Film: “Baby Driver”

This adrenaline-rush movie gets the job done, and lovers of stylish movie action – which certainly includes me – will want to see it more than once. Still, British cult auteur Edgar Wright has made some questionable choices that stand in the way of total satisfaction. The title hero, who actually goes by the name…

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Film: “The Ornithologist”

  This well-photographed Portuguese film belongs to what I call the “opaque religious parable” genre. Emphasis on the opaque. The title hero, Fernando, is on a bird-watching expedition in a very scenic area of Portugal, with rushing river rapids, forest greenery and rock formations. In a phone call to his male lover, we learn he…

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Film: “Beatriz at Dinner”

One of my favorite films of recent years is Chuck and Buck, which was released in 2000.¬†Written by Mike White and directed by Miguel Arteta, it presented a witty and altogether optimistic view of America. While it dealt frankly with its theme of the damage caused by sexual repression, especially in childhood, it made you…

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Film: “The Women’s Balcony”

This Hebrew-language Israeli film takes place in a Mizrahi neighborhood in modern Jerusalem that is served by an Orthodox temple. As written by Shlomit Nehama, and directed by Emil Ben-Shimon, the film never ventures outside of the neighborhood, and all characters in the story worship at that temple, or at an adjacent one. The story…

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Film: “Your Name”

When I choose to see a particular film, it’s usually because something about it appeals to me, so that I expect to enjoy the experience. But sometimes, a film comes along that touches a nerve with the public at large and, often quite unexpectedly, becomes a phenomenon. That is intriguing enough in itself to get…

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Film: “Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer”

While this sometimes witty and skillfully made modern fable is fitfully entertaining – and loaded with fresh, richly textured views of New York City – it is also frustrating. The title character, played by a nearly unrecognizable Richard Gere, is called a “fixer”; i.e., someone who “fixes” people up with other people so that they…

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Film: “Graduation”

Near the end of this gripping film from Romania, the main character, a doctor, while riding on a bus, looks out the window and sees one of the men who had just been in a line-up of suspects in the sexual assault of his teenage daughter. She failed to identify any of them, but he…

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Film: “The Blackcoat’s Daughter”

Don’t look for anything original in this effective creeper. It keeps its focus limited and harsh, and delivers some creepy chills in an hour and a half. But nothing about it should keep you up at night, it’s that forgettable. But I think writer-director Osgood Perkins is pleased with that result. The son of Anthony…

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A Filmmaker Responds

My most recent post was about the Queens World Film Festival. I received a response from one of the filmmakers I interviewed for that post. My interviews, which I record, are rather casual and free-form. Aleksandar Kostic felt that my summary did not leave the impression that he wanted to make.¬†I’m giving him the opportunity…

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Queens World Film Festival 2017: Preview

There was a press reception for the upcoming Queens World Film Festival on February 14th, and I got a chance to meet some of the artists from this year’s films. It was almost too much to take in. The festival has become larger, with more films from more countries than ever before. And, from at…

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