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Entries in Reviews (633)

Friday
May252018

Review: Mary Shelley

by Jason Adams

In the summer of 1816 one of the most legendary of literary happenings occurred - the poet Percy Shelley and his wife Mary went to stay at the poet Lord Byron's house near Lake Geneva for the summer. Mary's step-sister Claire wrangled them an invite (or so she said) since she was having an affair with the spitefully torrid Lord himself. Also joining them at the house was the Lord's physician John Polidori, who also fancied himself somewhat of a writer. And birthed from those weeks of most gothic merrymaking was basically the entirety of the horror genre to come: Mary Shelley would come up with her lovely little monster Frankenstein, while Polidori would write "The Vampyre," the inspiration for a certain Bram Stoker a swift generation later.

The story of that time and place has been well-trod by fiction before...

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Thursday
May242018

Review: "Solo - A Star Wars Story"

by Chris Feil

Han Solo isn’t exactly a character that has our affections enmeshed in his origins. As played in the original Star Wars saga by peak hunk Harrison Ford, Han is about 50% swagger, 30% smart ass, and 20% emotional walls. He’s a crucial element, but one whose history isn’t essential to the story we all know and love - so in tracing his beginnings, Solo - A Star Wars Story needs a strong point of view to be more than a spin on the hampster wheel. It’s sadly almost there...

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Thursday
May172018

Review: "Book Club"

by Chris Feil

2018 summer superhero movie season has peaked, now with the arrival of its definitive chapter: Book Club, where Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, and Mary Steenburgen read Fifty Shades of Grey and reclaim the romance in their lives. Think they can’t handle not one but a slew of Thanoses? Well, consider that they are also teaming up with four Oscars, six Emmys, twelve Golden Globes, and several cases of pinot grigio.

Steenburgen is the entrepreneurial straight shooter Carol, the one most in tuned to her own needs but perhaps not to others’. As Sharon, Candice Bergen battles her timid seriousness against the need for a new beginning. Fonda’s Vivian is the group individualist, drinking rosé when the rest prefer white, hating everyone else’s favorite book selections. And Diane Keaton as... Diane (it’s really something to see Diane Keaton do Diane Keaton drag) is the guarded one, initially seeming to be the least distinct character but ultimately reveals a woman burying much of what she thinks and feels.

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Wednesday
May162018

Stage Door: Disney's Frozen

by Dancin' Dan

Caissie Levy stars as Elsa

You can feel the audience's anticipation. Not for the show to begin, not for the star to come on stage, but for the act one finale, from the moment you step inside the St. James Theater to see Frozen. That's not necessarily a surprise, "Let It Go" being the kind of world-conquering hit song that feels like it's in short supply these days. But it is a strange strange thing to feel when you're seeing a new musical...

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Sunday
May132018

Review: Breaking In

by Chris Feil

Twist a tried-and-true subgenre like the home invasion movie with just the slightest bit of invention and we’re intrigued - like say, the homeowners are the one who have to do the invading. Add in relatable context for emotional investment - motherly instincts, forging one’s own family unit after estrangement, female badassery. Sign up a dependable actress like Gabrielle Union and you have a formula for easy popcorn thrills and a rewarding opportunity for an underutilized actress to take center stage.

How has Hollywood not yet realized that Union is a star, and one we want to watch take revenge on a slew of bad guys with her poise and no-bullshit wit? Thank you, I'll have five. But Breaking In is only half of that movie.

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Tuesday
May082018

Doc Corner: The Notorious 'RBG'

By Glenn Dunks

There is little denying that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a great woman. Sadly, however, she has not been granted a documentary of equal merit. The new documentary RBGrushes through many of her life’s accomplishments without any of the attentive analysis deserving of somebody who has been so instrumental to the shaping of society. Directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (producer of The Lavender Scare which you may have seen on the queer festival circuit), RBG is never less than full of effusive praise, but sloppy directorial choices make the film less than totally involving. It's light on the force and scope that one ought to expect.

RBG covers most of what you're expecting: her early life studying law and meeting her future husband, her efforts to fight for equality in the courts, her confirmation to the Supreme Court in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, her discenting vote in Bush v Gore and so on. The film, eager one supposes to present her as somebody of mere blood and bones, also covers her extra-curricular fun: the opera predominantly, but also her efforts to stay fit in her 80s, her late-in-life ascension as an internet meme, and her unlikely friendship with Antonin Scalia...

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