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4 articles


My Old Lady movie review (London Film Festival)

21 November 2014 11:40 AM, PST

A bitterly funny pas de trois character dramedy performed by three compulsively watchable actors. I’m “biast” (pro): love the cast

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Kevin Kline’s “old lady” is not what you might perhaps be expecting. He’s a New Yorker who comes to Paris to check out the apartment his recently deceased French father has left him only to discover that Maggie Smith is living there. Turns out his dad got the place on the cheap many years earlier thanks to a peculiar quirk of Parisian real estate: the purchase was such a bargain because it was a viager, which entitles the former owner to continue living in the property and get paid a sort of reverse-mortgage by the new owner until the seller dies. Well, it’s »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Get on Up movie review: James Brown’s bad self

21 November 2014 6:28 AM, PST

Solid biopic of the godfather of funk and soul, but there’s not much genuinely memorable about it beyond Chadwick Boseman’s stunning breakout performance. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

I’m skinny but I’m strong. I can read a little and I like to sing.” So does James Brown describe himself as a young man, just out of prison and ready to get on with his life. His cruelly long sentence for a petty nonviolent crime, of course, is but one racially charged injustice a black man would face in mid-20th-century America. Director Tate Taylor (The Help) — and screenwriters Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth (Edge of Tomorrow) and Steven Baigelman — avoids turning this solid, sympathetic biopic of the godfather of funk and soul into a sermon on racism, instead homing in »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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What We Do in the Shadows movie review: there will be blood

19 November 2014 7:33 AM, PST

An absolutely hilarious mockumentary combination of utter silliness, social satire, pop-culture cramdown, and heartfelt pathos. And vampires. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

This is, hands down, the absolute most hilarious movie I’ve seen this year. And probably last year and the year before, too. I’m talking the sort of laughter that makes your face ache and your belly cramp up, before you start to cry inexplicable tears, from joy and wonder but mostly in an attempt to reconcile in your head how perfectly perfect a movie can be with being sad that all movies aren’t this good. What We Do in the Shadows — a marvelous title in a sea of generically labeled films — zooms off into utter silliness from its opening moments and never slows down, not even while doing switchbacks into social satire, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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new and ongoing dvd & streaming releases, Us/Can/UK, from Nov 17-18

18 November 2014 5:52 AM, PST

A simple listing, duplicated from the homepage, of new releases and other stuff currently available, for the benefit of those playing along by RSS or keeping up via the Daily Digest emails.

new Us/Can Nov 18    streaming only Guardians of the Galaxy The Giver And So It Goes As Above So Below    dvd/streaming If I Stay 20,000 Days on Earth 22 Jump Street The Wind Rises Into the Storm Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Automata Housebound new UK Nov 17    streaming only Life Itself We Are the Giant    dvd/streaming How to Train Your Dragon 2 The Purge: Anarchy 22 Jump Street Earth to Echo Transformers: Age of Extinction

more recent releases Us/Can    streaming only Advanced Style Belle Camp X-ray Coherence The Congress Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Dinosaur 13 Frank Frequencies The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz Kelly & Cal Life Itself Mistaken for Strangers »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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