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OCTOBER (HINDI: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Director/producer Shoojit Sircar and actor Varun Dhawan have created the unexpected from Bollywood; “October” is a quiet, introspective film, centering on two young people, training at a five-star hotel in Delhi, India. “Dan” (Dhawan) is flippant, “Brahminesque” in his attitude toward his employers and patrons; at twenty-one, the world is his lotus flower and he assumes it always will be. ... Read More »

YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

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This disturbing, fragmented film directed by Lynne Ramsay is an episode, a “bubble” in a troubled, haunted, suicidal man, “Joe”; only Joaquin Phoenix could grasp the intricacies, trauma of this overwhelmingly disenfranchised, complicated character’s life.  Joe, a defender of the righteous, a slayer of the untoward, a savior of the unprotected; his mission accomplished with “hammer” like precision. With the ... Read More »

BEIRUT

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In 1972, Beirut, Lebanon (one of the oldest civilizations in the world), a magnificent city referred to as the “Paris of the East”, lives U.S. diplomat “Mason Skiles” (Jon Hamm) his wife “Nadia” (Leila Bekhit) and their ward “Karim” (Yoav Sadian Rosenberg), a thirteen-year-old Palestinian refugee; into a benign, multi-cultural cocktail party, a terrorist group shatters, irrevocably, Mason’s harmonious lifestyle. ... Read More »

CHAPPAQUIDDICK

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This is not a good film; it binges on “poetic license”, sensationally portraying Senator Edward Kennedy (1932-2009) as a moronic megalomaniac; July 18, 1969, sounded the death knoll for Kennedy’s quest for the Presidency but did not destroy the aura of royalty, entitlement that informs his birthright; Kennedy remained senator of Massachusetts until his death. Regardless of his achievements, the ... Read More »

A QUIET PLACE

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Mesmerizing, hypnotic, powerful, original scenario, classified in the “horror” genre; director/writer/actor John Krasinski’s ingenuous portrait of survival, consummate love and strength, despite plummeting odds, is a tableaux of unparalleled, pervasive torture and fortitude. The Abbott family, soundlessly scavenges for sustenance in a desolate grocery store; communicating by signing, barefoot, filthy, their youngest of three children covets a toy airplane. Within ... Read More »

FINAL PORTRAIT

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Like houses of worship, museums are vessels of sanctification; as a child, walking through their hallowed halls, walls dancing with portraits of saints and sinners, beckoned by monumental angels, overcome with reverence, I thought this is where god, man and paint are one; creativity consecrated, empowered, only a few capable of envisioning, actualizing the mighty, sanctified and damned. As life ... Read More »

UNSANE

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Clair Foy rose to prominence as the actor who for two seasons starred as the young Queen Elizabeth II in Netflix’s “The Crown”; her portrayal of a vulnerable monarch, fervently in love with her husband, was a tender concoction of human and royal pedigree; torn between familial and monarchial duties, the “Crown” edged out the personal. It was a test ... Read More »

FLOWER

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This is not a film for the occasional movie-goer; it is an audacious, four-letter infused (“like”) tale of a teenage girl who performs sexual favors to earn funds to bail her errant father out of jail; she blackmails her “victims” by having her friends video the assignation. Appealing? Absolutely not, with the exception of Zoey Deutch’s performance as protagonist, seventeen-year-old ... Read More »

FOXTROT (HEBREW: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

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Emotionally flayed from the onset when “Michael and Dafna Feldmann” are informed of their son “Jonathan’s” (Yonaton Shiray) death.  For fifteen minutes viewers are exposed to raw, pulverizing pain; with bleeding souls, and splintered hearts, Lior Ashkenazi (“Footnote”) and Sarah Adler (“The Cakemaker”) hypnotically generate the unspoken magnitude of the insurmountable. Writer/director Samuel Maoz’s complex scenario uses the fluid structure ... Read More »

THE DEATH OF STALIN

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Highly anticipated, my expectations were painfully, slowly slaughtered as the film progressed; director Armando Iannucci’s dark parody, ironically and at times scathingly sharp, depicts the mendacious scavengers hovering around the stricken Stalin (Adrian Mcloughlin) in 1953. His greedy sycophants, acted by Steve Buscemi (Nikita Khrushchev, an unrealistic leap of faith required in his casting, not to disparage Buscemi’s impeccable comedic ... Read More »

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