Ex Machina
While We're Young
The Clouds of Sils Maria
Unfriended
Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road 

* * * 1/2 The most imaginative and directorially accomplished movie of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road is a hell of a vision from director George Miller, 70 and at the peak of his powers, upending the action genre by delivering an antithetical, feminist war cry that takes off like a shot and sustains […]

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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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The Clouds of Sils Maria

The Clouds of Sils Maria 

* * * Oliver Assays’ Clouds of Sils Maria is an opaque conceptual trip, a thematically dense exercise in self and industry reflections, a nod to both Fassbinder and Bergman and a showcase for its actresses, namely Juliette Binoche as an internationally renown actress undergoing an identity crisis and Kristen Stewart as her loyal assistant.  […]

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Unfriended

Unfriended 

* * 1/2 The creepy teen cyber thriller Unfriended is patently ludicrous and low-concept—six teens connected via video chat are stalked and dispatched by an Internet troll that turns out to be the vengeful ghost of their bullied best friend, who killed herself over their online taunting. We know this—a year ago, put-upon Fresno junior […]

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Ex Machina

Ex Machina 

* * * * Smart, stylish and enthralling, the artificial intelligence thriller Ex Machina fires on all cylinders as a first-rate piece of science fiction, superbly written, performed and mounted as the debut feature from screenwriter and first-time director Alex Garland. As science fiction, it employs some hard science and plausible fiction with some thoughtful […]

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While We’re Young

While We’re Young 

* * * 1/2 Where are you in life versus where you thought you would be? Or perhaps where the world says you are supposed to be? Noah Baumbach’s refreshing While We’re Young is an Allen-esque, sidewalks of New York comedy, but one that sparkles with insights all its own on growing up and apart, […]

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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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The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 

* * Everything that worked in 2011’s The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel—a fully-lived in collection of senior characters going through crisis, reinvention, love and death played by a sterling cast of grand thesps investing a perfect blend of humor and pathos—is missing from its formulaic, by the numbers sequel, which amps up the situational comedy […]

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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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