Month: January 2021

Radha Blank on a bus

The Forty-Year-Old Version

  First, the title. It’s called The Forty-Year-Old Version because this autobiographical, documentary-style drama is about the 40-year-old, grown-up version of the kid who wanted to be a writer. Now a struggling actor/writer/director, Radha Blank had once upon a time also turned up on a 30 Under 30 list of

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Alfre Woodard

Clemency

  We’ve all seen prison dramas – the tough lives of inmates in a heartless system patrolled by brutes, policed by sadists and presided over by a martinet. Clemency isn’t that sort of film. Nor is it film-as-entertainment, be warned, but a grim and sobering look at US prison life

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Martin chugs down a beer

Another Round

  Another Round was a big hit in its native Denmark, managing to coax people into cinemas even as the coronavirus pandemic was shooing them away. Partly because it’s got a big Danish star, Mads Mikkelsen, in the lead, back with director Thomas Vinterberg after their big success The Hunt.

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The girls have a midnight feast

Zombi Child

  There were zombie movies before George Romero came along and shook the genre up in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead and at first Zombi Child looks like it’s harking back to an older tradition of zombie movie, like 1932’s White Zombie or 1943’s I Walked with a

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Robert and Sylvie outside her dad's record store

Sylvie’s Love

  The remarkable thing about Sylvie’s Love is actually how unremarkable it is in many ways. It’s a white-sliced, white-picket-fence melodrama of a sort that once might have starred a Joan Crawford. Except it’s black rather than white people playing all the parts. That shouldn’t be remarkable, nor should stories

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The young stars of We Can Be Heroes

We Can Be Heroes

  Robert Rodriguez takes the Spy Kids idea for another spin around the block, and crashes on the way. Spy Kids, if you don’t remember, was about kids stepping up when their James Bond-like parents got waylaid. Here the parents are not spies but superheroes, and after they’ve been captured

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Leslie Mann, Dan Stevens, Isla Fisher, Judi Dench

Blithe Spirit

  “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert,” run the lines in Shelley’s poem To a Skylark. And though there’s plenty of spirit in 2020’s remake of a 1945 film often considered a classic, this bird resolutely fails to take wing. The basic plot remains the same as

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Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman gear

Wonder Woman 1984

  And so Wonder Woman 1984. Last time we saw Gal Gadot’s lasso-swinging Amazon she was helping to win the First World War, and now, nearly 70 years on, here she is again in the era of Armani suits and “greed is good” and in a year most closely associated

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Andrey throws the TV

Why Don’t You Just Die!

  The trailer does not lie. Why Don’t You Just Die! (Papa, sdokhni in the original Russian) is a camp melodrama awash with blood, gruesomeness, novel ways of hurting people and comic-book cruelty. It’s as if all the horrible things that ever happened to Wile E Coyote were bundled together

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King-Lu and Cookie out in the woods

First Cow

  Kelly Reichardt’s films often operate at two levels. At the surface one story plays out, while somewhere to one side, and often as a comment on the first story, something different is going on. First Cow could really be called First Love, since it’s the story of two men

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