X-Men go from best to worst

Kodi Smit-McPhee, Sophie Turner, and Tye Sheridan in X-Men: Apocalypse

Bryan Singer directed the first two movies based on Marvel Comics’ mutant superhero team the X-Men. Brett Ratner directed the third film, The Last Stand, which is loathed by fans and critics alike. The franchise was then rebooted with Matthew Vaughn’s First Class, and Bryan Singer returned for the second film in this cycle, Days […]

This illusion of paradise has a dark side

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In one of the first scenes of Luca Guadagnino’s fantastic A Bigger Splash, Marianne Lane (Tilda Swinton) and her lover Paul de Smedt (Matthias Schoenaerts) are relaxing on the rocky, sun-bleached beach of an Italian island in the Mediterranean. It seems idyllic; they’re beautiful, clearly in love, and the setting reeks of wealth. But then […]

Finally, a truly comprehensive film on Robert Mapplethorpe

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In April of 1990, the Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center opened its doors to Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment, a retrospective of the famed photographer who just recently died from AIDS. I was 15 and had grown up in the Queen City, as it was called, and Dennis Barrie, the director of the CAC, and his […]

‘Batman v Superman’ will make fans eager for the next chapter

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I was unable to see the mega-hyped, mega-budget Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before other critics ran their reviews. And because many of the reviewers were so dismissive or so hyperbolic in their criticism, the news of the film’s opening was overshadowed by the blood sport of Internet overkill. The Wall Street Journal’s Joe […]

Sally Field is brilliant in ‘Doris’

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At various times in my life, I’ve frequented nightclubs: loud music, overpriced drinks, spinning lights, smoke machines and usually young people dancing in outfits chosen to attract the gaze and attention of other, hopefully very attractive dancers. Occasionally, people would stick out. A guy who arrived in loafers and Dockers, a bachelorette dancing in a […]

This sequel is just a reminder of a much better movie

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is one of those movies that everyone likes. The seamless blend of ground-breaking martial arts action, two epic love stories, feminist character arcs, high art visuals, gorgeous music and the great director Ang Lee made the film beloved of everyone from teenage action fans to cineastes, men and women, boys and […]

A superhero story like no other

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One of the problems with the takeover of popular culture by Marvel and DC superheroes is how seriously the stories take themselves, how easy the morality is and how family-friendly everything is. Monster-budget films like The Avengers and the upcoming Batman vs Superman, or network dramas like The Flash and Agents of SHIELD, aim to […]

Jeruzalem: ‘Found Footage’ genre gets a much-needed reboot in this smart, stylish horror flick

Yael Grobas in Jeruzalem | Photo courtesy of Epic Pictures Group

Oy vey. Israel and, more specifically, Jerusalem can’t seem to catch a break. When they aren’t being labelled terrorists for occupying Palestinian lands, ostracized by the words and actions of a hawkish prime minister or seen through the false prism of violent acts perpetrated by religious Jewish extremists, they now have an epic apocalypse to deal […]

Coen brothers recreate some unwelcome period detail

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While I am a huge fan of the Coen brothers, I must acknowledge that they make some odd decisions that produce some ambiguous if not totally perplexing moments: The off-screen death of a major character in No Country for Old Men, the tornado that ends A Serious Man, the lack of any plot in Inside […]

The Revenant’s brutality is only surpassed by its beauty

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A great deal has been written, said and tweeted regarding how, for the second year in a row, each one of the 20 actors nominated for an Academy Award this year are white. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Academy is 94 percent white, 2 percent African American and less than 2 percent Latino. […]

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