Category: In the Dark

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Battier and Battier
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Battier and Battier

An extra moody, extra dark new installment of The Batman franchise asks its audience to believe the world would be a better place if the have-nots took by force from the haves in order to make a more equitable society.

Death Becomes Bond
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Death Becomes Bond

No Time to Die Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga ◆ Written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, and Cary Joji Fukunaga ◆ Produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ◆ Distributed by Universal Pictures   The James Bond film series that began in 1962 is still going strong in this, its 25th edition. The latest installment is definitely a winner,...

Inconvenient Children
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Inconvenient Children

Never Rarely Sometimes Always Directed and written by Eliza Hittman ◆ Produced by BBC Films ◆ Distributed by Focus Features These Wilder Years (1956) Directed by Roy Rowland ◆ Written by Frank Fenton ◆ Produced and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer In the guise of a documentary treatment of abortion, Never Rarely Sometimes Always tells us quite...

Seeing Through a Glass Darkly
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Seeing Through a Glass Darkly

The Woman in the Window Directed by Joe Wright ◆ Written by Tracy Letts from the novel by A. J. Finn  ◆ Produced by 20th Century Studios ◆ Distributed by Netflix Things Heard & Seen Directed and written by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, based on the novel All Things Cease to Appear by...

Till Death Do Us Part
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Till Death Do Us Part

Happily Directed and written by BenDavid Grabinski ◆ Produced by Common Wall Media ◆ Distributed by Saban Films The Father Directed and written by Florian Zeller ◆ Produced by Film4 ◆ Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics Goodbye Again (1961) Directed and produced by Anatole Litvak ◆ Written by Samuel A. Taylor ◆ Distributed by United...

Smiling Through Clenched Teeth
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Smiling Through Clenched Teeth

I Care a Lot Directed and written by Jonathan Blakeson ◆ Produced by Andrea Ajemian and Sacha Guttenstein ◆ Distributed by Netflix The Shrike (1955) Directed by José Ferrer ◆ Written by Ketti Frings ◆ Produced by Aaron Rosenberg ◆ Distributed by Universal Pictures   Rosamund Pike is one of the most versatile and accomplished actresses in...

Feminine Ordeals
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Feminine Ordeals

Pieces of a Woman Directed by Kornél Mundruczó ◆ Written by Kata Wéber ◆ Produced by Bron Studios, Little Lamb, and Creative Wealth Media ◆ Distributed by Netflix Promising Young Woman Written and directed by Emerald Fennell ◆ Produced by FilmNation Entertainment and LuckyChap Entertainment ◆ Distributed by Focus Features   In the 1940s and...

The Film’s the Thing
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The Film’s the Thing

Mank  Directed by David Fincher ◆ Written by Jack Fincher ◆ Produced by Netflix International Pictures ◆ Distributed by Netflix Citizen Kane (1941) Directed by Orson Welles ◆ Written by Herman J. Mankiewicz and Orson Welles ◆ Produced by Mercury Productions ◆ Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures Netflix is currently streaming Mank, a film dramatizing...

The Sensual and the Savage
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The Sensual and the Savage

Yes, God, Yes Directed and written by Karen Maine ◆ Produced by Maiden Voyage and RT Features ◆ Distributed by Vertical Entertainment Waiting for the Barbarians Directed by Ciro Guerra ◆ Screenplay and novel by J. M. Coetzee ◆ Produced by Iervolino Entertainment and Ithaca Pictures ◆ Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films Zulu (1964) Directed...

The Revolution, Televised
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The Revolution, Televised

Mr. Jones Directed by Agnieszka Holland ◆ Written by Andrea Chalupa ◆ Produced by Film Produkcja ◆ Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1965) Directed by Martin Ritt ◆ Written by John le Carré, Paul Dehn, and Guy Trosper ◆ Produced by Salem Films ◆ Distributed by Paramount...

Alien Intuitions
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Alien Intuitions

The Vast of Night Directed by Andrew Patterson ◆ Written by Andrew Patterson and Craig W. Sanger ◆ Produced by GED Cinema ◆ Distributed by Amazon Studios Shirley Directed by Josephine Decker ◆ Written by Sarah Gubbins based on a novel by Susan Scarf Merrell ◆ Produced by Los Angeles Media Fund ◆ Distributed by...

