stars out of 4 Ang Lee has made many fine films, some of them great. Among the latter, I would count both Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi; among the former, Eat Drink Man … Continue reading

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Film Review: Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange – 3½ (out of 4 Stars) Shamballa.  Is it an ancient demon, the key to Nirvana, or the title of a Three Dog Night song? Marvel Studios’ new entry into the comic book world realm is that of … Continue reading

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Film Review: Certain Women

Exquisite "Certain Women" Showcases Four Brilliant Actresses of Our Day Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt, 2016) 4 out of 4 stars Set in wintry Montana, Certain Women – the sixth full-length feature from Kelly Reichardt (Meek’s Cutoff) – offers a narrative scope as majestic as the … Continue reading

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Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Astonishing return of Mel Gibson In case you hold a grudge because a movie star insulted someone you do not know about circumstances you have no familiarity with, Lionsgate feels your pain. They understand your anguish and disgust over Mel … Continue reading

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Film Review: Moonlight

Moonlight – **** OUT OF 4 Director-writer Barry Jenkins’ second feature follows a young, gay black man’s coming of age in Miami. Although the film feels autobiographical, it is actually based on a short unproduced play called “In Moonlight Black … Continue reading

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As Long As You Never Think, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Delivers Occasional Action Goods

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (Edward Zwick, 2016) ** stars out of 4 I missed reading all of the opening credits on the new Jack Reacher film – sequel to the 2012 original and based on the 18th book in the long-running series from … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Birth of a Nation (2016)

Birth of a Nation – **1/2 OUT OF 4 Director-writer Nate Parker’s film was the darling at Sundance 2016. The film won it all! It took the Grand Jury Prize in dramatic competition and even won the Audience Award for … Continue reading

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