Tag Archives: film review

Lives-in-progress, demo-style

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Right from the start of this Jesse Peretz adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked, there’s something warm and unfinished about the lives of Annie (Rose Byrne), Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), and Tucker Crowe (Ethan Hawke). We get caught up in the everyday details of their loosely shared worlds thanks to narrative voiceover from Annie. She’s […]

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‘Leave No Trace’ makes an indelible mark

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I’m a sucker for stories about fathers and daughters. Not in the way that the political figures seek to use the relationships for cover. I’m not one of those men who can only relate to the #MeToo because I’ve got stepdaughters. The narratives I tend to gravitate towards are those like writer-director Bo Burnham’s recent […]

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The period is now in ‘BlacKkKlansman’

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From Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X to Bamboozled, Spike Lee has always found ways to engage in stark and uncomfortable conversations about race when, for the most part, American society has barely dared to give lip service to the subject matter. We talk around it, gloss over it with broad generalities, or claim […]

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Nothing’s the same with these ‘Three Identical Strangers’

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Movies today have conditioned audiences to accept computer generated tricks as reality. We can watch actors play twins (Jeremy Irons in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers) or clones (Michael Keaton in Multiplicity) or identical robotic versions of the same character (Michael Fassbender in Alien: Covenant) and appreciate not only the performative efforts of the actors but […]

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This Mission matters

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Be prepared: I will spend a great deal of time in this review eating crow. As a movie lover and critic, I’ve always been hesitant to succumb to the charming embrace of Tom Cruise. Throughout his long and illustrious career, he has certainly proven to be an eager beaver, the most avid seeker of our […]

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“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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No Jet Engines Here

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The very first thing is to learn how to pronounce it. No rhyming with the home of Baylor University in […]

Debate 9/11: Let’s Make Tammany Hall Great Again

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Third Parties have long complained that having the two major parties in charge of the election process gives Republicans and […]

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No music and arts festival would truly be complete without… wrestling, right? Well, this year at Ladyfest Dayton, buckle down […]

Lives-in-progress, demo-style

Juliet7

Right from the start of this Jesse Peretz adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel Juliet, Naked, there’s something warm and unfinished […]

Are ‘Friends” Electric?

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Gary Numan’s Savage return to form at CVG’s Bogart’s Gary Numan with daughter Persia, who sings on the new single […]