Film Reviews

Even with Strong Performances, “The Zookeeper’s Wife” Fails to Compel

The Zookeeper’s Wife (Niki Caro, 2017) 1½ out of 4 stars Based on the 2007 best-selling non-fiction book of the same title (by Diane Ackerman), The Zookeeper’s Wife is a story about the Holocaust that mistakes treacle for seriousness, bathos for … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Handmaiden

14 years ago, Korean director Park Chan-wook secured a huge legion of fans with his critically acclaimed thriller “Oldboy”, which later on was subjected to a lame American remake directed by Spike Lee. During the following years, Chan-wook came up … Continue reading

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The 2017 SXSW Film Festival Offers Another Fine Selection of Movies

The first South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival took place in 1987, and was devoted to music. In 1994, the organizers added two new sections, “Interactive” and “Film.” And here we are, at the 24th iteration of the last two, which … Continue reading

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“Wilson” Flouts Convention and Almost Gets Away with It

Wilson (Craig Johnson, 2017) 2 out of 4 stars From Craig Johnson, director of the delightfully offbeat, tragicomic The Skeleton Twins, in 2014, comes Wilson, still offbeat and tragicomic, though far less delightfully so. Based on a series of comics … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Salesman

Asghar Farhadi, an Iranian writer-director with a knack for profound dramas (“About Elly”, “A Separation”, “The Past”), returns with “The Salesman”, another heartfelt story branded with uncomfortable dualities. The nature of this tale, set and shot in Tehran, will make … Continue reading

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Enjoyable, If Inert, “Beauty and the Beast” Feels Like an Old Tale, Indeed

Beauty and the Beast (Bill Condon, 2017) 2½ out of 4 stars While there are a number of things to recommend within this live-action retelling of “a tale as old as time,” including many fine performances and the beautiful visual … Continue reading

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Sugar Crash: “Table 19” Serves Up Comedy That Tastes Good, Then Tires Us Out

Table 19 (Jeffrey Blitz, 2017) 2½ out of 4 stars A minor trifle, Table 19 nevertheless manages to be quite entertaining when it sticks to comedy; it’s when it attempts to resolve the disparate story threads with pat sentimentality that … Continue reading

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In Strong, If Flawed, “Logan,” an Aging Wolverine Fights One Last Battle

Logan (James Mangold, 2017) 3 out of 4 stars I will not lie: I have trouble keeping the chronology of all the various X-Men films straight. There have now been 9 previous entries in this Marvel franchise, many of which do not … Continue reading

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In “John Wick: Chapter 2,” Our Hitman Loses His Way in Excessive Carnage

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Chad Stahelski, 2017) 2 out of 4 stars The first John Wick film, released in 2014, offered up many delights, not the least of which was the sight of then 50-year-old Keanu Reeves (The Neon Demon) running, kicking, … Continue reading

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Film Review: JULIETA

Almodovar once again celebrates his love of women of all ages. He is fascinated by women. For Almodovar women are creatures of sensual and emotional awe.  My favorite Pedro Almodovar film is ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER. His latest, JULIETA, is … Continue reading

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