Reviews

September 4, 2020

Mulan

Available to stream on Disney+

Mulan' Review: Disney Epic Live-Action Reimagines a Classic Heroine |  IndieWire

“Mulan,” for what it’s worth, is a passable entertainment within Disney’s “Remember this?” cash-grab oeuvre, but that’s only when you examine it within this very specific criteria. When compared to grand-scale martial arts epics and sweeping stories of heroism and courage, “Mulan” falls short by exhibiting not much more than the predictable beats of its predecessors. We’ve seen this movie before, and not just because it’s a remake. We’ve seen it before because, at its core, there isn’t much originality in this blockbuster’s bones.

– Greg Vellante, Edge Media Network

It’s an expansively shot and handsomely choreographed epic adventure that will inspire all the women (and the men I hope) in your household; it inspires me still, and I know the story well.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

Why is it that so many of Disney’s ‘live action’ remakes look so artificial, as if they’ve been mostly animated themselves?

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

The film for my money would have been more enjoyable on the big screen where the wire stunts, rich colors and meticulous sets would have stood out even more; given the safety factor, Disney’s done the responsible thing. That still doesn’t atone for what’s lost in translation, but for these times it’s a viable event for a family to enjoy safely together.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Available on Netflix

Charlie Kaufman Explains I'm Thinking of Ending Things | IndieWire

The film is adapted from Iain Reid’s ‘unfilmable’ award winning debut novel and yet it is unmistakably Kaufman, his themes of identity, depression and doomed relationships now literally shrouded in death.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is a bit of a wonder, a careful nightmare that demands rapt attention even if repeated viewings do little to assuage its eeriness.

– Isaac Feldberg, The Arts Fuse

No matter how subtle or jarring Kaufman’s shifts are, they always intrigue.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

Tenet

Available only in theaters

Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' Delayed for Third Time - Variety

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” is a sleek, mysterious clockwork which, like its title, flips in its middle and doubles back on itself, exposing its inner machinations.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

August 28, 2020

Bill & Ted Face the Music

Available to rent on streaming platforms

Bill & Ted Face the Music Official Trailer with Winter and Reeves |  IndieWire

Reeves and Winter step into their old roles as if they’ve simply grown older along with them and the film is as sweet and silly as our protagonists.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

The film is so silly, corny, fun, and enjoyable that it perfectly matches the tone of the first two films without ever sacrificing its newfound ingenuity and slightly-more-adult tones.

– Greg Vellante, Edge Media Network

Reeves and Winters do an effective job of remaining excitably dude-ish while being dad-ly.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

August 21, 2020

Unhinged

Available only in theaters

Unhinged' Review: Russell Crowe Stars in a Pointless Thriller | IndieWire

It may make you never want to drive a car again, but “Unhinged” absolutely rules, and it’s a shame that a movie this worthy of the big screen experience is being released at a time like this. It’s essentially the COVID-19 test tube baby for just-reopened AMC multiplexes, and it’s utterly reckless and irresponsible. Don’t be an idiot. The movie’s really, really good, but not worth dying for.

– Greg Vellante, Spectrum Culture

While I wouldn’t’ recommend heading back to an indoor theater during a pandemic for this extremely violent and sadistic thriller, there is no denying it would make a bang-up drive-in feature. 

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Coup 53

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

Coup 53' And A Great Documentary's Struggle To Find Its Audience – Deadline

The film unspools like a political thriller, but its real world consequences are dead serious.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Desert One

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

Desert One' Review: Heroism and Heartbreak - WSJ

A compelling, fully fledged historical document of a doomed rescue mission.  Kopple’s intent to honor these men’s bravery comes through loud and clear.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

August 14, 2020

Boys State

Available to stream on Apple TV+

What a riveting piece of work this Sundance Grand Jury prize winner is, a microcosm of the state of our divided nation as displayed by seventeen year-old boys, predominantly white and conservative, who are at turns impressive, infuriating, silly, mean-spirited, compassionate and frequently surprising.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Viewers of “Boys State” should pay close attention, because in another six years these kids will be eligible to run for Congress and it’s not at all unlikely that at least one of them will succeed.

– Daniel Kimmel, North Shore Movies

Directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ immersion into the Girls and Boys State mock political programs, which have for decades turned out leaders of tomorrow such as Bill Clinton, Ann Richards and Dick Cheney, is both an eye-opener and a reason for pause.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

Politics in this deeply divided time of pandemic is the most exciting, nerve-wracking, soul-searching and consequential game on the planet, and this documentary lets us view our own two-party system in microcosm, up close and personal, mirroring our real life political “Lord of the Flies” as it plays itself out, revealing the flaws in the system.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

Project Power

Available to stream on Netflix

“Project Power” plays something like 2011’s “Limitless” crossed with “X-Men” if, with the exception of its cast, it was intended as a drive-in B feature.  That cast, though, is worth popping some corn for.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

What this film could use is more action, and better dialogue to support and pump up the thematic load it’s carrying.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

Sputnik

Available to rent on streaming platforms

Sputnik movie review & film summary (2020) | Roger Ebert

“Sputnik” is both an assured filmmaking debut and a real treat of a genre movie.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

August 7, 2020

An American Pickle

Available to stream on HBO MAX

An American Pickle' review: Seth Rogen stars in HBO Max movie ...

