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Movies

July, 2016

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Equity (R for pervasive profanity) High finance drama about an investment banker’s (Anna Gunn) attempt to untangle a web of corruption in order to avoid the scandal that threatens to derail her career. With James Purefoy, Sarah Megan Thomas and Alysia Reiner. Comment

Ghost appears only in the dark in horror flick

Movies: When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) was growing up, she spent many a sleepless night frightened by noises that she only heard after the lights went out. Today, the emancipated 22-year-old has all but forgotten that unfortunate chapter of her childhood. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Absolutely Fabulous (R for profanity, sexuality and drug use) Adaptation of the British TV sitcom revolving around a couple of flamboyant, aging fashionistas (Jennnifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley) who flee London for the French Riviera after creating a media storm by accidentally knocking now-missing supermodel Kate Moss off a balcony and into the River Thames. With Rebel Wilson, Joanna Lumley, John Hamm and Alexa Chung, with cameos by Jerry Hall and Joan Collins. Comment

Cranston plays crafty undercover agent

Movies: Pablo Escobar (1949-1993) was an infamous mobster who ran Colombia’s Medellin drug cartel with an iron fist. During his reign, Escobar controlled about 80% of the global cocaine market, and raked in about $70 million / day. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: C Street (R for sexuality and drug use) Freewheeling farce about a U.S. Senate intern (Evan Hall) who pimps out his crib to sex-starved politicians only to catch his boss (Dylan Walsh) in bed with the object of his affection (Shaun Licata). Cast includes Bruce Altman, Carey Lowell and Don Stark. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: At the Fork (Unrated) Agri-business documentary examining the mechanization of the processes involved in the raising and harvesting of farm animals for human consumption. Comment

Alexander Skarsgard stars as King of the Jungle

Movies: “The Legend of Tarzan” Comment

Montano’s Triniwood adds Masala to ‘Bazoodee’ musical

Movies: When it comes to captivating an audience, Trinidad & Tobago soca singer Machel Montano is no slouch. He sings, dances and totally delivers an energizing, fully-loaded infusion of revelry every time he takes the stage. Comment

June, 2016

It’s surfer vs. shark in harrowing tale of survival

Movies: Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother’s (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she’s dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she’s decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Breaking a Monster (Unrated) Rockumentary recounting the rise in 2007 of Unlocking the Truth, a heavy metal trio of 13-year-old, African-American boys from Brooklyn: Malcolm Brickhouse, Jarad Dawkins and Alec Atkins. Comment

Suave CIA agent enlists help of nerdy accountant

Movies: Back in high school, Calvin (Kevin Hart) was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” while his chubby pal Bob (Dwayne Johnson) was being bullied by classmates because of his weight. But that was a couple of decades ago, and a lot has changed since then. Comment

Brooklyn filmmaker showcases his community

Movies: Let us think deeper beyond the surface. That is what one Jamaican-American filmmaker wants people to do before watching his film that tackles life’s tribulations in a relatable way. Comment

Elusive illusionists resurface for another adventure

Movies: It’s been three years since we last saw the world’s greatest illusionists, aka the Four Horsemen, playing a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the FBI. Comment

Film screening highlights black women’s struggles as doctors

Movies: Award-winning filmmaker and author Crystal R. Emery preview-screened her documentary film, “Black Women in Medicine” at the Yale Club in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 8. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Argentina (Unrated) Folklore documentary exploring the heart of the Argentine culture, including the nation’s dance and musical heritage. (In Spanish with subtitles) Comment

Tomboy-turned-dancer seeks acceptance

Movies: Toni (Royalty Hightower) is an 11-year-old girl growing up in the rough projects of inner-city Cincinnati. The prepubescent adolescent keeps out of trouble by hanging out at the local recreation center with her big brother, Jermaine (Da’Sean Minor) and his BFF, Donte (Antonio A.B. Grant, Jr.). Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Be Somebody (PG for mature themes, suggestive comments and mild epithets) Romance drama about a jaded pop star (Matthew Espinosa) burdened by fame who finds love with an ordinary, small-town girl (Sarah Jeffery) while taking a break from the limelight. With Allison Paige, LaMonica Garrett and Mahaley Patel and Caitlin Keats. Comment

Sci-Fi flicks explores issue of race in America

Movies: It is 1939, and we find a committee of African-American leaders seeking a solution for the “Negro problem.” The group agrees that blacks seem permanently relegated to second-class status because of lynchings, Jim Crow segregation and racial discrimination. Comment

