The Great Beauty

“A richly symbolic meditation on aging, mortality and precious time wasted. Cinematographer Luca Bigazzi’s camera hurtles through surreal spectacles of exhausted decadence, as Servillo’s bemused gaze carries in it an existential ache for all that might have been, and a weary acknowledgement that every party must eventually end.” – Philadelphia City Paper, 11/28/2013

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“Lee sticks to the script and lets his muscular filmmaking chops speak for themselves. Oldboy has been put together with a bristling visual intelligence, and when Brolin goes Hammer Time on dozens of faceless baddies Spike finally directs a balls-to-the-wall action sequence. Who knew Mookie was such a chop-socky buff?” – EntertainmentTell, 11/27/2013

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Black Nativity 2

“You’re watching a musical, kids. Deal with it. This is a dearly sweet, often awkward movie that makes up in sheer sincerity what it lacks in finesse. Black Nativity is goofy and probably very easy to mock, but so full of positivity and good spirits that I can’t imagine why anybody would want to bother.” – EntertainmentTell, 11/27/2013

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Catching Fire

“What a difference a director makes. Pulpy melodrama continues apace, but this time with lush, burnished images and a budget to match the ambition. It’s quite engrossing until the movie abruptly stops mid-scene, teasing another sequel coming soon to a theater near you. Sigh, the perils of franchise maintenance.” – Philadelphia City Paper, 11/21/2013

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“Everything about Nebraska feels secondhand. It’s a gimmicky sitcom script gussied up with ‘artful’ affectations borrowed from the New Hollywood heyday of the early ’70s. Except it doesn’t even get those right. This picture’s entire aesthetic design comes off like a wise-ass kid dressing in his cool uncle’s old clothes and wearing them wrong.” – The Improper Bostonian, 11/20/2013

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Dallas Buyers Club

“This somewhat schematic, a tad too crowd-pleasing take on the early days of the AIDS crisis follows the template of every Bill Murray slobs-vs.-snobs comedy from the ’80s, except this time people are dying. Dallas Buyers Club is sometimes terribly overwritten, yet always admirably underplayed. And McConaughey is just heroic.” – Philadelphia City Paper, 11/14/2013

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The Broken Circle Breakdown 3

The Broken Circle Breakdown becomes a bit much in the final reel. Yet the power of these songs holds it together, along with the film’s bone-deep understanding of music as the means by which these flawed, saddened people can reach for transcendence and attain a measure of grace. However temporary it may be.” – EntertainmentTell, 11/14/2013

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Thor 3

“At least sixty percent of Thor: The Dark World consists of characters frantically running around trying to explain the plot to one another, hurling monster-sized gobs of exposition regarding the increasingly arbitrary rules of this fantasy universe. It’s like hearing a story told by an over-excited five-year-old who’s making it up as he goes along.” – EntertainmentTell, 11/07/2013

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations is fine, I guess. The movie proceeds professionally and unspectacularly through a story that’s pretty much impossible to screw up. What’s missing is any spark of urgency or inspiration. This business-like adaptation hums along about as well as a movie can when it has no real reason to exist.” – EntertainmentTell, 11/07/2013

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12 Years 3

12 Years A Slave is not the story of one man’s struggle. This is not a triumph of the human spirit over adversity. It is an autopsy of a systemic pathology that poisoned a nation, laid bare once and for all by a filmmaker without a sentimental bone in his body. We have seen movies about the horrors of slavery before. This one is about the mechanics.” – The Improper Bostonian, 11/06/2013

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