One wishes the film’s script had been tuned a bit more tightly, but Seth Rogen’s man from the shtetl may just have you craving pickles with a chaser of seltzer.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“An American Pickle” may not become a film classic, but it gets its laughs while delivering the dual message that we must respect the past while also learning to embrace the future.

– Daniel Kimmel, North Shore Movies

The Burnt Orange Heresy

Currently showing at the West Newton Cinema

The Burnt Orange Heresy (2019) - IMDb

Alas, less than half way through, the orange went dry and I got burnt.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

The Tax Collector

Available to rent on streaming platforms

Box Office: Shia LaBeouf's 'The Tax Collector' Takes In $317,000 ...

LaBeouf’s character has big cauliflower ears and facial scars that shout backstory, but we never get any explanation, odd considering how didactic the script leans.

– Cassidy Olsen, DigBoston

By setting the story in today’s mean streets of Los Angeles, Ayer shows that the more things change the more they stay the same.

– Daniel Kimmel, North Shore Movies

July 31, 2020

A Most Beautiful Thing

Available to rent on streaming platforms

A Most Beautiful Thing' review: Boat bonds teens in uplifting ...

At the heart of the film remains Cooper and his barrier-breaking teammates who catch plenty of crabs both on the water and in the streets. What pervades is the notion of team, perseverance and loyalty. Their journey against such stacked odds is truly a most beautiful thing.

– Tom Meek, The Patriot Ledger

One of the most inspiring films I’ve ever seen, and one that speaks directly to this moment.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

A singular style, beautiful voice, poetic lyrics and perfectionism in the recording studio has made Gordon Lightfoot a legend.  Fans will find a lot to love in “Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind.”

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Summerland

Available to rent on streaming platforms

The film may be flawed, but it is undeniably lovely.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

The Secret: Dare to Dream

Available to rent on streaming platforms

The Secret: Dare to Dream - Movie Review by Jeff Mitchell ...

It’s a saccharine, by-the-numbers hunk of wish-fulfillment fantasy — and I enjoyed every ridiculous, predictable minute of it.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

It’s a weepy where, if the production values and star power were just a notch lower, it would have landed on the Hallmark Channel; as it is with the pandemic upon us and theaters closed, it’s a sizzling summer release.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

July 24, 2020

Radioactive

Available on Amazon Prime

Radioactive Trailer: Rosamund Pike Transforms Into Marie Curie – /Film

Marie Curie may have discovered radium, but the chief element of “Radioactive” is tedium.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Beware its unstable script and the resulting half life it sketches of one of the world’s great scientists and the first woman ever to win the Nobel Prize.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

The film has so much going for it that it’s frustrating when it takes a wrong turn. While focusing on the life of Marie Curie, it is powerful and inspiring. When it tries to transcend her life and times, it reaches for the stars and falls short.

– Daniel Kimmel, North Shore Movies

The Rental

Available to rent on streaming platforms

Dave Franco Horror Movie 'The Rental' Occupying No. 1 Spot At ...

“The Rental” is a solid entry in the real estate horror genre and an impressively taut feature directing debut for actor Dave Franco.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

When the killing starts, the film loses its mojo.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

“The Rental” demonstrates a certain amount of technical skill on debut director Dave Franco’s part. His more understated approach to suspense shows some promise, even the earliest suggestion of a voice. What he doesn’t have, at least at this stage, is something to say.

– Isaac Feldberg, The Arts Fuse

There’s nothing too deep here, just parts of other works stitched together for lean, mean effect.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

A frightening frolic through moral failure and psychopathic bloodlust, with a side trip through jealousy, voyeurism, xenophobia, cheating and recreational pharmaceuticals at a cliffside hideaway, with enough suspense to keep me on edge.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

Yes, God, Yes

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

Yes God Yes review: Just say yes to teen masturbation comedy | EW.com

Flatly filmed, drably lit, and sluggishly paced, “Yes, God, Yes” takes a cheeky premise and slowly lets the air out of it.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

The film is an amusing, if somewhat slight, exploration of budding female sexuality within a repressive religious environment.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Babyspitters

Available to rent on streaming platformsBabysplitters | Film Threat

A “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” for the fertility treatment set, “Babysplitters” is often funnier than it has a right to be.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Helmut Newton: The Bad & the Beautiful

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful' Review: A Playful ...

The documentary helps us understand the development of his proclivities and resulting aesthetic when we learn he came of age in freewheeling Weimar Germany with Hitler on the horizon and Aryan perfection through filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl’s lens on German Olympians embedded in his mind’s eye.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

July 10, 2020

Greyhound

Available on Apple TV+

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As a window onto an under-acknowledged arena of combat and a starting point for armchair military historians, “Greyhound” is seaworthy enough to make it across.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Palm Springs

Available on Hulu

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What makes “Palm Springs” fly are the interlocking energies of its leading players, Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti… He is his usual reliable self, grounded and funny. She is a revelation.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets

Available to rent on streaming platforms

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“Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets” has a rhythm and an energy that sustain its tone of deadpan empathy; the movie’s alive to the humor and calamity of these people and deeply curious about the human need to numb oneself to difficulties of being human. 

