Biography

Movie Review: Tolkien (2019)

In many ways, director Dome Karukoski’s Tolkien is a fine film — a definitive sampling of J.R.R. Tolkien’s formative years and a nicely fleshed-out character study. Yet, it also plays as programming you might find on a PBS “Masterpiece” program, with nicely defined Edwardian settings, fine period costumes and impressive performances all around. Still, similar…

Movie Review: Fighting With My Family (2019)

Fighting With My Family is a film of weird elements: The city of Norwich, England; wrestling, with all its “fixed but not fake” performances, alternative names and larger than life personalities; a very human and indeed true story of both pursuing and losing out on a dream. Based on the story of Saraya Knight aka…

Movie Review: Leaving Neverland (2019)

“These things cannot be long hidden: The Sun, the Moon, and the truth” — Buddha Dan Reed’s (“Three Days of Terror: The Charlie Hebdo Attacks”) gripping two-part documentary Leaving Neverland is not an easy watch, nor was it meant to be. While it may not ultimately be considered to be great cinema, it is a…

Movie Review: Stan & Ollie (2018)

By the 1950s, Hollywood’s Golden Age was waning, its studio system crumbling in favor of “New Wave” films and younger visionaries. The wholesome names of the 1920s and ’30s were now the distant past, though their legacies would be cemented among Hollywood’s greatest. Nevertheless, pressing on amid this sweeping change were two iconic personalities of…

Movie Review: Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Mary Queen of Scots, Josie Rourke’s interpretation of rival queens in the 16th century is stilted and anticlimactic, with poor pacing and a weak screenplay that casts a rather conspicuous shadow over its two prominent leads, Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”) and Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”). Rourke, long affiliated with the London stage (she’s the artistic…

Movie Review: Roma (2018)

At a time when typical Hollywood fare consists of retreads and blockbusters aimed at mass markets, introspective and highly personal films have become increasingly rare. That alone is reason to celebrate Alfonso Cuarón’s (“Gravity”) Roma, an intimate journey that draws on the director’s memory of a childhood filled with domestic turmoil as well as a…

Movie Review: The Mercy (2018)

Cinema has long been home to inspirational “true story” interpretations, operating as a vessel through which filmmakers can translate fact into fiction. There’s an audience for it, so the biopic genre and its various filtered offshoots continue to be a mainstay of mainstream movies. There’s a seemingly endless collection of personalities and adventures to choose…

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