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MOVIE REVIEW: “A Wake”

Starring Noah Urrea, Kolton Stewart and Sofia Rosinsky Directed by Scott Boswell With a nod to the dreamlike opening to Paul Brickman’s 1983 classic “Risky Business,” writer/director Scott Boswell’s “A Wake,” opens (and ends) with an ambient melancholy led by a moody score from Tim Halo. After the death of a teenager, his family struggles with the emotions of loss that come with his passing. ... more >

NETFLIX: “Master of None Presents: Moments in Love” (Season 3 boldly goes in a new direction and this is a take on that)

On the messiness of domestic life and sentiment

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” - John Lennon Season Three of Aziz Ansari’s excellent Netflix series “Master of None” is quite the departure. Season One was a lite and funny take on the New York dating lives of Ansari’s Dev and his close friends Denise and Arnold. Season Two was a B&W love letter to sixties Italian cinema. Where creator, writer, ... more >

THE BEAT | Some quick takes from the Garden State and Santa Barbara film festivals

"The Knot," "Rebooted" and "Reefa"

Festival season is in full swing, even with fests either going hybrid or one-hundred percent virtual as the pandemic continues. Here are some films I was able to catch at this year’s Garden State Film Festival, Santa Barbara Film Festival, as well as another interesting film that will be available on demand soon—hopefully along with these other ones. “The Knot” (SBIFF) An intriguing work ... more >

Oy vey, David Ayer’s “The Tax Collector” is a big let-down | REVIEW

As gangland taxman Shia Labeouf misses the mark
Bobby Soto, Cinthya Carmona and Shia LaBeouf
Directed by David Ayer

I really enjoy David Ayer’s work. His screenplays can occasionally bring about intense and powerful portrayals of cops and street criminals. When he hits, he hits hard such as with his screenplay for Ron Shelton’s excellent crooked cop drama “Dark Blue” starring Kurt Russell, and his sensational police drama “End of Watch” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. I even found Ayer’s 2014 ... more >

In the Philippines where a pandemic gave Duterte absolute power it’s open season for the intimidation of journalists

Our interview with Ramona Diaz, director of "A Thousand Cuts"

Journalist Maria Ressa was convicted of “cyber libel” just as Ramona S. Diaz’s documentary about her, called “A Thousand Cuts,” was due to premiere at AFI Docs in June. Ressa had for years worked for a press outlet called the Rappler, which was severely critical of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s regime and stifling of the free press. “We anticipated it,” said Diaz, whose “A Thousand ... more >

Adapted from the namesake Norwegian novel, “Out stealing horses” | REVIEW

Do you know who you are?
Stellan Skarsgård, Bjørn Floberg and Tobias Santelmann
Directed by Hans Petter Moland

“We decide for ourselves what will hurt” Ah, the past and the memories it leaves us. Be they good or bad they make a home in our mind and soul, guiding our life decisions and shaping who we will become. Sometimes warm, sometimes dark, our remembrances become our true and constant life companions. Hans Petter Moland’s adaptation of Per Petterson’s novel, “Out Stealing Horses” (Ut og stjaele ... more >

ON A CONFERENCE CALL with the filmmakers of “The Fight,” a new documentary about the many battles and the many lives of the ACLU

Film will be available Friday for streaming

The documentary is called “The Fight,” which could not be a more à propos title for a film about the ACLU’s ongoing quest to defend not only civil rights, but also the necessity for everyone to enjoy free speech, no matter how odious their views might be. But the civil rights organization’s mandate became even more demanding during the Trump administration, as the president and his cabinet have ... more >