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'Transcendence'

Jun 26, 2014

'Transcendence'

by Giovanni Fazio

Has the digital backlash begun? Spike Jonze’s “Her” and Wally Pfister’s “Transcendence” both open this weekend, and while they’re very different films — one with a nerdy guy falling in love with his sultry-voiced operating system, the other a mind-bending thriller about uploading human ...

'Oldboy'

Jun 26, 2014

'Oldboy'

by Kaori Shoji

For an Asian female, watching Park Chan-wook’s “Oldboy” in 2003 was somewhat agonizing, akin to a wisdom tooth extraction by a dentist with a limited supply of painkillers. Now Spike Lee (“Do the Right Thing,” “Miracle at St. Anna”) has made a remake under ...

'Parkland'

Jun 26, 2014

'Parkland'

by Giovanni Fazio

Oliver Stone threw just about every conspiracy theory regarding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy into his 1991 film “JFK.” Peter Landesman’s “Parkland,” on the other hand, includes none of them. Based on journalist (and former Manson Family prosecutor) Vincent Bugliosi’s eyewitness ...

'The East'

Jun 26, 2014

'The East'

by Giovanni Fazio

Director: Zal Batmanglij Language: English Brit Marling plays a corporate spy who goes deep undercover (i.e., Birkenstocks and no baths) with a shadowy eco-terrorist group. Her sympathies waver as she falls under the spell of the neo-Luddite group’s culty leader (Alexander Skarsgard), while continuing ...

'Snowpiercer'

Jun 26, 2014

'Snowpiercer'

by Kaori Shoji

Director: Bong Joon-ho Language: English, Korean (subtitled in Japanese) Survivors of a future ice age have boarded a train called “Snowpiercer,” which endlessly circles the globe fueled by a permanent engine designed by the train’s owner, Wilford (Ed Harris). A ruthless class system prevails ...

'Petal Dance'

Jun 26, 2014

'Petal Dance'

by Mark Schilling

Director: Hiroshi Ishikawa Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) In this 2013 drama two college friends (Sakura Ando and Aoi Miyazaki) enlist a young stranger (Shiori Kutsuna) to drive them north to visit a former classmate (Kazue Fukiishi) who attempted suicide. The ensuing action feels ...

Paul Haggis: Spinning reality into a web of fiction

Jun 19, 2014

Paul Haggis: Spinning reality into a web of fiction

by Giovanni Fazio

“Today, too often, we’ve gotten used to telling the audience things in bold, in all-caps or underlined, and solving everything for everybody.” So says Paul Haggis, the screenwriter and director who won Oscars back-to-back with “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004 and “Crash” in 2005. ...

'Watashi no Otoko (My Man)'

Jun 19, 2014

'Watashi no Otoko (My Man)'

by Mark Schilling

Based on a novel by Kazuki Sakuraba, Kazuyoshi Kumakiri’s “Watashi no Otoko (My Man)” is described as a film about forbidden love, which immediately raises the question of what, if anything, is “forbidden” in this day and age. In Kumakiri’s other films — such ...

'Her'

Jun 19, 2014

'Her'

by Kaori Shoji

The fact that the promotional poster for “Her” features the lone, male, mustachioed face of Joaquin Phoenix tells you most of what you need to know about this gentlyhorrific tale of the nearfuture. This is a world that very much resembles our own, but ...

'Third Person'

Jun 19, 2014

'Third Person'

by Giovanni Fazio

We meet Liam Neeson and Olivia Wilde — the two stars of “Third Person” — inside an upscale hotel in Paris.She knocks on the door to his room, and he seems pleased to see her…Or is he? They tease each other, blowing hot and ...

'3 Days to Kill'

Jun 19, 2014

'3 Days to Kill'

by Kaori Shoji

This is one terrible movie — the equivalent of a date that any sane woman would avoid like bird flu. Now that I’ve stuck on the warning label I can relax, and tell you that I secretly loved “3 Days to Kill.” Directed by ...

'300: Rise of an Empire'

Jun 19, 2014

'300: Rise of an Empire'

by Giovanni Fazio

This may be little more than trashy B-movie material, but at least it’s not the hideous war-on-terror propaganda film that the first “300″ was, which had Spartans — warriors from a fascist state built on the back of mass slavery — yammering on about ...