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Author Archives: Peneflix

DESTROYER

destroyer

Director Karyn Kusama’s bleak, intensely depressive template for Nicole Kidman’s dire transformation is only partially successful. Kidman has fearlessly strengthened her reputation as an actor with idiosyncratic characters: “Dead Calm”, a damsel in distress; a homicidal weather forecaster, “To Die For”; “Moulin Rouge”, a courtesan; Academy Award for “The Hours”, playing doomed writer, Virginia Woolf; she’s depicted Grace Kelly, explorer ... Read More »

COLD WAR POLISH (ENGLISH: SUBTITLES)

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This year has voyeuristically regaled audiences with two remarkable films by auteurs who culled from their memories, splayed on the screen, with respectful redolence, their lineage: “Roma” (reviewed 12/9), directed by Alfonso Cuaron (b.1961)  and “Cold War”, a masterpiece directed by Pawel Pawlikowski (b.1957); reverence resonates throughout both movies; filmed in black and white, uncompromised by color, seize and steadfastly ... Read More »

STAN & OLLIE

Left to right: Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy, Photo by Nick Wall, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Having missed the idiosyncratic era of “Laurel & Hardy” director Jon S. Baird’s “Stan & Ollie” biopic stuns with a profound poignancy; stars, John C. Reilly (Oliver Hardy, 1892-1957), Steve Coogan (Stan Laurel, 1890-1965) synchronize, incandescently the comedians hilarious, slapstick routines; from 1927, until their final road trip (“Birds of a Feather”) in 1953/54, their ingenious “schtick”, in over thirty ... Read More »

SHOPLIFTERS (JAPANESE: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

shoplifters

A microcosm in a sphere that has ignored, overlooked them; director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s (“After the Storm”) enchanting tale, beautifully scripted, has viewers rooting for the illegal success of the “shoplifters”: “Osamu” (Lily Franky) and “Shota” (Jyo Kairi) effortlessly depict a copacetic team of thieves (their wonderfully warped logic; “if it’s in a store, it belongs to no one”, satisfying the ... Read More »

SIMMBA (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Siimba

Rape. On December 12th, 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was gang raped by six men and later died of her injuries. In the same year approximately 25,000 rapes occurred, most offenders, known by their victims; there is a lethal disparity between those charged and convicted.  “Simmba”, directed by Rohit Shetty is a valiant slap at the nefarious perpetrators, prosecutors, and ... Read More »

GOLDEN GLOBES

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A night of glitz and glamour (Lady Gaga in an award winning gown), more importantly a night of civility and class; it was as if the egregiousness of this past year was left in the wake of a new era; the presenters and winners, like the strongest steel, emerged from the flames, surviving a year of discontent, stronger, highly polished ... Read More »

LOVE, GILDA CNN & iTunes

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Embarrassingly, I have never seen “Saturday Night Live”, obviously on a sojourn in an alternate universe; regardless, I was aware of the goddess of the comedic realm, Gilda Radner (1946-1989) and the girth of her reputation has continued to expand since her untimely passing. Director Lisa Dapolito culls archival footage from the star’s childhood, interviews with her comical contemporaries, and ... Read More »

ON THE BASIS OF SEX

On the basis of sex

The year 2018 saw the rise of two remarkable women, recognized by gallerists for their innovative, painting acuity; both in their seventies, having excelled in alternate professions, have reinvented themselves and are soaring, proving that age should not be a factor in excavating one’s dormant sensibilities, disciplines. Watching Felicity Jones, donning the early years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-), and ... Read More »

VICE

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A title referencing malfeasance, iniquity, corruption and moral depravity leaves no question in the viewer’s mind as to writer/director Adam McKay’s opinion of Vice President Dick Cheney (2001-2009); flashbacks of the most horrific period in American history are scalded in our memories and uncomfortable to revisit; to be in a position of power on September 11, 2001 was not enviable ... Read More »

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

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There is a reverence that saturates every blissful moment of this remarkably fine film, based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel; Beale Street; a metaphor, microcosm for an African American’s unique experience: New Orleans, Chicago, New York, lives mimic each other. Writer/director Barry Jenkins, (“Moonlight”) true to Baldwin’s poetic tale but infused with a heart defined by the twenty-first century; here ... Read More »

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