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TEL AVIV ON FIRE (ARABIC, HEBREW: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

An incendiary title that is anything but; director/writer Sameh Zoabi (a Palestinian raised in Israel) with fellow writer Dan Kleinman create a silly, “soapish” scenario that deliciously delights with its blend of the pungent political milieu hibernating at the core of Israeli-Palestinian tensions preceding the 1967 war; a flimsy plot focusing on a Palestinian spy “Tala” (quirky, enigmatic Lubna Azabel) ... Read More »

ROJO (SPANISH: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” Argentina. 1975. A home is stripped of its accessories, by disparate individuals; a metaphor for the ultimate disappearance of Argentines with left wing political ideals, leading to the “Dirty War” (1976-1983) a United States-backed military coup d’état, (overthrew Isabel Peron) clandestinely supporting state terrorism; a murky blot ... Read More »

THE FAREWELL (ENGLISH/CHINESE)

Rarely does a film generate benevolent happiness, sweetness, witnessing a family’s love and concern for a precious matriarch; Zaho Shuhzen is dazzling as “Nai Nai” (grandmother), unaware of her fatal stage 4 lung cancer, she devours life and living with staggering, stunning greed; she is an extraordinary tonic, a canyon of care; her granddaughter, “Billi” (Awkwafina, “Crazy Rich Asians”) an ... Read More »

THE SOUVENIR

An enigmatic, voyeuristic, painfully plodding slice of intimacy, addiction in 1980’s London; “Julia”, (Honor Swinton Byrne) twenty-four, an entitled film student, succumbs to the slithering charms of “Anthony” (Tom Burke) whose garbled, pseudo-intellectualism, fed by his cocaine dependency, woos with vapid, arrogant, sickening poppycock;  Julia’s naivety refuses to recognize his villainy, depravity, as he plummets wantonly into moral turpitude; she ... Read More »

ALL IS TRUE

For as long as I can remember William Shakespeare (1564-1616) has monopolized my literary sphere as the foremost “bard” ever birthed; no other writer, poet has come within a breath of his genius, which exponentially blossoms with time’s passage; beyond wisdom, his scope of the human condition, knows no boundaries, parameters; no one, king or peasant, escaped his effulgent, caustic, ... Read More »

TOLKIEN

Honesty compels me to confess that I never sunk my literary molars into the realm of J.R.R.Tolkien’s (1892-1973) “The Hobbit” (1937) nor “The Lord of the Rings” (1954-55) but wallowed in mesmerizing captivation throughout Peter Jackson’s trilogy of these fantastical characters and places that sprung from the imaginative fecundity of one man; oh, to stroll clandestinely through the closets, corridors ... Read More »

SHADOW (MANDARIN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Director Zhang Yimou (“House of Flying Daggers”, “The Great Wall”) in his latest film “Shadow”, sheds upon viewers a magnificent epic of vintage Chinese lore: warring factions, recalcitrant, narcissistic leaders, romance, subterfuge, above all pristinely, poetically choreographed; sculpted mobility transcends the graphic violence; there is grandeur and elegance in the pathos; this is filmmaking at its peak; Yimou’s masterful vision ... Read More »

THE WHITE CROW

  Director/actor Ralph Fiennes, with intelligence and empathy, brings to fruition Julie Kavanagh’s biography “Rudolf Nureyev: The Life”; Fiennes studies Russian, adding legitimacy to his role as Pushkin, Nureyev’s ballet instructor, and neophyte Oleg Ivenko is vastly credible as iconic Rudi, a twenty-three-year-old, imbibing in the “garden of earthly delights” in Paris, 1961. The conundrum lies in Rudolf Nureyev’s inimitable, ... Read More »

RED JOAN

Ambition and over simplification stymied what should have been a legitimate political thriller; that being stated director Trevor Nunn and an inimitable cast, lend viability to the true story of a remarkably brilliant woman (Joan Stanley) who helped with the development of the atomic bomb, shared its secrets with the Russians, loved a misguided idealist (Leo), married a professor (Max) ... Read More »

AMAZON PRIME SCORES WITH THESE STUNNERS

When mediocrity stars in theatres, television can satiate the most discriminating, discerning viewer. Recently I watched three shows that resonated profoundly, leaving a luscious residue of memorable performances, extraordinary writing, staggering scenarios:   “The Politician’s Wife”: British miniseries (1995) starring Juliet Stevenson as a loyal but betrayed wife of Conservative Minister “Duncan Matlock” (Ian Bannen) with an “escort” (Minnie Driver). ... Read More »

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