Specialty Releases

Film Review: In “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” Actress Gloria Grahame Deserves a Better End

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool (Paul McGuigan, 2017) 1½ out of 4 stars. The actress Gloria Grahame died in 1981, at the age of 55, mostly forgotten by an industry that had once celebrated her in the late 1940s … Continue reading

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Film Review: Overly Constructed, “The Insult” Still Packs a Powerful Punch

The Insult (Ziad Doueiri, 2017) 3 out of 4 stars. A brooding cinematic reflection on ethnic conflict and reconciliation, The Insult – from Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri (The Attack) – takes on the Middle East’s fraught history of sectarian violence in … Continue reading

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Film Review: A Brilliant Diane Kruger Comes out of the Shadows in “In the Fade”

In the Fade (“Aus dem Nichts”) (Fatih Akin, 2017) 3 out of 4 stars. Director Fatih Akin has long explored cross-cultural tension and reconciliation in his films, be they comedies or dramas, drawing on his own background as an ethnic Turk … Continue reading

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Film Review: In Witty, If Schematic, “Phantom Thread,” Three Fine Actors Engage in a Battle of Wills

Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2017) 3 out of 4 stars. Like, love or hate his movies, Paul Thomas Anderson is a filmmaker of uncompromising vision. Whether chronicling the porn industry in 1970s Hollywood (Boogie Nights), profiling the romantic misadventures … Continue reading

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Film Review: In “I, Tonya,” Margot Lands a Perfect Performance

I, Tonya (Craig Gillespie, 2017) 3 out of 4 stars. An alternately delightful and heartbreaking mockumentary romp of a biopic, I, Tonya features a mesmerizing performance by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) as disgraced former figure skater Tonya … Continue reading

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Film Review: Columbus

If there is a recent debut feature that has been stirring a massive, positive buzz out there, it is “Columbus”, a drama with an exceptional architectural orientation, both materially and emotionally. The film, written and directed by American-Korean Kogonada and … Continue reading

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Film Review: Surprise! Woody Allen Tortures Leading Lady in “Wonder Wheel”

Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen, 2017) 2 out of 4 stars. I long ago abandoned Woody Allen as a cinematic idol, beginning with the revelations of his affair with Soon-Yi Previn, the adopted daughter of his former partner, Mia Farrow. The … Continue reading

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In “The Divine Order,” Women Claim Their Rightful Place

The Divine Order (“Die göttliche Ordnung“) (Petra Volpe, 2017) 3½ out of 4 stars. I learned two things from watching The Divine Order, the delightful new feminist dramedy from Swiss director Petra Biondina Volpe (Dreamland): 1) that women in Switzerland … Continue reading

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Film Review: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” Is Outrageous and Funny, but Then Just Outrageous

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh, 2017) 2½ out of 4 stars. Playwright/film director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges, Seven Psychopaths) is a longtime master of the comedy of the macabre. His films mix tones like a professional juggler alternating … Continue reading

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Film Review: Tedious “Last Flag Flying” Falls Flat

Last Flag Flying (Richard Linklater, 2017) 1½ out of 4 stars.  What could go wrong with three fine actors like Steve Carell (The Big Short), Bryan Cranston (Trumbo) and Laurence Fishburne (Contagion), in a film written and directed by a … Continue reading

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