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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Sept. 8-9

Pinocchio, Clerks III, Barbarian, Medieval and more
Barbarian *** If narrative audacity alone were the measure of a film’s worthiness, writer/director Zach Cregger’s funky horror feature might be one of the movies of the year; as it stands, the excesses of ambition and some clunky execution can only knock things down a little. It opens on a rainy night in a Detroit neighborhood, where Tess Marshall (Georgina Campbell) arrives at her Airbnb rental to find that it’s been double-booked, forcing her to share the space for a night with fellow renter Keith (Bill Skarsgård).

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Sept. 2

Gigi & Nate, The Good Boss, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. and more
Burial **1/2 Genre films dig into genuinely meaty content all the time, and writer/director Ben Parker has a solid concept here that he just doesn’t deliver on. Opening in 1991 London with a break-in at the home of an elderly woman (Harriet Walter), the narrative then flashes back to 1945 Berlin, where Russian soldier Brana (Charlotte Vega) is part of a group attempting to deliver a very important package—the corpse of Adolph Hitler—to Stalin in the waning days of World War II.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Aug. 26

Samaritan, Me Time, Three Thousand Years of Longing and more
Breaking *** Maybe the Sundance-movie equivalent of “comfort food” is a drama where the narrative bones are sturdy, the central performances are engrossing and the sociopolitical subtext is all just right there in the text. Director Abi Damaris Corbin—who co-wrote the script with Kwame Kwei-Armah—tells the fact-based story of Brian Brown Easley (John Boyega), a Marine Iraq veteran with mental-health issues who holds up a bank in Marietta, Ga., entirely to get attention for the fact that his VA disability check was garnished.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Aug. 17 - 19

Beast, My Old School, Orphan: First Kill and more
Beast ** Look, I’m all for giving emotional subtext to a stalked-by-a-giant-lion movie, but at a certain point, you need to deliver more on being a stalked-by-a-giant-lion movie. Idris Elba plays Nate Samuels, an American doctor who takes his two teenage daughters (Iyana Halley and Leah Jeffries) to visit an old friend (Sharlto Copley) on a South African nature preserve, shortly after the passing of the girls’ mother.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Aug. 12

Fall, Mack & Rita, Emily the Criminal, Secret Headquarters and more.
13: The Musical ** It will always be baffling when a film adaptation of a source material—book, play, etc.—chooses to abandon the very concept that made it original, and worth adapting in the first place. This version of the 2008 Broadway show tells the story of Evan Goldman (Eli Golden), a Jewish adolescent who’s forced to move with his mom from New York to Indiana, just as he’s preparing for his bar mitzvah.

Friday, August 5, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for Aug. 5

Bullet Train, Luck, Thirteen Lives, Prey, I Love My Dad and more
Bullet Train ** It has been nearly 30 years since cinemas were bursting with Tarantino copycats, convinced that motor-mouthed underworld types + plenty of violence = $$$ and an unlimited cachet of cool. It wasn’t true then, and it still isn’t. Director David Leitch (Deadpool 2) and screenwriter Zak Olkewicz adapt Kōtarō Isaka’s novel set on a Tokyo-to-Kyoto high-speed train where several characters—a conscientious snatch-and-grab man (Brad Pitt); a pair of hired killers (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Brian Tyree Henry); a mysterious young woman (Joey King)—are among those wreaking havoc over a briefcase full of cash, and its connection to a scary crime boss.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Local screening preview: JEWTAH

Co-writer/star Jeremy Rishe and the long road toward the local premiere
For any creative work, it can be a long road to getting that work from your head out into the world. For Jeremy Rishe and the team behind the feature film Jewtah, it feels particularly long.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 29

DC League of Super-Pets, Vengeance, Not Okay, Resurrection and more
DC League of Super-Pets *** The self-seriousness in so much of the mainstream, live-action DC superhero features virtually demands a cheeky, irreverent response that began in stuff like Teen Titans Go! To the Movies and The LEGO Batman Movie, and continues here with this engaging adventure.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Movie Reviews: New Releases for July 22

Nope, The Gray Man, Fire of Love, Anything's Possible
Anything’s Possible **1/2 It’s not easy to decide, when taking a familiar genre like the high-school romance and introducing a transgender character into the equation, how much to lean into what makes this story different, vs. what makes this story like any other high-school romance—and this one gets caught a little bit between the two. Kelsa (Eva Reign), a trans teen, is starting her senior year of high school with no plans for a boyfriend, but finds herself interested in classmate Khalid (Abubakr Ali)—and surprised to learn that the feeling is mutual.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Theater Review: SLACabaret: Down the Rabbit Hole

Striking a balance between spiky humor and character compassion
It’s not easy to strike a balance between spiky humor and genuine compassion for characters.

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