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"Richard Turner is not one to play the hand he's dealt at all."
5 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2017: "Dealt" is a frequently-delightful documentary on Richard Turner, an intriguing and entertaining man at the top of his corner of the magic business despite a major handicap to work around. It's a nifty little story that, in addition to featuring some really astounding close-up magic, manages to take a few nifty narrative turns. Indeed, it arguably wouldn't have been half the movie it is if Turner didn't change between the beginning and the end." (more)
"Bigger than just a movie."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Towards the middle of 'Wonder Woman,' when the central heroine Diana of Themyscira (Gal Gadot) is running through the no-man’s-land (ha) of a battlefield and deflecting hundreds of German bullets, either you recognize the subtextual power of this image or you find it a typical bit of superhero-movie action." (more)
"An electrifying debut."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "“Let me tell you about the very rich,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. “They are different from you and me.”" (more)
"Shining a light on those shining a light."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2017: A solid documentary centered on the founders of the blog "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently", "City of Ghosts" gives a brief introduction to the city in question, allows the citizen journalists to tell their own story, and, while allowing the subjects to be even-tempered, friendly people, never lets up is disdain for Daesh. It will not fully educate one on the causes and effects of what is happening in Syria, but it presents a human face to a crisis that can often seem abstract from the other side of the world." (more)
"Things get weird in one's sister's shadow."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "This one really took me by surprise; the lowest-profile of three Chinese-language movies to open in North America on the same date, it wouldn't be a surprise if it were the scraps that someone had to settle for. Instead, it's an odd charmer, coming on like good screwball comedy and then getting much sweeter than I would have expected. It's genuinely eccentric but also impressively sincere." (more)
"Funnier than most romantic comedies that start by killing their heroines."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I'm a bit of two minds on "Beautiful Accident" - on the one hand, it's very easy to see this movie taking its premise of a career woman suddenly being placed in the position of a housewife for a week due to a filing mishap in the afterlife and getting entirely too cute with it, and when it ended, I found myself fairly pleased that it hadn't. The flip side of that, though, is that as the movie was playing out, it never quite seemed to manage the clever, weird, or really involving things it might have. It hits a lot of spots that mark a clear path but verges on making them a little too well-considered, and could use a bit of chaos." (more)
"A fair if forgettable introduction to Poe's life."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2017: It's somewhat ironic, but inevitable, that despite "Edgar Allan Poe: Buried Alive" leading with the idea that much of the conventional wisdom about Poe is greatly influenced by an obituary written by a rival as character assassination, writer/director Eric Stange winds up going back to the familiar. There is more to Poe than everyone knows, but it turns out that what makes him flawed also made him interesting." (more)
"Sword-fighting and arrow-shooting action done right."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Chinese military epics can have a bit of a tendency to blend together after you've seen enough of them, especially if you're in them for impressive action more than any sort of strong affinity for Chinese military history - there are a lot of forces pushing them to fit a standard script and prioritizing style over clean execution. "God of War" certainly falls into that trap for for a time, but makes an incredibly strong recovery at the end, serving up some darn impressive old-school action." (more)
"One of the more original messy-marriage comedies you can see."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "SCREENED AT INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL BOSTON 2017: Zoe Lister-Jones has kind of a cute idea for a movie, and for the most part manages to get it to 90 minutes without having to load too much extra into it. It can be kind of a near thing; it's a fair number of quick hits at easy targets and not a whole lot of insight when the time comes to get serious, so a lot winds up riding on how its jokes play for the audience. But that is ever the way with comedies, and this one hits more often than it misses." (more)
"Not his finest hour."
2 stars
Jay Seaver says... "The makers of this look at Sir Winston Churchill in the days leading up to Operation Overlord certainly have an interesting take, focusing on him as a worn-down man still mentally fighting the last war and thus timid about a Big Push, and it's initially intriguing to see him butting heads with Eisenhower, arguably a dinosaur more useful as a figurehead than an a nuts-and-bolts leader. There's a fascinating tale to be told in that which often gets lost in WWII hagiography, but this isn't the film that's going to present that." (more)

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