Review: “The Nest”

A move across the ocean uncovers dysfunction in a marriage in “The Nest,” writer and director Sean Durkin’s first feature film since his 2011 film festival darling “Martha Marcy May Marlene.”  Drawing on his own experiences growing up in both England and America, Durkin explores changes in relationships that occur with a change in location […]

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Review: “Rent-A-Pal”

Navigating online relationships safely is a topic that many of us are familiar with nowadays.  But writer and director Jon Stevenson explores a different kind of virtual relationship in his debut feature “Rent-A-Pal,” a thoroughly weird but impressive throwback/horror/drama/comedy commentary on loneliness. Set in 1990, “Rent-A-Pal” follows David (Brian Landis Folkins), a 40-year-old single man […]

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Review: “Centigrade”

The scariest aspect of “Centigrade” is that the catalyst for the events that unfold over the course of the film could happen to anyone: while driving through a snowstorm in Norway, a couple decide that the weather is too bad for them to continue, so they pull over to wait out the storm.  When they […]

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Review: “Tesla”

The first several minutes of writer/director Michael Almereyda’s “Tesla” unfold in fairly typical biopic fashion.  We see young inventor Nikola Tesla (Ethan Hawke) working under fellow inventor Thomas Edison (Kyle MacLachlan) upon first arriving in New York.  He soon leaves to strike out on his own.  But a meeting between Tesla, Edison, and other associates […]

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Review: “Sputnik”

When most people hear the word “sputnik,” they likely think of the name of the first satellite launched into space by the Soviet Union.  But the word itself roughly translates to “fellow traveler,” making it the perfect title for director Egor Abramenko’s less-than-perfect debut feature based on his award-winning short film “The Passenger,” which continues […]

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Review: “Made in Italy”

Sometimes, elements of a movie will come together in a way that seems like what can only be described as fate.  You can certainly say that regarding the casting of the leads for “Made in Italy,” a new comedy/drama that’s actor James D’Arcy’s feature debut as writer and director.  The film stars Liam Neeson and […]

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Review: “Summerland”

“Summerland” is a period piece that is exactly as pleasant as it looks and sounds.  But by injecting a rather traditional and sentimental narrative with a more contemporary attitude, and through Gemma Arterton’s winning performance, writer and director Jessica Swale’s debut feature is a sumptuous treat. Set during World War II, “Summerland” stars Arterton as […]

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Review: “The Rental”

You may think twice about booking that weekend at someone’s Airbnb after watching “The Rental,” the thriller that’s Dave Franco’s directorial debut.  The film, which is co-written by Franco and Joe Swanberg, follows two couples: Michelle (Alison Brie) and Charlie (Dan Stevens) and Charlie’s brother Josh (Jeremy Allen White) and his girlfriend Mina (Shelia Vand).  […]

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Review: “The Painted Bird”

Toward the beginning of “The Painted Bird,” we see the nameless young protagonist (played by Petr Kotlár) watch Lekh (Lech Dyblik), the bird breeder he is staying with, paint the wings of a small bird he has captured before releasing it to rejoin its flock.  But because the painted bird is different from the rest, […]

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