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‘Da 5 Bloods’

Though far from perfect, filmmaker Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” is arguably his best offering since “Malcolm X” (1992), with fine performances, stunning visuals, a grand background score and a number of surprisingly touching moments. This story of four African-American Vietnam vets who return to the site of the conflict to retrieve the remains of a fallen colleague and to partake in a dubious treasure hunting venture touches on numerous aspects of the Black soldier’s wartime experience and the lack of recognition for their service both during and after the war.

2021-01-18T22:09:16+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘The Life Ahead’

Though occasionally somewhat predictable and formulaic, this touching tale about a Holocaust survivor and former streetwalker who takes in and cares for orphans and other cast-aside children shines brilliantly thanks to its outstanding performances and the palpable chemistry of its superb ensemble cast members.

2021-01-18T22:06:39+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘The Midnight Sky’

Despite an intriguing premise, flashy special effects and a few touching dialogue exchanges, this overlong bittersweet sci-fi offering about an Arctic scientist trying to warn a returning astronaut crew about an unfolding global catastrophe that’s wiping out the earth’s population trudges along at a glacial pace, subjecting viewers to a litany of cinematic sins as it limps toward its conclusion.

2021-01-18T22:04:42+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘Another Round’

Can a film realistically straddle the fence of a controversial subject without getting its hands dirty despite the risk of angering proponents on each side of that controversy? That’s what Danish director Thomas Vinterberg’s latest offering seeks to do for the topic of drinking, one that brings with it alleged benefits and potential harm, as well as a boatload of sensitive cultural connotations.

2021-01-18T22:03:04+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’

When all the makings of a great film are in place, one expects to see an outstanding picture. Unfortunately, that’s not the case with “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” While most of its ingredients are indeed noteworthy – superb production values, stellar writing, and the positively exceptional performances by Chadwick Boseman (his final role), Viola Davis and Glynn Turman – the components just don’t mesh into a cohesive whole.

2021-01-18T21:47:44+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘The Weasel’s Tale’

When two millennial con artists take on four movie industry veterans past their prime, the plot thickens as everyone tries to outhustle one another. It doesn’t matter that the once-famous cinema idols are essentially financially destitute and live on a decrepit estate that’s falling apart and overrun by the local wildlife – everybody’s still out to look after himself or herself first.

2021-01-18T21:45:35+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘Driveways’

A gentle, touching story about a lonely 8-year-old boy and his single mother who travel out of town to empty the house of a recently deceased relative and end up befriending their late relation’s next-door neighbor, a widowed 80-something Korean War vet. This moving tale exudes warmth as the three lonesome protagonists grow close to one another, filling a huge void in each others’ lives.

2021-01-18T21:43:49+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘My Psychedelic Love Story’

To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it was” (emphasis on the word “long”). Director Errol Morris’s protracted Showtime TV documentary about Joanna Harcourt-Smith, LSD guru Timothy Leary’s so-called “perfect woman,” tells the story of their time together at the height of the psychedelic era, including their globe-trotting days on the run from authorities to evade capture for drug law violations.

2021-01-18T21:42:03+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘The Rabbi Goes West’

Rabbi Chaim Bruk is a man on a mission in an unlikely locale. After an upbringing in Brooklyn, the orthodox Gothamite relocates to Montana to establish the Bozeman Chabad-Lubavitch spiritual center, spreading the word about this form of Judaism to anyone who will listen, including (some would say especially) locals who already belong to other Jewish sects.

2021-01-18T21:39:56+00:00January 18th, 2021|

‘Wonder Woman 1984’

Yikes, what a disappointment! This much-anticipated action adventure release misses the mark in so many ways that it’s easy to lose count. The story is frequently derivative, the script plays like it was written by a committee,...

2021-01-18T21:38:05+00:00January 18th, 2021|
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