Archive for the Review Category

Dough Unfortunately Undercooked

Posted in Review with tags , , on April 28, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Dough, a new British comedy set in present day London, strives to mix the feel good with the timely.  The film stars Jonathan Pryce (Brazil, “Game of Thrones”) as Nat, an aging Orthodox Jewish baker who’s struggling to keep his bakery afloat. Into the picture wanders Ayyash (Jerome Holder), a Muslim teenager struggling to find his place in the world. When Ayyash’s sensemilla falls into the challah dough one afternoon, the bakery unexpectedly becomes the culinary hit of the neighborhood, with lines snaking around the corner.

If that sounds like a goofy plot development, well, Dough is pretty goofy. Tonally it commits to keeping things light. Religious differences are (spoiler alert) overcome Continue reading

In the Eye of the Beholder

Posted in Review with tags , , on March 28, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

 

Set in 1920 Paris, Marguerite tells the story of Baroness Marguerite Dumont (Catherine Frot), an eccentric woman of considerable means with a passion for music. She’s amassed thousands of scores, sings for hours each day, reenacts famous operas complete with elaborate costumes and performs in front of large crowds at charity fundraisers.  Only no one, not her husband, not her butler nor the rest of the staff will tell her sings horribly. Her voice is not mediocre, but astoundingly, shockingly bad.

This simple premise, based on a true story, blooms into a surprisingly complex meditation on love, beauty, ugliness and truth. Continue reading

Death in Venice

Posted in Review, TV (Prime-time) with tags , , on March 26, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Flaked, the new Netflix series starring and created by Will Arnett, is a show about identity issues with a host of its own issues. It tells the story of Chip (Arnett) a recovery alcoholic who cruises around Venice, California on a bike because he lost his license after he killed someone drunk driving. Chip presents himself as ten years sober, but seems to use AA mostly as a way to find and hit on young women and sneaks sips of wine out of a Nalgene labeled “Kombucha” at any chance. Continue reading

Uneasy is the Ear that Hears the Sound

Posted in Review with tags , on March 21, 2016 by Timothy Parfitt

Cinema occurs when sight and sound collide, and Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight is bisected by that crossroad. The visuals, shot in black and white by cinematographer Edmund Richard, are overwhelmingly gorgeous. The score, written by Angelo Francisco Lavagnino, is memorable and evocative. The dialogue, adapted by Welles’ from Shakespeare’s Henry IV and V, is unfortunately nearly impossible to understand, ruining what could be a singular piece of filmmaking.

Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Pin Prick

Posted in List-omania, Review with tags , , , on June 14, 2015 by Timothy Parfitt

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In Needle, a short film by Iranian filmmaker Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, sixth-grader Lily (Florence Winners) stands on the threshold between child and adulthood. Adults, including her bickering parents, talk over and down to her, and pump her for information on the other figures in her life. Ghazvinizadeh’s sharply observed film builds of Lily’s emotional landscape by filming her reactions to the turmoil around her. By making her the focus of the camera, but not the conversation, Lilly is portrayed as simultaneously a part of, but outside of, the adult world. Continue reading

The Downside of Characters Having Personality – Big Hero 6

Posted in Review with tags , on April 26, 2015 by sdoob

Review by Sam Doob

run time 108 mins – that’s long

It’s creepy. It’s about an inflatable healthcare robot that, when low on batteries, becomes shrivelled and behaves like a fall down drunk. It speaks with a pre-recorded voice: male, blithe, debatably asexual. (But who wants to debate that?) Also the teenage girl characters have lots of accentuated body parts, which is somewhat new terrain for Disney. I guess they took a tip from Pixar’s Mrs. Incredible. And another tip from Heavy Metal. But at least those were women. Princess Aurora and Cinderella were never so voluptuous. It’s not the best feeling to be attracted to a cartoon. But it’s definitely not a good feeling to be attracted to underage cartoons. Finally, the most creepy thing about Big Hero 6: the co-director’s previous movie was Bolt.

BH6 feels heavily workshopped. Since Disney clearly wanted to create a new string of sequels here, they did not take any chances. Sitting through the movie, one can almost hear the comments elicited from the test audiences. The result is uninteresting characters, about as edgy as the corner of an ipad. Continue reading

Is Fear Funny?

Posted in Review with tags , , on April 26, 2015 by sdoob

Last night, I went to the movies by myself. And yeah, it was pretty bleak. I saw Top Five, a movie about a comedian who is over the hill and struggling to be funny after getting off the sauce. It could have been good. The preview was. But the movie wasn’t funny. Frankly, Chris Rock should have hired some joke writers to punch up his script; but then he would have to admit he didn’t have it in him to fill out the dialogue with good lines. Continue reading