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‘WIDOWS’ Subverts Heist Movie Expectations with Searing Performances, Artful Direction

There’s a cold chill that hangs in the air of Widows, the collaboration between brooding auteur Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and celebrated novelist and Hollywood hot ticket item Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”, “Sharp Objects”). Theirs is a chilly heist movie, one that draws equally from modern American racism (whose roots run deep here) and political paranoia; a feature that’s marked by events of extreme brutality and cold calculation. A far cry from the slick heist movies born of Steven Soderbergh, Edgar Wright, or Spike Lee, Widows is still complete with its share of double-crosses, smart aleck maneuverings, and bone-chattering suspense. It’s not a total top-to-bottom revision of the traditional heist flick but their offering is an artful and potent reworking of the established formula.  Read More

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SIFF ’18 Capsule Review: ‘BREATH’

Ruminating surfer drama Breath, based on the best-seller from Tim Winton, cherishes the micro exchanges of male machismo. A thoughtful meditation on self-discovery, fear, and personal limitations, this coming-of-age drama from Simon Baker features delicate performances and beautiful oceanside cinematography. Within, two teenage boys befriend a veteran surfer and learn the ebb of his unstable world. The feature becomes briefly bogged down in a boy-thinks-he-becomes-man-by-proxy-of-sex plot but is buoyed by a writer’s sense of purpose and spirit for adventure, all of which allow the subtle emotionality to capture lightning. (B) Read More

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Out in Theaters: THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

Guy Ritchie is the Rembrandt of slick action capers. His signature twisty-turny plotting suggests a much more reined-in Shyamalan while his carefully syncopated, pop-art action beats share a locker with contemporaries Zack Snyder and Matthew Vaughn. From Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Ritchie has operated within a comparable sandbox, utilizing a very similar set of stock tools within shifting budgetary constraints. With The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Ritchie has set aside his signature accoutrements for something with an embarrassment of cinematic fervor. His latest creation is chic and classic, timely yet timeless, shiny on the surface with rich characters driving the engine underneath. This much fun is rare at the theaters. Read More