DA 5 BLOODS

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“Lee and Willmott are both full-time cinema studies professors, and Da 5 Bloods is as much a movie about war as it is about war movies. Like their previous collaborations BlacKkKlansman and Chi-Raq, the film is constantly in the process of deconstructing its own iconography, capitalizing on our familiarity with the genre to both playful and provocative ends.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 06/11/2020

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YOU DON’T NOMI

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“Director Jeffrey McHale avoids talking head interviews, relying entirely on archival footage, voice-over narration and artfully manipulated clips from not just Showgirls but the entire Paul Verhoeven canon, picking out patterns and precedents. It might sound like a joke, but this is really a rather thoughtful and enlightening work of film criticism.” – North Shore Movies, 06/11/2020

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TKE KING OF STATEN ISLAND

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“By my watch it’s a full 93 minutes before Scott finally starts hanging out at the firehouse with some of his dad’s old buddies. No points for guessing that our screwed-up kid learns a few important lessons about pride, manhood, and responsibility through his ball-busting banter with FDNY’s finest, which is all pretty cornball and retrograde, but at least it’s a direction.” – North Shore Movies, 06/08/2020

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SHIRLEY

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“As in her 2018 triumph Madeline’s Madeline, Decker takes a destabilizing approach to scenes, eschewing establishing shots and shoving the camera too close to the characters at odd, disjunctive angles. Shirley is only her fourth feature but Decker’s already developed an instantly recognizable visual style that feels like it’s made entirely of elbows.” – North Shore Movies, 06/05/2020

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TOMMASO

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“An almost invasively autobiographical reckoning, the largely improvised film was shot in Ferrara’s own apartment, with his wife Cristina Chiriac playing Dafoe’s spouse and their three-year-old daughter as the young Deedee. So if the movie sometimes feels like you’re eavesdropping on somebody’s most intimate arguments, that’s because you might be.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 06/04/2020

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QUARANTINE DOUBLE FEATURE: AT HOME ALONE

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“I’ve had no hankering to rewatch Cast Away for the same reasons you won’t catch me taking another look at Contagion. Yet this grim week I found myself drawn to two stark, cinematic portraits of isolation. Gus Van Sant’s Last Days and Robert Altman’s Secret Honor are fictionalized riffs on famous figures, speculating about their darkest hours at home, alone.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/29/2020

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THE TRIP TO GREECE

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“I thought I’d run out of patience with the international improv shenanigans of Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. And yet somehow The Trip To Greece sat better with me than their previous couple of pictures, which I guess is either a testament to me being worn down by repetition or just the strange circumstances under which the film has been released.” – North Shore Movies, 05/29/2020

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THE ARTERY LIVING ROOM LIVESTREAM: BETWEEN THE LINES

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On The ARTery Living Room Livestream I sat down for a virtual chat with my old friend Ed Siegel to discuss Joan Micklin Silver’s great 1977 Boston newspaper comedy Between The Lines, our experiences starting out at alt-weeklies much like the one depicted in the movie and why this film still feels relevant more than forty years later. – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/22/2020

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QUARANTINE DOUBLE FEATURE: WOLVES AT THE DOOR

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The Night of the Hunter’s high contrast black-and-white imagery is a deliberate throwback to silent film expressionism, while the tacky day-glo colors of Freeway are straight from tabloid television. The films have seemingly opposite aspirations, yet both are stories about a child’s ability to abide and endure, especially when the wolves are at the door.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/22/2020

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THE PAINTER AND THE THIEF

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“Ultimately it’s about how art can change people’s lives for better and worse, altering our perspectives of ourselves and the world around us. But it’s also about how such work isn’t created in a vacuum. The film’s note-perfect final shot illuminates the symbiotic relationship between the artist and the admirers, the seers and the seen, the painters and the thieves.” – WBUR’s The ARTery, 05/21/2020

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