May, 2016

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Approaching the Unknown (R for profanity) Sci-fi thriller about an American astronaut (Mark Strong) on a one-way mission to Mars. With Luke Wilson, Sanaa Lathan and Charles Baker. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Holy Hell (Unrated) Mind control documentary revisiting The Buddhafield, an ill-fated, religious sect located in L.A. in the Eighties which was run by a charismatic cult leader called Michel. Comment

Bilked investor blames bombastic TV host

Movies: Kyle Budwell (Jack O’Connell) was a working-class guy from Queens who never had enough cash in the bank to play the market until his mother died and left him $60,000. Against his better judgment, the rough-edged truck driver put every penny of that inheritance into Ibis Clear Capital, a security being promoted by TV money guru Lee Gates as “safer than a savings account.” Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Art Bastard (Unrated) Reverential biopic about maverick artist Robert Cenedella, an inveterate iconoclast who has managed to enjoy an enduring career without compromising his rebellious spirit. Comment

CaFA seeks sponsorship for 50th Jubilee Film Fest

Movies: Founder of New York-based Caribbean Film Academy (CaFA), Romola Lucas, will return to her homeland, along with co-founder Justen Blaize to showcase the brilliant work of Caribbean and Guyanese filmmakers, during the first Timehri Film Festival in celebration of Guyana’s 50th Independence Jubilee. Comment

Muslim apprentice spikes Jewish baker’s dough

Movies: Nat (Jonathan Pryce) is the owner of Dayan and Son, a Kosher bakery located in London. The store’s name is a bit of a misnomer since he’s been the only Dayan working there ever since his father passed away. Comment

‘The Seawall’ film director scouts locations in Guyana

Movies: Guyanese-born Film Director Mason Richards is scouting Guyana’s Kaieteur Falls, the largest single-drop waterfall in the world, as the possible location to shoot the full-length feature of his award-winning film “The Seawall,” to celebrate Guyana’s 50th Independence Golden Jubilee. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: I Am Wrath (R for profanity and violence) Revenge thriller about a grieving widower (John Travolta) who takes the law into his own hands after corrupt cops fail to find his wife’s (Rebecca De Mornay) killer. With Amanda Schull, Christopher Meloni and Sam Trammell. Comment

Nerds masquerade as hardened gangstas

Movies: Rell (Jordan Peele) was so inconsolable after being dumped by his girlfriend that getting high didn’t help ease the pain. But then, while crying on the shoulder of his cousin Clarence (Keegan-Michael Key), a cute, little kitten appeared on his doorstep. Comments (1)

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Beautiful Something (Unrated) Homoerotic ensemble drama following the fates of four gay males (Colman Domingo, Zack Ryan, John Lescault and Brian Sheppard) dealing with relationships over the course of one very eventful evening. With David Melissaratos, Grant Lancaster and Matthew Rios. Comment

April, 2016

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 3rd Street Blackout (Unrated) Romantic comedy about a tech-addicted couple (Negin Farsad and Jeremy Redleaf) forced by a Huirricane Sandy power outage to face each other sans electronic devices. With Janeane Garofalo, Devin Ratray and Ed Weeks. Comment

Saldana successfully channels Simone in biopic

Movies: Most of the pre-release buzz surrounding this controversial biopic has swirled around the debate about Zoe Saldana’s darkening her skin, donning an afro wig and wearing a prosthetic nose to portray Nina Simone (1933-2003). Comment

Brain-altered convict chases int’l terrorists

Movies: CIA Agent Bill Pope (Ryan Reynolds) was in London on assignment to deliver a ransom to a computer hacker called the “The Dutchman” (Michael Pitt) when he was assassinated en route by a terrorist (Jordi Molla) with a vicious gun moll (Antje Traue). This would ordinarily be a big loss for the Agency, given the veteran spy’s talents and abilities. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Compadres (Unrated) Unlikely-buddies action thriller about a disgraced ex-cop (Omar Chaparro) who joins forces with a young hacker (Joey Morgan) to exact revenge on the mobster (Erick Elias) who kidnapped his girlfriend (Aislinn Derbez) and framed him for a crime he didn’t commit. With Kevin Pollak, Eric Roberts and Hector Jimenez. Comment

