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August, 2014

A life hangs in the balance in flashback flick

Movies: Mia Hall (Chloe Grace Moretz) is a bright 17-year-old full of the bloom of youth. Between playing the cello purely for pleasure and dating the doting boy of her dreams (Jamie Blackley), the happy high school senior considers herself truly blessed. Comment.

Streep, Bridges co-star in sci-fi adventure

Movies: Despite being born in the same year and enjoying overlapping enduring careers, Oscar-winners Meryl Streep (for Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie’s Choice and The Iron Lady) and Jeff Bridges (for Crazy Heart) never made a movie together prior to “The Giver.” Such a long overdue collaboration proves well worth the wait in this haunting, sci-fi adventure set in a deceptive dystopia masquerading as heaven on Earth. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 14 Blades (R for graphic violence) Martial arts drama, set during the Ming Dynasty, about a member of the imperial guard (Donnie Yen) on the run from an army of assassins after being betrayed by colleagues. With Wei Zhao, Chun Wu and Kate Tsui. (In Mandarin with subtitles) Comment.

Chadwick’s nostalgic jukebox musical

Movies: Just last year, Chadwick Boseman successfully channeled the spirit of Jackie Robinson in 42, a powerful biopic about the Hall of Fame great who made history when he integrated Major League Baseball in 1947. In “Get on Up,” the gifted young actor is already impersonating another legendary African-American, the Godfather of Soul, James Brown (1933-2006). Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: About Alex (R for profanity and drug use) Jason Ritter stars as the title character of this nostalgic drama about a group of college friends’ eventful reunion to care for a suicidal pal over the course of a three-day weekend. Cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Maggie Grace, Max Minghella and Nate Parker. Comment.

July, 2014

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 4 Minute Mile (PG-13 for mature themes, violence, drinking, drugs, smoking and profanity) Overcoming-the-odds drama about the unlikely friendship forged between an at-risk teen (Kelly Blatz) and the reclusive, retired track coach (Richard Jenkins) who agrees to train him. With Analeigh Tipton, Kim Basinger, Cam Gigandet and Rhys Coiro. Comment.

Zach Braff stars in dysfunctional family dramedy

Movies: As an actor, Zach Braff is most closely associated with the character J.D. from Scrubs, the Emmy-winning sitcom which enjoyed a nine-year run on network television from 2001 to 2010. As a director, he is best known for “Garden State,” the quirky, semi-autobiographical feature film where he played a struggling actor who returns to his hometown in Jersey for his mother’s funeral. Comments (1).

Vengeful parishioner threatens Irish priest

Movies: While hearing confessions in church one day, Father James Lavelle (Brendan Gleeson) gets the shock of his life. First, a disturbed man recounts in lurid detail how, as a child, he’d been raped by a priest every other day for five years. Then, the anonymous confessor announces that since the pedophile who ruined his life is already deceased, he’s decided to even the score by murdering Father James, and in exactly one week. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Cannibal (Unrated) Romantic thriller about a serial killer (Antonio de la Torre) who feels no remorse about devouring his victims until he falls in love with the sister (Olimpia Melinte) of his last meal. With Maria Alfonsa Rosso, Florin Fildan and Manolo Solo. (In Romanian and Spanish with subtitles) Comment.

Nicolas Cage stars in a gruesome vigilante flick

Movies: In recent years, Nicholas Cage has made a lot of mediocre movies, and “Rage” is no exception. This B-movie action flick might be best thought of as an unapologetic rip-off of the Liam Neeson vigilante vehicle “Taken.” Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Aftermath (Unrated) Post-apocalyptic thriller, set in rural Texas, about nine strangers’ stuck in a farmhouse fallout shelter attempt to survive radiation sickness and a horde of starving refugees in the wake of the devastation wrought by a nuclear holocaust. Co-starring Edward Furlong, William Baldwin, Monica Keena, Andre Royo, C.J. Thomason, Luis Da Silva, Jr., Bo Mitchell, Randall Reeder and Christine Kelly. Comment.

