HILLBILLY ELEGY

“Ron Howard’s horrendous adaptation is a staggeringly inauthentic attempt at cornpone melodrama that plays like this year’s Cats, except with screaming rednecks instead of singing strays. These characters aren’t inhabited so much as they are placed on display like zoo animals for further study. Whatever’s happening here, it isn’t empathy.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 11/24/2020

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UNCLE FRANK

“Allegedly the protagonist, Beth gets lost in the crowd of characters. Fine performers like Lois Smith, Judy Greer and Margo Martindale are stuck sitting around the living room with little to do, the latter seemingly only here because I think there’s some sort of law that you aren’t allowed to make a movie like this without Margo Martindale.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 11/24/2020

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COLLECTIVE

“I’d gone into this picture totally cold, with no foreknowledge even of the premise and I don’t say this often, but would recommend that others do the same. Collective is an important movie for a lot of reasons but it’s also one hell of a yarn, packing more plot twists than a paperback thriller, albeit stranger and much scarier than fiction.” – North Shore Movies, 11/23/2020

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A RAINY DAY IN NEW YORK

“As is the case with most late-period Allen pictures, A Rainy Day In New York is much better directed than written. The flaws are all right there on the surface but its virtues run somewhere deeper. It’s infused with a melancholy longing for a lost era that we know never existed in the first place, yet yearn for all the same. I like it more than I probably should.” – North Shore Movies, 11/19/2020

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THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL REVISITED

“There’s really no possible way to overstate how alienating and bizarre the opening ten minutes of this program are, just watching the Wookiees putter around and moan. It’s so anti-entertaining as to border on the avant-garde. Carrie Fisher claimed she had one of the only extant original copies and used to put it on at parties, when she wanted people to leave.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 11/16/2020

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FATMAN

“Our cultural associations with Mel Gibson have become so unpleasant in recent years that casting him as a miserable asshole Santa Claus is a gag so good there’s probably no way any movie could do it justice. Putting the snarling nastiness of Gibson’s present-day, walking-cigarette-butt persona in the service of jolly sentiments is a joke that writes itself.” – North Shore Movies, 11/13/2020

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THE LIFE AHEAD

“Loren commands the screen with the same leonine ferocity she brought to De Sica’s Two Women some sixty years ago. The tough old broad and the crafty street urchin is a mismatch as old as movies themselves, and the pleasures of the film lie in how confidently it embraces these timeless tropes with just a few tweaks to bring the story into the present day.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 11/13/2020

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POSSESSOR

“Cronenberg’s relentlessly gnarly thriller comes with a pulverizing soundscape of echoes and screams. Slicker and less cerebral than his father’s work, the film nonetheless contains familiar fixations on the loss of identity when technology merges with the new flesh, as well as an ick factor through the roof. In other words, the kid’s a chip off the old block.” – North Shore Movies, 11/13/2020

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ELECTION DAY ESCAPE: LA STRADA AT THE COOLIDGE

“The Coolidge Corner Theatre’s Virtual Screening Room has just started streaming a new 4K restoration of Federico Fellini’s 1954 masterpiece. One of the greatest of all films, this haunting, heartfelt fable feels like a balm during these troubled times, its essential, insistent humanity arriving as a reminder right when we need it most.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 11/03/2020

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WHITE NOISE

White Noise trusts the viewer enough to treat us like adults who can see for ourselves the vast emptiness in the lives of these people, their intense need for the validation of strangers and how desperately they cling to the notion of birthright superiority because they have no other ideas or accomplishments of which to speak.” – North Shore Movies, 10/31/2020

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