The Battleship Island

Drama, Thriller ‐ August 04, 2017
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The Battleship Island

Korean WWII prison drama “The Battleship Island” brings to mind a quote from comics artist Howard Chaykin. Chaykin, the writer and artist of formative science-fiction satire American Flagg, admitted that he could never write a story about a psychologically uncomplicated character like Superman or Batman since he did not feel that these characters were true to his life experiences. For Chaykin, flawed protagonists–in his case, often loudmouthed and/or self-righteous “fascists for freedom”–were more real because he considered himself to be similarly flawed. 

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It’s Not Yet Dark

Documentary ‐ August 04, 2017
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It’s Not Yet Dark

“There’s nothing romantic about death,” Colin Farrell says during the opening montage of this movie. “I love being alive.” These are not Farrell’s own words. The Irish actor is speaking for Simon Fitzmaurice, an Irish writer and filmmaker, whose first feature, “My Name Is Emily,” was made in 2015. And the reason Farrell is speaking for him is not because, precisely, Fitzmaurice cannot. Strictly speaking, through his voice simulator, he can; but Fitzmaurice—whose narration is adapted from a book that shares the title with this movie—and director preferred Farrell’s more robust tones. And the famous actor’s participation has further value: …

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Icarus

Documentary ‐ August 04, 2017
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Icarus

Picked up at Sundance for a lot of money by Netflix, “Icarus” is a crackling documentary, the kind of piece that gets subscribers talking, and that’s exactly what the company needs. In theaters, a film like this might not get a lot of attention, playing only in limited markets. Say what you will about the dangers of Netflix curating the entire home entertainment industry, there’s something valuable in getting a unique documentary like “Icarus” to a wider audience. It’s an imperfect film—the first half-hour should have been cut by at least half to really get to the meat of the …

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Fun Mom Dinner

Comedy ‐ August 04, 2017
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Full disclosure, right off the top: I have been to a lot of Fun Mom Dinners. In fact, I’m usually the one who organizes them—along with Thursday night Paint and Sips and Sunday morning Yoga and Mimosas. It’s how the sorority girl in me manifests herself now that I’m a grown woman.So I am exactly the target audience for “Fun Mom Dinner,” about a group of ladies who get together for shenanigans on a school night. I’m also a fan of the strong, comic cast, including Katie Aselton, Toni Collette, Molly Shannon, Adam Scott, Rob Huebel and Paul Rudd. But this combination of predispositions …

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68 Kill

Comedy, Crime ‐ August 04, 2017
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68 Kill

“68 Kill,” Trent Haaga’s adaptation of Bryan Smith’s novel of the same name, starts with a propulsive, grungy energy that works for about a half an hour. It’s the story of a young man caught up in the allure of every beautiful woman he encounters, even if they’re homicidal maniacs. It opens with a shot of a fly stuck in honey. Clearly, our male lead is the doomed bug, and the honey is, well, you get it. At its best, it recalls the “cast of crooks, most of them morons” aesthetic of writers like Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiaasen, and …

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