film review Archives

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At this writing, movie theaters are closed across the Valley. Time for what may prove a long season of movie nights on the couch. I wanted to make some video suggestions, but my overarching suggestion: Watch your favorites. Watch movies that make you happy. For me, these include the original Psycho, Sunset Boulevard, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Them!, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (despite the “Bring out yer dead!”...

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Opening wide this weekend: The Hunt—There’s been a fair amount of huffy fake outrage in conservative media over this shocker, in which vile liberal elites kidnap patriotic ‘Muricans and hunt them like animals. It’s roughly the zillionth variation on The Most Dangerous Game, and it may be the most imbecilic. “Snowflakes” caricatured with the subtlety of a Taki rack up a body count of “deplorables” only slightly less stereotypical. The truth, of course, is the movie...

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Opening this weekend: Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)—Armed with a broad Gotham accent, Margot Robbie is endearingly crazy-eyed, manic and girlishly bouncy as Harley Quinn, the Joker’s jilted, heartsick ex, in this newest DC free-for-all. When she’s not dodging old enemies who bear her any number of murderous grudges, she’s helping super-anti-heroine team Birds of Prey defend an adolescent (Ella Jay Basco) from a scuzzy, sadistic gangster whose alter...

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Opening this weekend at Harkins Metrocenter 12, AMC Westgate 20 and Cinemark Mesa 16: Quezon’s Game—Directed by veteran cinematographer Matthew Rosen, this historical epic from the Philippines is sort of Schindler’s List, Manila-style. It’s about the efforts, in the late ‘30s, by Filipino President Manuel Quezon to bring more than a thousand German Jews to his country — then still a U.S. commonwealth — to rescue them from the rising threat of the Nazis. According...

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Opening this week: 1917—It’s April of the title year in France, and two young British soldiers are ordered to take a hike. Their mission, which they have no choice but to accept, is to cut across no man’s land to warn another battalion a few miles away but cut off from radio communication with headquarters, not to attack as planned; they’re heading into a German trap. One of the men has a brother in this...

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Knives Out—Remember those facetious mysteries of the ‘70s, like Murder by Death or Sleuth; the sort of thing that unfolds mostly in one old-dark-house setting, with scherzo strings or tinkling harpsichord on the soundtrack? If so, you may feel a special nostalgic pull from this goofball all-star ensemble whodunit from writer-director Rian Johnson. The story concerns Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) a rich mystery writer living in a cluttered rattletrap Massachusetts manse with a bunch of...

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Opening wide this weekend: Terminator: Dark Fate—Another day, another killer robot from the future for Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in this newest sequel to the sci-fi classic of 1984, directed by Tim Miller. This time the murderous cyborg has the handy multitasking ability of separating his handsome human form (Gabriel Luna) from his scary mechanical skeleton. He arrives in Mexico City to terminate Dani (the charming Natalia Reyes), a seemingly ordinary young factory worker. The...

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At the beginning of the documentary "Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent," which opens in the Valley Friday at Harkins Shea, the handsome old title character pads around what appear to be ancient Mexican ruins with a funereal look on his face, morosely contemplating the failure of the world to live up to his standards of perfection. But Tower is not a disillusioned political or religious idealist, not a diplomat whose plans for world peace have been ignored.

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