Screwball adventure unfolds in Las Vegas

Movies: The surprise hit “Think Like a Man” was #1 at the box-office over its opening weekend back in April of 2012. Inspired by Steve Harvey’s best-selling, “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” the original explored some of the serious issues tackled by the popular, relationship advice book by examining the angst of four couples in relationship crisis. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Affluenza (Unrated) Class conscious drama, set in 2008, about a social-climbing, pot-smoking shutterbug (Ben Rosenfield) who abandons his humdrum life to hang out in the Hamptons with his gorgeous cousin (Nicola Peltz) and her clique of privileged friends. With Steve Guttenberg, Greg Sulkin, Grant Gustin and Samantha Mathis. Comment.

June, 2014

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: America (PG-13 for violent images) Revisionist documentary co-directed by John Sullivan and Dinesh D’Souza speculating about what the country would look like if the Minutemen had lost the Revolutionary War to England. Comment.

Movies: “A Million Ways to Die in the West” Comment.

Knightley, Ruffalo co-star in magical NYC musical

Movies: Greta (Keira Knightley) followed her college sweetheart (Adam Levine) to Manhattan when he was signed to a lucrative record deal with a major music label. However, the overnight fame went to Dave’s head and he soon started to stray. This development signaled not only the end of their romantic relationship but the demise of their promising partnership as songwriters, too. Comment.

Caribbean-American Heritage Month at Boro Hall

Movies: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams kicked-off a full Brooklyn day event celebrating Caribbean-American Heritage Month in the community room of Borough Hall. To a contingent from St. Gabrielle Senior Center in Flatbush and other attendees he emphasized that: “This building is yours!” and “I want everyone to feel comfortable using it.” The first event of the day was a program of films on culture followed by conversation. Comment.

Guyanese actor awaits new big role

Movies: Sean Patrick Thomas, the son of Guyanese immigrants, is ready for his next big role after an euphoric performance in “A Raisin In the Sun,” the Tony Winning Best Revival Play that captivated audiences during a sold out, four-month run at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Code Black (Unrated) Adrenaline-fueled documentary offering unprecedented observation of the life-and-death situations handled by doctors on a daily basis inside L.A. County Hospital’s C-Booth, America’s busiest Emergency Room. Comment.

Tom Cruise rises to the occasion as reluctant hero

Movies: William Cage (Tom Cruise) is lucky to have risen to the rank of Major in the U.S. Army without ever seeing any combat, since he can’t stand the sight of blood, not even a paper cut. So, you can imagine his surprise the day that he’s informed by his superior (Brendan Gleeson) that he’ll be shipping out soon to England to lead a D-Day style invasion of France. Comment.

Grenada Revolution film at Medgar Evers

Movies: “Forward Ever: The Killing of a Revolution,” a documentary film that examines the rise and implosion of the Maurice Bishop-led People’s Revolutionary Government (1978-1983) of Grenada will have its New York premiere on Friday, June 20 at the Main Auditorium, Medgar Evers College, CUNY, commencing at 6:00 p.m. Comments (1).

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The Amazing Catfish (Unrated) Strange bedfellows dramedy about a lonely supermarket clerk (Ximena Ayala) with appendicitis who finds herself befriended by her hospital roommate (Lisa Owen) and family. Support cast includes (Sonia Franco, Wendy Guillen and Andrea Baeza). (In Spanish with subtitles) Comment.

May, 2014

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 2 Autumns, 3 Winters (Unrated) Romantic dramedy about a 33-year-old bachelor (Vincent Macaigne) who divides his time between wooing a cynical woman (Maud Wyler) he meets while jogging in the park and caring for his BFF (Bastion Bouillon) after a stroke. With Thomas Blanchard, Audrey Bastien and Pauline Etienne. (In French with subtitles) Comment.

Legendary sea monster resurfaces as humanity’s ally

Movies: “Godzilla” made its debut in 1954 when the mythical, man-eating monster, inadvertently created by an atomic blast, emerged from the Pacific Ocean to carve a path of death and destruction across Japan, much to the chagrin of the country’s overmatched military. A couple of years later, Raymond Burr narrated a documentary-style, English-language remake which was basically a dubbed version of the original with his lines spliced in. Comment.

