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"Without these women there may never have been a man on the moon."
4 stars
Greg Ursic says... "“Based on a True Story” is one of those sketchy lead-ins that grace too many movies which: most often they feature stories based on a kernel of truth that is so thoroughly embellished upon that the final product is indistinguishable from fiction. Hidden Messages proves to be an exception to the rule." (more)
"This movie about making it in the movies has more songs, fewer stories."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I’m moderately curious what Damien Chazelle’s "La La Land" will look like on a second viewing, because there’s something about it that doesn’t quite click on the first: It’s got moments of delight and wit, and it certainly looks great, exactly the way a traditional musical brought into the twenty-first century should. It’s just hard to shake the feeling that it’s an assembly of pieces of movies that Chazelle would like to make and emulate rather than something truly its own." (more)
SILENCE (2016)
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "There are any number of reasons why Martin Scorsese deserves to be considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. For me, one of the main reasons is that he has been making films steadily for about a half-century now and there is hardly one among them that I would not happily abandon everything I needed to do at any given moment and watch again if the opportunity arose. Whether it is one of the avowed classics like “Mean Streets,” “Raging Bull” or “Goodfellas,” an offbeat personal project such as “The Age of Innocence” or “Kundun” or even an overt commercial consideration like “The Color of Money,” “Cape Fear” or “Shutter Island” that he occasionally finds himself working on, he approaches each one with such passion and energy, both in matters of cinema technique and in working with actors, that they still manage to feel fresh and vital no matter how many times one watches them." (more)
"Worth cutting into to see what's inside."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "I expect a bit too much precision and consistency from horror movies in the best of circumstances, preferring that every element pull in the same direction, at least symbolically, even when I know that unpredictability and confusion is part of what makes them scary. Making a film about an autopsy, right from the very title, is only going to encourage that, leading me to nitpick "The Autopsy of Jane Doe" while the credits rolled. And though there certainly are things that could hang together better, it would be a mistake to focus on them at the expense of an exceptionally tense, intriguing, and well-executed thriller." (more)
"Another Kore-eda family under intriguing strain."
4 stars
Jay Seaver says... "There's a typhoon in Hirokazu Kore-eda's "After the Storm", but it arrives late, too late to be the complete inspiration for the film's English language title (the original Japanese, "Umi yori mo mada fukaku", translates to "Even Deeper than the Sea"). Whoever came up with it was onto something, though; despite the understated, observational bent of Kore-eda's films, there is implied turmoil in these characters' pasts that makes how they tackle the present worth watching." (more)
"Doesn't play."
1 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Not being much of a gamer, my entire history with with the "Assassin’s Creed" franchise has been seeing previews for the games before movies at a film festival that their developer sponsored, and from those clips you’d never know that it was about much more than 15th-Century parkour. Movies and games have been built on less, but sometimes the problem comes when they’re built on more - in this case, a dreary present-day story that renders the fun bits moot while wasting a whole slew of talented actors." (more)
"Could maybe use a bit on the origins of this species."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... ""Évolution" is the sort of art-house science fiction one gets when the filmmakers have come up with a fascinating setting but seemingly don’t want to slum it in genre by attaching their concepts to a conventional story: Frequently brilliant in conception and executed with impressive precision, but potentially unsatisfying. What, after all, is the point of creating all of this if you’re not going to actually use it?" (more)
"Light satire with something stronger possibly hidden beneath."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "A couple days after seeing it, "The Brand New Testament" seems a bit more clever in its satire than it did in the moment, when its loose storytelling can make it seem to have only the vaguest idea where it wants to go with its critique of religion. It takes a moment or three to realize that chaos and lack of direction are part of the point, although filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael’s fondness for the weird doesn’t always translate into the dry, absurdist wit it’s going for." (more)
"The time is right for this one."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "All things considered, "Hidden Figures" wraps some fairly radical themes — three African-American women entrusted with important NASA jobs at a time (1961-1962) when Jim Crow was still the law of the land — in a largely unradical package." (more)
"All you need is love. Or whatever."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "For some time, I’ve wondered why Fredrik Backman’s Swedish novel "A Man Called Ove," a huge international bestseller, has captured so many imaginations. Having watched the film adaptation, which hits DVD in America next week, I think I know." (more)

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