THE BIG FIGHT AT THE HFA

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“Life after the final bell is the subject of Rod Serling’s screenplay. Anthony Quinn’s performance is as oversized as his fists yet impossible not to adore, with Mickey Rooney’s weary cornerman seeing the inevitable, heartbreaking ending coming even before we do. By then the cloud of shame emanating from Gleason could block out the sun.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/30/2018

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A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

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“I was not above laughing out loud at the most groan-inducing references, as when Kranz wanders the halls looking for room ‘2B’ or Levine ordering his damned dog Spot to get out of his chair. But every Midsummer adaptation stumbles over the supernatural stuff, which is done no favors by the specificity of a movie camera and perhaps needs the abstraction of a stage.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/29/2018

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WDEL’S SATURDAY HOTSPOT: ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE

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Got my toga on sitting in with host Frank Gregory on WDEL’s Saturday HotSpot to talk about forty years of National Lampoon’s Animal House. We discuss the film’s Ivy League origins, controversial casting choices, the enduring legend of John Belushi and how fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life. Listen to MP3’s of the show after the jump.

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JULIET, NAKED

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“Works better than it probably should thanks to the canny casting of Hawke, deftly employing the star’s generational baggage to portray a scruffy, goateed ‘90s icon gone to seed, washed up and living in a barn behind his ex-wife’s house, estranged from litter of children with different mothers who all hate his guts. Reality, as it turns out, bites.” – North Shore Movies, 08/23/2018

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SUPPORT THE GIRLS

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“Full of broad comic conceits the direction sheepishly undercuts in search of a psychological realism that the screenplay isn’t specific enough to provide. It’s a curiously muted affair, with large, artificial setups and phony plot hooks of a conventional studio comedy petering out into the disappointments and anti-climaxes of a mopey indie drama.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/21/2018

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NEVER GOIN’ BACK

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“Frizzell fearlessly marches our heroines into the the raunchy, druggy boys’ club territory of movies like The Hangover and Superbad. Her gasp-inducing finale pays off an hour’s worth of constipation gags with an ever-escalating, scatological set-piece scored to Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’ that is both astounding in its grossness and unexpectedly quite tender.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/21/2018

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THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST

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“Moretz is a bit too self-possessed to sell the screenplay’s occasional pangs of doubt. The film works better as an aspirational depiction of kids resilient enough to look past the short-sighted hangups of the adults in their lives who are currently calling the shots. These characters are going to mean a lot to young people stuck in similar situations.” – North Shore Movies, 08/16/2018

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IT DOESN’T SUCK: ADAM NAYMAN ON SHOWGIRLS

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“There are all kinds of ways a ‘bad’ cultural object can be redeemed. What’s amazing about Showgirls is that it ticks nearly every box: it’s been reclaimed as camp, as kitsch, a grist for the academic mill, as auteurism, as ideology, as a fun night out with friends, as everything. Maybe this resurgence is simply a case of an idea whose time has come.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/15/2018

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BLACKKKLANSMAN

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“This summer’s most brashly entertaining movie is also the most terrifying film of the year. Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman will leave your sides aching from laughter and your stomach twisted in knots. This scabrously funny film may take place four decades in the past, but it never lets you forget how the sickness it documents is still surging in the present.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/10/2018

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NICO, 1988

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“A refreshingly unconventional biopic focusing on the part of its subject’s life nobody cares about, it’s the story of a has-been slouching toward an ignominious end. But the movie has an unexpectedly generous spirit. It plays as a gentle human comedy about life on the road with a high-maintenance former legend, like a slowed-down My Favorite Year on smack.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 08/07/2018

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