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FIRST COW

An unlikely partnership, is rarely found or experienced as in writer/director Kelly Reichardt’s quirky, strangely hypnotic, story of two disparate “outliers” joining forces in the Oregon Territory, 1820’s;  “Cookie” Figowitz (John Magaro) a displaced baker, joins an outlaw “King Lu” (Orion Lee) in a money-making scheme, revolving around the milking theft of “Chief Factor’s” (Toby Jones) cow, the first and ... Read More »

HOPE GAP

Poetic evaluation of a “hopeless” partnership, commencing with one dissatisfied member, the other oblivious to, what viewers recognize, the obvious: twenty-nine years of marriage, cauterized, well before we meet “Grace” (inimitable Annette Bening) and “Edward” (dour Bill Nighy); she exudes bliss, in tandem with his robotic gloom; their only child “Jamie” (sensitive, Josh O’Connor) is conscripted as referee; his keen, ... Read More »

GREED

In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, New York, caught fire, 138 female workers were incinerated; 2016, the Rana factory, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1,138, primarily women workers; high-end fashion and its quest for inexpensive labor, hovers at the heart of these egregious wrongs; little has changed, unprotected by labor laws, these outrageous abuses are being catalogued by pivotal documentaries, YouTube videos ... Read More »

EMMA

“Of all the Emmas’, in all the films, in all the miniseries,” here treads the feistiest.  Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) “Emma” published in 1815, England: George III was king; Lord Byron and Walter Scott were in full throttle; Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo. Women invisible, an accessory in a patriarchal society; their fortunes, gifted to their husband’s after marriage. Stifled, stymied, ... Read More »

THE INVISIBLE MAN

Slick, scary and reverential tribute to H.G. Wells 1897’s “The Invisible Man: A Grotesque Romance”; creepy scientist conjures, with the illusion of light, his transformative power of invisibility; Oliver Jackson-Cohen, “Adrian Griffin”, scores as a mad genius who controls his lover by exercising his mind over her matter; Elizabeth Moss, “Cecilia Kass”, dynamites her every moment of misery; a role ... Read More »

Seberg

Kristin Stewart has the mettle that gives this “fair to middlin” biopic of Jean Seberg (1938-1979) a backbone of anemic strength; surrounded by platitudinous performances: Jack O’Connell, Vince Vaughn, Colm Meaney; half-baked-writing, diaphanous dialogue, divulging the appalling tactics of the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover, its autocrat.  As “Saint Joan” (1957) Seberg was an instant teenage supernova; 1960’s “Breathless” sealed her ... Read More »

HUNTERS (AMAZON PRIME)

Loosely based reality series focusing on the United States involvement in the recruitment of Nazi scientists after the second world war and their elimination by Nazi hunters, in 1977, New York; disturbingly flawed, transitionally defective, but keenly acted by a number of the protagonists: Al Pacino is dynamic as “Meyer Offerman”, a Holocaust survivor, meting vigilante justice to the profoundly ... Read More »

THE CALL OF THE WILD

Jack London’s (1876-1916) paradigmatic novella is more in vogue today than when it was written in 1903; anthropomorphic “Buck”, a metaphor for shedding one’s inhibitions, rising and besting life’s provocations, realizing one’s ingrained potential. “The Call of the Wild” is beautiful; luscious, undulating mountainous terrain of Yukon, British Colombia, is breath-taking, daunting in scope; digitalization in tandem with hypnotic cinematography ... Read More »

DOWNHILL

Swedish director, Ruben Ostlund’s 2014 “Force Majeure”, was a darling of worldwide Film Festivals; I did not care for it: excessive teeth-brushing, massive character manipulation, superfluous, annoying minor roles; that being stated, is was colossally superior to “Downhill”, directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash’s homogenized version; actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell cannot rescue it from well-deserved anonymity. Redundancy, repetitiveness ... Read More »

92nd ACADEMY AWARDS: PENEFLIX PREDICTS THE HAT TRICK!

Vindication has never felt so rewarding; for years I have suffered defeat, going with my gut, shunning the odds, my head and heart in sync; faring better than I imagined, I recognized the brilliant uniqueness of “Parasite” with my first encounter, on a myriad of levels, the film soars beyond assumptions: Biblical,  Shakespearian, mythological, Darwinian; Goethe stated “Before you…there are ... Read More »

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