May 2020 archive

KVIFF at Your Cinema to Screen 16 Films in Theaters Across the Czech Republic

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, the leading film festival event in Central and Eastern Europe, was cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the festival programmers will be screening 16 of its selections over the course of nine days (July 3rd-11th) in 96 movie theaters across the Czech Republic, as part of the …

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Blackfish, Hail Satan? and Q&A for Life Itself Screening Virtually as Part of Magnolia Pictures’ Favorite Doc Series

Magnolia Pictures’ virtual screening series, “A Few of Our Favorite Docs,” continues today with the premiere of Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s 2013 muckraking doc about the captivity of killer whales, “Blackfish” (watch it here). As with each of the films in this series, which began on May 15th with Betsy West and Julie Cohen’s “RBG” and continued on May 22nd …

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Fascinating Case Seen in New Light in AMC’s Quiz

The excellent director Stephen Frears (“Dangerous Liaisons,” “The Queen”) turns AMC’s “Quiz” into a polished production with strong performances that’s always incredibly watchable. Ultimately however, I’m not exactly sure what James Graham’s script, based on his play of the same name, expects us to take away from it, and the muddled perspective sometimes hold back …

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End of Sentence

John Hawkes has a face you can never forget, but such skill that each time you see him you think, “This is the kind of role that brings out the best in him.” In films and TV series spanning decades, he’s played a terrifying cult leader, a humble Old West hardware store owner, a mountain climber, a bitter paraplegic, good …

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Debt Collectors

As far as action movie sequels go, the new Scott Adkins martial arts vehicle “Debt Collectors” is sadly more like “Beverly Hills Cop II” than “Another 48 Hours.” Which is a shame, because there’s nothing especially complicated, nor essential about “The Debt Collector,” a light, but very mooky buddy action-comedy that often feels like the …

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Papicha

Brisk, confident, and atmospheric, Mounia Meddour’s feature debut “Papicha” promptly brings to mind certain female driven films of the 21st century, centered on young women’s camaraderie, resistance and unique struggles—movies like Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s moody “Mustang,” Margaret Betts’ somber “Novitiate,” Peter Mullan’s devastating “The Magdalene Sisters” and even Talya Lavie’s darkly comedic “Zero Motivation.” While …

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On the Record

“We all lose when brilliant women go away.” Kiera Mayo, journalist for Source Oscar-nominated filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick, singly and together, have tackled very difficult subjects in their documentaries, from sexual assault on college campuses, to sexual assault in the military. (Ziering also executive produced the acclaimed documentary “Cameraperson”). In “On the Record,” …

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Home Entertainment Guide: May 28, 2020

10 NEW TO NETFLIX “Come to Daddy””District 9″”I Will Follow””Public Enemies””Quartet””Soul Surfer””Trumbo””Uncut Gems””United 93″”Wadjda” 10 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD “Dance, Girl, Dance” (Criterion) Dorothy Azner was the only female director of the Hollywood studio system in the ’30s and ’40s. The only one. And she helmed this backstage drama starring Maureen O’Hara and Lucille Ball as …

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Netflix’s Easy Satire Space Force is Simply Silly and Sweet

There’s a big difference between what Netflix’s new series “Space Force” looks like, and what it actually reveals itself to be. Based on a very dumb, very real concept that our taxpayer money will have to reckon with soon enough, this new show from co-creators Greg Daniels (“The Office”) and Steve Carell is a workplace …

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The High Note

Nisha Ganatra’s “The High Note” is a movie with its heart in the right place and appeal to spare, but it doesn’t quite transcend its story’s predictable course. The film gets teasingly close to bringing up some hefty conversations about women in the music business, but in the end, those notes stay flat, playing more …

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Music and Family Combine in Apple TV’s Wonderful Central Park

Apple TV’s “Central Park” is a glorious gift for comedy and musical fans and, well, everyone. Loren Bouchard, the creator of “Bob’s Burgers,” has refined the vision of that fantastic Fox show, bringing its emphasis on family and love of original music to a new project that feels like a relative of the Belcher family …

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I’m No Longer Here

“I’m No Longer Here” (“Ya no estoy aqui”) is one of those Netflix movies you’ll wish you’d watched on the big screen. The film from Mexico City-born writer/director Fernando Frias de le Parra is so gorgeously shot and offers such a rich sense of place that it’s always visually compelling, even when the narrative tends …

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UPDATE: Life Itself Virtual Q&A Adds Music By Clem Snide, Moderator Scott Mantz Tomorrow, May 27th

Chaz Ebert is happy to announce that two new guests will join her and director Steve James Wednesday, May 27, to discuss her late husband, Roger Ebert, and the acclaimed documentary “Life Itself” chronicling his life. (It will take place here tomorrow at 5pm PT/6pm MT/7pm CT/8pm ET) “I am absolutely thrilled that singer/songwriter Clem Snide (a.k.a. Eef Barzelay) will grace us with the …

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Looney Tunes Rebooted in Classic Style on HBO Max

I’m always a little hesitant when properties I loved as a child are rebooted for a new generation. I’m old enough to remember the pain of the film version of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.” More recently, “Scoob!” simply doesn’t understand what most people liked about its source material. I’m not saying a reboot …

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Celebrating the Risk-Taking Greatness of Disney’s Dinosaur, 20 Years Later

Like the long-gone creatures it tells of, Disney’s 2000 film “Dinosaur” is buried in the sands of recent Hollywood history. It’s a fossil from a time when CG was still not the norm, but was gaining popularity in traditional animation techniques that made the studio a giant in the 20th century.  Released on May 19, 2000, in …

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Screened Out

I’m guessing that about ten minutes into “Screened Out” you will want to hit pause. It could be because you have already begun to absorb its message about the damage that spending so much time on screens, especially social media, is doing to our brains, our children, and our culture, and you need to delete …

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#381 May 26, 2020

Matt writes: Steve James’ acclaimed 2014 documentary “Life Itself,” chronicling the life and legacy of our site’s co-founder, Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert, premiered in virtual cinemas this past Friday (you can register to watch here) as part of Magnolia Pictures’ new screening series entitled, “A Few of Our Favorite Docs.” Each of the films will have a virtual …

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‘It’s Not Your Fault’: On Hanging Out and Healing in Good Will Hunting

“I know you’d rather see me gone  Than to see me the way that I am.” —“Miss Misery,” Elliott Smith Matt Damon and Ben Affleck have been A-listers for decades, and they’ve done practically everything Hollywood could ask them to do. Private Ryan and Tom Ripley and Loki and Linus Caldwell and Jason Bourne and …

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Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich

A review of “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich” needs to open with a reminder of one Roger Ebert’s most essential beliefs: It’s not what a movie is about but how it is about it. The subjects of this Netflix documentary are all correctly credited as “Survivors,” heroic women coming forward to discuss the times they were …

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Anna Kendrick Can’t Hold Flimsy Love Life Together

It’s inevitable that HBO Max’s “Love Life” will be compared to “Sex and the City.” Like its forebear, this half-hour romantic dramedy from creator Sam Boyd (“In a Relationship”) concerns itself primarily with the romantic and sexual life of its protagonist, with the hope of approaching both with a combination of starry-eyed dreaminess and startling …

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