Wolverine travels back in time to save the future

Movies: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” represents the seventh episode in the storied mutant series, and is the third directed by Bryan Singer who also helmed X-Men 1 and 2. This installment is loosely based on the 1981 Marvel Comics (issues #141-142) of the same name, a convoluted tale in which one of the superheroes is sent back in time to prevent an impending disaster threatening the present. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Delivery (Unrated) Demon seed horror flick about a couple (Laurel Vail and Danny Barclay) expecting their first child who decide to document the pregnancy for a reality-TV show, only to discover that the newborn’s been possessed by an evil spirit. With Rob Cobuzio, Colter Allison and Rebecca Brooks. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (R for sexuality and pervasive profanity) Robin Williams plays the title character in this remake of The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum, an Israeli dramedy about an obnoxious jerk who tries to make amends with everyone he’s ever offended after being informed by his doctor (Mila Kunis) that he only has an hour-and-a-half left to live. With Melissa Leo, James Earl Jones and Peter Dinklage. Comment.

Couple confronts rowdy frat in revenge comedy

Movies: When Kelly (Rose Byrne) and Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) decided to settle down in suburbia, they reasonably expected to raise their newborn in a quiet community. But that dream was threatened soon thereafter, when the local chapter of Delta Psi Beta bought the house next-door. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: App (Unrated) Sci-fi thriller, set in Amsterdam, about a psychology student (Hannah Hoekstra) terrorized by a cell phone app that circulates her secrets, photos and videos over the internet. With Isis Cabolet, Robert de Hoog and Alex Hendrickx. (In Dutch with subtitles) Comment.

April, 2014

An entertaining tale of female empowerment

Movies: Menopause apparently affects women differently, even if they happen to share the same genes, as is the case with Carson (Frances Fisher), Rita (Mary Crosby) and Louise (Eliza Roberts). Each of these sisters is struggling to maintain her dignity while dealing with the fallout from the so-called “Change of Life.” Comment.

H.S. grad seeks bonding time with long-estranged dad

Movies: Although Freddy Klein (Devon Bostick) is about to finish high school, he still hasn’t decided whether to attend college in the fall. That’s because he’s considering taking a job as a salesman on his father’s (Christopher Meloni) used car lot. Comment.

A native son’s emotional journey to Tanzania

Movies: After finishing high school, Venance Ndibalema made the most of an opportunity to leave Tanzania to study physics and philosophy at the University of Miami. Now, he’s ready to visit his homeland for the first time in years, a trip likely to prove traumatic, given the changes both he and the country have undergone during the interim. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Blue Ruin (R for profanity and graphic violence) Macabre thriller about a beach bum (Macon Blair) who returns to his hometown to carry out an act of vengeance only to botch the assassination attempt and end up having to defend his suddenly-imperiled family. With Devin Ratray, Amy Hargeaves and Eve Plumb. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 13 Sins (R for violence, profanity and bloody images) Remake of Game of Death (2006), a horror flick revolving around a down on his luck salesman (Mark Webber) manipulated to perform a series of increasingly sinister tasks for a promised prize of $6.2 million. With Devon Graye, Rutina Wesley and Ron Perlman. Comment.

March, 2014

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 10 Rules for Sleeping Around (R for crude humor, sexuality, nudity, profanity and drug use) Screwball comedy revolving around the attempt by an adventurous couple (Jesse Bradford and Virginia Williams) in an open marriage to keep their sex life fresh and exciting long past the honeymoon. Supporting cast includes Chris Marquette, Bill Bellamy, Michael McKean and Wendi McLendon-Covey. Comment.

Alcoholic air marshal tested in transatlantic thriller

Movies: Bill Marks’ (Liam Neeson) life went into a tailspin after his young daughter lost her battle with childhood leukemia. The inconsolable police officer has since sought solace in a bottle of alcohol, an addiction which cost him his marriage and career. Comment.

