THE NOVEMBER MAN – Review by Susan Granger

november man 160 Beginning in 2008 in Montenegro on the shores of Lake Geneva, retired CIA agent Peter Deveraux (Pierce Brosnan) is recruited back into service by John Hanley (Bill Smitrovich), his former handler. When there’s a lethal glitch in the mission, Devereaux reluctantly finds himself pitted against his own trigger-happy protégé, David Mason (Aussie actor Luke Bracey), while attempting to protect a relief agency worker, Alice Fournier (Olga Kurylenko), in Belgrade. She has evidence that could jeopardize the ambitions of a misogynistic, Putin-like politician named Federov (Lazar Ristovski), who seems to be next in line for the Russian presidency. Read on…

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Roger Donaldson’s Take On Reality – An Interview About Truth-Based Narratives

roger donaldson croppedNarrative features about true events raise questions about authenticity in film. With many truth based narratives, available news coverage and documents about the actual events may help audiences to separate the film’s fiction from fact, and to know where characters have been added or axed to enhance the story, up the caper, boost the entertainment value. Roger Donaldson — who’s directed documentaries and truth-based narratives, as well as the purely fictional The November Man, takes the ‘of record’ aspect of his work seriously. My interview with Donaldson focused on how the truth-based The Bank Job (2008) was researched and its impact. Read more>>

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STARRED UP — Review by Kristy Puchko

StarredUpAs follow-up to his touching yet grungy romance Tonight, You’re Mine, English director David Mackenzie has tackled a script based on the experiences of voluntary prison therapist Jonathan Asser. It’s a radical leap in subject and tone, but one boldly and brilliantly made. Starred Upis raw, relentless and riveting.

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Jennifer M. Kroot Talks TO BE TAKEI – Michelle McCue Interviews

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TO BE TAKEI is an entertaining and moving look at the many roles played by eclectic 76-year-old actor/activist George Takei whose wit, humor and grace has allowed him to become an internationally beloved figure.

It balances unprecedented access to the day-to-day life of George and his husband/business partner Brad Takei with George’s fascinating personal journey, from his childhood in a Japanese American internment camp, to his iconic and groundbreaking role as Sulu on “Star Trek,” through his rise as an internet phenomenon with over 6-million Facebook likes. Read on…

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RICH HILL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Rich Hill is the rather ironically named “city” of 1,300-someodd souls in Missouri where hopelessness appear to reign even among the cheery fireworks and patriotic parades complete with countless waving Stars and Stripes and enthusiastic but off-key high-school marching band renditions of “God Bless America.” Local filmmakers Tracy Droz Tragos and Andrew Droz Palermo won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for this portrait of a year in the life of three teenaged Rich Hill boys, and their compassion for the trials of their subjects’ lives is matched only by the unspoken but caustic undercurrent of rage at the utter collapse of the American dream. Read more>>

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SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR –Review by Kristy Puchko

sincity2posterWhen Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City stormed into theaters in the spring of 2005, it blew me away by it’s brand of over-the-top noir. I’d never seen anything like it — graphic in design, relentlessly violent and gleefully debauched. I saw it four times in theaters. I bought all the graphic novels and devoured them. And then, I eagerly awaited the sequel. Finally, Rodriguez has brought most of his original cast back together forSin City: A Dame To Kill For. But after repeated delays, a staggered production schedule, and nearly a decade since its predecessor, how did this long-awaited follow-up turn out? In a word: YEESH.

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SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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There’s the nihilism of Sin City. A place where wounded men have to remind themselves to “never let the monster out,” and a woman can “makes slaves of men,” and even “good men” are turned on by a woman’s tale of rape (which she invented, of course, because this is Sin City, where you can’t trust a dame). A place where men are nothing but how they can use their rage and women are nothing but how they can use their bodies. And that’s none of it nice. But it pales in comparison to the nihilism of this latest story about the place. A movie consisting of little more than vignettes on vengeance and cruel parades of sociopathic power performed as gleefully ultraviolent shadowplays. Read more>>

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TO BE TAKEI — Review by Kristy Puchko

tobetakeiGeorge Takei’s impact on our world is difficult to succinctly summarize. Of course there are generations of science fiction fans who know him as occasionally swashbuckling and shirtless Sulu in the original Star Trekseries (and subsequent string of films). Then there’s a new wave of fans who’ve come to know him as “Uncle George,” a social-media maverick who boasts more than 1.32 million Twitter followers and 7.4 million Facebook friends. But aside from being a statesman of sci-fi and king of memes, George Takei has also made a name for himself as an advocate, first for the rights of Japanese-Americans, then for the rights of the LGBT community. The documentary To Be Takei aims to capture each of these elements of George Takei’s public persona, while giving an in-depth look at his personal life with husband, Brad Takei né Altman. It’s a lot to take on, but director Jennifer M. Kroot delivers something that is as profound as it is funny and uplifting. Read more.>>

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FRANK — Review by Kristy Puchko

frankAs a performer, Michael Fassbender dives headfirst and fearlessly into challenges, be it playing a soul-(and body)-bearing sex addict, a shameless slave driver, or an iconic, metal-manipulating super-villain. For his latest challenge, the German-born leading man who has been inspiring crushes all over the globe has tucked his gorgeous face away into a grotesque paper mache mask for Lenny Abrahamson’s outlandish dramedy Frank.

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LOVE IS STRANGE — Review by Kristy Puchko

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Let me say at the top: I was in no way prepared for how much Love Is Strange would make me cry. I’d heard fantastic things from colleagues who had seen the romantic drama at its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. But no one prepared me for how deeply moving Ira Sachs’s latest effort–which boasts brilliant turns by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina–truly is.

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