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Movie Review: The Hidden Sword (2017)

Family love and honor are forged in steel for Haofeng Xu’s dazzling generational epic The Hidden Sword, which crisply chronicles China’s early-to-mid 20th century history of war as seen through the eyes of blade-bearing walnut farmers. One family has the film’s focus while Xu allows a curious concoction of quirky humor, astonishing action, and rippling…

Movie Review: House by the Lake (2017)

House by the Lake follows a family of three — mother Karen (Anne Dudek, “The Flash” TV series), father Scott (James Callis, “The Hollow”), and daughter Emma (Amiah Miller, “War for the Planet of the Apes”) — through an extremely tumultuous time in their lives. After having learned that Emma, who has strong aversions to…

Movie Review: Deliver Us (2016)

It’s a crime how rarely cinema objectively explores religion. While there remains plenty of lighthearted, faith-based fare tailored to specific churchgoing demographics, very rarely are audiences exposed to the challenging theological perspectives that lie buried underneath Lifetime-flavored fluff and grim, pessimistic horror clichés. Thankfully, in lieu of a fictionalized analysis, we have Deliver Us (Libera…

Movie Review: West of the Jordan River (2017)

“You’re right from your side and I’m right from mine. We’re both just one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind” — Bob Dylan In the Israeli-French co-production West of the Jordan River, Israeli director Amos Gitai (“Rabin, the Last Day”) returns to the West Bank to interview journalists, politicians, non-profit groups, and ordinary…

Movie Review: Western (2017)

Like a lonely, mysterious gunslinger from the Old West, a tall, slender rugged-looking man with a thick mustache comes to a small Bulgarian village near the Grecian border as part of a German work crew in Valeska Grisebach’s (“Longing”) Western. The man is Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann), in Bulgaria to work on a hydroelectric power station…

Movie Review: Monogamish (2014)

In Monogamish, director Tao Ruspoli (“Being in the World”) explores the benefits and constraints of the union of marriage while grappling with his own public divorce. The film — part documentary, part self-help journey — opens with Ruspoli penning a letter to relationship and sex columnist Dan Savage. The camera captures Ruspoli as he hand…

Movie Review: Loveless (2017)

Whether or not it is designed as an allegory of modern Russia, no film in recent memory has examined the growing emptiness of human relationships with such expressive force as Andrey Zvyagintsev’s (“Leviathan”) Loveless, a heart wrenching drama about a couple on the brink of divorce whose emotional neglect of their son leads to devastating…

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