Biopic chronicles career of Asian-American activist

Movies: Born on June 27, 1915, Grace Lee was raised in New York by modest immigrant parents from a humble Chinese background. Her mother couldn’t read or write English, although her business-minded father did save up enough cash by 1924 to open up his own restaurant, Chin Lee’s, on Broadway. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Boys of Abu Ghraib (R for torture, violence, sexuality and pervasive profanity) Unlikely-buddies drama about an American soldier (Luke Moran) stationed in Iraq who befriends a wrongly-accused, prison detainee (Omid Abtahi). With Sean Astin, Sara Paxton and John Heard. Comment.

CAFA Film Nights, Guyanese edition

Movies: A trip to Guyana on assignment as a private investigator led New Yorker Margaret Clemons to the country’s culture of violence, and the youth she would later inspire to tell their tale through photography in “Rebecca’s Story,” a short film which premiered to rave reviews at the recent CAFA Film Nights, Guyanese edition, in Brooklyn. Comment.

Bride-to-be gets cold feet in cross-cultural comedy

Movies: Shirin (Nazanin Boniadi) has never really found the courage to pursue her own dreams. For example, after graduating from college and law school, instead of going into practice, she moved back home and began writing book reviews for BH Style, a magazine owned by her domineering mother (Anita Khalatbari). The deferential daughter knows her problems stem from living under the same roof as her very traditional Iranian-American parents. Furthermore, they’re members of a tight-knit community located in a section of L.A. known as Tehrangeles. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 50 to 1 (PG-13 for suggestive material and a bar fight) Fact-based drama chronicling the road trip from New Mexico to Kentucky undertaken by a posse of cowboys when their crooked-footed horse miraculously qualifies for the Derby. Starring Skeet Ulrich; William Devane and Christian Kane. Comment.

Higher body-count sequel trumps the original

Movies: The bloody epic 300 (2007) chronicled the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. when a badly outnumbered band of 300 soldiers were sent on a suicide mission to defend Sparta against a horde of over 100,000 Persian invaders. Based on Frank Miller’s graphic novel of the same name, that minimalist, monochromatic adventure was shot almost entirely against blue screens on assorted soundstages. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The Anonymous People (Unrated) 12-Step documentary encouraging the 23 million American substance abuserss to think of themselves as in recovery rather than as addicts. With commentary by Kristen Johnston; Laurie Dhue and Patrick Kennedy. Comment.

Caribbean roots revealed in ‘12 Years A Slave’

Movies: At this year’s Academy Awards another envelope opened to reveal a historic Caribbean achievement. With presentation of a gold, Oscar statuette to Steve McQueen for directing the Best Picture – “12 Years a Slave” – the region won kudos for nurturing the very, first Black to win the coveted award. Comment.

‘12 Years a Slave’ lands Best Picture

Movies: “12 Years a Slave” walked away with big prize, Best Picture at the 86th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday. The historical drama was directed by Steve McQueen and also netted accolades in the Supporting Actress (Lupita Nyong’o) and Adapted Screenplay (John Ridley) categories. Dallas Buyers Club also won a trio of Oscars, although Gravity landed the most overall, at seven. Comment.

February, 2014

Courier delivers package for crime boss

Movies: “The Bag Man” Comment.

Rapper & T&T native Nicki to make movie debut

Music: Trinidad-born star Nicki Minaj plans to make 2014 another boom year for her career. After ending last year as one of the judges on television’s popular, music reality show “American Idol” the rapper, song-writer and exaggerated dresser has added a number of music projects and a major film deal to make this year a banner year that will introduce her to wide-screen audiences. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Almost Human (Unrated) Sci-fi horror flick about a guy (Josh Ethier) who disappears in a flash of bright light only to return to town just as mysteriously two years later, right before the start of a string of grisly murders. With Graham Skipper, Vanessa Leigh and Susan T. Travers. Comment.

‘Hate Crimes in the Heartland’

Movies: “Hate Crimes in the Heartland” a film by Rachel Lyon and co-produced by Pi-Isis Ankhra had it’s New York premiere on Tuesday, Feb. 4 at Aaron Davis Hall, City College of New York. Comment.

