Tag Archives: film review

“Hearts Beat Loud” leads with dynamic soul

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Regular readers know I’m the stepfather of two wonderful daughters. My older, college-age daughter is also in a band that’s on the road this summer. She’s living a dream, one that belongs completely to her and her bandmates, which means that the attention they have garnered comes with no strings attached to their parents back […]

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The long con of “American Animals”

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Is this the new definition of true-crime reality? Jared Abrahamson, Evan Peters, Blake Jenner, and Barry Keoghan (l-r) By T.T. Stern-Enzi Truth, no matter how much we disagree, has always been about perception. Two people view the same incident. Stop. Do two people actually view the same incident? From their different vantage points (even if […]

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The “First Reformed” shall be the last

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I find myself infatuated with Ethan Hawke’s face. About ten years ago, I would never have made such an admission because Hawke felt somehow slight to me. I deemed him to be forever indebted to Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua for allowing him to bask in the afterglow of “Training Day” (which garnered him an […]

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If you’ve seen one ‘Ocean’, you’ve seen ‘Ocean’s 8’

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Near the start of “Ocean’s 8,” we’re led to believe that Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is dead and his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) has just gotten sprung from the clink—on parole after pleading for a chance to live an honest life—but it’s obvious that you can’t trust a single word or account told by or […]

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Aimless and “Adrift”

Shailene Woodley portrays Tami Oldham in this adaptation of a true story, with Sam Claflin as Richard Sharp.

Can Jennifer Lawrence’s mini-me buoy this true-life disaster tale? By T.T. Stern-Enzi Tom Hanks and Robert Redford anchored films (“Cast Away” and “All Is Lost” respectively) where they had to shoulder the narrative burden on their own. Hanks did so with his quintessential good humor, while Redford with his rugged stoicism. Quite often, I imagine […]

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Taking pride in making no judgment

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I’ve never much liked the idea of tolerance. Who wants to be tolerated? And as a critic, I often find myself taking offense at the idea of casting judgment on the works of others. I’m not shy or retiring about offering my informed opinion about a film or the collected works of a filmmaker, but […]

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Moms gone wild!

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A few years ago, we got an actual movie from Garry Marshall called “Mother’s Day”—a sentimental celebration of the great women who birthed and raised us—that failed to live up to the challenge every mother ever laid down for their progeny. The movie was little more than a homemade card scribbled on a cocktail napkin, […]

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Knowing your place

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Only recently have critics and audiences begun to focus on discrepancies in inclusion, both from the perspective of characters and themes, in filmmaking oeuvres, and largely the main target has sought to address gender inequality. We’ve spoken broadly about race, in particular the black-white dynamic, and made pointed efforts to signal a desire to avoid […]

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The finite limits of a cinematic comic book war

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Marvel’s big bad is here and the Avengers are everywhere else Avengers: Infinity War (L-R) Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey, Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Benedict Wong. By T.T. Stern-Enzi The universe is a mess. That’s not exactly how Disney/Marvel would like for critics to start off reviews of their latest franchise tentpole “Avengers: Infinity War,” but […]

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Shhh… it’s “A Quiet Place”

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Horror-thriller transforms the dark into an emotionally gripping place Evelyn (Emily Blunt) quiets her daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) By T.T. Stern-Enzi Families in peril tap into our most primal protective natures. We are far more likely to be drawn into the survival dynamic on display between a tight-knit nuclear unit than all of the spatial […]

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She’s no Madea…

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The mini-mogul’s not laughing in “Tyler Perry’s Acrimony” Taraji P. Henson tells Lyriq Bent how it’s gonna be By T.T. Stern-Enzi Tyler Perry’s improbable career has been based on a step-by-step process, a seemingly carefully orchestrated implementation of a plan to master and command the narrative feature format. He began writing a series of stage […]

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A dictator’s demise

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The satirical bite of “The Death of Stalin” The inner circle discover Stalin’s body… and hilarity ensues. By T.T. Stern-Enzi A healthy dose of cynicism is necessary when looking at the world of politics, either from a wide-lens historic framework or in the microscopic moment of what might seem to be a crisis point. We […]

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Tomb Raider revealed

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In search of the humanity of a videogame avatar Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander takes a new approach to the character of Lara Croft By T.T. Stern-Enzi Back in 2001, when Angelina Jolie first assumed the title role in the Simon West adaptation of the videogame “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” she was a newly-minted Academy […]

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“Black Panther” is a revolution

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Ryan Coogler captures the conflicted spirit of a hero as leader Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, otherwise known as Black Panther By T.T. Stern-Enzi Adaptation  versus  evolution, that is the question at the heart of the narrative of Marvel’s Black Panther film. Logic would seem to dictate that Ryan Coogler’s movie, which kicks off the 10th […]

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Not the usual heat in this “Den of Thieves”

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Entertaining, if not always wholly original, crime drama Gerard Butler in “Den of Thieves” By T.T. Stern-Enzi Power plays rule hockey, but they also dominate the outcome in the heist genre, which, in terms of film narratives, is the very definition of blood sport. Standing at the top of my all-time list is Michael Mann’s […]

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Love takes shape in “Call Me By Your Name”

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Director Luca Guadagnino captures a life-defining moment in rich detail Timothée Chalamet (left) and Armie Hammer star in the slow-burn love story “Call Me By Your Name” By T.T. Stern-Enzi There is no way I could begin a review of Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me By Your Name” without owning up to my appreciation for “I […]

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Springfield’s hidden gem

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Referred to as an American Folk Art site, I didn’t know what I expected on my journey to Springfield’s Hartman […]

Debate 7/17: Flag on the Play

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Q: Should persons with certain known behavioral tendencies such as suicide or violence be prohibited from owning guns? Legislatures across […]

Conspiracy Theorist 7/17: Hooray for Domino’s

Year after year, the same roads are torn up and road crews patch them. But they never really repair them. […]

On Your Marc 7/17: Good any day

First, a funny story. Larry Lee, the big tackle from Roth High School, for a number of reasons decided he […]

The Cult, Stone Temple Pilots, and Bush at Rose

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“Rock and roll never forgets,” the classic rock song goes, and Billy Duffy, guitarist and founding member of the British […]