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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 >

Talking with Sky Bergman. Her short “Mochitsuki” screens at SBIFF on Sunday

"What’s happening in your everyday life that you care about, that helps you learn, that’s making you grow?"

Sky Bergman is a filmmaker and teacher based in San Luis Obispo, California, a university town known for being the home of Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University). In 2017 Bergman brought her documentary “Lives Well Lived,” which shared the wisdom of a group of gloriously happy senior citizens, to the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It’s a wonderful film—which I hasten to ... more >

BEST OF 2019: Anthony Francis presents his favorite movies

Some honorable mentions given out, too

2019 started out as a bumpy road. By summer I worried that I wouldn’t be able to make a full top ten. By year’s end, however, some fine work started to shine. 1. (an absolute tie of the two most original and cinematically pleasing films of the year!): “The Irishman” (directed by Martin Scorsese) / “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” (directed by Quentin Tarantino). Both films brought back a ... more >

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

"We've passed on all we know. A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight" (Luke 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 >

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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 >

BEST OF 2019: Michael Apted’s “63 up” tops leaderboard

Runner-ups include, "A thousand miles behind," "Zulu summer" and "Apollo 11"

All week our film critics weigh in on a year that (almost) was by naming their favorite films “63 Up” The filmmaker Michael Apted has been checking in on a group of British folks every seven years since they were children of seven, with the initial mission being to discover both A) if Great Britain still had a class system; and B) if the aphorism “give me a child and I’ll show you the man” still ... more >

“Rabid”

A frightening epidemic takes hold
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 >