Kevin Hart in raunchy remake of romantic romp

Movies: “About Last Night” Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Almost Human (Unrated) Sci-fi horror flick about a guy (Josh Ethier) who disappears in a flash of bright light only to return to town just as mysteriously two years later right before the start of a string of grisly murders. With Graham Skipper, Vanessa Leigh and Susan T. Travers. Comment.

‘Inside Buffalo’ at Museum of the Moving Image

Movies: During World War II, the 92nd Buffalo Division, a segregated African American combat unit known as “The Buffalo Soldiers” fought a double battle, one against the Nazis in Italy, and one of racial discrimination, which was official United States policy. Though fighting and dying for the United States, they were ill treated by their country and their fellow American soldiers. Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Adult World (R for sexuality and drug use) Romantic comedy about a recent college grad and aspiring poet (Emma Roberts) who reluctantly takes a job at a porno shop until an English professor (John Cusack) she admires offers her a position as his assistant. With Armando Riesco, Shannon Woodward and Chris Riggi. Comment.

‘The New Black’ in out-of-the-closet documentary

Movies: “The New Black” Comment.

Guyanese flicks For Caribbean Film Academy Series

Movies: The Caribbean Film Academy, a non-profit founded by Guyanese-born Romola O. Lucas and American, Justen Blaize, who grew up in Grenada, will host a CaFA Film Nights - Guyanese Edition, at its 570 Fulton St. Brooklyn cinema on Friday, Feb. 21, at 7:00 p.m. Comment.

Crooked judges imprison minors for kickbacks

Movies: Anybody who needs a new reason to hate lawyers ought to check out this shocking documentary chronicling a pay-to-play scheme whereby a couple of crooked judges, Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella, enriched themselves at the expense of adolescents unlucky enough to be arrested in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The evil pair’s plan involved first condemning the existing juvenile detention center owned by the county. Comments (1).

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 7 Boxes (Unrated) Paraguayan action thriller about a 17-year-old pushcart porter (Celso Franco) who inadvertently becomes an accessory to a crime after agreeing to deliver some suspicious packages for a quick $100. With Lali Gonzalez, Victor Sosa and Nico Garcia. (In Spanish and Guarani with subtitles) Comment.

January, 2014

Jaded playboy rethinks his womanizing ways

Movies: Dean (Skylar Austin) lives in L.A. with three buddies in a warehouse converted into a windowless loft they call “The Cave.” The appellation is apropos since these twenty-something slackers behave like cavemen, spending most of their free time at local haunts bars trying to lure women back to their bachelors’ lair for wanton liaisons with no strings attached. Comment.

Mark Wahlberg stars in ‘Lone Survivor’

Movies: “Lone Survivor” Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 12 O’Clock Boys (Unrated) Crime does pay documentary profiling a biker gang of troubled teens inexplicably given free rein by the police to terrorize the citizens of Baltimore. Comment.

Ex-con opens chess club for at-risk kids

Movies: Eugene Brown (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) was so worried about returning to his neighborhood in inner-city Washington, DC after serving 17 years for bank robbery that he shared his concern with his cellmate Searcy (Dennis Haysbert). The wise, old elder responded by making an analogy between life and the game of chess amounting to the simple suggestion “Take care of the king.” Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys (Unrated) Lapland documentary chronicling a year-in-the-life of a family of reindeer herders. (In Finnish with subtitles) Comment.

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Big Bad Wolves (Unrated) Israeli crime thriller about a suspected serial killer (Rotem Keinan) who finds himself being trailed by the revenge-minded father (Tzahi Grad) of his last victim and by a rogue cop (Lior Ashkenazi) willing to take the law into his own hands. Support cast includes Menashe Noy, Dvir Benedek and Kais Nashif. (In Hebrew with subtitles) Comments (1).

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (PG for violence, adventure, peril and brief smoking) Fantasy adventure about an intrepid teenager (Aneurin Barnard) who follows clues on a perilous trek inside a hidden realm after the members of his family mysteriously disappear. With Ioan Gruffudd, Michael Sheen, Sam Neill, Lena Headey and Keeley Hawes. Comments (1).
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