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Film Review: “The Purge: Election Year” is only slightly less terrible than Donald Trump

I’ll be the first one to admit, The Purge: Election Year has an extraordinarily great marketing campaign. Tying the film in to the Donald Trump related “Make America Great Again” slogan by having the tagline for this one be “Keep America Great” is clever, timely, and worth praising. Unfortunately, nothing else about this movie is. […]

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Film Review: Misanthropy and a “Wiener-Dog” make unexpected pair

Before the screening of Todd Solondz’s latest film, “Wiener-Dog,” the filmmaker classified the film as a “comedy about despair.” No one could have summed up the film in such an apt manner. Who would’ve thought to pair an adorable dog with a series of misanthropes on their worst days? On many occasions it works, although […]

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Film Review: Thomas Bidegain’s ‘Les Cowboys’ is a timely, suspenseful debut

As America reels from its latest terrorist attack in Orlando, many are left searching for answers and solutions to the ongoing problem. Tensions between contrasting ideologies have rarely been more fraught, making films like Thomas Bidegain’s Les Cowboys all the more timely. In this suspenseful debut feature, a father goes on a perilous search for […]

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Film Review: Indian drama ‘Parched’ provides a necessary feminist voice for the oppressed

Leena Yadav’s international drama Parched is a blistering exposé of the violent repression women endure in rural India. There is no sugercoating this daily abuse, as is evident through the eyes of four women who band together because of this tragic commonality. Ensnared by tradition and misogyny, Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), Lajjo (Radhika Apte), Bijli (Surveen Chawla) […]

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Film Review: Fate and faith are heavy burdens in uncompromising drama ‘Tikkun’

Avishai Sivan’s Tikkun – winner of several festival awards last year – opens with a slaughter. Not a vindictive homicide however, but the traditional practice of kosher slaughter of meat, accompanied by prayer. As customary of Hasidic Jews, this is just one of the many religious observances we’ll witness being carried out by the film’s […]

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LA Film Festival Review: “Beyond the Gates” is where nostalgia effectively slays

There are some genres of films that get me instantly excited. Horror comedies just make my heart soar. It’s where the tortured comedic souls go to turn their twisted nightmares into almost farcical magical little films that the public hates because genre mashups “confuse them.” “Beyond the Gates” had all the makings of being a sinful […]

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Film Review: ‘The Conjuring 2’ uses the familiar to its advantage and its detriment

LAFF: Several years after helping the Perron family in Rhode Island, Ed and Lorraine Warren became household names when they investigated a haunting in Amityville, New York. It is through those familiar quarter round windows that The Conjuring 2 begins, in the house the Lutz family fled in 1976. Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) attempts to make contact […]