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NIGHT CRAWLER, first film and this thriller is a massive success

It's ninja-style TV reporting
Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Directed by Dan Gilroy

Dan Gilroy’s first feature film, “Night Crawler,” is a rare treat, a perfect thriller, a soufflé that rises as it should and keeps its superlatively fluffy texture from minute one to minute 117. But you stand warned, this film about a sleazy, nasty loser-drifter who has watched one too many TED talk about how to be wildly successful will not be as easy to digest. Jake Gyllenhaal, skinny, driven, ... more >

GONE GIRL, from left: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, 2014. ph: Merrick Morton/TM & copyright ©20th

GONE GIRL beset by technical goofs

Film was co-produced by Reese Witherspoon
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Directed by David Fincher

It would be ungracious to deny that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” lengthy as it is, whizzes past, keeping us highly entertained throughout. I haven’t read the book on which it is based so I don’t know if the structural change that has apparently caused an uproar is for the better or not. Anyway, both book and screenplay are by the same author so she’s entitled to doing what she wants with ... more >

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THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY

This marks Hossein Amini's directorial debut
Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Stewart
Directed by Hossein Amini

It’s always a nice surprise when a film panned by critics turns out to be quite enjoyable. Such is Hossein Amini’s “The Two Faces of January,” both a crisp thriller based on a Patricia Highsmith novel and a period piece set in Athens and Crete in the sixties. The story is that of a wealthy American couple taking in the sights, people dull enough until we realize that Chester MacFarland (Viggo ... more >

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Jersey Boys

Bravo, Clint Eastwood!
John Lloyd Young and Erich Bergen
Directed by Clint Eastwood

Bravo, Clint Eastwood! With “Jersey Boys,” the director moves away from his sometimes schlocky and often manipulative movies such as “Invictus,” “Gran Torino,” or “Hereafter,” and gives us a biopic as moving as it is entertaining. Like the Broadway musical, it’s a story of greed, success, fall and redemption, none of it unpleasant as the protagonists are young, gifted, and for the most part ... more >

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The Rover

"Mad Max meets 'Of mice and men'
Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson
Directed by David Michôd

In scandal-prone filmdom, not the least is the lackluster career of a great actor, Guy Pearce, though his choice of unclassifiable turns (“Memento,” “Two Brothers,” etc.) may be a factor. Case in point, the strange and strangely moving “The Rover,” where in a desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland, his character, Eric, maybe a former soldier of fortune, farmer or adventurer, and surely a lonely ... more >

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BIRD PEOPLE

Film was shown at the last Cannes Festival
Anaïs Demoustier and Josh Charles
Directed by Pascale Ferran

How alienated does our work/family/play/social-media environment make us? What if we took the time to measure this alienation, what if we looked, really looked at what’s around us, what if we grew wings and flew high above it all, taking stock, seeing our lives from a distance with an uncritical but lucid eye? Such is the premise of Pascale Ferran’s lovely and thoughtful “Bird People,” shown in ... more >

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The German Doctor

"Wakolda" [Samuel Goldwyn Mayer]
Natalia Oreiro, Àlex Brendemühl and Diego Peretti
Directed by Lucia Puenzo

Of all the sick Nazis whose names have gone down in history as an unforgettable reminder of that period’s infamy, surely one of the very worst is the Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele. One can only imagine this mad “scientist” given thousands of live subjects he could submit at will to his experiments, pulling out eyes, cutting out hearts and other organs without anesthesia, conjoining twins, using ... more >