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The Hateful Eight (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    The booklet that came with a ticket to the 70mm “roadshow” of The Hateful Eight dubs it “The 8th Film by Quentin Tarantino.”  I would dub it “The 5th Film of Bloody Revenge by Quentin Tarantino” – yet another entry in a series that has ... Read More »

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    To be sure, The Force Awakens is not just a movie; it is the beginning of the third chapter in the ultimate film franchise, and it is being released in an era where franchising is king.  As such, the long-awaited return of Star Wars inevitably presents some rather ... Read More »

Spotlight (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    “’Spotlight’ is both damning and inspiring, depressing and heartening.  Though it’s set over a decade ago, it’s the ‘All the President’s Men’ for our time.  And boy, do we need it now.”  – Kenneth Turan (NPR Morning Edition, 11/9/2015) This concluding comparison from Kenneth ... Read More »

The Martian (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    “It’s bigger than one person.” “No it’s not.” Broadly speaking, The Martian may just be the best Disney movie of the last year.  By “Disney movie,” I don’t mean a film actually produced by Disney Studios (The Martian is brought to us courtesy of ... Read More »

Goodnight Mommy (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    One of my disappointments with last year’s sleeper frightfest, The Babadook, was that the filmmakers flirted with, but ultimately abandoned, a fundamental emotional disassociation between a mother and her young son.  The notion that the maternal bond might actually break, when exposed to enough ... Read More »

Amy (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3    Why is it that certain individuals as talented as Amy Winehouse are born to fathers like Mitch Winehouse?  And why are they so obsessively and inextricably attracted to guys like Blake Fielder?  My suspicion is that the answers to those questions may be linked.  But ... Read More »

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3 As the colon in the title suggests (see e.g., Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)), George Miller – the original director of Mad Max (1979) – wants us to know that his new post-apocalyptic demolition derby is a “reboot” and not a “remake.”  I ... Read More »

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   The young Man encounters the Girl on a sidewalk in the middle of the night and invites her up to his apartment.  The Girl’s shirt bears Jane Seeberg’s Breathless stripes, but it is partially covered by a chador – at once a symbol of gender ... Read More »

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2015)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   Human beings are hunters and gatherers – walking, talking contradictions whose ambitions trump even their biological imperatives.  Yet, with all of our success as a species, at this point in our history, so many hunters and gathers are resigned to cramped spaces – apartments, cubicles, ... Read More »

Citizenfour (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   Does the damage from a loss of privacy in conducting our daily activities extend beyond those who have “something to hide”?  Absolutely.  It should go without saying that we change our behavior – consciously and unconsciously – when we know we are being watched, no ... Read More »

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