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Author Archives: Penelope Steiner

BLINDSPOTTING

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“When a situation or image can be interpreted in two different ways. You have a blindspot to the second interpretation.”  Writers/stars of “Blindspotting”, Daveed Diggs, “Collin” and Rafael Casal, “Miles” in a tightly-constructed, taunt three-day episode, prove the validity of this precept. Collin’s probation (initially unsure of what’s earned his incarceration) is nearing its completion; following the stringent rules for ... Read More »

THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS

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On July 12th, 1961, identical triplets were born and placed in three separate homes; the adoptive parents unaware of the brothers. In 1980 Robert Shafran, on his first day at a community college, is mistaken for Edward Garland, hence commences one of the most karmic connections in history; an electrifying documentary (directed brilliantly by Tim Wardle) that focuses on the ... Read More »

THE MURDERER LIVES AT NUMBER 21 (FRENCH: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Director Henri-Georges Clouzot (1907-1977) the eminent emperor of French film noir (his American counterpart, Alfred Hitchcock) is rising from the morgue, via digitally enhanced classics; “The Murderer Lives at Number 21”, made in 1942, during German occupation of Paris; black and white, as in the archival photographic process, cements viewers concentration on the characters; scintillatingly diverse, wickedly witty, Clouzot’s prodigious ... Read More »

LOVE, CECIL

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The eponymous scion of fashion flamboyancy, an heir of the Belle Époque, Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) is a delicious concoction of all that was madly, passionately, aesthetically “gay” during his tenure as the monarch of glamour, style and outlandish individuality; his photographic ingenuity has frozen, for posterity, images of the renown: Queen Elizabeth, Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud ... Read More »

LEAVE NO TRACE

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Writer/director Debra Granik (outstanding “Winter’s Bone”, launching Jennifer Lawrence’s meteoric explosion on the screen), in “Leave No Trace” with the immaculate skill of a surgeon, dissects a father/daughter symbiotic relationship; “Will” (Ben Foster) and his thirteen-year-old daughter “Tom” (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), living by their wits “off the grid” in a forest, outside of Portland, Oregon; for years they have cauterized, ... Read More »

SORRY TO BOTHER YOU

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Powerful. Provocative. Problematic. Boots Riley, in his directorial debut, pushes the boundaries between contemporary consumer culture, science fiction and disparities between black and white perceptions of today’s world. Massively metaphorical (reminiscent of “Get Out”) the film commences with “Cassius Green” (outstanding, Lakeith Stanfield, “Get Out”), financially-strapped, he applies for a position at a telemarketing firm; lusting for success and approval ... Read More »

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

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In Jewish mysticism there are, at any given time, thirty-six righteous people, roaming the world; unaware of their spiritual status they transcend age, gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, referred to as Lamedvavniks, their giftedness, uniqueness stains magnificently their lifespan and those fortunate to be infected by their aura. Watching this sensitively filmed documentary (splendidly directed by Morgan Neville) I felt Fred ... Read More »

SANJU (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Director Rajkumar Hirani (“PK”, “3 Idiots”, “Monna Bhai M.B.B.S.”) creates a viscerally stunning film based on the legendary Bollywood “bad boy”, Sanjay Dutt (1959-) son of iconic parents , Sunil Dutt (1928-2003) and Nargis (1929-1981) a love partnership commencing with the filming of “Mother India” (1957); multi-proficient, Sunil, acted, directed, played a dominant role in politics; Sanjay felt emotionally dwarfed ... Read More »

SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADO

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“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” Watching director Stefano Sollima’s gruesome scenario of “hitmen”, Marc Anthony’s pungently ironic oration at Julius Caesar’s funeral kept interfering with my concentrative faculties; blackness permeates this film, it is intentional, smothering, blurring lines of propriety on all sides; Mexican cartels have increased their resume, ... Read More »

JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

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The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species has exceeded 16,000 including: Amur Leopard, Black Rhino, Orangutan, Mountain Gorilla and the Giant Panda. Nature activists should find director J.A. Bayona’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” fascinating in its concept. The Dinosaur’s extinction is heralded at some 66 million years ago when a behemoth asteroid wiped them ... Read More »

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