Movies

Remaindered: The literary and dramatic crimes of Michael Caine...

"The film’s publicity has the nerve to use one of the oldest taglines in existence, the one about how the characters’ lives are changed “in ways they didn’t expect.” Bullshite."

Low Hold: A wounded warrior in a broke-down palace

"The professional gambler and morally disabled ex-warrior who calls himself William Tell (Oscar Isaac, doing a very slow burn) lives the life of a sort of penitent monk in beat-out motel rooms and forlorn casinos. Without spoiling too much of the story, let’s just say that Tell is on the road to some form of redemption after taking part in one of contemporary history’s most heinous war crimes."

What’s so bad about socialism, asks ‘The Big Scary...

In the spirit of Michael Moore’s 2009 'Capitalism: A Love Story', director Yael Bridge’s energetic new documentary 'The Big Scary “S” Word' builds its argument for socialism—perhaps our society’s most widely misunderstood political/ philosophical system—on a case-by-case, ground-level basis, with plenty of help from the history books and such public figures as Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, philosophy professor Cornel West and sociologist Adaner Usmani.

Boogey Nights: Two new movies about serial killer Ted...

The filmmakers’ comparatively subtle dramatization of such a bizarre true-crime story works in 'No Man of God’s' favor. Wood and Kirby contribute carefully measured performances, and the screenplay sticks to its studious criminology as we delve into the inner workings of a monstrous psychopath. We can’t say the same for 'Ted Bundy: American Boogeyman'.".

‘Come See My Shop!’: Homemade sociology and global economics...

"As McDonnell’s curious documentary 'Queen of the Beach' unspools, we initially suspect his interest in one particular Indian youngster—a lively nine-year-old girl named Shilpa Poojar, who speaks surprisingly good English—might be predatory, in spite of the signs posted all around warning potential 'paedophiles' that sexual abuse of children is strictly forbidden," writes Kelly Vance about this sometimes cringe-worthy documentary.

Mother Courage: Modern mythology in Chile with Pablo Larraín...

"'Ema'—as presented in the screenplay by Director Larraín, Guillermo Calderón and Alejandro Moreno—doesn’t operate like an ordinary, well-intentioned 'troubled youngster' story. No one seems to be in charge. Who’s the grownup in this family?" Asks Kelly Vance of this quizzical import.

Opera? Oops!: Mystifying musical ‘Annette’ stumbles over its own...

"Assuming an 'avant-garde' stance presumes the artists possess the talent and inspiration to present the material 'straight' in the first place. Such is not the case here. Anyone trying to take the laughably 'tragic' story of Henry, Ann and little Annette seriously would be defeated by it," writes Kelly Vance in his review of 'Annette'.

Close Encounter: ‘For Madmen Only’ peeks into the mind...

"According to 'For Madmen Only' Director Heather Ross’ rewarding documentary spelunking expedition into the life and career of the erstwhile fire-swallower from Manhattan, Kansas, Del P. Close was as insanely complicated as any legendary theater mentor should be. Of course, some would say he was just plain insane." Kelly Vance writes in this week's review.

Flic Chic: Isabelle Huppert excels as a bent cop...

"Widowed mother Patience Portefeux (Huppert) works in the intelligence section of the Paris police as a translator, interpreting the wiretap recordings and social media posts of Arabic-speaking drug dealers, and occasionally assisting in street busts. In an ordinary, fish-out-of-water cop movie, someone like her would face on-the-job sexism, and disarm with charm, en route to a station-house romance. Patience’s story is a little more complicated," writes Kelly Vance about 'Mama Weed'.

Female Trouble: Reincarnated biblical she-devil ‘Lillith’ goes to college;...

"No acting-prize hopefuls here," writes Kelly Vance in this week's review. "Frequent TV actor [Savannah] Whitten, in the title role, exhibits a lot of exaggerated energy in her sex scenes, each of which climaxes with the mutilation of her unlucky partner. Otherwise, her most notable achievement is to satisfy the prime requirement for playing Lillith in the first place—plenty of room in her mouth for the demonic dental appliance."

Love Potion No. 7: Hong Kong animated art film...

"72-year-old Yonfan's latest, 'No. 7 Cherry Lane' is a procedural tale of a sensitive young man’s coming of age in Hong Kong, circa 1967. Splendidly conceived animation with themes borrowed from a virtual encyclopedia of European and Chinese visual art and films. In other words, a spectacle," writes Kelly Vance in this week's review.

Concert doc ‘Summer of Soul’ is a powerhouse of...

Kelly Vance reviews Ahmir Khalib “Questlove” Thompson’s 'Summer of Soul' saying, "The most moving performance in the movie features Mavis Staples singing backup to the legendary Mahalia Jackson on “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” the favorite hymn of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated the year before," in describing this moving and stunning tribute of a movie.

The Pizza Guy

Kelly Vance reviews Jafar Panahi's film ‘Crimson Gold’, the real-life story of a put-upon pizza guy that was produced, directed and edited by Panahi and entered in the 2003 Cannes Film Festival without the Iranian government’s permission

Where’s It Hurt?

Kelly Vance reviews Oskar Roehler’s dramatized tribute to the late filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 'Enfant Terrible' with a caveat. "Potential audiences are warned that 'Enfant Terrible' is pretty much for Fassbinder fans only, he writes. "He’s an acquired taste, and it’s plain that he doesn’t really care whether viewers 'get' his films at first glance.".
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