Film Reviews

Film Review: “Dora and the Lost City of Gold” Finds Cinematic Treasure

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (James Bobin, 2019) 3½ out of 4 stars. I came to this movie cold, without any experience with its source material, the popular animated Nickelodeon series Dora the Explorer. That show, which began airing … Continue reading

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Film Review: “Tel Aviv on Fire” Offers Broad Comedy As a Salve for Open Wounds

Tel Aviv on Fire (Sameh Zoabi, 2018) 3 out of 4 stars. A surprisingly light comedy about a very weighty subject, Sameh Zoabi’s Tel Aviv on Fire takes place mostly inside a Palestinian broadcast studio where the eponymous television series, set in … Continue reading

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Film Review: “Camp Wedding” Needs More Camp

Camp Wedding (Greg Emetaz, 2019) 2 out of 4 stars. There seem to be two types of horror spoofs/parodies: comedies with horror elements (think the Scary Movie franchise) and horror films with comedic elements (the Scream franchise). Then, there are … Continue reading

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Film Review: “The Kitchen” Needs a Thorough Redesign

The Kitchen (Andrea Berloff, 2019) 1 out of 4 stars. Last fall saw the release of Widows, director Steve McQueen’s collaboration with bestselling author Gillian Flynn, in which a group of mobster’s wives find themselves denuded of husbands and forced to … Continue reading

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Film Review: “The Nightingale” Wails a Lament for Victims of Violence

The Nightingale (Jennifer Kent, 2018) 3½ out of 4 stars. Clare is a young woman without much of a future. It’s the early 19thcentury in Australia, a continent still being conquered by the Europeans, the indigenous population hunted and killed at … Continue reading

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Film Review: “Ode to Joy” Is a Pleasant Enough Ditty

Ode to Joy (Jason Winer, 2019) 2½ out of 4 stars. A profoundly silly but nevertheless often enjoyable romantic comedy, Ode to Joy follows the misadventures of a man afflicted with cataplexy, a condition that causes him to pass out every time … Continue reading

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Film Review: MAIDEN

Emotionally exhilarating. MAIDEN is a documentary about Tracy Edwards, the first woman to skipper a yacht with an all -female  crew in the Whitbread Around the World Ocean Race during the 1989 sailing season. MAIDEN is so fascinating that I … Continue reading

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Film Review: Fast & Furious Presents … a Massive Headache

Hobbs & Shaw (David Leitch) 1 out of 4 stars. I mainly remember the way it felt. I remember looking up as the camera glanced down at a little set of red buttons that so simply read “NOS 1” and … Continue reading

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Film Review: In “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” the Stars Align for a Mostly Favorable Outcome

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019) 3 out of 4 stars. A frothy pop-culture romp through cinematic history and fantasy, both, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood bides its narrative time over the course of its … Continue reading

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Film Review: In Brilliant “Mike Wallace Is Here,“ the Great Newsman Is Still Very Much with Us

Mike Wallace Is Here (Avi Belkin, 2019) 4 out of 4 stars. The quintessence of masterful archival filmmaking, director Avi Belkin’s Mike Wallace Is Here plunges us into the life and career of the late, great newsman Mike Wallace (1918-2012), who … Continue reading

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