AUTHOR | Anthony Francis

ARCHIVES

Christina Ricci in “MONSTROUS,” the film’s saving grace? OUR REVIEW

This film never quite achieves a balance between the real and surreal, resorting to horror film tropes instead.
Christina Ricci, Santino Barnard and Don Durrell
Directed by Chris Sivertson

Chris Sivertson’s “Monstrous” is driven by some interesting, if familiar, themes. Unfortunately, the director is not able to pull them off. Written by Carol Chrest, Christina Ricci stars as Laura, a single mother who takes her young son Cody (Santino Barnard) to a remote new home, apparently trying escape her past and ex-husband. On the run from something dark, her new house certainly holds ... more >

Ben Foster fights for his life in “THE SURVIVOR” | REVIEW

Distributed by HBO Films
Ben Foster, Peter Sarsgaard and Vicky Krieps
Directed by Barry Levinson

Barry Levinson is known for his natural filmmaking style and ease with portraying realistic characters and dialogue. “The Survivor” is no exception. His latest project is, likely, the loftiest one yet. Working from a powerful screenplay from Justine Juel Gillmer, the film tells the true story of Harry Haft, a Jewish man who, while in Auschwitz, became an unstoppable fighter, surviving by ... more >

On Chicago’s South side, examining racially-motivated police violence and corruption frontally: “61st Street”

Series was executive-produced by Michael B. Jordan
Courtney B. Vance, Andrene Ward-Hammond and Tosin Cole

Police brutality. The one constant human rights violation in America. Executive-produced by Michael B. Jordan, the new AMC miniseries “61st Street” is a legal drama focusing on the rampant and racially-motivated police savagery that takes place on Chicago’s South side. Courtney B. Vance stars as veteran public defender Franklin Roberts, mere days from retirement (and suffering from cancer), ... more >

Reality isn’t real anymore, “MAINSTREAM”

The satire for the social media age
Maya Hawke, Andrew Garfield and Kalena Yiaueki
Directed by Gia Coppola

There is no doubt that The Coppola family gene is infused with above-normal talent. Gia Coppola’s sophomore effort as director, “Mainstream,” doesn’t reach the deeper level of her first film (2013’s “Palo Alto”) but she and co-writer Tom Stuart’s screenplay has a lot to say. Frankie (Maya Hawke) is a young woman on a journey to find herself in an artificial world. She works in a dive that ... more >

Ricky Ringer has long been in the rodeo limelight but his star never shone as bright as it should have | RIDE TILL I DIE

DOCUMENTARY
Ricky Ringer, Ricky Ringer Jr. and Ernie Courso
Directed by Tony Rammos

The Florida rodeo circuit is the setting for first-time filmmaker Tony Rammos’s documentary “Ride Till I Die.” The director uses this setting to examine the unshakable drive to be the best in the world of an unforgiving sport. Professional cowboy Ricky Ringer has participated in rodeos for more than two decades. His specialty is bull riding, and his skills make him one of the best, bringing him ... more >

Jared Leto in “MORBIUS” | MOVIE REVIEW

Six days does not a week make
Jared Leto, Matt Smith, Adria Arjona and Jared Harris
Directed by Daniel Espinosa

The new film “Morbius” is exactly what you've come to expect from a Marvel film. A scientist, and an experiment gone wrong. In the comic book world, they will either become hero or villain. In the case of this film, it's a bit of both. All of this is followed by lots of underwhelming dialogue Then comes the noise and headache-inducing CGI that renders everything even more phony than it already ... more >

“Life & Beth” (TV) is a sweet tale about good people who are just trying to figure it all out. You know, like each and every one of us does | SERIES REVIEW

More--much more--than a love story or a series about coming-of-age

Amy Schumer has struck gold with her new Hulu miniseries, “Life & Beth”, a heartfelt tale of a woman staring at 40, trying to sort out the kinks in her life. We find Beth (Schumer), unsatisfied with her life, job (she is a successful wine salesperson), boyfriend, and relationship with her distant sister Ann (Susannah Flood) . Beth can’t enjoy the successes found in her work and has ... more >