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  • Radioactive

    Radioactive

    ★★★

    Free virtual advanced screening courtesy of Amazon Screenings and the DC Film Society. 

    Very odd film with a very odd central character. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the portrayal of Marie Curie, but Pike has made a career of portraying odd, caustic, infuriating and brilliant women, so her presence here is no surprise. But the dreamlike and metaphysical approach to the story, with numerous fantasy and flash-forward elements, is too archly artful, the period production design is artificial looking and off-putting, the largely electronic score is distractingly out-of-place, and the film can’t seem to decide if Curie’s discoveries should be praised or condemned.

  • The Old Guard

    The Old Guard

    ★★★★

    A very enjoyable superhero-adjacent tale, well mounted and staged with some impressive fight sequences. I wanted to like it more than I did, though. There’s something missing from the ingredients; there’s a leadenness that prevents it from fully soaring. Theron is exceptional as always - her action scenes are a notch above everyone else’s and she remains one of cinema’s greatest badasses. The premise is also a great one (though some are likely to write it off as a Highlander

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  • Liz and the Blue Bird

    Liz and the Blue Bird

    ★★★★½

    ANIMEZING! FILM SERIES: Free virtual screening hosted online by the Japan Information & Culture Center sponsored by the Embassy of Japan, Washington DC.

    A poignant coming-of-age tale that movingly portrays the pain of loving someone more than they love you and finding the strength to accept and move past it. This lovely animated film uses the metaphor of a fairy tale whose moral is “if you love something, let it go” (or is it?) and a high school orchestra rehearsing a…

  • The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion

    The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion

    ★★★★

    K-Cinema at Home, a free online screening sponsored by the Korea Culture Center, Washington DC.

    A very good action thriller, which gets increasingly violent and bloody, based on a simple premise: What if Korea’s Got Talent uncovered someone with truly extraordinary talent? A lot of exemplars are sampled in this genre mix-tape - a little Bourne Identity here, a little X-Men there, a sprinkle of Akira on top. While it takes its time to unfold the mystery and assemble all…

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  • The Short History of the Long Road

    The Short History of the Long Road

    ★★★★½

    Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019 - Film #16.

    A lovely and warm film featuring a standout performance from (the apparently famous but new to me) Sabrina Carpenter as Nola. Rather than being a cautionary tale of the many hazards of living homeless and on the road, the film is instead hopeful and optimistic about the general decency of strangers. You can call that naive, but there is also a certain naivety in assuming there is violence and ruin around every…

  • The Philadelphia Story

    The Philadelphia Story

    ★★★★★

    This fusion of a comedy of manners with a screwball comedy is truly the best of both worlds. Hepburn, Grant and Stewart have never been better. But what I'd missed in prior viewings is the pain that Tracy feels and Hepburn so expertly displays when she realizes the life and persona she's built for herself isn't working anymore. Every time she is referred to as an idealization (a "statue on a pedestal") you see a little jolt to Hepburn's frame.…