Desert Dancer
Aging, Acting and Identity: International Filmmaker Olivier Assayas Ruminates on Celebrity, Self-Reflection in Haunting Clouds of Sils Maria

Aging, Acting and Identity: International Filmmaker Olivier Assayas Ruminates on Celebrity, Self-Reflection in Haunting Clouds of Sils Maria

Aging, Acting and Identity: International Filmmaker Olivier Assayas Ruminates on Celebrity, Self-Reflection in Haunting Clouds of Sils Maria 

Olivier Assayas, the prolific French screenwriter, director and film critic whose movies include the stylish film-within-a-film Irma Vep (1996), the prophetic global business shocker Demonlover (2002), the bittersweet family drama Summer Hours (2008) and the large-scale Venezuelan terrorist thriller Carlos (2010), is nothing if not daring and diverse, a latter-day New Wave heir and director […]

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Desert Dancer

Desert Dancer 

  * * Good intentions do not a good movie make, and the well-meaning Desert Dancer, the true story of Iran’s Afshin Ghaffarian, who challenged his country’s ban on dancing by forming a clandestine dance troupe before being beaten down by Iran’s political climate and eventually escaping to Europe, is one chore of a picture […]

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Building His Career, and Empire: Trai Byers Finds Passion, Path in Acting

Building His Career, and Empire: Trai Byers Finds Passion, Path in Acting 

Trai Byers, the Yale-trained grad currently starring on Fox’s surprise hit Empire, which has dominated ratings for seven straight weeks, is having a moment. With the one-two punch of a featured role in the Oscar-nominated Selma and now a high-profile turn as the CFO and eldest son of Terrence Howard’s hip-hop mogul in the smash […]

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Fit for a King: Colm Feore’s Devastating Lear Brings Stratford, and the Bard, to Movie Audiences

Fit for a King: Colm Feore’s Devastating Lear Brings Stratford, and the Bard, to Movie Audiences 

Colm Feore’s towering, career-defining work as King Lear in Stratford Festival’s currently playing movie adaptation of last summer’s theatrical production is a raw, powerful portrait of Lear as a man of family and state, in that order, a younger and more vigorously vital patriarch who loses his daughters, country and mind in an emotional production […]

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Writer/Director Richard LaGravenese on The Last Five Years, and the Last Few Decades of His Career as One of Hollywood’s Best Movie Dramatists

Writer/Director Richard LaGravenese on The Last Five Years, and the Last Few Decades of His Career as One of Hollywood’s Best Movie Dramatists 

Prolific Hollywood screenwriter and director Richard LaGravenese’s new picture, the bittersweet The Last Five Years, based on the off-Broadway musical and starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan as young Manhattan transplants who fall into and out of careers, love and life together, was a labor of love for its ambitious director, and one he’d spent […]

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey 

* * Part Zalman King soft core, part David Cronenberg mind fuck and all ludicrously misguided, the stylish S&M fantasia Fifty Shades of Grey is being marketed as a young adult love story—just in time for Valentine’s Day—and as such, one wonders just what sort of holiday gift-giving it might inspire. The story of a […]

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Black or White

Black or White 

* * * 1/2 Kevin Costner’s conflicted, weary performance as an LA attorney embroiled in a battle for custody of his bi-racial granddaughter is the best of several strong suits in Black or White, writer-director Mike Binder’s thoughtful examination of parenthood, race and identity.  While not a perfect movie, it’s a smart one that raises […]

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Black Sea

Black Sea 

* * * Black Sea, the new submarine thriller starring Jude Law as a disenfranchised former captain looking for a payday—and redemption—by treasure hunting for sunken gold, is a fast-paced, well-acted and mostly thoughtful movie wound tightly by Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald. Law stars as a career British seaman put out to pasture by a […]

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Nothing is Black or White as Kevin Costner Takes on Grief, Race and Single-Parenting in Career Performance

Nothing is Black or White as Kevin Costner Takes on Grief, Race and Single-Parenting in Career Performance 

There isn’t a more affable star than Oscar-winner Kevin Costner, the iconic actor-director with so many modern classics in his canon—Dances with Wolves, JFK, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, A Perfect World—and an artist who brings a patented movie star sheen to every performance. His new film, Black or White, was a real labor of […]

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In Searching for Gold and Redemption, Director Kevin Macdonald Takes Jude Law to the Rock Bottom of the Black Sea

In Searching for Gold and Redemption, Director Kevin Macdonald Takes Jude Law to the Rock Bottom of the Black Sea 

Thanks to director Kevin Macdonald’s tense, tight-quartered new submarine thriller Black Sea, we now know exactly what it feels like to be trapped on the bottom of the ocean at death’s door, mortality staring us in the face, survival chances slim. The movie presents a you-are-there aesthetic with tense direction and its effective screenplay, which […]

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