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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Sundance Film Festival Reviews: “Novitiate,” “The Incredible Jessica James” & “Marjorie Prime”

Posted January 31, 2017 by Mitch Salem

  NOVITIATE (Sony Classics):  It’s not clear how much of an audience there can be for a dark drama set amid the physical and psychological hardships of a pre-Vatican II midwestern abbey, but Margaret Betts’s Novitiate provides an utterly convincing insight into that world.  (Betts won a “breakthrough” directing award at the festival.)  The story […]

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SHOWBUZZDAILY Sundance Film Festival Reviews: “Call Me By Your Name,” “Fun Mom Dinner,” “Before I Fall” & “Wind River”

Posted January 29, 2017 by Mitch Salem

  CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Sony Classics):  Luca Guadagnino’s sumptuous gay romance has been anointed as the Sundance entry most likely to figure into next year’s Oscar race, and it’s easy to see why.  It combines the appeal of traditional prestige drama (James Ivory, who practically invented the modern version of that genre, is […]

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SHOWBUZZDAILY Sundance Film Festival Reviews: “Band Aid,” “The Discovery” & “Golden Exits”

Posted January 27, 2017 by Mitch Salem

  THE DISCOVERY (Netflix):  Charlie McDowell’s first film was the ingenious metaphysical farce The One I Love, so there was plenty of reason to eagerly anticipate his follow-up.  He (and, once again, co-writer Justin Lader) return to some of the same philosophical territory again with The Discovery, but with less pleasing results.  The main action […]

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ShowbuzzDaily Sundance Film Festival Reviews: “Sidney Hall,” “To the Bone,” “The Little Hours” & “Beach Rats”

Posted January 27, 2017 by Mitch Salem

  SIDNEY HALL (no distrib):  Shawn Christensen’s literary drama (written with Jason Dolan) is initially engaging as a modern-day sort of J.D. Salinger story, told simultaneously across three time periods, with Sidney Hall (Logan Lerman throughout) presented as an arrogant but troubled teen, an acclaimed novelist, and a middle-aged man who’s run away from the […]

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SHOWBUZZDAILY Sundance Film Festival Reviews: “Rebel In the Rye,” “Newness,” “Landline,” “I Don’t Feel At Home,” “Ingrid Goes West” & “Walking Out”

Posted January 26, 2017 by Mitch Salem

  REBEL IN THE RYE (no distrib):  Danny Strong’s first film as a director is a biography of J. D. Salinger (Nicholas Hoult), and it hits all the Salinger bullet points:  his early struggles to get published, his spectacularly doomed romance with legendary playwright’s daughter Oona O’Neill (he lost her to Charlie Chaplin), his difficult […]

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SHOWBUZZDAILY Sundance Film Festival Reviews: “The Last Word” & “Thoroughbred”

Posted January 25, 2017 by Mitch Salem

  THE LAST WORD (Bleecker Street):  Shirley MacLaine does the irascible codger thing.  She’s smart enough not to overplay the very familiar hand she’s been dealt by screenwriter Stuart Ross Fink and director Mark Pellington, but still there’s little here we haven’t seen many times before.  Harriet Lauler (MacLaine), while a holy terror to everyone […]

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TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL Day 7 Capsule Reviews: “Paterson” & “The Salesman”

Posted September 14, 2016 by Mitch Salem

  Note:  this will be our final installment of Toronto reviews, although the festival runs on until Sunday. It’s been a good if not classic festival, with a trio of legitimately great presentations in La La Land, Jackie and Moonlight, as well as the enormously fun if not particularly artistic Sing, and other strong titles […]

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TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL Day 6 Capsule Reviews: “La La Land,” “Deepwater Horizon, “Brimstone” & “Wakefield”

Posted September 14, 2016 by Mitch Salem

  LA LA LAND (Summit/Lionsgate – December 2):  No film arrived at Toronto this year with more hype to live up to than Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, the follow-up to the filmmakers’s Oscar-winning Whiplash and the recipient of white-hot raves in Venice (where Emma Stone won the Best Actress award) and Telluride.  Chazelle’s rapturous […]

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