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'12 Years a Slave'

Mar 6, 2014

'12 Years a Slave'

by Kaori Shoji

It’s hard to resist comparing “12 Years a Slave” with “The Butler.” Both are based on real men and their stories — “The Butler” is an insider’s look at the black American experience from the mid 20th century to about the time Barack Obama ...

'Gloria'

Mar 6, 2014

'Gloria'

by Giovanni Fazio

All the lonely people, where do they all come from?” Lennon and McCartney posed the question, and “Gloria” provides an answer. Gloria, played by Paulina Garcia, is a 50-something divorcee whose children have grown up and moved out; she lives by herself in Santiago, ...

'RoboCop'

Mar 6, 2014

'RoboCop'

by Kaori Shoji

This reboot (roboot?) of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 kinetic action classic reprises the concept of man-as-machine and vice versa, this time in the blindingly white conference room of evil conglomerate OmniCorp, as its executives ponder how best to deploy their newest creation. This is police ...

'Indignados'

Mar 6, 2014

'Indignados'

by Giovanni Fazio

Tony Gatlif’s movies have always been about music, rhythm, movement and the rush of travel as much as any particular story, and his latest, “Indignados,” takes that to an extreme. Inspired by the best-selling screed of former French resistance fighter and concentration-camp survivor Stephane ...

Bait (Panic Market)

Mar 6, 2014

Bait (Panic Market)

Director: Kimble Rendall Language: English Is “Bait” a great movie? No. But for one of those days where you just want to laugh at something completely silly, here’s your flick. Directed by Kimble Rendall (an assistant director on the “Matrix” series), this down-under survival ...

Despicable Me 2 (Kaito Gru no Minion Kiki Ippatsu)

Mar 6, 2014

Despicable Me 2 (Kaito Gru no Minion Kiki Ippatsu)

Director: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud Language: English Gru (voiced by Steve Carrell) is reformed, an ex-bad guy now devoted to family life. But the Anti-Villain League recruits his help to recover a stolen Arctic laboratory. In the process, Gru falls for League agent Lucy ...

Yokomichi Yonosuke Monogatari (The Story of Yonosuke)

Mar 6, 2014

Yokomichi Yonosuke Monogatari (The Story of Yonosuke)

Director: Shuichi Okita Language: Japanese (subtitled in English) The title hero of Shuichi Okita’s quirky drama is a bumpkin from the Kyushu boonies (Kengo Kora) who comes to Tokyo for college in the 1980s and decades later is still well remembered by his onetime ...

The truth, like porn, can be seen from many angles

Feb 27, 2014

The truth, like porn, can be seen from many angles

by Giovanni Fazio

“Lovelace” is a biopic on the 1970s porn superstar Linda Lovelace (real name: Linda Boreman), who rose to fame in “Deep Throat,” the low-budget hardcore sex comedy that went on to gross something like $600 million. Its story is based almost entirely on “Ordeal,” ...

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

Feb 27, 2014

'The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug'

by Gioanni Fazio

“What have we done?” cries Bilbo Baggins at the end of “The Desolation of Smaug,” and he could well be speaking for the filmmakers. Peter Jackson and company have taken JRR Tolkien’s one-volume predecessor to the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and blown it ...

'Lovelace'

Feb 27, 2014

'Lovelace'

by Giovanni Fazio

“Lovelace” is a film that comes bifurcated, with a big red line down the middle separating its two acts into “The Dream” and “The Bummer.” In the first act we get the breezy story of Linda Lovelace, star of the 1972 mainstream porn blockbuster ...

'Ai no Uzu (Love's Whirlpool)'

Feb 27, 2014

'Ai no Uzu (Love's Whirlpool)'

by Mark Schilling

Sex and love — can the twain ever meet? In the world of fūzoku, a euphemism for Japan’s enormous sex industry, that question is usually answered in the negative. In the industry’s lower reaches, sex is regarded as a service to be offered in ...