Films

Film Review: Dunkirk

by Chris Piper on July 21, 2017

Dunkirk: powerful and memorable

Soldiers await rescue.

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 tragic summer week in 1940 are well known, what’s not known, and what is the basis of the film’s significant triumph, are the fates of the individuals who are just trying to survive long enough to get home.
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What’s done cannot be undone: And that’s the way she wants it

Katherine (Florence Pugh) is restless and bored as the much younger wife of a middle-aged man who shows no interest in her. 

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 reminiscent of a young Kate Winslet, and, based on her work here, is bound to go on to an equally impressive and acclaimed career.
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Should the spirit move you to see this movie, ignore it 

Casey Affleck plays a bed sheet clad ghost in A Ghost Story.

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; in fact, he’s sad. Bereft, even. And lost. He needs closure. And you will be yearning for it, too, if you choose to sit through this pretentious slog masquerading as a profound meditation on grief.
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The ultimate movie-by-committee goes for spectacular, but is less than amazing

Tony Stark (Robert Downey, Jr.) gives fatherly advice to young Peter Parker (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

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 not to make a meaningful movie; it was simply to check all the boxes on what makes an “entertaining” one. This is a bland, corporate product that goes down easy, but is forgettable from beginning to end.

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Coppola returns to form with seductive Southern gothic drama 

Union soldier John (Colin Farrell) and Edwina (Kirsten Dunst) find a moment alone. 

In its 70-year history, the Cannes Film Festival has only awarded its Best Director prize to a female director twice; the first was in 1961 (to Soviet filmmaker Yuliya Solntseva for Chronicle of Flaming Years, a tale of Nazi resistance in the Soviet Union), and the second was this May, to writer/director Sofia Coppola for The Beguiled. While the Festival sadly took some 50 years before bestowing this honor on another woman, this year’s award hopefully signals a real shift toward providing opportunities for, and recognizing the accomplishments of, women in film. That said, the concern of this review, of course, is the film itself: are Coppola and her new film worthy of the prize? The answer, thankfully, is a resounding yes.
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Film Review: Okja

by Chris Piper on June 28, 2017

Welcome to the animal funny farm

Okja (left) and Mija (An Seo Hyun) share a moment.

She has eyes the color of sunlit amber. She has a face that always reflects your best mood. Just being near her, feeling the warmth of her body as you wake up from an afternoon nap, sends waves of serenity through you. Sometimes, when you’re not sure where she is, and you call after her, the moments before her reply can seem like small eternities. [read the whole post]

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Film Feature: A Few Minutes with Edgar Wright and Ansel Elgort from Baby Driver

June 27, 2017
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Edgar Wright’s newest film, Baby Driver, is a labor of love, many years in the making. The film would be a typical action crime drama were it not made by Wright, who is anything but typical. Instead, we get a creatively inspired film that takes this oft repeated form and adds a magical twist, which is that […]

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Film Review: Transformers: The Last Knight

June 21, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=AntcyqJ6brc

This movie goes for Big Dumb Fun, and is certainly big and dumb A few years back, I wrote a “live blog” of Transformers 4: I Can’t Remember the Subtitle, the first in the Michael Bay x Hasbro series of films to star Mark Wahlberg. It was a pretty silly movie, but looked amazing in IMAX […]

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Film Review: The Book of Henry

June 16, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dz8R2xxeyaA

Several different movies, crashing together; in other words, it’s a multi-car pile-up What if veteran comic book writer Gregg Hurwitz wrote a superhero origin story about a single mom, combined it with a treacly family drama about a cancer-stricken kid, and crossed that with a darkly comedic satire about cinematic depictions of gifted children? Well, […]

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Film Review: Cars 3

June 16, 2017
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LeOH9AGJQM

Horsepower and happy endings Oh how quickly the young become old, the strong become weak, and the fresh, young, star becomes the stale, old, has-been. In the age of computer-generated animated features, oh how long ten years can be. Sadly, Cars 3 proves this old axiom, as it leans heavily on the achievements of the […]

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