Reviews

Reviews of books, music, film and other bits of culture

Review: "Pop Star on Ice"

In many ways, the title for David Barba and James Pellerito’s documentary profile of ice skater Johnny Weir is inappropriate. Weir is less of a pop star than a diva – after all, a pop star is a relatively benign personality who is widely loved, but a diva is a considerable talent that has been […]

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Review: The Book of Eli

By: Jessica BaxterIn the new film by the Hughes Brothers (“From Hell”), it’s 30 years post-apocalypse and things are hella not cool, you guys. The world is a scorched junkyard full of pockmarked and be-goggled road warriors ready to rape, pillage and eat you. Apparently, this is what the world looks like without God. Fortunately, […]

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DVD Review: Chevolution

Chevolution

Chevolution focuses on what might be the single most famous photographic portrait of the 20th century: Alberto Korda’s image of the beret-wearing Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

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DVD Review: Into the Storm

Originally broadcast on HBO, Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s re-imagining of the rise and fall of Winston Churchill’s wartime government is fueled by Brendan Gleeson’s wonderfully irascible interpretation of the celebrated leader.

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DVD Review: “Blessed is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh”

The extraordinary story of Hannah Senesh (1921-1944) is not very well known to most people, so there is reason to be grateful for Roberta Gossman’s wonderful documentary.The daughter of a prominent Jewish family in Budapest, Senesh fled her native country for British-mandated Palestine prior to the outbreak of World War II. In 1943, she joined […]

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Review: "Youth in Revolt"

By: Jessica Baxter On the surface, it might seem like just another Awkward Michael Cera Comedy. It’s true that element is present, but it’s also so much more. “Youth in Revolt” is the story of a precocious Bay Area teenager named Nick Twisp (Michael Cera) whose affinity for Frank Sinatra and Italian cinema only briefly […]

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Review: "The Billboard from Bethlehem"

The focus of this documentary is the advocacy group Combatants for Peace, which is made up of members of the Israeli Defense Force that refused to go on duty in the occupied territories and former Palestinian resistance fighters who are eager to pursue Gandhian nonviolence as a means of gaining statehood.Members of both sides needed […]

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DVD Review: Sid! by Those Who Really Knew Him

by Brad Cook“If someone had to be the cartoon of punk rock, it might as well be Sid. He was pretty good at it,” Siouxsie and the Banshees bass player Steve Severin says during this documentary. He later comments: “One of [the Sex Pistols] had to die to make the myth work, and Sid was […]

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Review: "The Butch Factor"

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “gay man”? Stereotypes would insist that such individuals are sissified and campy, along the lines of Paul Lynde. Christopher Hines’ documentary “The Bull Factor” is designed to pull down the dreary stereotypes and show that gay men come in masculine shapes and sizes – blue […]

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DVD Review: When Medicine Got It Wrong

When Medicine Got It Wrong

Katie Cadigan and Laura Murray’s compelling documentary traces how a group of concerned parents created a grassroots program that changed how the medical profession and the wider society viewed schizophrenia.

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DVD Review: "In Search of Mozart"

Phil Grabsky’s documentary covered 25,000 miles across Europe to retrace the life and career of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The good news is that the real Mozart was eons removed from the crass buffoon portrayed by Tom Hulce in the Oscar-winning film version of “Amadeus.” The great news is that the real Mozart was a truly […]

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Review: "Nine"

by Elias Savada While the songs are familiar, I never caught the Broadway show with book by Arthur Kopit and music by Maury Yeston—either the 1982 original directed by Tommy Tune or the 2003 revival, both Tony Award winning productions. Like Mel Brooks’ The Producers, Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Nine reflects a cinema to theater […]

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Review: "The Lovely Bones" a Career Low

Peter Jackson’s head must have been spinning as he read Alice Sebold’s disturbing if obvious novel, “The Lovely Bones.” After viewing the film version, we’d guess that the novel brought many a fantastical set piece to the filmmaker’s vision. The otherworld of the novel’s dead girl, Susie Salmon, suggests all sorts of whims: trees bursting […]

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DVD Review: “Sherlock Holmes Double Feature – The Spider Woman & Voice of Terror”

This DVD double feature, which is being released ahead of the Robert Downey Jr. film “Sherlock Holmes,” offers a pair of films from Universal’s popular 1940s series of Sherlock Holmes adventures.

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Review: "Crazy Heart"

If one subscribes to the manufactured buzz emanating from Hollywood, Jeff Bridges is due for an Oscar for his “Crazy Heart.” If that is the case, it says very little for Academy Award quality control.Bridges plays Bad Blake, a has-been country music star who finds himself, at age 57, playing bowling alleys and cheap bars […]

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