Shaken fireman faces moment of truth

Movies: Caleb Abrams (Jensen Atwood) is single today only because his former fiancee, Asia (Michelle D. Ivy), broke off their engagement the night before the wedding. During the year since, the buff Baltimore fireman has rededicated himself to his career while pursuing a love of painting in his spare time. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 13 Cameras (Unrated) Psychological thriller about a couple of newlyweds (PJ McCabe and Brianne Moncrief) whose Peeping Tom landlord (Neville Archambault) invades their privacy by secretly installing surveillance cameras all around their new home. With Sarah Baldwin, Sean Carrigan and Jim Cummings. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Hardcore Henry (R for pervasive profanity, incessant mayhem and graphic violence, sexuality, nudity and drug use) Revenge thriller, set in Moscow, about a vigilante’s attempt to rescue his wife (Haley Bennett) who’s been kidnapped by a Russian warlord (Danila Kozlovsky) with an army of assassins. Cast includes Sharlto Copley, Tim Roth and Will Stewart. (In English and Russian with subtitles) Comment

March, 2016

Man of Steel against the Caped Crusader

Movies: Let’s face it, Christian Bale’s Batman was going to be a hard act for any actor to follow, especially Ben Affleck who had already proved underwhelming as a superhero when he played Daredevil back in 2003. And the departure from the franchise of Chris Nolan, the legendary director of the critically-acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy, only served to lower expectations even further. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Catching the Sun (Unrated) Green economy documentary extolling the efforts of entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China to capitalize on the race to solar energy Comment

A trendy variation on ‘The Big Chill’

Movies: Bodhi was a popular guy back in high school several years ago. So, when he passed away unexpectedly from an aneurysm, it’s no surprise that many of his friends might decide to return home to attend the funeral. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Bleed (Unrated) Horror flick about a couple of newlyweds (Chelsey Crisp and Michael Steger) who come to regret inviting their friends to participate in a ghost hunt on the grounds of an abandoned prison that turns out to be really haunted. With Riley Smith, Elimu Nelson, David Yow and Lyndon Smith. Comment

12-year-old recovers from incurable illness

Movies: Annabel Beam (Kylie Rogers) was born in Burleson, Texas where she was raised by her parents on a farm surrounded by cats, dogs, goats, cows and a donkey. She enjoyed an idyllic childhood there with her sisters, Abbie (Brighton Sharbino) and Adelynn (Courtney Fansler), until the age of 10 when she started experiencing severe stomach pains. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: The Confirmation (PG-13 for mature themes) Dysfunctional family comedy about a cash-strapped carpenter’s (Clive Owen) attempt to reconcile with his estranged, eight-year-old son (Jaeden Lieberher) who’s been dropped in his lap while his ex-wife (Maria Bello) is away on a weekend retreat with her new husband (Matthew Modine). Support cast includes Robert Forster, Tim Blake Nelson, Patton Oswalt, Spencer Drever and Stephen Tobolowosky. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: About Scout (Unrated) Unlikely-buddies drama about a 15-year-old Goth girl (India Enninga) who embarks with a suicidal stranger (James Frecheville) on a road trip across Texas in search of her missing little sister (Onata Aprile). Featuring Danny Glover, Ellen Burstyn, Jane Seymour and Nikki Reed. Comment

Cultural clash: Radical Islam and Malian culture

Movies: In 2012, radical jihadists invaded the country of Mali from the north. Even though the population was already 98 percent Muslim, the uncompromising religious zealots declared Sharia the law of the land. Comment

February, 2016

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Ava’s Possessions (R for profanity, sexuality and graphic images) Louisa Krause plays the title character in this horror flick as a woman who has her demons exorcised by a priest (John Ventimiglia) only to have them try to reenter her body. With Carol Kane, Wiliam Sadler and Jemima Kirke. Comment

‘Art Connect’ sheds positive light on Laventille

Movies: No matter where you are in the world, there is always a neighborhood, section, or block in a particular place that carries some sort of bad reputation. Comment

Jesse Owens’ triumphs at 1936 Berlin Olympics

Movies: Jesse Owens (Stephan James) is famous for winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics staged in Berlin. The and track and field events events in which he competed included the 100-meter dash, the 200-meter dash, the long jump and the 4 x 100-meter relay race. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Backtrack (R for profanity, violence and disturbing images) Psychological thriller about a shrink (Adrien Brody) who starts questioning his own sanity after discovering that his patients are ghosts. With Robin McLeavy, Bruce Spence and Jenni Baird. Comment

