Hermia & Helena

Drama ‐ May 26, 2017
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“Hermia & Helena” is primarily the story of Camila (Agustina Muñoz), a young woman from Buenos Aires who takes up an artistic residency in New York City to do a translation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while wading through some drama of her own. Her tale is told in a manner not too differently from “Master of None,” agreeing with the Aziz Ansari Netflix show that characters and their experiences can thrive episodically. But as a type of mini mini-series about the low-key dramatic world of Camila, Matias Piñeiro’s “Hermia & Helena”’s touch-and-go approach weakens the movie’s key expression …

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Black Butterfly

Thriller ‐ May 26, 2017
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In “Black Butterfly,” Antonio Banderas’ reclusive, alcoholic writer character Paul suffers from extreme writer’s block. How does the film communicate this? It opens with a shot of him leaning over a typewriter writing the words, “I am stuck” over and over again on a single page. This would be a snort-worthy sight gag in just about any other movie, but in “Black Butterfly,” it’s one in a long line of leaden attempts to wink at the camera while also buying into its own bullshit. Director Brian Goodman (recently recurred on the TNT drama “Rizzoli and Isles”) and co-screenwriters Marc …

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Berlin Syndrome

Thriller ‐ May 26, 2017
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“Berlin Syndrome” will make you question any wanderlust-inspired notions you may have of traveling alone to a foreign country on a quest for self-discovery. Australian director Cate Shortland creates a dreamlike sense of place within a nightmare scenario with this taut and strongly acted thriller. Working from a script by Shaun Grant, based on a novel of the same name by Melanie Joosten, Shortland has essentially crafted a claustrophobic two-hander with only occasional forays into the outside world. 

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War Machine

Comedy, Drama, War ‐ May 26, 2017
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I’d love to see a true satire written by the incredibly smart David Michod. “War Machine,” now on Netflix, isn’t really a satire. I’d love to see a white-knuckle war movie shot by ace craftsman Dariusz Wolski. Believe it or not, “War Machine” isn’t really a war movie. I’d love to see a drama about a man essentially defeated by the system that he helped create. That thread may be in there, but “War Machine” isn’t really a drama either. It is all of these things, and none of them at the same time. It has moments of stand-out greatness, …

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The Women’s Balcony

Comedy, Drama ‐ May 26, 2017
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The small Jewish community in “The Women’s Balcony” is a tight-knit one. When they talk, they don’t say “I,” they say “We.” They are not just a community, they are a “congregation,” with all that that implies to the faithful. A huge box office hit in Israel, the film was written by Shlomit Nehama, and directed by Emil Ben-Shimon. “The Women’s Balcony” is an eccentric portrait of an already devout community suddenly under pressure from a super Orthodox rabbi to observe their faith in a more rigid way. While the mood is that of a gentle and affectionate comedy, the …

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