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

Relic

Available to rent on streaming platforms

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“Relic” is an exemplary entry in the New Horror canon, where psychology and atmosphere count for as much as shocks, where the inner wounds of women often take startling external form, and where less is more until the time comes for more to be more.

– Ty Burr, The Boston Globe

James’s haunted house metaphor doesn’t really work because of the way she’s chosen to employ it in the film’s third act, but her body horror catches us by surprise, not horrific at all in what it finally reveals.  “Relic” attempts something different and if it doesn’t entirely succeed as horror it does move us.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

We Are Little Zombies!

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

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It’s a fizzy mashup of retro video game effects, pop culture and pop-up book innocence, a new way into age-old questions about life and death prompted by human suffering–and it’s a trip!

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

July 3, 2020

Hamilton

Available on Disney+

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“The result is a stunning, exhilarating, technical and artistic triumph. The musical’s power, brilliance, and relevance has been cinematically galvanized for a country again on the brink of revolution.”

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

June 26, 2020

Irresistible

Available to rent on streaming platforms

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The film is a call to action, and it’s going to take a lot of resistance  if we are going to see our way out of an irresistible but losing game.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

The film manages to skewer several sacred cows without going to the left or the right, but instead–in the best tradition of satire–holds up a mirror to ourselves, making us laugh and think.

– Daniel Kimmel, Northshore Movies

My Spy

Available on Amazon Prime

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It’s far too violent for youngsters and it’s far too tame for adult action fans. Bautista is a lot of fun in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, but he has yet to develop the range of, say, Dwayne Johnson. Seeing him on a seesaw with a bunch of kids is a sight gag, not a character moment. He may be capable of more, but this movie does not provide him the opportunity to show it.

– Daniel Kimmel, Northshore Movies

Mr. Jones

Available on Amazon Prime

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Director Agnieszka Holland deftly presents a vision of genocide that is hard-hitting but never manipulative: the horror pervades the monochrome beauty of snow, skeletal trees, and pale, sunken faces.

– Peg Aloi, The Arts Fuse

June 19, 2020

You Should Have Left

Available to rent on streaming platforms

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Once the film trades its eerie minimalism for excessive nightmares, it loses its unique bite. 

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

Miss Juneteenth

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

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Writer/director Channing Godfrey Peoples makes her feature debut with a beautiful character study of perseverance and generational change in what it means to be a Black woman in the American South.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

June 12, 2020

The King of Staten Island

Available to rent on streaming platforms

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Apatow, known for punchy comedic hits such as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” (2005) and “Knocked Up” (2007), and Davidson, whose wide-eyed edginess shines on “Saturday Night Live,” dial up one long “finding yourself” dramedy (almost two and a half hours) that’s unfortunately a tad slight on the laughs and way too long on the melodrama.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

This isn’t a laugh-a-minute comedy, instead a dramedy where tattoos both artful and inelegant draw the biggest guffaws.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

It may not be regal, but eventually you warm up to the royal pain in the butt at its predictably soft center. But I did not melt.

– James Verniere, The Boston Herald

Probably the least rambunctious film that could possibly have been made on the subject of a mentally-ill pill-dealing 24-year-old working his way through a manic period, THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND delivers hollow blue collar romanticism from a director that’s only depicting these people in a film because they’re pawns in the origin story of a comedian who for a brief moment was fashionable enough to get a studio picture financed on his behalf.

– Jake Mulligan, digboston

Apatow’s raunchy humor often makes me squirm. But here, he tenderizes his comedic chops, with a good deal of insight and even grace, holding these characters loosely and lovingly in his sights.

– Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce’s Choices

Da 5 Bloods

Streaming on Netflix

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“Da 5 Bloods” may not be Lee’s finest film, but it comes at the right time.

– Tom Meek, Cambridge Day

A big, sprawling, ever changing epic that lands with the force of a bomb.

– Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews

The film is many things — a derivative, too familiar Vietnam war movie, a genuine history lesson and a love letter to “Apocalypse Now” with plugs for Curtis Mayfield and Morehouse College. It is also a reminder of a great sacrifice made on behalf of a country that must see ghosts, too.

– James Verniere, The Boston Herald

Sometimes Always Never

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

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The film, which is uniquely quirky, is in love in general with the English language and in particular with the names of four Greek letters, which are two-letter words and are allowed in Scrabble. Please meet Mu, Pi, Nu and Xi. Use them.

– James Verniere, The Boston Herald

Tommaso

Now Playing in the Coolidge Corner Theatre Virtual Screening Room

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An imaginative work of creative psychotherapy that swings from delight to frenzy.

– Tim Jackson, The Arts Fuse