Currently Browsing: December 2013

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN

Ralph Fiennes and Felicity Jones star as secret lovers Charles Dickens and Nelly Ternan in the film adaptation of Claire Tomalin’s bestselling biography. The slowly-paced love story allows Jones to shine in her emotionally complex role as an infatuated, frustrated young woman in love with an older man. (BKP: 4/5) Review by Associate Editor Brigid […]

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ALL THE LIGHT IN THE SKY

In which Jane Adams plays a character much like the person she appears to be in her many Indie film & TV roles: a sweet-faced, awkward, girlish actress who is now middle-aged but has never quite grown up. (Examples: The original “Joy Jordan” in Todd Solondz’ ironically named film Happiness, & “Tanya Skagle” the fumbling pimp […]

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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 & […]

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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 […]

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BRAVE MISS WORLD

Jan’s JCC Manhattan Sneak Peak Linor Abargil was a candidate for “Miss World” when she was brutally raped by someone she thought was a colleague. The Italians would do nothing, but the Israelis arrested him when they both got home. Excellent doc by Cecilia Peck focuses on Linor’s attempt to recover from her trauma by […]

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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 […]

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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 & […]

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EXPECTING

Good intentions are no guarantee 🙁 Despite claims that she wanted to portray “real friendships” between women, writer/director Jessie McCormack has created such a mess that it serves as the epitome of the term “chick flick” when used as a pejorative. The plot—such as it is—revolves around pregnancy… (JLH: 2/5) Click HERE to read our FF2 […]

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Marvin Hamlisch WHDFL

Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did for Love opens this week in NYC. Review coming soon…

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BLACK NATIVITY

Holiday musical by filmmaker Kasi Lemmons is loosely-based on the great Gospel Oratorio of Langston Hughes, gloriously brought to life by a perfect cast anchored by Jennifer Hudson. Hudson plays “Naima,” a single mother who sends her teenage son (Jacob Latimore) to stay with her parents–who he has never met–when she finds herself cash-strapped. Angela Bassett & […]

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