Films

Tonally uneven film obscures provocative premise   

Social media obsessed Ingrid (Aubrey Plaza) moves to L.A. with a plan to befriend her Instagram idol.

If you sometimes worry you may be checking your Facebook and Instagram feeds just a little too frequently, rest assured that you’ve got nothing on Ingrid Thorburn. As portrayed by an exceptional Audrey Plaza, the social media obsessed heroine of Ingrid Goes West becomes a poster child for smart phone restraint. Unfortunately, first time feature writer/director Matt Spicer and his co-writer David Branson Smith run into tone problems, turning what could have been a brilliant satire into something mildly amusing but ultimately unsatisfying, almost to the point of troubling.
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Let your honesty shine, shine, shine… Except when it doesn’t, like in this phony, affected picture   

Thomas (Callum Turner) confronts Johanna (Kate Beckinsale), his father’s mistress.

The word “serviceable’ gets bandied about quite a bit in director Marc Webb’s new film about a young writer, which is ironic, since The Only Living Boy in New York is anything but. In fact, serviceable is actually far too kind a word for this hackneyed, derivative embarrassment.
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Film Review: Brigsby Bear

by Carrie Kahn on August 4, 2017

Mooney’s funny and poignant film Bears witness to the restorative power of art 

James (Kyle Mooney) dons the costume of his idol, Brigsby Bear. 

If you watch Saturday Night Live regularly, you know that cast member Kyle Mooney seems like the kind of smart-but-nerdy guy who probably spent his middle school years making goofy action-figure based short films with his friends. Fast forward some 20 years later, and not much has changed, though the results are no doubt exceedingly more polished than his junior high efforts. Mooney, along with his 7th grade buddies Dave McCary and Kevin Costello, has made his first feature film, and, fittingly, Brigsby Bear is a charmer that celebrates the healing power of both art and family.
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The 37th San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, showcasing over 60 films from more than a dozen countries, opened on July 20th, and runs until next Sunday, August 6th. This year, the Festival boasts over 15 West Coast premiers, and more than 40% of its films are directed by women, including both its opening and closing night films. 

With a full week left to go, there is still plenty of time to catch some great new films. Below we spotlight four Fest titles (two documentaries and two features) that you may want to check out. Complete schedule, tickets, and more information are available here. [read the whole post]

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Theron heats up a cold city

Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) smokes, drinks, kicks, and kills with the best of them.

Take a world nearing collapse, a main character with oodles of bitchy beauty, add some cold-war cloak and dagger spycraft, throw in some “fluid sexuality,” lots of fight scenes, and just a pinch of back story. Good so far? Not so fast. Take away the script. Take away the music. Take away much of the acting. Not so great? Ok, so put one truly fantastic fight scene back in, and you’re served Atomic Blonde, the Charlize Theron vehicle opening wide today.

First time helmer David Leitch, a former stunt man with co-directing credits on John Wick has taken the graphic novel series The Coldest City and turned it into a mostly a muddled mish-mash that owes much of its existence to Luc Bresson’s La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional, as well founding father Doug Limon’s The Bourne Identity.
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Film Review: Detroit

by Carrie Kahn on July 28, 2017

Bigelow’s intense, harrowing film remains fiercely relevant

A city under siege: Detroit, July, 1967.

“It’s hard to believe this could happen in America,” a character says in Detroit, director Kathryn Bigelow’s grim but brilliantly effective new film about the 1967 Detroit riots and their aftermath. But for those of us watching exactly 50 years later, such believing is all too easy — and that’s perhaps the most disheartening take away from Bigelow’s gut-punch of a film.
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Film Review: Dunkirk

July 21, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cmgiys2n1o

Dunkirk: powerful and memorable In Christopher Nolan’s astonishing new film Dunkirk, we follow a major battle early in World War II through the struggles of a number of soldiers, sailors, and airmen as they attempt a massive retreat from France across the English channel in the face of constant German attacks. Though the events of that […]

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Film Review: Lady Macbeth

July 21, 2017
youtu.be/2Z0N8ULhuUA

What’s done cannot be undone: And that’s the way she wants it If Lady Macbeth is remembered for anything after its initial release today, it will be for introducing the mostly unknown British actress Florence Pugh to the world. Just 19 years old when she made the film, Pugh, in the picture’s title role, is […]

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Film Review: A Ghost Story

July 14, 2017
youtu.be/c_3NMtxeyfk

Should the spirit move you to see this movie, ignore it  Boo! Sorry if I startled you, but such an opening seems appropriate for a review of A Ghost Story, writer/director David Lowery’s new film about, yes, a ghost – replete in Casper-esque white sheet with eyeholes and all. But this ghost isn’t exactly friendly; […]

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Film Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming

July 6, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0D3AOldjMU

The ultimate movie-by-committee goes for spectacular, but is less than amazing Sometimes a movie has a story to tell, and sometimes it doesn’t. This movie doesn’t. It has a purpose, for sure. It has a goal in mind and it competently makes every effort to get there, and objectively, it does. Unfortunately, the goal was […]

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