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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Review: “Uncut Gems”

3.5 out of 5 stars. I watched “Uncut Gems” for the first time over two days ago, and I still have a hard time putting my reaction to the film into words.  It’s engrossing, but not exactly enjoyable; intense, even though the endgame is rather predictable.  None of the characters are likeable, including Adam Sandler’s […]

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Review: “The Lighthouse”

3.5 out of 5 stars. In 1801, the policy was having a two man team of lighthouse keepers was changed after an incident at Smalls Lighthouse in Wales, when one keeper named Thomas died in an accident, leaving the other keeper, also named Thomas, alone to man the lighthouse, resulting in him going a little […]

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Review: “The Farewell”

4.5 out of 5 stars. In America, one’s life is one’s own.  But in China, one’s life is a part of something bigger.  This cultural divide is a major player in “The Farewell,” a comedy/drama written and directed by Lula Wang, based on a story from her own life.  It’s a story that’s simultaneously light […]

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Review: “The Dead Don’t Die”

3 out of 5 stars. From the get-go, police officer Ronnie Peterson (played by Adam Driver), tells his colleagues—and the audience—that this story is going to end badly.  The journey to that ending, however, is a light-hearted romp through the zombie apocalypse, told with writer and director Jim Jarmusch’s signature brand of deadpan humor, with […]

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Review: “Cold War”

4.5 out of 5 stars. Many of the greatest film romances of all time are sweeping epics, in runtime and scale but also in the way they probe into so many aspects of their characters’ lives and relationships.  Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski does almost the opposite of this with his romantic drama “Cold War.”  The […]

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