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The complicated, ugly legacy of the 1915 'Birth of a Nation'

D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” plays as a strange and troubling artifact, a grainy, flickering work of artistic brilliance whose images are at once breathtaking and repugnant. With sweeping shots and intimate close-ups, the 1915 silent film heralded the future of cinema, but its abhorrent...

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  • Tim Roth is superb in quietly powerful drama 'Chronic'

    Tim Roth is superb in quietly powerful drama 'Chronic'

    For a drama that’s as quiet and circumspect as “Chronic,” it’s a decidedly bold film, one that pulls few punches as it slowly peels away the emotional layers of its complex protagonist. It also features an ending that’s as devastating as it is shocking. Tim Roth superbly disappears into his role...

  • You just might recognize these L.A. friends in the touching drama ‘People You May Know’

    You just might recognize these L.A. friends in the touching drama ‘People You May Know’

    You may know people like the thirtysomethings in “People You May Know”: self-involved, self-indulgent and a bit lost, but loyal, well-meaning and hopeful. They’re also really attractive but, y’know, it’s a movie.  The question is: How much time do we want to spend with them?  The answer: Perhaps...

  • Matthew Rhys provides only real glimmer in WWII drama 'Come What May'

    Matthew Rhys provides only real glimmer in WWII drama 'Come What May'

    In “Come What May,” director Christian Carion dramatizes the other side of the World War II front line — the civilians fleeing invading troops. The images of uprooted, desperate travelers can’t help but remind one of contemporary refugee crises. Yet with its old-fashioned gloss, the incident-packed...

  • 'The Last Film Festival' is not a fitting tribute to Dennis Hopper

    'The Last Film Festival' is not a fitting tribute to Dennis Hopper

    The late Dennis Hopper’s IMDB acting credits are 200-strong, but any qualitative ranking of those titles would put his last completed movie, “The Last Film Festival,” somewhere at the bottom. A thoroughly amateurish un-comedy about show business, it was filmed in 2009, but its notions of Hollywood...

  • Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss lend weight to the drama 'The Free World'

    Boyd Holbrook and Elisabeth Moss lend weight to the drama 'The Free World'

    The concept of freedom proves elusive for an ex-convict attempting to rebuild his life on the outside in “The Free World,” an initially compelling but uneven drama elevated by two centered performances. Struggling to bury a violent past in prison, where he was incarcerated for a heinous crime he...

  • Bros grow up in comedy 'Flock of Dudes'

    Bros grow up in comedy 'Flock of Dudes'

    A tribe of man-children has to break up to grow up in the friendship flick “Flock of Dudes,” directed by Bob Castrone, written by Castrone, Brian Levin and Jason Zumwalt. The cast is stocked with some of comedy’s best actors, which elevates the rather pedestrian material — a belated coming-of-age...

  • FCC delays decision on rule that would require pay TV to offer streaming programming

    FCC delays decision on rule that would require pay TV to offer streaming programming

    The Federal Communications Commission delayed a vote scheduled Thursday on Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed rule to require pay TV services to offer their programming on streaming apps. “We have made tremendous progress and we share the goal of creating a more innovative and inexpensive market for...

  • Frights are scarce in the derivative and plodding horror film 'ClownTown'

    Frights are scarce in the derivative and plodding horror film 'ClownTown'

    If Tobe Hooper had never been born, maybe the cheapie thriller “ClownTown” would seem scarier. A sort of combination of horror-master Hooper’s “The Funhouse” and “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” this programmatic spook-show may get a promotional boost from recent headlines about unexplained clown-stalkings,...

  • Music doc 'Danny Says' looks at man behind the Doors, Bowie and Iggy Pop

    Music doc 'Danny Says' looks at man behind the Doors, Bowie and Iggy Pop

    Between 1965 and 1975, Danny Fields hung out with the Velvet Underground at Andy Warhol’s Factory, caused a nationwide controversy by publicizing John Lennon’s “bigger than Jesus” quote in a teen magazine, was the press agent for the Doors, signed the MC5 and the Stooges to Elektra Records, and...

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