"LION” (2016) and the raw edge of human experience

“Lion” is unadulterated cinema, reaching out to the audience to embrace and be embraced.  

"LION” (2016) and the raw edge of human experience

“Casting JonBenet” or ‘The Act of Casting’

Australian documentary filmmaker Kitty Green delivers an amazing insight into this tale that forms both an affirmation for the public’s enduring fascination but organically mutates into a more fascinating subject than the tragic death of a this youthful beauty queen; the way that people surrounding this tale project themselves into this scenario in every way possible. 

“Casting JonBenet” or ‘The Act of Casting’
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Now and when with “20th Century Women”

Writer/director Mike Mills has crafted a formally beautiful and rich story where the female characters progress but resist the urge to become predictable or less complex throughout our time with them

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Now and when with “20th Century Women”
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“Sleepless” (2016) an action film with the same side-effects as Valium

It’s an unfinished assembly of much better movies such as “Donnie Brasco” and “The Departed” and movies that also star Jamie Foxx like “Miami Vice.” The title “Sleepless” seems to have no reference to anything that happens in the movie. The best I can figure is that it’s a question; unfortunately for “Sleepless” it also provides an answer.

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 “Sleepless” (2016) an action film with the same side-effects as Valium
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“Split” (2016) and M. Knight Shayamalan’s theatre of claustrophobia

“Split” is further evidence of M. Night Shyamalans mastery fashioning maddening echo chambers for his characters

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“Split” (2016) and M. Knight Shayamalan’s theatre of claustrophobia
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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017): The Awesome Mix Strikes Back

Gunn and Co. want to take us back to those moments of adoration and joy that concluded our viewing of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) best and most original entry “Guardians of the Galaxy.” 

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“Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017): The Awesome Mix Strikes Back
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“Ikiru,” (1952) Desperately seeking purpose in a bureaucratic life

 Nelson Henderson famously said “the true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” Kurosawa bathes us in the light of a man who gets to not only plant the seed, but look out on the sapling, with contentment.

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“Ikiru,” (1952) Desperately seeking purpose in a bureaucratic life
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“Midnight Special,” (2016) the perfect companion to “Logan” (2017)

About a month after seeing James Mangold’s wonderful and moving “Logan” I was scrolling through the Netflix queue and stumbled upon a film that shares the same ethos; to project fantastical superhuman abilities through a very human lens.

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“Midnight Special,” (2016) the perfect companion to “Logan” (2017)
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It’s a classic, Man. “Moonlight” (2016) Review

Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes perform the trinity of essential passages in Chiron’s life in “Moonlight,” Barry Jenkins’ Oscar Winning Best Picture for 2017.

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It’s a classic, Man. “Moonlight” (2016) Review
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The lingering haunting style of "Personal Shopper" (2016)

“Personal Shopper” is a film with the power to beguile and send you into a rage. Whenever a Cannes Film Festival audience boos a film, it's most definitely worth your time.

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The lingering haunting style of "Personal Shopper" (2016)
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“Loving” (2016) is the anti “Hidden Figures” (2016)

What makes “Loving” such a refreshing and enthralling viewing is that it does not magnify the participants for the sake of the tale to tell a Hollywood version of their trial and its enduring contribution to race relations and civil rights in the U.S.A. Nichols creates a beautifully dignified portrait of people whose ethics and good nature speak more volumes than any kind of extrapolation.

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“Loving” (2016) is the anti “Hidden Figures” (2016)
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“The Pledge” (2001) and the consequences of an unbreakable vow.

“The Pledge,” directed by Oscar winning actor Sean Penn, is a devastating portrait of an ageing detective who makes a promise to bring justice to a child murderer. It’s  “one last ride” for our leading character Jerry Black (Nicholson), until he abandons the case and retires. It examines a man trying to relinquish his deduction instincts in exchange for a slippery grip on a ‘normal’ life.

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 “The Pledge” (2001) and the consequences of an unbreakable vow.
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We can thank Marvel's lack of a Black Widow movie for "Ghost in the Shell" (2017)

"Ghost in the Shell” melted minds in ’95. The questions of what a soul faced with an upgradable body went on to influence the film that ultimately eclipsed it; “The Matrix.” The Wachowski’s synthesised cyber-punk and explored technological symbiosis in an epic - and one could argue - genre defining way.

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We can thank Marvel's lack of a Black Widow movie for "Ghost in the Shell" (2017)
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“Chevalier” (2015) Woman-splaining Men.

"Chavlier" is a time bomb of a film, that doesn’t really hit you until the countdown timer runs out as the credits roll.

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“Chevalier” (2015) Woman-splaining Men.
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Immersive next generation game movie adaptations with Assassin’s Creed (2016)

I’ve come to coin the phrase “auto-redundancy,” to describe the entire genre. However, “Snowtown”  director Justin Kurzel has re-teamed with his “Macbeth” star Michael Fassbender for Assassin’s Creed; a property that in concept alone fins a way into the lure of inhabiting another powerful person

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Immersive next generation game movie adaptations with Assassin’s Creed (2016)
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Under pressure - “Dance Academy” (2017) Review

 Welcome to "Dance Academy" the critically acclaimed children's T.V show that's finding new life and new stories and all new stakes for the characters Tara, Kat, Abigail, Christian, Ben and Ollie as young adults.

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Under pressure -  “Dance Academy” (2017) Review
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Mars (organisms collected by 'The Rover') Attacks in "Life" (2017)

"Life" does everything you want a space movie to do and for the most part is smart as hell... except when a scientist briefly tickle taunts an alien. 

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Mars (organisms collected by 'The Rover') Attacks in "Life" (2017)
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Why “The Lego Batman Movie” gives you permission to laugh and cry with your obsession with Batman.

As Edward Norton’s Narrator from “Fight Club” is being embraced by Meatloaf’s Robert “Bob” Paulson, a sufferer of testicular cancer with ‘bitch tits,’ the voice over says following: “And that was where I fit...between those huge sweating tits that hung enormous…” That masculine and yet tender bosom is what it feels like when you’re an ultra Batman fan watching “The Lego Batman Movie.”  

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Why “The Lego Batman Movie” gives you permission to laugh and cry with your obsession with Batman.
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Don't Poke the Monkey - “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) Review

“Kong: Skull Island” is big action film, with big ideas with a deep ensemble that becomes something more than big dumb fun.

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Don't Poke the Monkey - “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) Review
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Everything about you is ugly -  “Bad Santa 2” (2016) Review

His former partner Marcus Skidmore (Tony Cox) is released from prison and wants to pull together the old crew to refresh the old scheme; this time adding Willie’s mother Sunny Soke (Kathy Bates) into the mix. It’s fitting that the star of “Misery” is here for the torture that follows.

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Everything about you is ugly -  “Bad Santa 2” (2016) Review
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Ambitious Project - “Project Eden Vol. 1” (2017) Review

“Project Eden Vol. 1” ends with a cliff-hanger that entices but it’s hard to say whether it’s earned. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling; hopefully what they dreamt up, has not made them its master because it only leaves a triumph or disaster. 

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Ambitious Project - “Project Eden Vol. 1” (2017) Review

Disney Princess 2.0 - “Moana” (2016) Review

“Moana” brings us a non-traditional Disney Princess that’s unique, long overdue and feels right at home. 

Disney Princess 2.0 - “Moana” (2016) Review
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This Will Be The Last Time - “Logan” (2017) Review

“Logan” synthesises comic book characters into the real world in a way that’s only been reached in what Roger Ebert called the “engrossing tragedy” of the “The Dark Knight.”

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This Will Be The Last Time - “Logan” (2017) Review