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Author Archives: Peneflix

WHITE BOY RICK

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The 1980’s, halcyon height of the drug wars in Detroit, a cavern of crime, devastation, addiction and fourteen-year-old, Rick Wershe Jr.; Richie Merritt is blissfully faultless in his debut performance; he maneuvers comfortably through the underbelly of Detroit’s infected, disenfranchised, punitive world. Director Yann Demange’s source was 2014’s “The Trials of White Boy Rick” by Evan Hughes, and it egregious, ... Read More »

A SIMPLE FAVOR

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“Stephanie Smothers” is one of the most cloying, annoying, insufferable characters on today’s screen; her saccharine plasticity, oozes enough sweetness to induce a diabetic coma; she has a “vlog” showcasing her recipes; she is the single, self-deprecating, intensely dislikable mom of a five-year-old boy; Anna Kendrick’s depiction scores with grating perfection. Stephanie meets and befriends “Emily Nelson” whose glamour cannot ... Read More »

9/14/18 THE CHILDREN ACT (ON DEMAND & IN THEATERS)

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Ian McEwan’s 2014 bestselling novel has been translated into film; with minimal poetic license, it adheres to the literary scenario; its precepts are presented and readers/viewers are left with an unsettling, amorphous feeling of disquieting indecisiveness. The Children Act of 1989 in the United Kingdom was to ensure and protect the welfare of children, until their majority, at eighteen. “Fiona ... Read More »

DESTINATION WEDDING

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Skillful performances by Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves cannot save director/writer Victor Levin’s film from end-of-summer sludge;  “Lindsay” and “Frank” meet on their way to a destination wedding in San Luis Obispo, Ca. (the town deserves better); instantly established, is their acrimonious, rancorous, bond; poisonous, xenophobic barbs equivalently traded, permeate every verbal minute; ceaselessly talking, dynamiting viewers ability to make ... Read More »

THE BOOKSHOP

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Penelope Fitzgerald’s (1916-2000) 1978 novel can be described simply as a portrait of courage. Since the passing of Senator John McCain on August 25th, we have heard the word countless times but no one owned, soared higher in the courageous category than Meghan McCain in her eulogy for her father; as rare as the man, was the depth of sensitivity, ... Read More »

THE LITTLE STRANGER

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A puzzling story; a compilation of intrigue, mystery, horror but primarily, percolating at its creepy core, is a tale of class, entitlement; recalling “The Great Gatsby” a man of mighty wealth, never embraced by America’s old monied elite. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) “The Little Stranger” prevails in a bucolic glen outside of London, shortly after WWII; “Hundreds Hall”, its ... Read More »

SEARCHING

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By far the most interesting and contemporary film of the year. Ex-Google employee Aneesh Chaganty’s “Searching” erases barriers between technique and the viewer, familiarity replaces mystery in filmmaking, masses are comfortable, no longer intimidated, by accessible technology; ubiquity of the internet and its myriad devices is part of today’s functional environment; Amazon’s effectiveness has increased productivity, eliminating hours in the ... Read More »

OPERATION FINALE

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It is truly astounding that so many millennials have never heard of Adolf Eichmann (1906-1962); the architect of one of the most profound atrocities, visited upon mankind; Eichmann lived in a cocoon of normalcy until his capture in Argentina by Israelis (Mossad) in 1960; keenly complicit in the annihilation of six million Jews; he stood trial in Jerusalem; convicted and ... Read More »

PAPILLON

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Blazing, metaphorical pageant, over two torturous hours of “man’s inhumanity to man”; director Michael Noer’s, valiant attempt to recreate 1973’s scenario, starring  Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, struggles and sluggishly sinks into a lethargic morass; Charlie Hunnam (“The Lost City of Z”), in McQueen’s role of “Papillon”, doffs close to fifty pounds (aka, Michael Fassbender in 2008’s “Hunger”) as a ... Read More »

JULIET, NAKED

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With his career’s progression Ethan Hawke’s scruffy, unwashed, unkempt persona has lost its repugnance and become cultish in its appeal.  Hawke’s performance in “Juliet, Naked” is a resounding testament of an actor’s aptitude to actually become, inhabit the soul of his character; “Tucker Crowe”,  a washed up American rock singer, with some renown, from the 90’s; lionized by “Duncan” (naïvely ... Read More »

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