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DESTROYER

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Director Karyn Kusama’s bleak, intensely depressive template for Nicole Kidman’s dire transformation is only partially successful. Kidman has fearlessly strengthened her reputation as an actor with idiosyncratic characters: “Dead Calm”, a damsel in distress; a homicidal weather forecaster, “To Die For”; “Moulin Rouge”, a courtesan; Academy Award for “The Hours”, playing doomed writer, Virginia Woolf; she’s depicted Grace Kelly, explorer ... Read More »

STAN & OLLIE

Left to right: Steve Coogan as Stan Laurel, John C. Reilly as Oliver Hardy, Photo by Nick Wall, Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

Having missed the idiosyncratic era of “Laurel & Hardy” director Jon S. Baird’s “Stan & Ollie” biopic stuns with a profound poignancy; stars, John C. Reilly (Oliver Hardy, 1892-1957), Steve Coogan (Stan Laurel, 1890-1965) synchronize, incandescently the comedians hilarious, slapstick routines; from 1927, until their final road trip (“Birds of a Feather”) in 1953/54, their ingenious “schtick”, in over thirty ... Read More »

GOLDEN GLOBES

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A night of glitz and glamour (Lady Gaga in an award winning gown), more importantly a night of civility and class; it was as if the egregiousness of this past year was left in the wake of a new era; the presenters and winners, like the strongest steel, emerged from the flames, surviving a year of discontent, stronger, highly polished ... Read More »

ON THE BASIS OF SEX

On the basis of sex

The year 2018 saw the rise of two remarkable women, recognized by gallerists for their innovative, painting acuity; both in their seventies, having excelled in alternate professions, have reinvented themselves and are soaring, proving that age should not be a factor in excavating one’s dormant sensibilities, disciplines. Watching Felicity Jones, donning the early years of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-), and ... Read More »

VICE

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A title referencing malfeasance, iniquity, corruption and moral depravity leaves no question in the viewer’s mind as to writer/director Adam McKay’s opinion of Vice President Dick Cheney (2001-2009); flashbacks of the most horrific period in American history are scalded in our memories and uncomfortable to revisit; to be in a position of power on September 11, 2001 was not enviable ... Read More »

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK

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There is a reverence that saturates every blissful moment of this remarkably fine film, based on James Baldwin’s 1974 novel; Beale Street; a metaphor, microcosm for an African American’s unique experience: New Orleans, Chicago, New York, lives mimic each other. Writer/director Barry Jenkins, (“Moonlight”) true to Baldwin’s poetic tale but infused with a heart defined by the twenty-first century; here ... Read More »

WELCOME TO MARWEN

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This film is a conundrum, a therapeutic fantasy, a tribute to diminished artist, Mark Hogancamp, a talented illustrator, with a woman’s shoe fetish, beaten, so viciously, he now uses his camera to record his manufactured milieu where “evil” is annihilated by female warriors; his dolls, resembling kind women in his life, combatants who save him from Nazi villains (stand-ins for ... Read More »

MARY POPPINS RETURNS “UNFORTUNATELY”

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, Joel Dawson is Georgie, Pixie Davies is Annabel and Nathanael Saleh is John in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.

There will be those enchanted, charmed, joyously entertained: neophytes, who have never seen or revisited  the 1964 version, or have forgotten the magical “Banks” family and their ethereally, spell-binding Nanny, “Mary Poppins”, (inimitable Academy Award winning performance by Julie Andrews), her logical effervescence, intuitive genius in captivating her wards; here was a Mary Poppins, sprinkled in fairy dust, unparalleled in ... Read More »

VOX LUX

Vox Lux

Commencing with a teenager, massacring his contemporaries, resulting in the burgeoning career of a surviving victim, “Vox Lux” mimics real and fictional lives of those whose meteoric rise to lionization is fueled by drugs, alcohol and their own manufactured megalomania; this is a tiresome topic that has engulfed filmgoers, especially in 2018. “A Star is Born”, in its fourth avatar, ... Read More »

BEN IS BACK

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Rarely will you see a mother/son relationship, so profoundly depicted, magnificently perfected, defined by the acting acuity of thespians Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges (“Ben and Holly Burns”); their palatable, heart-wrenching love is the core of this exceedingly real scenario; its fictional tale, resonates as truth in today’s drug- infested environment; millions of families have been annihilated by the egregious ... Read More »

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