MOVIES | IN THEATERS NOW

REVIEW : Dark and outlandish humor abounds in Alfonso Llosa’s “La Restauración”

Paul Vega, Attilia Boschetti and Delfina Paredes
Directed by Alonso Llosa

Santa Barbara International Film Festival is up against Sundance this year, so the demands for top independent films are especially heightened this season, as are the demands on stars like Brad Pitt (bestowed an honor in California) to choose one or the other. As always, there are unexpected gems, including a rather offbeat comedy from South America I was able to see (review below), and which ... more >

church&state

MOVIE REVIEW: “CHURCH & STATE”

Directed by Holly Tuckett and Kendall Wilcox

“Church & State” examines the remarkable true story of an inexperienced gay activist who, in partnership with a Salt Lake City law firm and members of the local LGBTQ community, successfully ended Utah's ban on gay marriage. Mark Lawrence, a middle-aged gay man, led the charge for gay marriage equality in Utah. He’s a bit of an acquired taste (he’s so off-putting to some that it made him ... more >

MOVIE REVIEW: “1917”

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 >

short film REVIEW: “READY FOR MY CLOSEUP”

As a film reviewer/ connoisseur I see most of the films that come out each year. As the decades go on, the pleasure of seeing so many is still there and always will be. There is nothing like seeing a film in the cinema. Even with today’s annoying audiences (cell phones are one of the biggest nails in the cinema experience coffin!), I still love being in a movie theater. While there are many ... more >

MOVIE REVIEW: “Star Wars : Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker”

Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Adam Driver
Directed by J.J. Abrams

The circle is now complete. Forty-two years after George Lucas forever changed Hollywood (and the lives of moviegoers around the world!) with the original “Star Wars,” director J.J. Abrams brings it all home with “Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker.” I was there opening weekend in 1977. When the music blared and the opening crawl began to roll, I knew I was in for something amazing. ... more >

“Rabid”

Laura Vandervoort, Benjamin Hollingsworth and Ted Atherton
Directed by Jen Soska and Sylvia Soska

Jen and Sylvia Soska have not directed a remake of David Cronenberg’s 1977 film “Rabid”, they have reimagined the piece for our current social climate. In doing so, The Soska Sisters have created a bizarrely relevant and unique Horror parable and a respectful tribute to Cronenberg himself. Written by the Soska Sisters and co-writer John Serge, we are introduced to Rose (Laura Vandervoort giving ... more >

“Queen of Hearts”

Trine Dyrholm, Gustav Lindh and Magnus Krepper
Directed by May El-Toukhi

The professional relationship between director May el-Toukhy and actress Trin Dyrholm is becoming quite important to world cinema. From their collaboration on the enjoyable relationship film “Long Story Short” to the Bergmanesque brilliance of the Danish series “The Legacy,” the two artists seem to have an artistic symmetry to their collaborations. The director gets naturally powerful performances ... more >