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"More of a Guppy"
1 stars
Jack Sommersby says... "One of Coppola's many financial follies, with this one grossing less than $3 million off a $10 million budget, though his follow-up, the outstanding "The Cotton Club," semi-redeemed him." (more)
"Another art-house horror calling card."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Every couple of years, a little oddity emerges from the indie-cinema beat and gets lionized as the next great thing to happen to horror. Generally these films are scrupulously calibrated and express the drive and obsession that a young filmmaker — in this case, Rose Glass, a British writer-director about thirty — feels about a story or a theme. What they don’t express is true fear." (more)
"A terrific conversation."
5 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "Ossie Davis famously called Malcolm X “our own Black shining prince,” and "One Night in Miami…" adds three other princes." (more)
"A noble effort, anyway."
3 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "If you’re anything like me, you sometimes find the idea of engaging with difficult art — dry philosophical writing, discordant music, slow and artsy film — more appealing than the reality of it." (more)
"Ride, captain, ride..."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "There’s a guy, brave and smart. We’ll call him the good guy. Watch now as we point him in the direction of the bad guy. The bad guy wants to make everything die. Why? Because he’s the bad guy. The good guy, being the good guy, must stop the bad guy." (more)
"Street scenes."
4 stars
Rob Gonsalves says... "On a lot of levels, Les Daniels’ 1971 book "Comix: A History of Comic Books in America" tweaked my ideas of what comics could be. Spain Rodriguez’ anti-bourgeois underground comix hero Trashman was a particularly sharp tweak." (more)
"An American Tale"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "In the late 1960s, Fred Hampton was, in the eyes of the F.B.I., one of the most dangerous men in America. With his galvanizing combination of righteous anger and fierce rhetoric, he spoke out against racism, poverty and other social ills and preached a form of social revolution that inspired and united groups of people that would never have otherwise come together and challenged the existing power structure and those ruled over it. Hampton’s rise and the increasingly elaborate efforts by the government to bring him down by any means necessary are at the center of “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Shaka King’s mesmerizing docudrama that not only expertly brings to life an almost unbelievable sliver of recent American history but makes it relevant to the turbulent times that we currently live in as well." (more)
"An American Tale"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "Although I, as a rule, have not given anything remotely resembling a damn about the Golden Globes since the time they voted Pia Zadora the Best New Star back in 1981 (even though she had co-starred in “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” 17 years earlier), I could not help but be somewhat taken aback to hear that, because of the tacky-tack rules of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, “Minari,” a film which has been receiving acclaim ever since it premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, was ruled ineligible for the Best Motion Picture—Drama prize because it is a prize that is reserved for English-language films and more than 50% of the dialogue is in Korean. While even those who inexplicably take the Golden Globes seriously would have to admit that this ruling is unlikely to damage the film in any significant way—both “Roma” and “Parasite” were disqualified from the top prize for the same reason and it had little effect on their fates—what makes it particularly egregious in this case is the fact that it happens to tell a uniquely American one in the way that it charts the ups and downs of a family trying to pursue the American dream in a way that viewers of all nationalities will be able to respond to with equal amounts of delight." (more)
"An American Tale"
5 stars
Peter Sobczynski says... "I must confess that I was not particularly eager to sit down and watch “Nomadland” when the opportunity first presented itself last fall. This, I should point out, was not meant as a slight towards either writer-director Chloe Zhao, whose “The Rider” was justifiably celebrated when it came out a couple of years ago, or star Frances McDormand, whose bona fides hopefully require no further explanation. No, it was the film’s premise that set me off a bit. To hear reduced to a couple of sentences, it sounds like one of those films about people trying to come to terms with things that are as noble as can be but which ultimately prove to be a bit of a chore to sit through—the kind of film that one admires more than actually enjoys. Of course, the combination of professional obligation and its early status as a potential leader in the current award season ensured that I would put my misgivings aside and finally sit sown and watch it. I am glad that I did because rather than the well-meaning stiff that I feared it might be, it proved to be one of the year’s most engrossing and thought-provoking films featuring one of the very best performances to boot." (more)
"Does entertaining bombast, but there's a lot of it."
3 stars
Jay Seaver says... "Dante Lam Chiu-Yin's latest patriotic blockbuster has everything it needs to be a crowd pleaser and then some, the "then some" coming from a tendency to pile things on a little too high when there's already plenty for the audience to worry about. It's one of those action movies that puts just enough fairly predictable material between spectacles to get by but can escape feeling completely rote thanks to its star's charisma." (more)

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