Film: “Beach Rats”

Sexual identity is now a major theme in American film, especially for young people. Last year’s Best Oscar winner, Moonlight, dealt frankly and, for the most part, trenchantly with the theme. This new film is an accomplished but minor addition to this body of work. The title rats are four young studs who hang out…

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Film: “The Teacher”

The is the first film date for a new meetup group for New York film lovers. We saw it at the Film Forum on opening day, and it was a good choice. A Czech film in the Slovak language, directed by Jan Hrebejk, who co-wrote it with frequent collaborator Petr Jarchovsky, it was I think…

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Film: “Marjorie Prime”

This absorbing, finely acted film of a play certainly gives the viewer a lot to think about. While a little too talky – especially in the exposition-heavy beginning – it delves into questions about artificial intelligence, the accuracy of memory and the loss of mental faculties with aging that are dealt with in an entertaining…

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Film: “Columbus”

As readers might know by now, I like to “discover” obscure film gems out there, and maybe help them find their audience. I went to see Columbus the day after it opened in New York with just that hope. But – ¬†surprise! – its audience was way ahead of me. I’d never seen a line…

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Film: “The Beguiled”

Film remakes can be tricky things, especially when the original is not an undisputed classic. I saw the original of The Beguiled over forty years ago. Starring Clint Eastwood and directed by Don Siegel, I enjoyed it but it was not a success. He played a wounded Yankee soldier in the Civil War who stumbles…

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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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