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ACTOR Max Von Sydow leaves us, he was 90

A number of movie goers will surely identify with me when I say that, Swedish actor Max Von Sydow, who died on March 8th at the age ninety, has been part of my committed film-lover’s life for as far back as I can remember. His tall-as-a-tree lean—-later gnarled--body, his long face more and more gloomy as the years went by, were part of innumerable experiences, from the most esoteric Ingmar ... more >

NOW SHOWING: BOMBSHELL

Distributed by Lionsgate
Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie
Directed by Jay Roach

Before Weinstein and before Epstein and a myriad lesser-known sexual predators, there was Roger Ailes. The story of the CEO of Fox News and others like him, much discussed in the last few years as illustrations of how the ugly and mighty fall is now brilliantly illustrated in “Bombshell.” Jay Roach gives us the tremendously entertaining story of a watershed moment at Fox, predating the #Metoo ... more >

Kirk Douglas left us, this legendary actor towered over everyone else in Hollywood

Kirk Douglas (1916-2020)

We remember him as Vincent Van Gogh in “Lust for Life” (1957). In Stanley Kubrick’s “Paths of Glory,” (1957), he plays an officer during WWI who fights to overturn an unjust death sentence against three soldiers by his commanding officer; in “Spartacus,” (1960), again by Stanley Kubrick, he is the legendary slave who would not be cowed (of the director, with whom he had differences, Douglas had ... more >

MOVIE REVIEW: “1917”

Mission impossible for real
Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay and Daniel Mays
Directed by Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes’s name for his film is right. It hits you in the face with the mud, blood and gloom that was there, heavily, relentlessly, during that terrible year following three years of horror and followed by an even worse one. Out of this war that Mendes described as “a chaos of mismanagement and tragedy,” he has made a war movie like none other. Eschewing regular scripts for war films, the ... more >

OPINION: What happened to chronology?

Directors resort to the flashback too indulgently, it would seem

Introducing in a narrative flashbacks, fragments of dreams, partially remembered scenes has always been part and parcel of cinema. Examples abound. Look at classic films. The childhood sled scenes in “Citizen Kane” are indispensable. As is the famous flashback explaining the Gregory Peck character’s trauma in “Spellbound." The process works, when it is used within reasonable limits. When repeated ... more >

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BEST OF 2019: “Tel Aviv On Fire,” “This Must Be Heaven” and others make this film critic’s year

"Tel Aviv on Fire" (directed by Sameh Zoabi) (featured image) 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 [...] (full review) "Pain and Glory" (directed by Pedro Almodovar) Antonio Banderas, in one of his most attaching roles ever (Banderas’s American ... more >

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Brad Pitt sets off in search of a father in mesmerizing “Ad Astra”

The universe is big, lest we forget
Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Ruth Negga
Directed by James Gray

“Ad astra,” the new film by James Gray, is more meditation than story. The title (one half of the latin phrase “per aspera ad astra” or “through hardships to the stars”) is apt given the amount of time travel and the fascinating hardware that allows it, though the tale meanders, causing some confusion. With various stellar transportation modes, it takes us from one distant planet to the next ... more >