Newcomer samples Manhattan singles scene

Movies: When Alice (Dakota Johnson) graduated from college, it would have been very easy for her to settle down with her college sweetheart of four years. After all, Josh (Nicholas Braun) was not only a nice guy with a promising future but very eager to marry and start a family. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Busco Novio Para Mi Mujer (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity and smoking) Midlife crisis comedy about a henpecked husband (Arath de la Torre) who decides to get out of the marriage by hiring a professional seducer (Jesus Ochoa) to steal the heart of his annoying wife (Sandra Echeverria). Comment

Pedophile priests repent at secluded retreat

Movies: The critically-acclaimed Spotlight recently addressed the problem of pedophilia in the priesthood from the point of view of the victims. But if you’re looking for a take on the issue more sympathetic to the perpetrators, have I got a movie for you. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (Unrated) Romantic comedy revolving around the love which blossoms between an Asian-American (Jamie Chung) visiting Hong Kong for the very first time and the white guy (Bryan Greenberg) giving her a tour of the city. With Sarah Lian, Jaeden Cheng and Richard Ng. Comment

Father and warrior protect baby monster

Movies: Directed by Raman Hui (Shrek the Third), “Monster Hunt” was released across Asia last summer where it became the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time. The version I watched was dubbed into English, which served to turn the martial arts / comedy mash-up into a decidedly campy affair. Comment

January, 2016

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: 4th Man Out (Unrated) Out-of-the-closet dramedy, set in upstate New York, about a small-town auto mechanic (Evan Todd) who surprises his straight buddies by announcing he’s gay on his 24th birthday. With Parker Young, Chord Overstreet and Jon Gabrus. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Everybody’s Fine (Unrated) Bittersweet character study, set in Beijing, revolving around a recently-widowed retiree (Guoli Zhang) who is agonizing over his four children’s (He Chen, Chen Yao, Shawn Duo and Ye Qianyun) failure to return home for the family’s annual summer reunion. (In Mandarin with subtitles) Comment

Playwright, pensioner forge unlikely friendship

Movies: “The Lady in the Van” Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Exposed (R for profanity, violence and rape) Supernatural thriller about an attractive Latina (Ana de Armas) who witnesses a miracle before being befriended by a cop (Keanu Reeves) investigating his partner’s mysterious death. With Big Daddy Kane, Mira Sorvino and Christopher McDonald. Comment

A blackface variation of ‘Babe’ with street cred

Movies: In 1965, the federal government issued the historic Moynihan Report chronicling the collapse of “The Negro Family” which it blamed on a host of social woes afflicting inner-city African-American communities. A half-century later, blacks and whites still remain substantially separate and unequal. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Band of Robbers (Unrated) Present-day reimagining of Mark Twain’s classic tales with adult versions of Tom Sawyer (Adam Nee) and Huck Finn (Kyle Gallner) still searching for the buried treasure that eluded them in childhood. Comment

Barriers can be broken

Movies: How many times have you had an incredible idea to only forget about it? Artists often jot down notes, create full scripts, or even songs to only forget about them while pursuing another venture. Comment

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Anomalisa (R for profanity, graphic sexuality and frontal nudity) Adult-oriented animated adventure about an author (David Thewlis) who is unable to connect with other people until he hits it off with a stranger (Jennifer Jason Leigh) he meets on a business trip. Additional voices supplied by Tom Noonan. Comment

Michael Moore mounts faux invasion

Movies: Oscar-winner Michael Moore (for Bowling for Columbine) has been challenging the power structure ever since releasing Roger & Me way back in 1989. Comment

Best of African Diaspora films

Movies: The African Diaspora International Film Festival (AIDFF) wrapped up its screenings of almost 60 films in mid-December but all is not lost for those who missed it. Nine films, the Best of AIDFF will screen Friday, Jan. 8 – Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 in Manhattan. Comment

December, 2015

Independent & Foreign Films

Movies: Anomalisa (R for profanity, graphic sexuality and frontal nudity) Adult-oriented animated adventure about an author (David Thewlis) who is unable to connect with other people until he hits it off with a stranger (Jennifer Jason Leigh) he meets on a business trip. Additional voices supplied by Tom Noonan. Comment