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‘Fallen Leaves’ (‘Kuolleet lehdet’)

It’s not much of a secret that the worldview of Finnish society can be more than a little bleak. At the same time, though, it also possesses an understatedly campy, eminently whimsical quality that comes in stark contrast to this otherwise-dour outlook. And this makes for a combination of traits that can be somewhat puzzling to fathom, especially to outsiders. That’s the quirky social conundrum that writer-director Aki Kaurismäki seeks to capture in his latest offering.

2023-12-06T13:32:07+00:00December 6th, 2023|

‘Monster’ (‘Kaibutsu’)

The perspective from which we view a situation infallibly provides us with a clear, irrefutable picture of its truthfulness, right? But what happens if we encounter someone who witnesses the same incident and comes away from it with a totally different interpretation? Both views can’t be “right,” can they? Or is it possible that none of us can see the totality of a scenario and claim to know everything about it?

2023-12-05T12:15:35+00:00December 5th, 2023|

‘American Symphony’

Creating a great work of art is very much like creating a heartfelt, loving relationship. Both take work and commitment, both in good times and bad. The challenges can be difficult, but the rewards can be incalculable. Learning how to successfully maneuver through them, as well as how to strike a harmonious balance that keeps both ventures moving forward, is a skill that takes an array of abilities and aptitudes s to master, but, as documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman’s latest so deftly illustrates, it’s an attainable goal, the prevailing highs and lows notwithstanding.

2023-12-01T13:58:31+00:00November 30th, 2023|

‘When Time Got Louder’

Finding a harmonious balance between caring for the needs of others and addressing one’s own happiness and well-being can be a difficult tightrope to traverse. So it is for those who attend to the needs of those with high-maintenance caregiving requirements, such as those afflicted with autism.

2023-11-29T14:04:40+00:00November 28th, 2023|

‘Story Ave’

For many at-risk youth, there comes a turning point where they can head off in one direction or another, each with vastly different long-term outcomes. For South Bronx graffiti artist Kadir Grayson (Asante Blackk) – a gifted illustrator with real talent who’s desperately struggling to find himself and reconcile his grief for the loss of his younger brother – that comes when he falls in with the wrong crowd.

2023-11-25T21:11:47+00:00November 25th, 2023|

‘May December’

In moviemaking, there’s subtlety, and then there’s subtlety carried too far. In the case of director Todd Haynes’s latest, the filmmaker unfortunately indulges himself far too much in the latter.

2023-11-25T05:02:45+00:00November 24th, 2023|


Unsung heroes often don’t get their day. Fortunately, however, for civil rights activist Bayard Rustin (Colman Domingo), principal organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, he’s finally getting his due in this new biopic about the many challenges he faced in bringing this event into being. The flamboyant, outspoken, Black gay organizer faced much opposition to his proposal, including, surprisingly enough, from an African-American community that was apprehensive about the message his appointment and presence would send to a still-reluctant public in its support for equal rights measures.

2023-11-21T00:31:05+00:00November 19th, 2023|

‘Dream Scenario’

Packing a lot of material and ideas into a single film can result in a muddled, confusing mess, no matter how well-meaning a filmmaker’s intentions might be. However, in his third feature outing, writer-director Kristoffer Borgli succeeds for the most part when it comes to tackling such an imposing task. This offbeat tale of tenured but underappreciated university professor (Nicolas Cage) takes viewers on a wild ride through the diverse realms of fame, metaphysics, cancel culture, unrelenting group think, and unexpressed, underpursued desire, and the downside consequences of each.

2023-11-19T16:20:08+00:00November 19th, 2023|

‘El Conde’ (‘The Count’)

Fusing cinematic genres can be tricky, especially if the mix doesn’t mesh. But the latest from writer-director Pablo Larraín successfully pulls off a brilliantly original blend and does so just about perfectly. This metaphorical account of the life of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) (Jaime Vadell) portrays the onetime-strongman as a vampire a la Dracula (hence the title and the character’s nickname, “the Count”), shot in the style of F.W. Murnau’s black-and-white silent film classic, “Nosferatu” (1922).

2023-11-18T14:20:51+00:00November 17th, 2023|
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