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

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 >

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“The Lighthouse,” a mind-bending, psychologically-intense thriller

Willem Defoe, Robert Pattinson and Valeriia Karaman
Directed by Robert Eggers

A devious and creepy psychological film in the horror/thriller genre has made its way into cinemas in the form of Robert Eggers’s second feature, “The Lighthouse.” His first film “The Witch” was a masterpiece of tone and tension and staked its claim as one of the finest horror films of the past twenty-five years. Now comes Eggers’s latest film, one that is sure to shock, enthrall, and ... more >

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“FIRST LOVE” (this is why I go to the movies!)

Becky, Sakurako Konishi, Masataka Kubota and Sakurako Konishi
Directed by Takashi Miike 三池 崇史

A Takashi Miike film. Don’t be afraid. Jump into his cinematic world. While he isn’t always perfect, good or bad, his films hold unique and fascinating wonders for cinephiles. “First Love” ("Hatsukoi" in the original Japanese, is Miike’s best film since 2010’s “13 Assassins.” This is a wild ride but just wild enough. Being a Miike film, we are treated to scenes of the bizarre and macabre, but ... more >

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“Joker,” a morality-defying, two-hour drop down a man’s impaired psyche

Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz and Frances Conroy
Directed by Todd Phillips

I’m always skeptical when a film receives too much hype. With the on-again, off-again quality of American fare, I try not to set my hopes too high, especially when it comes to a film about the D.C. Comics's The Joker, by the director of “The Hangover” series. It is with great pleasure that I report that, while the film itself isn’t the cinematic masterpiece that some have christened it, Todd ... more >

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Almodovar delivers moving tribute to cinema and love with “Dolor y gloria”

And here's me breathing a sigh of relief. Almodovar has made another masterpiece, a work of art. “Dolor y Gloria" is sublime! I’d become disillusioned with the El Deseo jefe. “Broken embraces,” “La Piel que lo habito” were colorful, if shoddily-written films that lacked substance and felt saturated with fabricated emotions. Those were films, I could but only deduce, made by a filmmaker in ... more >

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“3 From Hell” : The Satans are coming

Sheri Moon Zombie, Sid Haig and Bill Moseley
Directed by Rob Zombie

Rob Zombie’s latest film “3 From Hell” is the third film in his Firefly Clan trilogy and quite simply one of his best ones. This is a blood-soaked homage to the seventies grindhouse films that Zombie grew up admiring and the kind of wild genre craziness that became a major influence on both his music and directorial style. This is intense genre filmmaking on high levels. Zombie has been ... more >

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“Tattoo of revenge,” tipping the scales of justice down in Murderville

Diana Lein, Irving Peña and César Romero Medrano
Directed by Julián Hernández

Mexico City in the nineties was a place where the harshest crimes went unpunished due to money and a corrupt police force. Aida (an excellent and tortured performance from Diana Lein, an actress to watch!) serves up revenge for young women who have been raped and maltreated and weren’t able to find resolution on their own. Working out of the back of a nightclub, the women come to her with ... more >