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Author Archives: Peneflix

BATTLE OF THE SEXES

Emma Stone as "Billie Jean King" and  Steve Carell as "Bobby Riggs" in BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

This film could not have been made in 1973; 44 years hence directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris gift movie-goers, more than a historical, ground-breaking tennis match but a compelling, introspective study in self-discovery. Emma Stone and Steve Carell soar as the legendary Billy Jean King (1943-) and Bobby Riggs (1918-95), making it difficult to differentiate between the real and ... Read More »

VICEROY’S HOUSE (ON DEMAND & IN THEATRES)

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Director Gurinder Chadha blesses audiences with a pivotal portrait of British partition of India, 1947; simply, elegantly the “Viceroy’s House” sheds enlightenment on the monumental task faced by Lord Mountbatten (stuffy but appropriate, Hugh Bonneville), the last Viceroy of India, and his wife, Lady Edwina Mountbatten (remarkable Gillian Anderson). Most of the British forces had departed, leaving a hotbed of ... Read More »

STRONGER

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Jake Gyllenhaal, whose star-power has been ignored by the Academy (“Jarhead”, “Southpaw”, “Nightcrawler”, “Nocturnal Animals”) gives a dazzling, perceptive performance as Jeff Bauman, whose legs were severed on April 15th, 2013, as he waited for his girlfriend, Erin Hurley, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. His is the story of a young, happy man, living mundanely in the ... Read More »

FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHER (NETFLIX, AND IN THEATRES)

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Wordlessly, empathetically filmed, is this documentary based on Loung Ung’s memoir of her torturous four years under the inhuman, communist regime of the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979); over two million Cambodian citizens lost their lives; Loung, raised in an educated,  accomplished milieu in Phnom Penh, was five-years-old when she and her entire family were systematically stripped of their dignity. “First They ... Read More »

SIMRAN (ENGLISH/HINDI)

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Directed by Hansal Mehta, filmed entirely in the U.S. cities of Atlanta and Las Vegas, loosely based on a true story, “Praful/Simran”  a thirty-year-old, divorced, Gujarati, housekeeping employee succumbing to a gambling addiction and resorting to robbing banks to salvage her debt. The film is immensely fun, racy, infused with satisfying, marvelous manipulation; imbued with “Pretty Woman”, “Bonnie and Clyde” ... Read More »

MOTHER

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Writer/director Darren Aronofsky pushes the “envelope” into oblivion with this blistering, harrowing film, focusing on Christian/Biblical iconography, philosophy; a massive, bloody metaphor for inventiveness, inspiration, and “if at first you don’t succeed”, give it another go! From its commencement there is something awry in this May/December pairing, a chasm between the perpetually cooking, cleaning, painting housewife and her mate’s frenetic ... Read More »

THE OATH (ICELANDIC: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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“If it is given me to save a life, all thanks.  But it is also within my power to take a life”. Hippocratic Oath.   Baltasar Kormakur accomplishes a remarkable feat of directing himself in this stunning thriller set in the frigid, gloriously pristine landscape of Reykjavik, Iceland; “Finnur” (Kormakur) a renown heart surgeon, has a seemingly perfect life, blessed ... Read More »

HOME AGAIN (OR NEPOTISM GONE AWRY)

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Writer/Director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, daughter of Nancy Myers (“It’s Complicated”) tries, unsuccessfully to clone themes from past Myers films; which might have worked if the characters had not been shallow, paper mache replicas, ubiquitous in a myriad of B-movies: separated, forty-year-old mother, “Alice” (Reese Witherspoon’s effervescence fizzled at the halfway point) with two synthetically, precocious daughters “Isabel” and “Rosie” (Lola Flannery, ... Read More »

POLINA (RUSSIAN, FRENCH: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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“Dancing is the highest intelligence in the freest body” spoken by Isadora Duncan (1877-1927), an icon of innovative, communicative movement. Husband/wife directors, Angelin Preljocaj and Valerie Muller have presciently adapted Bastien Vives’s novel into a visual homage; the transformation of a spirited, precocious, classically trained ballerina into a contemporary, avant garde interpreter of movement; a translation of the soul into tangible ... Read More »

THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

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This was the summer of discontent in filmic mediocrity; “The Beguiled”,”A Ghost Story”, “Landline”, a few fabulous flops, earning top grades for ennui, enervation and exhaustion. The anemic, paltry product led me to visit Patrick Hughes’s “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, expecting explosive vapidity I was gleefully surprised to find myself laughing out loud, enjoying predictability, but primarily the comedic charms of ... Read More »

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