Aiming Aimlessly
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Aiming Aimlessly

The Hunt (2020) Directed by Craig Zobel ◆ Screenplay by Nick Cuse and Damon Lindelof ◆ Produced by Blumhouse Productions ◆ Distributed by Universal Pictures The Most Dangerous Game (1932) Directed by Irving Pichel and Ernest B. Shoedsack ◆ Screenplay by James Ashmore Creelman ◆ Produced and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures The Candidate (1972)...

Hankering Hereafter
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Hankering Hereafter

The Invisible Man (2020) Directed and written by Leigh Whannell ◆ Produced by Blumhouse Productions and Universal Pictures ◆ Distributed by Universal Pictures Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss (2018) Directed by Vivieno Caldinelli ◆ Screenplay by Christopher Hewitson, Clayton Hewitson, and Justin Jones ◆ Produced and distributed by MarVista Entertainment Panic in the Streets...

Family Finances
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Family Finances

Parasite may be both the most amusing and the most horrifying movie of the year. That is, if you can get past its inept attempt at making a political statement.  Written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, Parasite recently became the first foreign language film to win the Academy Award for best picture.  Bong’s investigation of...

The World’s Values
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The World’s Values

1917 Directed by Sam Mendes • Written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns • Produced by Amblin Partners, DreamWorks Pictures, Mogambo, Neal Street Productions, and Reliance Entertainment • Distributed by Universal Pictures La Grande Illusion (1937) Directed by Jean Renoir • Written by Charles Spaak and Jean Renoir • Produced by Réalisations d’Art Cinématographique (RAC)...

The Perils of Revisionism
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The Perils of Revisionism

The Irishman Directed and produced by Martin Scorsese • Screenplay by Steve Zaillian, from Charles Brandt’s book, I Heard You Paint Houses • Distributed by Netflix Raging Bull (1980) Directed by Martin Scorsese • Screenplay by Paul Schrader • Distributed by United Artists Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Directed and co-written by J.J. Abrams • Produced...

Racing for Dominance
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Racing for Dominance

Jojo Rabbit Directed and written by Taika Waititi • Produced by TSG Entertainment • Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures Ford v Ferrari Directed by James Mangold •  Produced by Chernin Entertainment • Distributed by Twentieth Century Fox A Simple Plan Directed by Sam Raimi • Written by Scott Smith Produced by the British Broadcasting Corp. • Distributed...

Grim Foolishness
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Grim Foolishness

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Directed and written by Quentin Tarantino ? Produced and distributed by Columbia Pictures The Lighthouse Directed and produced by Robert Eggers ? Co-written by Robert and Max Eggers ? Distributed by A24 Sullivan’s Travels (1941) Directed and written by Preston Sturges ? Produced by Paul Jones ? Distributed by...

Mayhem and Civility
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Mayhem and Civility

Joker Directed and written by Todd Phillips • Produced by Creative Wealth Media Finance and DC Entertainment • Distributed by Warner Brothers Downton Abbey Directed by Michael Engler • Screenplay by Julian Fellowes • Produced and distributed by Focus Features The Conversation Directed and written by Francis Ford Coppola • Produced by The Coppola Company...

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Hiding in Delusion

Where’d You Go, Bernadette Produced and distributed by Annapurna Pictures; Written and directed by Richard Linklater, from the novel by Maria Semple Framing John DeLorean Produced by XYZ Films, distributed by Sundance Selects ; Directed by Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce; Screenplay by Dan Greeney and Alexandra Orton Double Indemnity (1944) Produced and distributed...

Hazardous Do-Overs
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Hazardous Do-Overs

Seconds (1966) Produced by Joel Productions; Directed by John Frankenheimer; Screenplay by Lewis John Carlino, adapted from a novel by David Ely; Distributed by Paramount Pictures The Art of Self-Defense Produced by Andrew Kortschak; Directed and written by Riley Stearns; Distributed by Bleecker Street After Life Produced, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais; Distributed by...

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The Naked and The Veiled

Never Look Away Produced by Pergamon Film Directed and written by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics Chernobyl Produced and distributed by HBO and Sky Television Directed by Johan Renck ? Screenplay by Craig Mazin High Life Produced by Alcatraz Films Directed and written by Claire Denis Distributed by A24 German director...

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Of Infants and Geezers

Unplanned Produced and distributed by Pure Flix Entertainment Directed and written by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon Cold Pursuit Produced by Studio Canal Directed by Han Peter Moland Screenplay by Frank Bladwin, adapted from the Norwegian film Kraftidioten Distributed by Summit Entertainment The Mule Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers Directed by Clint Eastwood Screenplay...

