MERRY CHRISTMAS

Frightful mess written & directed by Anna Condo about a New York matriarch (Alexandra Stewart) who lures her family to a rural B&B in Pennsylvania to “celebrate” the Christmas holiday. Once there, they don awful costumes every night & play a murder mystery game set in the Disco Era, while in daylight they bicker &…

THE SELFISH GIANT

Another female-helmed Indie–like FISH TANK–that turns a few young people in an English backwater into radiant archetypes who glow with inner life despite their bleak circumstances. Front & center are Arbor (Connor Chapman) & Swifty (Shaun Thomas), neighborhood boys on the brink of adolescence. But their home turf of Bradford (West Yorkshire) is definitely a…

THE CRASH REEL

Kevin Pearce is a snowboard star who suffered critical injuries in 2009 while training for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. In this superlative doc, filmmaker Lucy Walker takes us thru Pearce’s astonishing rise & crippling fall, all the while gently questioning the sponsors & fans who have turned X-Sports from joyous competition into blood lust. Another…

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BREAKFAST WITH CURTIS

Micro-budget film written & directed by Laura Colella is set in a ramshackle abode in Providence RI (affectionately called The Purple Citadel) that houses a multi-generational assortment of academics, intellectuals & other free spirits. “Curtis” (Jonah Parker) is the nerd next door, a teen who finds his inner artist when “Syd-the-Bookseller” (Theo Green) asks him to shoot some promotional…

THE HOBBIT #2

THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG A fifth trip to J.R.R. Tolkien’s magic realm with the Oscar-winning team of director Peter Jackson & his screenplay collaborators Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens (this time with a boost from Special Effects master Guillermo del Toro). I actually liked this outing more than most others because it is…

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SAVING MR. BANKS

Slamming Saving Mr. Banks & ranting about Philomena… While noting–with a big sigh–that neither of these films supposedly “about women” pass the Bechdel Test 🙁 Saving Mr. Banks Poor Ginty: Her handsome Dad (Colin Farrell) is a hopeless drunk. But somehow, after his early death, young Ginty (Annie Rose Buckley) morphs into crusty “P.L. Travers” the author…

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TRICKED

Critically important topic of teenage prostitution in the USA is handled with maximum commitment but minimal skill. Co-directors John Keith Wasson & Jane Wells have a lot of great footage showing that vulnerable teens–mostly but not all girls–are lured into relationships with charismatic hustlers, then turned out on the street. But without focus, Wasson &…