MOVIES

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TRIBECA, brief chat with Mark Grieco of “A River Below”

The footage is muddy, but we see it clearly enough: a pink dolphin—one of many endangered species populating the Brazilian Amazon—is harpooned to death by a group of fishermen, to be used as bait for the pirapitinga, a breed of scavenger catfish. This is just the beginning of Mark Grieco’s wrenching documentary “The River Below,” currently showing at Tribeca. Filmed over two difficult years, it ... more >

“Last men in Aleppo” coming to theaters soon

Syria's white helmets are the country's first responders. They're there when bombs go off, when buildings collapse, when bodies need to be recovered and the wounded hospitalized. "Last Men in Aleppo," a documentary directed by Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad in collaboration with the Aleppo Media Center, follows two men from the White Helmets who navigate the war-torn city of Aleppo in various ... more >

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“Hidden figures” is a keeper (here’s why)

Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson and Janelle Monae
Directed by Theodore Melfi

Several viewings of the trailer for “Hidden Figures” before my usual cinema-going routine failed to convince me that it was a film worth seeing. On the strength of those two minutes, I quickly pegged it as yet another moral, inspirational tale about disadvantaged people overcoming great odds. Talk about disadvantage. The three main characters in question are women--not easy today and even less ... more >

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20th century women, it’s primo turns and great American cinema!

Elle Fanning, Annette Bening and Greta Gerwig
Directed by Mike Mills

The mood is melancholy, the road ahead unclear. Which may explain the slew of biographical, autobiographical novels and films in a meandering Proustian fashion that go for the past. And, just like Proust’s oeuvre, never boring but intriguing and beguiling at the same time. After the Norwegian Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume memoir, “My Struggle,” the gorgeous Mike Mills film, “20th Century ... more >

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“Arrival” by Denis Villeneuve

Amy Adams, Jeremy Renners and Forest Whittaker
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

After too many Metaphysics 101 (Malik’s “Tree of Life” and Gaspard Noe’s “Love” come to mind) and anguished what’s-the-meaning-of life questions awkwardly addressed, Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” takes us into adult territory. The Canadian filmmaker has already accustomed us to his diverse and masterful corpus of works, so his venture into science-fictionish territory doesn’t disappoint. Twelve ... more >

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They Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore? “La La Land”

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling
Directed by Damian Chazelle

The feel-good La La Land, director Damien Chazelle's prohibitive awards favorite, is a movie of mystery. Can Emma Stone sing? (She can.) Can Ryan Gosling sing and dance? (As a singer, he makes an OK dancer.) The real and lasting question rising from its smoggy, sunny success, however, is this one: Why don’t they make more musicals? Every week a pigeon flies in from “The Death of ... more >

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Jackie

Natalie Portman and Caspar Philipson
Directed by Pablo Larrain

Probably the most famous first lady in the history of the United States, people remember Jacqueline Kennedy for riding next to her dying husband in the most perfect pink dress anyone had ever seen. This image permanently stuck in our head lights Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie” is fueled by this incoherent image pink and bloody – the glamour and the grief.   Jackie isn’t the story of a murder. It’s the ... more >