Reviews

Hail Caesar! stars Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Scarlett Johannsen, newcomer Alden Ehrenreich, personal favorite Ralph Fiennes and features small turns from Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Frances McDormand and a poorly dubbed Christopher Lambert who I could’ve sworn was dead. With that many stars one wonders how even the Coen Company could handle it. The answer: they don’t.

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Like a long marriage, 45 Years isn’t an easy journey by any means, yet it is one definitely worth taking.

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Director Tetsuya Nakashima is hellbent to that end in The World of Kanako, his ultra-violent, ultra-stylized 2014 extreme revenge flick. It was released in America last fall by Drafthouse Films and comes to Blu-ray today.

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A few years ago, Tim Blake Nelson wrote and directed the dramedy ‘Leaves of Grass.’ That film was original, smart, funny and showed tremendous range for Nelson as a writer and director. I’m not sure what he was trying to accomplish with Anesthesia, but hopefully it’s only a minor step back.

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Gilda is out now in a fantastic-looking 2K restoration Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection that reveals what a anomaly the movie truly was.

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In the documentary ‘I Am Thor,’ out now on Blu-ray, “nice guy” Canadian bodybuilder-turned-stripper-turned-heavy-metal-rock-star John Mikl Thor decides one day in the mid-1990s to try to regain a sliver of the fame he had in the crazy, sexed-up 1970s.

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Were it anyone else but Charlie Kaufman holding the reins on this, things might not seem so generic and adrift, yet again, considering the level of novelty and creativity he has brought to previous offerings, Anomalisa feels decidedly thin, and only partially formed.

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There is so much to be learned from Criterion’s new Blu-ray of Bitter Rice, even today. It is a perfect surprise, proving how important and how much fun it is to discover older movies with fresh eyes.

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The Revenant is one of the most ambitious films in recent memory and one of the best pictures of the year. Go see it. It’s worth your time and money.

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Experimenter is one of the best and most overlooked films of the year, and definitely worth catching up with as soon as possible.

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Those that don’t have the capacity to find some sliver of perverse humor in point-blank headshots, projectile blood vomiting, aggressive rape scenes, and cold blooded murder probably won’t like The Hateful Eight. That’s their loss, though, for the rest of us that have followed Tarantino on his cinematic gallop through the last 20-plus years have come to expect nothing less, and in the director’s eighth offering, he most certainly does not disappoint.

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Although there are discernible arcs and some level of growth for a few of the characters, ‘Youth’ is all so on-the-nose and force-fed that the whole affair comes off as decidedly manufactured and plastic.

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The Force Awakens is an action film. It feels like Star Wars but it isn’t Star Wars.

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An expertly crafted drama with impeccable performances, a tight script, stunning set and costume designs, and a brisk yet thoughtful pace, director Todd Haynes’ newest film, Carol, soars.

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At nearly three hours, one laments the wasted opportunity, for there is ample time, directorial muscle, and acting horsepower to walk the line between cinematically engaging and broadly digestible.

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