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Out in Theaters: ’JUSTICE LEAGUE’

For many DC comic fans, just the thought of a Justice League movie gets their panties all warmed up; finally seeing the Big Three (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) join forces with the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman on the big screen in a live-action super-blockbuster enough to produce a seizure-inducing nerdgasm. Well prayers have been answered and after many years of waiting, we can finally stop wondering what a feature film Justice League might look like because it is here in all its ridiculous glory. And the result, well it ain’t too pretty. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘LAST FLAG FLYING’ 

You might not know by first looking at it but Last Flag Flying is actually a much, much, much belated sequel to the 1973 Hal Ashby film The Last Detail. In a way. That Oscar-nominated, Jack Nicholson-starring film followed two Navy Men who escort an offending enlisted man to military prison but decide to show him a good time along the way. The film was loosely based on the 1970 novel of the same name from Darryl Ponicsan and in 2005, Ponicsan produced a follow-up called, you guessed it, Last Flag Flying. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS’

You can heave a sigh of relief everyone, Johnny Depp doesn’t make it far in Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express.  An adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel of the same name, Murder quickly dispenses with the weaselly superstar, here playing a slimy criminal who ends up a pin cushion the very night the titular Orient Express departs. The attention then turns to the patrons of a first-class coach traversing the snowy countryside, each of whom may have reason to want Johnny Depp dead. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI’ 

There are many words you can’t say on a billboard but in Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic and borderline brilliant Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri calling out the local sheriff for failing to bring to justice a rapist, arsonist and murderer is fair game. At least from a legal standpoint. This is the set-up for a crime saga unlike any other, McDonagh’s film a foul-mouthed mystery brimming with colorful characters, its jet-black tone and surprising emotionality capable of causing fits of laughter and bouts of urgent somberness in what is one of the best films of 2017. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘LADY BIRD’ 

Indie darling Greta Gerwig breathes life into directorial “debut” (she co-directed Nights and Weekends in 2008) Lady Bird with passion and pathos. Gerwig’s strong freshman feature strikes a balance between the mumblecore sensibilities of frequent collaborators Joe Swanberg and Noah Baumbach while bringing a refreshingly anarchical female voice into the choir. Lady Bird as a character and film manages both tenderness and lawlessness; caught in the confuddling mix of teenage hormones and perceived oppressive parenting; rebelling against the grain, oft to her own detriment; Gerwig’s capable filmmaking expertly capturing that claustrophobic  feeling of teenage angst and insurgency; Saorsie Ronan performing the hell out of the role.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THOR: RAGNAROK’

Candy-colored Thor: Ragnarok is a retro, dimension-hopping hoot. Rambunctious, joyous and just plain fun to watch, Ragnarok is shellacked with vintage Taika Waititi style, the critical darling director behind such rollicking Rotten Tomatoes-adored comedy-adventures as Hunt for the Wilderpeople, What We Do in the Shadows and Boy retaining his idiomatic filmmaking tactics even under the watchful eye of notoriously handsy Marvel producers. The best of the Thor films (and this coming from someone who actually admits to enjoying the previous two), Ragnarok employs Taika’s signature witty, irreverent approach to comedy and his knack for building genuine camaraderie among squirelly outcasts to craft the funniest blockbuster of the year, one that doubles as a hell of an odd-couple intergalactic road trip, even if it still barely breaks the lather-rinse-repeat nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe mold.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND’

Indelicate slow-burn thriller, Most Beautiful Island is a tragic immigrant story married to a Polanski-esque social horror film. Star, writer and director Ana Asensio filters the angst, hostility and debasement of the American immigrant experience through a seedy thriller film where pressure mounts impossibly minute by minute until it’s unleashed in a jaw-dropping finale, the less said about the better.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘SUBURBICON’

A Beaver Clever-era, suburbia-set take on the Fargo formula, Suburbicon manages to tack onto its strange plot plagiarism a tone deaf racial integration backdrop and a slew of characters unable to pass as either likable or interesting. It’s an oddly comfortless misfire from director George Clooney, one that seems promising on paper but never is able to click once the tape starts rolling. Snooze-inducing if stylish, Suburbicon takes a host of talent in front of and behind the camera and squanders it in on an effort that, while never outright stupid, is almost unbearably not as smart, clever or funny as it seems to think it is.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER’

No one makes ‘em like Yorgos Lanthimos, the Greek auteur/comedic sadist responsible for such cinephelic gems as Dogtooth and The Lobster. Taking much of the same human-as-reporters-of-fact Wes Anderson forthrightness and filtering it through a lens of awkward depravity, The Killing of a Sacred Deer follows pace with The Lobster, wherein singles mingled forcibly lest they be hunted down by a strictly coupled off society. This is something even more dark, otherworldly and delirious where coupledom proves a debilitating battle of wits and parents have little loyalty.   Read More

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Talking With Sean Baker of ‘THE FLORIDA PROJECT’

Sean Baker. A man so humble that when I inaccurately stated the number of films he’s made, he not only didn’t not turn up his nose at me, he actually ran to his hotel room to grab me copies of the films I had missed. So it probably comes as little surprise that this man, a 46-year old New Jersey native, would be behind a film as empathic and compassionate as The Florida Project.   Read More