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“Wild Rose”

Between responsibility and hope lie country music dreams
Jessie Buckley, Matt Costello and Jane Patterson
Directed by Tom Harper

The Rose of the title is Jessica Buckley who, as Rose-Lynn Harlan does a tremendous turn as an untamable working-class Glaswegian just out of prison after a stint for committing a petty crime. She’s a cleaning lady by trade, a Nashville-style country singer by aspiration, a mother of two and an unmanageable rebel, all within the staid contents of her small life. The twisted charm of Tom ... more >

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“Tel Aviv on Fire,” an acid and humorous take on Palestinians, Israelis and DYIsm

It's showtime!
Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal and Yaniv Biton
Directed by Sameh Zoabi

This Israeli film by Sameh Zoabi, an Arab Israeli, comes to us boasting a number of awards but that doesn’t prepare us for the treat of this thoroughly enjoyable and unpretentious story. “Tel Aviv on Fire” is one of those gems––think “The Band’s Visit” or “Tony Erdmann”––that grab and delight from the opening scene to the very end, with nary a slackening of rhythm. Salam (Kais Nashif, a ... more >

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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: “YESTERDAY” was great fun to watch. Then the self-indulgent pathos began

Imagine there's no Beatles
Himesh Patel and Lily James
Directed by Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday” is a delight almost to the end. How can it not be? First of all, perfect pitch by both Himesh Patel (Jack) and the too-lovely-for-words Lily James (Ellie). Patel is Jack Malik, a store employee who, through a blackout on earth and being hit by a bus, wakes up in an alternate world where he is the one and only person who knows the Beatles. A third-rate musician who kind of ... more >

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REWIND | LETTER FROM PARIS, The culture feast

"Le Redoutable," "Young Karl Marx" and "Loving Vincent"
All of the above-mentioned films are in theaters in France now

(this article is a reprint; it was originally published on Screen Comment in 2017) Were I ever tempted to leave Paris and pitch my tent in a warmer city, a city where it doesn’t rain as often, where skies are bluer and inhabitants smile, I only need to look back on this last week to realize that I could never live elsewhere (but I already know that.) So how did that week go? I saw ... more >

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Doris Day leaves us — she was 97

Her favorite role? Calamity Jane

Doris Day’s death at age 97 was announced today. A star in a league of her own, mainly between 1948 and 1968, she was one of those dainty American women living in a world of charming comedies where the most forward move possible in a couple would be a chaste kiss, where a housewife wearing high heels and an apron like those of a French maid busily put meatloaf or casserole in the oven, where blond ... more >

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PARTING WORDS: “Amazing Grace”

The documentary “Amazing Grace,” the filmed version of an Aretha Franklin concert in a black church, was originally filmed in 1972 by Sidney Pollack. The problem—lack of synchronization between image and sound—that prevented the project from being completed, has finally been fixed thanks to digital technology. That which gives us a superb and moving moment of music and film history and ... more >

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“Us,” every person in the world is stalked and will eventually be destroyed

Monkeypaw Productions
Lupita Nyong'o, Elizabeth Moss and Winston Duke
Directed by Jordan Peele

Given the praise showered on “Us,” the latest by Jordan Peele, I’m beginning to wonder whether this is the same movie I saw as everyone else, a movie that I found neither as original nor as gripping as the director’s previous film “Get Out.” Or maybe I missed the entire point, whatever it was? A middle-class African American family arrives at their vacation home, in a middle-class neighborhood ... more >