Tethered and Beleaguered
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Tethered and Beleaguered

Us Produced by Monkey Paw Productions  Written and directed by Jordan Peele  Distributed by Universal Pictures  Diane Produced by Sight Unseen Pictures Written and directed by Kent Jones Distributed by IFC Films  Jordan Peele is the executive producer of the revived Twilight Zone series now streaming on CBS All Access. The original series fascinated him...

Monarchs and Pretenders
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Monarchs and Pretenders

Mary, Queen of Scots Produced and distributed by Focus Features Directed by Josie Rourke Screenplay by Beau Willimon The Favourite Screenplay by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara Distributed by Universal Pictures Stan & Ollie Produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Classics Directed by Jon Baird Screenplay by Jeff Pope Can You Ever Forgive Me? Produced...

Power and Betrayal
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Power and Betrayal

Vice Directed and written by Adam McKay  Produced and distributed by Annapurna Pictures  Wildlife Produced by June Pictures and Nine Stories Productions Directed by Paul Dano  Screenplay by Paul Dana and Zoe Kazan adapted from Richard Ford’s novel  Distributed by IFC Films   In Vice, director Adam McKay takes a hatchet to Dick Cheney, joining...

Desperate Fatties
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Desperate Fatties

You Were Never Really Here Produced by Why Not Productions and the British Film Institute Directed and written by Lynne Ramsay, based on Jonathan Ames’s novel Distributed by Amazon Studios  Tully Produced by BRON Studios  Directed by Jason Reitman  Screenplay by Diablo Cody  Distributed by Focus Features  This month we have two—you’ll excuse the expression—art-house...

Ministering
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Ministering

First Reformed Produced and distributed by A24  Written and directed by Paul Schrader  Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Produced by Tremolo Productions  Distributed by Focus Features  Fashionable reviewers have brought out the heavy artillery to praise director Paul Schrader’s latest film, First Reformed, calling it transcendent, uncompromising, soaring, etc, etc.  Maybe they saw a different...

Families
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Families

Chappaquiddick Produced and distributed by Entertainment Studios  Directed by John Curran  Screenplay by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan  A Quiet Place Produced by Platinum Dunes  Directed and written by John Krasinski  Distributed by Paramount Pictures  On July 18, 1969, Sen. Edward Kennedy infamously drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island.  He had left a late-night...

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Racial Follies

Band of Angels Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers  Directed by Raoul Walsh  Screenplay by John Twist  Hostiles Produced by Le Grisbi Productions  Written and directed by Scott Cooper  Distributed by Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures  I had never heard of the 1957 film Band of Angels directed by Raoul Walsh until I came upon it...

Bursting the Wineskin
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Bursting the Wineskin

Novitiate Produced by Maven Pictures  Written and directed by Maggie Betts  Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics  Growing up in the 1950’s, I was regaled with many stories about nuns and their punishing ways.  Having attended Roman Catholic grammar school through the third grade, I did some regaling myself despite knowing full well that my tales...

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Unflinching Women

Lady Macbeth Produced by Sixty Six Pictures, BBC Films, and The British Film Institute  Directed by William Oldroyd  Screenplay by Alice Birch from the novel by Nikolai Leskov  A Quiet Passion Produced by Hurricane Films  Written and directed by Terence Davies  Distributed by Music Box Films  The reviews of Lady Macbeth have been nearly unanimous, proclaiming it a...

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Wonders

Wonder Woman Produced by D.C. Entertainment Directed by Patty Jenkins Screenplay by Allen Heinberg  Distributed by Warner Brothers  Silence Produced by Cappa Defina Productions Directed by Martin Scorsese Screenplay by Martin Scorsese and Jay Cocks, from the novel by Shusaku Endo Distributed by Paramount Pictures  Wonder Woman is the first installment of what threatens to...

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The World as Imagination

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 Produced by Marvel Studios  Directed and written by James Gunn  Distributed by Walt Disney Studios  The Lost City of Z Produced by Plan B Entertainment  Directed and written by James Gray, based on David Grann’s book  Distributed by Amazon Studios  Mixed-race romance has become profitably au courant in popular...

Down Here Among the Lilliputians
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Down Here Among the Lilliputians

Kong: Skull Island Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers  Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts  Screenplay by Dan Gilroy and Max Borenstein  Moonlight Produced and distributed by A24 Directed by Barry Jenkins Screenplay by Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney  Lion Produced and distributed by The Weinstein Company Directed by Garth Davis  Screenplay by Saroo Brierly from his...

