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PETERLOO

British writer/director Mike Leigh’s intelligent, compelling polemic referencing a shameful blot in English antiquity, demands and deserves profound respect from the viewer; 1819, four years after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo; with haunting memories of the French Revolution (1789) and its guillotined aristocrats, the activists, demanding reform, suffrage, tax relief, elicited quaking alarm in the status quo; trussed in their breeches, ... Read More »

ASH IS THE PUREST WHITE (CHINESE: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Director Jia Zhangke  (2015’s bewitching “Mountains May Depart”) in this alluring, ravishing scenario about love, loss and survival in contemporary China; we follow “Qiao” (impeccable, magical performance by Zhao Tao, the director’s wife) commencing in 2001, concluding in 2018; Qiao’s boyfriend “Bin” (extraordinary, Liao Fan) a feckless, minor drug lord sees no reason to visit Qiao, imprisoned, for taking the ... Read More »

SUNSET (HUNGARIAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Director Laszlo Nemes’ nascent Academy Award winning “Son of Saul” tipped the scales in mind-crunching innovation, revolutionary emotional upheaval, allowing the viewer to walk in the shoes of a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, metaphorically choking on Zyklon B gas; existence, a circumstantial whim of fate; a manifestation, incarnation of palpable evil, touched by the refined embodiment of man’s ... Read More »

HOTEL MUMBAI

I do not believe in a God of Carnage; but 10 Pakistani men over November 26-29, 2008, assassinated 164 people in the name of Allah, squelching India’s way of life, as they did in the United States, September 11, 2001; director Anthony Maras, without blinders or sensationalism, reenacts and personalizes the calamitous hours of terror endured by guests and staff ... Read More »

WOMAN AT WAR (ICELANDIC: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

Deliciously quirky, fantastically off quilter, writer/director Benedikt Erlingsson teamed with stupefying actor Halldora Geirharosdottir, introduces viewers to a character(s) never to be duplicated or forgotten. Twins “Halla” and “Asa” approaching fifty are spiritual loaners; Halla a “Divine Demolition Diva”, an environmentalist, in Robin Hood style, single handedly slays the instruments threatening the ecological purity of her Icelandic landscape; we cheer ... Read More »

TRANSIT (GERMAN: ENGLISH SUBTITLES)

German director Christian Petzold’s ingenious interpretation of Anna Seghers’s (1900-1983) 1942 novel of the same title, is compelling on a variety of levels; primarily a contemporary take on Nazi roundups in the late 1930’s and 40’s; reminiscent of Seghers personal experiences during WWII: born into a Jewish family, marrying a Hungarian Communist, arrested by the Gestapo, renouncing Judaism, fleeing to ... Read More »

NO WINNERS IN PENEFLIX ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARD CONTEST

For the first time, because of the dynamics of this year’s competition, a consolation prize will be given to Brian B. for going all the way, until he was foiled by “The Green Book”; congratulations on your prescient choices. For the most part, the evening was bland, benign and lacked the cohesiveness of a host; blessedly shorter than previous productions; ... Read More »

PRE OSCAR REFLECTIONS

Just received the entrees for Peneflix’s Annual Academy Award Contest; hundreds have an opportunity to win; always buoyed by the regulars! This year was extremely problematic for me; credit phenomenal material, directing and equally grand characterizations; indecisiveness rarely invades my realm but this year’s nominees kept me in foggy, filmic fug. My main conundrums were: 1. Best Female Actress: until ... Read More »

PENEFLIX ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS CONTEST 2019, LAST DAY TO ENTER!!!

Once again February has shed prominence on the stars, movies and those behind the scenes. This year is the most difficult, challenging to date, due to the range and diversity of the films and nominees. I feel there should be separate categories for drama and comedy. I also question “Roma” being in “Best Movie” and best “Foreign Film” categories. Every ... Read More »

PENEFLIX ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS CONTEST 2019, ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT!!!

Once again February has shed prominence on the stars, movies and those behind the scenes. This year is the most difficult, challenging to date, due to the range and diversity of the films and nominees. I feel there should be separate categories for drama and comedy. I also question “Roma” being in “Best Movie” and best “Foreign Film” categories. Every ... Read More »

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