Monthly Archives: November 2020

Netflixable? Frights come via phone in the Korean thriller “The Call”

Korean filmmaker Chung-hyun Lee makes a splashy K-horror debut with “Call,” which Netflix has unhelpfully retitled “The Call” for North American purposes. Lee takes a simple supernatural premise and runs it to death and then some in this sinister tale … Continue reading

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Netflixable? “The Beast (La Belva)” is the Italian “Taken”

He looks to be 50ish, balding, tattooed and showing his miles. Troubled. And when his doctor asks what would help, his request is direct and simple. “Up my dosage,” he says, in Italian, with English subtitles. Captain Riva has his … Continue reading

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Netflixable? “Midnight at the Magnolia” is Hallmark Channel bland

“Midnight at the Magnolia” is a holiday romance as tasty as bargain-shelf whitebread and edgy as a butterknife. It’s Example One in that age-honored adage that America is filled to the brim with competent actresses and actors, but “star power” … Continue reading

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Netflixable? “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”

The choreography by Ashley Wallen sparkles and dazzles. Madelen Mills, Anika Noni Rose, Ricky Martin and Lisa Davina Phillip sing, but so do Forest Whitaker and Keegan-Michael Key — who sings the villain’s show-stopper, “Magic Man G.” The settings are … Continue reading

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Documentary Review: “Museum Town” tracks a dying city’s attempts at revival via a Big Museum

The largest museum of contemporary art in the world, acres and acres in size, was opened in a dying industrial town in The Berkshires of Western Massachusetts. MASS MoCa was the most “out there” and yet doable pitch thrown at … Continue reading

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Netflixable? Bruce Willis in his C-movie twilight, “Hard Kill”

We always knew how Bruce Willis would spend his celebrity dotage — Shakespeare in the Park, maybe a spirited farewell tour as “Bruno” with his band. OK, maybe we didn’t. But seeing him in — BARELY in — C-movies like … Continue reading

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Netflixable? A SWAT team goes wrong in the ruins of their Iraqi city, “Mosul”

For my money, the best action picture on Netflix right now is a grim combat thriller set in the bombed-out ruins of the Iraqi city, “Mosul.” It’s an intimate “Blackhawk Down” meets “Saving Private Ryan” tale of a mission and … Continue reading

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Movie Review: “Deadhead Miles,” an abandoned Alan Arkin film scripted by Terrence Malick

A friend pointed me to an Internet appreciation of this “lost” 1972 Terrence Malick-scripted road comedy, a movie partially-filmed in a city where I used to live — Knoxville, Tennessee. “Deadhead Miles” is a loosely-organized, largely-improvised long-haul trucking tale that … Continue reading

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Movie Review: Aubrey Plaza finds inspiration in “Black Bear”

“Everything is copy,” the late novelist, screenwriter and filmmaker Nora Ephron preached. Anything that happens to you or someone you know, everything that you overhear — fair game for a creative person. Especially one who’s “blocked.” That might describe Allison, … Continue reading

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Movie Preview: Streep and Corden try to “fix” Indiana at “The Prom”

Netflix has this cute, woke activist Ryan Murphy musical comedy.

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