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: Jungle (2017)

Here’s the thing about travel nightmares and existential crises, we’ve all had them. Jungle, based on Israeli adventurer, author and humanitarian Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir of the same name, puts both on display to horrifying effect. This travel diary gone awry does to hiking in the Amazon what “Brokedown Palace” did to Thailand (in my 14-year…

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: Happy Death Day (2017)

In some ways, Theresa “Tree” Gelbman (Jessica Rothe, “Wolves”) is your average college student. She parties, she drinks, and, at the end of the night, she doesn’t always end up at home. In other ways she’s your average sorority girl (the pathetically one dimensional way sororities are portrayed in movies, at least). She maintains shallow…

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…

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