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Author Archives: Peneflix

“WHERE’S MY ROY COHN?”

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A title implying ownership, shared familial DNA, director Matt Tyrnauer’s prescient documentary vivisects demigod Roy Cohn’s (1927-1986) amoral, Machiavellian history; from his coddled, privileged formative years; his prodigious intelligence led him to starship, at twenty-three, with Senator Joseph McCarthy’s (1908-1957), quest to destroy, malign anyone who flirted with Communism; pivotal in the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (1951); Army-McCarthy ... Read More »

JUDY

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Renee Zellweger excavates the core of the vulnerable, superlatively gifted, but tremendously tragic Judy Garland (b.1922); her last stand, in London, 1969, where, like Custer, she flounders and fails. With flashbacks of her highway to stardom, viewers visit the embryonic source of her ultimate addictions; a creepy, controlling Louis B. Mayer (Richard Cordery) gives off pungent vibes of psychological (possibly, ... Read More »

DREAM GIRL (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Leave it to Bollywood, alas, the “dream girl” is a guy! Ayushmann Khurrana is “Puja” the luminary of a call center; his melodious, sensual voice was discovered while starring as “Sita” in the fabled, mythic Ramayana; he “catfishes” and mimics, the “Dream Girl”  of lonely, nerdy men, placating their prurient fantasies; a plodding and surreal scenario; Khurrana, with the aid ... Read More »

AD ASTRA (INTO THE STARS)

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Strangely hypnotic, director and writer James Gray (mediocre, “The Immigrant”, exceptional “The Lost City of Z”) entrusts viewers a realistic glimpse into the future: shuttles to the moon and Mars, emotional sensors, translating one’s psychological health, fashionable space gear; acceptance of the premise, guarantees scintillating distraction. Brad Pitt, is subtlety inspirational as “Major Roy McBride”, a wounded, isolated soul, sent ... Read More »

DOWNTON ABBEY

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Incomprehensible that this was my initiation into the “Downton Abbey” syndrome; fortunately, my last foray into the old British elitist, titled microcosm; servants and their mean-spirited, acerbic, acidic characters dampen any expectations of ingenuity, even the King and Queen’s entourage reek of pompous, pitiful, pettiness; their doomed, dour contribution ruin, what should have been a rambunctious, halcyon romp into a ... Read More »

FAGARA (MANDARIN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Director/writer Heiward Mak has taken an overwrought, stale scenario and revitalized it with a charming injection of kindness, wit and discovery; three young women from disparate backgrounds bond over the death of their father (poignantly perfect, huggable Kenny Bee), from three different women; Li Xiao, Megan Lai, Sammi Cheng are exquisitely cast as struggling ladies in contemporary China; working together ... Read More »

HUSTLERS

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On occasion you see a movie infused with decent acting but leaves one wondering why it was worthy of being made; “Hustlers” directed by Lorene Scarfaria, a true narrative, based on women who used their pneumatic, curvaceous forms to bilk Wall Street charlatans out of their supposed ill-gotten gains; alcohol, drugs administered during salacious, staged encounters, where victims are financially ... Read More »

THE GOLDFINCH

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Donna Tartt’s 2014’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel translates into an anemic, poorly edited, lackluster rendition of a scenario, that I found flawed and overwrought in reading, and excruciatingly tedious in viewing. Tartt’s gifted, descriptive prose is wasted;  Nicole Kidman, gives a stilted performance as “Mrs. Barbour”, the matron who housed “Theo Decker” (credible Oakes Fegley) after his mother was killed ... Read More »

FIDDLER: MIRACLE OF MIRACLES

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For as many times as I have seen “Fiddler of the Roof”, this documentary written and directed by Max Lewkowicz, added clarity, and depth that was truly miraculous; based on tales by Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916), protagonists Tevye and his daughters resonate with a contemporariness that vibrates with its universality. Since 1964, with its Broadway debut, “Fiddler” has exponentially enchanted audiences, ... Read More »

OFFICIAL SECRETS

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The Official Secrets Act: 1989, Act of Parliament, UK, removing the public interest defense, prohibiting disclosure of official documents, considered sensitive by the government; in 2003 Katharine Gun (imposing performance by Keira Knightley) working as a translator for GCHQ (NSA), after huge trepidation leaks a memo implying that the George W. Bush Administration (Tony Blair, complicit) was manufacturing egregious inadequacies; ... Read More »

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