REVIEW: ישמח חתני [Ismach Hatani] [The Women’s Balcony] [2016]

“Evil decrees upon evil decrees with evil decrees of evil” There’s more to ישמח חתני [Ismach Hatani] [The Women’s Balcony] than the American marketing machine has thus far presented. Billed as a feel good comedy of communal spirit—and correctly so—there are much weightier issues at play. This isn’t merely a farcical war between a synagogue’s […]

REVIEW: The Fitzroy [2018]

“Rent or the beach with you!” In an alternative universe where WWII ended in widespread annihilation—England left under a perpetual cloud of poisonous chemical—life’s creature comforts have all but been erased. The gas mask becomes your best friend and survival hinges upon a hermetically sealed container whether it’s a home, commercial business, or submarine (the […]

REVIEW: Secretary [2002]

“I like dull work” I had read that Secretary the film was very different from its source material (a short story in Mary Gaitskill’s book Bad Behavior). Even so, I wasn’t prepared for the difference being tone rather than content. Besides a drastically altered ending, everything that happens in text is included almost verbatim. But […]

REVIEW: Prevenge [2017]

“Listen, Mommy. That’s how I was made.” Television actresses retain a sense of job security film actresses don’t when pregnant. Productions can work around this natural life choice with wardrobe, blocking, and script alterations. You can’t simply be cut loose once your casting has become an integral piece of the overall work. In Hollywood, however, […]

REVIEW: Going in Style [2017]

“Everyone deserves a piece of the pie” Back before Martin Brest was placed into forced retirement post-Gigli, he had a run of comedy hits including Midnight Run and Beverly Hills Cop. The first of these studio pictures, however, was a heist flick starring eighty-year old George Burns, seventy-year old Lee Strasberg, and fifty-year old Art […]

REVIEW: Córki dancingu [The Lure] [2015]

“Would you eat him?” Not all fairy tales must be for children as their lessons resonate with ages young and old. There’s a reason many original forms of such tales deliver more blood and horror than Disney counterparts—that sense of fear allowing adults to find dramatic value and kids a scare to remember the moral […]

REVIEW: Shoot Me Nicely [2017]

“Was it really that small?” A good cause and effect tale is hard to come by within an era of more is more popcorn fluff filled with contrivances nobody can feasibly ignore. But that’s exactly what Elias Plagianos delivers with short film Shoot Me Nicely. This is not to say there aren’t any coincidences involved […]

REVIEW: CHIPS [2017]

“Shoulda cuddled, bro” I’ve never watched an episode of “CHiPs” so I don’t care whether or not the original Jon Baker (Larry Wilcox) and Francis Poncherello (Erik Estrada) pulled their guns during six seasons of television as some on social media have enjoyed touting they didn’t since the trailer hit. I will, however, admit I’m […]

REVIEW: April Flowers [2017]

“I’m not afraid of love if that’s what you mean” When writer/director Christopher Tedrick scholarly describes his film April Flowers as being based on the idea that the 21st century is an “Era of Choice”—a term coined by Temple Associate Professor Edward C. Rosenthal in an MIT-published paper—romance isn’t necessary the first thing that springs […]

REVIEW: Night Job [2017]

“People just use the night as an excuse to be someone completely different” Write what you know. These are fortune cookie words of wisdom, but they aren’t wrong. Our own lives are often strange and interesting enough to form the basis of a sitcom because they’re simultaneously universal and unique. Viewers relate to a sense […]

REVIEW: The Deja Vuers [2017]

“Perhaps you should keep your deja vus to yourself” It’s nice to find a entertaining little gem every once in a while that doesn’t require you to think too far beyond its premise. This sounds like a backhanded compliment, but I don’t mean it as one. I think director Chris Esper would agree that his […]