Specialty Releases

Film Review: Naomi Watts’ Performance Can’t Save “The Wolf Hour”

The Wolf Hour (Alistair Banks Griffin, 2019) 2 out of 4 stars. Set in 1977 New York City in the midst of the “Summer of Sam,” in which the Son of Sam killer went on a killing spree leaving behind … Continue reading

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Film Review: A Hero Comes Alive in AIDS Documentary “Ximei”

Ximei (Andy Cohen/Gaylen Ross, 2019) 3 out of 4 stars. Trauma comes in many forms. The Chinese Henan Province’s plasma economy that offered money in exchange for the plasma donations of mainly poor rural farmers was the catalyst for about … Continue reading

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Film Review: ”Synonyms“ Boasts Vision but Lacks Connection

Synonyms (Nadav Lapid) 2 out of 4 stars. In Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s latest film, Synonyms, we follow the journey of a young Israeli man as he attempts to abandon his ingrained cultural identity in favor of a new one. … Continue reading

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Film Review: “Crown Vic” Is a Pedestrian Vehicle with an Occasional Flair

Crown Vic (Joel Souza, 2019) 2 out of 4 stars. A police thriller with few police and fewer thrills, Crown Vic nevertheless offers a few rewards for the patient viewer, though these come wrapped in a derivative package that recalls Antoine … Continue reading

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Film Review: Inspiring, if Harrowing, “For Sama” Is for All of Us

For Sama (Waad al-Kateab/Edward Watts, 2019) 4 out of 4 stars. A documentary that combines the first-person narrative of a video essay with an unflinching account of the humanitarian crisis in war-torn Syria, For Sama follows its co-director and subject, Waad … Continue reading

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Film Review: “End of the Century” Offers a Moving Portrait of Memory

End of the Century (“Fin de siglo”) (Lucio Castro, 2019) 3 out of 4 stars. We’ve seen this story before. Two characters meet by chance while on a getaway in a European city and end up passing time there with … Continue reading

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Film Review: All the Crops in “Gothic Harvest” Are Dead

Gothic Harvest (Ashley Hamilton, 2018) ½ out of 4 stars. It is rare, for me at least, to find a film that seems to fail in almost every aspect, in which every decision and direction seems like the wrong one, … Continue reading

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Film Review: The Grass Is Not Greener in “Greener Grass”

Greener Grass (Jocelyn DeBoer/Dawn Luebbe, 2019) 1 out of 4 stars. A ludicrous, insane, and downright weird dark comedy, Greener Grass masquerades as a microcosm of suburban family life, but comes off more as an incoherent series of random, pointless … Continue reading

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Film Review: “By the Grace of God” Empowers Abuse Survivors

By the Grace of God (“Grâce à Dieu”) (François Ozon, 2019) 3 out of 4 stars. From director François Ozon (Frantz) comes a French take on the global pedophile crisis of the Catholic Church. A pointed procedural on how to … Continue reading

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Film Review: “Paradise Hills” Looks Like Heaven, Reads Like Limbo

Paradise Hills (Alice Waddington, 2019) 2 out of 4 stars. Filled with impressive production design, Paradise Hills, from director Alice Waddington (making her feature debut), is also rife with narrative muddle. Characters change motivations without reason, the big third-act reveal … Continue reading

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