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Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society”

A great Allen vintage
Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by Woody Allen

2016 is starting to shape up as the year of the love letter to Hollywood’s Golden Age. We started the year with the Coen Brothers's "Hail Caesar!," a kidnapping comedy set in a fictional fifties studio with million-dollar mermaids, crooning cowboys and blacklisted commie screenwriters. Still to come is Damien Chazelle’s musical "La La Land" with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. Stuck in the middle is ... more >

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“Money Monster”

Film was shown out of competition in Cannes
George Clooney and Julia Roberts
Directed by Jodie Foster

I liked "Money Monster," thought I'd that off the top. If that seems like an unusual or lame or unusually lame way to start a film review, that's fine. I wanted to state it firmly. Because there are things in the Jodie Foster-George Clooney political thriller that just made the rounds of the ongoing Cannes Festival that should go wrong. To start with, "Money Monster" quickly violates two of my ... more >

Everybody wants some !!

Solid but not quite explosive
Blake Jenner, Tyler Hoechlin and Ryan Guzman
Directed by Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater is uniquely qualified to make a film like EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! By that, I mean he’s the fairly rare filmmaker who was a certifiable jock--both the quarterback and star pitcher for high school teams in Houston and Huntsville, Texas. A baseball scholarship helped pay for college. That perspective informs the athletes of his most famous film, DAZED AND CONFUSED (which, chances ... more >

BATMAN V SUPERMAN : DAWN OF JUSTICE

place
Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Jesse Eisenberg
Directed by Zack Snyder

On Monday night at the Alamo Drafthouse I caught a screening of GUN CRAZY, the influential low-budget 1949 B-movie starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall as a pair of bank-robbing lovers on the run. If you don’t know Dall, he was a Ben Affleck lookalike who starred in two minor classics in about eighteen months and then barely acted again—the other classic being Alfred Hitchcock’s ROPE. If you don’t ... more >

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RACE

Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons and William Hurt
Directed by Stephen Hopkins

The story of Olympics legend Jesse Owens has always stuck with me. Not because of the glory of winning four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin games, setting records in front of Adolf Hitler. It has stuck with me because it haunts me – that a man could be a national hero one day and then struggle in the longer RACE of life. RACE doesn’t cover much of Owens’ life outside of his athletic peak. Being ... more >

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YOUTH | It’s always fantastic when God pitches in as production designer

"La Giovinezza" (Italy)
Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino

There is a moment in Paolo Sorrentino’s YOUTH when the aging conductor and composer, played by Michael Caine, stops in a beautiful European meadow to watch the cows. At first we are listening to each dong of a cowbell as a separate sound. Slowly he begins to hear the music hidden inside them. With a bit of imagination, the conductor soon raises a hand to conduct. If the film has a metaphor, this ... more >

An erratic but underwhelming “Chappie” hit theater screens

Low marks for Blomkamp's latest effort
Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman
Directed by Neill Blomkamp

The opening of Neill Blomkamp’s “Chappie” sweeps across multiple stories in multiple places in early stage apocalypse-Johannesburg, South Africa. A helicopter fleet of robocops dives from the sky and blasts through a collection of menacing gangsters. It’s a lovely, frantic movement of action, editing and scoring. And then everything goes wrong after that. It’s common for critics to wish that ... more >