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Racial Follies

Get Out Produced by Blumhouse Productions  Written and directed by Jordan Peele  Distributed by Universal Pictures  Fences Produced and distributed by Paramount Pictures  Directed by Denzel Washington  Screenplay based on August Wilson’s play   From what I had read in advance of seeing Get Out, a film written and directed by Jordan Peele, I had...

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Good Country People

Loving Produced by Raindog Films  Directed and written by Jeff Nichols  Distributed by Focus Features  Hacksaw Ridge Produced by Cross Creek Pictures  Directed by Mel Gibson Screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight  Distributed by Summit Entertainment  I first learned about miscegenation in 1958.  A student in my high-school religion class asked our teacher, Father...

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Shall We Dance?

La La Land Produced by Summit Entertainment  Written and directed by Damien Chazelle  Distributed by Liongate  The Founder Produced and distributed by  The Weinstein Company  Directed by John Lee Hancock  Screenplay by Robert D. Siegel  In last month’s issue, no less a cinematic authority than Taki pronounced La La Land delightful (“Beyond the Idiot Box,”...

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Marvelous Exhibitions

Nocturnal Animals Produced by Fade to Black Productions  Directed and written by Tom Ford,  based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan  Distributed by Focus Features  Doctor Strange Produced by Marvel and Disney Studios  Directed and written by Scott Derrickson  Distributed by Walt Disney Studios  Erstwhile fashion designer turned film director Tom Ford seems to...

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Aliens: The Good and the Bad

Arrival 21 Laps Entertainment  Directed by Denis Villeneuve  Screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on Ted Chiang’s novella Distributed by Paramount Pictures  Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk Produced by Film4 and TriStar Pictures  Directed by Ang Lee Screenplay by Jean-Christophe Castelli from Ben Fountain’s novel  Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing  When is the last time you...

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A Useful Tool

The Birth of a Nation Produced by Argent Pictures  Directed by Nate Parker  Screenplay by Nate Parker and Jean Celestine  Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures  Nate Parker has entitled his debut film The Birth of a Nation.  He chose his title as a rebuke of D.W. Griffith’s groundbreaking 1915 film. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation...

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Of Wrath, Lies, and Heroes

Snowden Produced by Endgame Entertainment  Directed by Oliver Stone  Screenplay by Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone  Distributed by Open Road Films Sully Produced by Malpaso Productions  Directed by Clint Eastwood  Screenplay by Todd Komarnicki  Distributed by Warner Brothers  Anyone Hillary Clinton hates usually wins my admiration by default.  Edward Snowden, then, should be at the...

Clichés Revived
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Clichés Revived

Hell or High Water Produced by Film 44  Directed by David Mackenzie  Screenplay by Taylor Sheridan  Distributed by CBS  Pete’s Dragon Produced and distributed by  Walt Disney Productions  Directed and written by David Lowery  Hell or High Water has won extravagant praise from mainline film reviewers.  This, I suspect, has to do more with its...

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Counting on Rosary Beads

The Legend of Tarzan Produced by Jerry Weintraub Productions  Directed by David Yates  Screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer from the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories  Distributed by Warner Brothers  The Conjuring 2 Produced by New Line Cinema  Directed by James Wan  Screenplay by Carey and Chad Hayes  Distributed by Warner Brothers  The Legend of...

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Under Circe’s Spell

Love and Friendship Produced by Westerly Films  Written and directed by Whit Stillman from Jane Austen’s Lady Susan  Distributed by Roadside Attractions  and Amazon Studios  Whit Stillman’s new film, Love and Friendship, is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s epistolary novella Lady Susan, an early and somewhat unfinished work she wrote when she was all of...

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Bad Investments Pay Off

Money Monster Directed by Jodie Foster  Screenplay by Jamie Linden, Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf  Produced by TriStar Pictures  Distributed by Sony Pictures  Mustang Directed and written by Deniz Gamze Ergüven  Produced by CG Cinema  Distributed by Cohen Media Group When I graduated from college with a degree in English literature, it occurred to me I...

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Shine Your Ever-Loving Light on Me

The Jungle Book Produced and distributed by Disney Pictures  Directed by Jon Favreau Screenplay by Justin Marks from Rudyard Kipling’s book  Midnight Special Produced and distributed by Warner Brothers  Written and directed by Jeff Nichols  Are the Disney executives rethinking their political correctness?  You know, their belief that homosexuals and transgender folk are uniformly good...