THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Review by Susan Granger

As a first-time solo director, Joel Coen takes a sparse, stylized look at one of Shakespeare’s most compelling plays. Filming in austere black-and-white, he presents an abstract physical world that’s filled with deep, geometric shadows, sharp angles and bleak walls, focusing on an ambitious middle-aged couple, determined to usurp political power in medieval Scotland.

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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Review by T. J. Callahan

Director Joel Coen goes solo as helmer for the first time with a stripped down version of Shakespeare in The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring his Oscar winning wife, Frances McDormand, and fellow Oscar winner, Denzel Washington as the Lady and Lord of the castle. The film was shot in just 36 days — in much the same way the Bard might have done it with all of the action filmed completely on a sound stage — but Coen was still able to fully convey the bleak tension and disquiet of the times.

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Dana Canedy on Faith, Love and A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN – Nell Minow interviews

The title of the book and movie is A Journal for Jordan, but it is really two journals. First Sgt. Charles Monroe King was deployed in Iraq when his son, Jordan, was born, and so his fiancée, Dana Canedy, gave him a journal to give him a connection to the son he would see just once before he was killed in action. When she received the journal with his effects, Canedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, shared her own story, with selections from King’s journal, framing each chapter as a letter to their son.

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THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH – Review by Diane Carson

Joel Coen has breathed new life into the Scottish play in The Tragedy of Macbeth. Of course we know the story of the ambitious, heinous Lord Macbeth who kills to be kind and of Lady Macbeth’s encouragement, all in the service of their own demons and ultimate defeat, so surprising to them. Birnham Wood will come to Dunsinane and “none of woman born/Shall harm Macbeth,” but that does not include Macduff “untimely ripped from his mother’s womb.”

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THE LITTLE THINGS – Review by Susan Granger

The disastrous disappointment of John Lee Hancock’s neo-noir serial killer procedural demonstrates how a compelling script is still the most important element – even with three A-list, Oscar-winning actors. You have odd-couple cops after an elusive psychotic killer – and nary a distinguishable female character within camera range.

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THE LITTLE THINGS – Review by Martha K Baker

Reasons for not engaging with The Little Things include the range of acting and the too-tricky storyline. It suffers from failure of imagination. The Little Things is one more damnable film about a serial killer of young women. Killing a lot of women as a plot device is not nostalgia. It’s just criminally lame.

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THE EQUALIZER 2 – Review by Lana Wilson-Combs

In The Equalizer 2, from director Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent 7 remake), Washington plays Robert McCall, a retired CIA Black Ops operative turned Lyft driver in Boston who still dispenses, swift, street justice to anyone who wrongs or harms innocent people. It’s best that you simply do the right thing and play by the rules, otherwise it’s not going to end well for you. Robert (Washington) has adapted to his quiet lifestyle now. He still misses his wife and fills his time reading and talking with his Lyft passengers.

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FENCES — Review by Susan Granger

Adapting a Broadway play for the screen is always a challenge – one that Denzel Washington found daunting, particularly since August Wilson’s iconic chronicle of a dysfunctional family is a Pulitzer Prize-winning glimpse into the essential African-American experience. Set in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the 1950s, it revolves around the relationship between a bitter, Negro League baseball player-turned-sanitation worker, 53 year-old Troy Maxon (Washington), and his long-suffering wife Rose (Viola Davis)

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