MOVIE SNEAKS

Winter-Spring Preview

Movie Reviews

  • French thriller ‘Moka’ builds tension with a grieving mother on a mission

    French thriller ‘Moka’ builds tension with a grieving mother on a mission

    “Moka” is a tense psychological thriller whose twisty plot benefits from a bravura performance by Emmanuelle Devos. Devos' work will not surprise French cinema fans. Though not a household word over here, she is one of her country's top working actresses, best known for her Cesar-winning performance...

  • 'Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press' examines the dangers to news media in the age of Trump

    'Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press' examines the dangers to news media in the age of Trump

    It was a curious twist that Hulk Hogan’s sex tape became a test for the 1st Amendment in an era when the news media were increasingly vulnerable to petulant billionaires, angry mobs, shrinking advertising, a Twitter-frenzied president and a Montana congressman who body-slammed a reporter. The new...

  • Irish drama 'The Journey' reduces history to a contrivance

    Irish drama 'The Journey' reduces history to a contrivance

    A feat of imagination surrounding the very real agreement that closed one of the widest chasms in political history, “The Journey” proposes that the bloody, hard-fought Troubles in Northern Ireland may have been settled with that most timeworn of movie tropes: opposites stuck together on a road...

  • Authentic portrait of young men at risk in documentary 'Raising Bertie'

    Authentic portrait of young men at risk in documentary 'Raising Bertie'

    Margaret Byrne turns in an impressive directorial debut with “Raising Bertie.” The documentary spends six years with three young black men living in rural Bertie County, North Carolina, focusing on a population that so rarely gets the spotlight. The film alternates between triumph and tragedy,...

  • Documentary reveals struggles and opportunities of 'Night School'

    Documentary reveals struggles and opportunities of 'Night School'

    How do you combine homework with the everyday struggle to survive? For the three working-poor subjects of Andrew Cohn’s documentary “Night School” — high school dropouts returning to class years (and in one case decades) later to get not a GED but a full-on diploma — it’s more than just finishing...

  • Time-warped comedy 'Ripped' is less than half-baked

    Time-warped comedy 'Ripped' is less than half-baked

    The time-travel stoner comedy “Ripped” blows a potentially funny idea on slapdash filmmaking and lazy storytelling. If much of this overly broad eye-roller wasn’t made up on the fly, it sure looks that way. The film’s, er, high concept involves 17-year-old best buds and weed-fueled slackers Reeves...

  • Horror-comedy 'A Beginner's Guide to Snuff' aspires to entertain, not exploit

    Horror-comedy 'A Beginner's Guide to Snuff' aspires to entertain, not exploit

    The horror-comedy “A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff” explores the “lighter” side of guerrilla underground filmmaking, following two bumblers who kidnap and pretend to torture a woman. Thanks to three lively lead performances and smart storytelling choices, what could have been a distasteful premise...

  • 'Cars 3' keeps the family-friendly franchise rolling along

    'Cars 3' keeps the family-friendly franchise rolling along

    “Cars 3” is a genial, easy-going throwback. Not just to the previous Pixar films in the series but to the early days of parent company Disney, when Walt walked the earth and sweetly earnest lessons about what’s important in life inspired movies that put smiles on faces all over town. The directing...

  • Not even Kate McKinnon and her Aussie accent can salvage 'Rough Night'

    Not even Kate McKinnon and her Aussie accent can salvage 'Rough Night'

    If you ever doubted that dying is easy and comedy is hard, then the five-gals-and-a-dead-stripper romp “Rough Night” is here to clear up any confusion. You would be wise not to mistake that statement for a recommendation. The title of this strenuously crude and crotch-obsessed movie may be lazy,...

  • 'Dawson City: Frozen Time' details the astonishing discovery of a treasure-trove of forgotten film

    'Dawson City: Frozen Time' details the astonishing discovery of a treasure-trove of forgotten film

    It's been called the King Tut's Tomb of silent cinema, a celluloid find at one of the world's far corners that dazzled the film universe, but to accomplished, ambitious moviemaker Bill Morrison, it was something more: the chance to tell the story of a lifetime, to spin a wondrous, almost indescribable...

  • A performance artist searches for healing in 'The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil'

    A performance artist searches for healing in 'The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil'

    Famed Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic takes a long strange trip across Brazil in search of spiritual and physical healing and creative inspiration in the intriguing, well-shot documentary “The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil.” The movie, filmed from 2012-13, finds Abramovic...

  • 'Moscow Never Sleeps' shows Russian capital to good effect

    'Moscow Never Sleeps' shows Russian capital to good effect

    Irish filmmaker Johnny O’Reilly has spent years living and working in Russia, and pours his thoughts and impressions of his adopted home into the ensemble drama “Moscow Never Sleeps.” Modeled after “everything’s connected” movies like “Short Cuts” and “Magnolia,” this slickly produced if somewhat...

  • An ode to mass transit in indie comedy 'From Hollywood to Rose'

    An ode to mass transit in indie comedy 'From Hollywood to Rose'

    The public transportation system in Los Angeles gets a bad rap, but the micro-budget indie comedy “From Hollywood to Rose” wants to change that. Directed by Liz Graham and Matt Jacobs, the film is a tribute to riding the bus in L.A., and the little bits of magic one might find riding up and down...

  • Psychological thriller 'Jasmine' vividly depicts a grief-stricken lost soul

    Psychological thriller 'Jasmine' vividly depicts a grief-stricken lost soul

    Part psychological thriller and part mood-piece, writer-director Dax Phelan’s “Jasmine” doesn’t offer much in the way of white-knuckle action, but viewers who remain patient through the movie’s brief running time might enjoy arguing afterward about what it all means. Jason Tobin plays Leonard,...

  • Indie drama 'Can Hitler Happen Here?' is a real curio

    Indie drama 'Can Hitler Happen Here?' is a real curio

    The dauntingly titled “Can Hitler Happen Here?” is one of the more curious feature forays in recent memory; a brief, at times surreal look at madness, aging and personal freedom. It’s a gutsy, often off-putting piece whose eccentric little New York story and experimental vibe might have been better...

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