Johnny Szlauderbach

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REVIEW: ‘Split,’ reverse psycholgy

By Johnny Szlauderbach / January 20th, 2017 / 0 Comments

M. Night Shyamalan has always been a better entertainer than artist. Despite an almost preternatural sense of staging and framing, he’s a showman at heart. Whatever he lacks in self-awareness, he makes up in self-seriousness and ego. Maybe that’s why his latest, “Split,” simultaneously looks like a return to form and an indication that this…

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REVIEW: ‘La La Land,’ nothing but stardust

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 16th, 2016 / 0 Comments

There’s a story, perhaps apocryphal, that after Jacques Demy turned in his first draft of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, its producers had three notes: make it in black and white, change the title, and cut the songs. They were wrong, of course, but it speaks to the movie’s power that it would’ve worked anyway; beneath…

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REVIEW: ‘Rogue One,’ imperial march

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 13th, 2016 / 0 Comments

  The new Star Wars movie is dark, both figuratively and literally. Positioned by director Gareth Edwards as a corrective to The Force Awakens, the most expensive reunion special of all time, it eschews that movie’s giddy cynicism and big names in favor of obsessive, miscalculated seriousness. It belongs somewhere on the autism spectrum. Set…

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REVIEW: ‘Nocturnal Animals,’ loving its own reflection

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 8th, 2016 / 0 Comments

Against the opening credits, nude women joyfully gyrate in slow motion. Their obese bodies surge and swell with the weight of ocean waves. One twirls a baton, others shake pompoms or hoist sparklers. Each is on her own stage, flanked by crimson-red curtains while patrons roam the gallery. Is it art or empty provocation? Susan…

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REVIEW: ‘Manchester by the Sea,’ boats against the current

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 8th, 2016 / 0 Comments

  Kenneth Lonergan has made three movies in his 16-year-old career, all effortlessly profound. His first, You Can Count on Me, was a tiny masterpiece about two grown siblings who’ve grown apart and meet decades after their parents’ premature death. His second, Margaret, was about a young woman testing the kind of person she wants…

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REVIEW: “The Love Witch,” film fetish

By Johnny Szlauderbach / December 1st, 2016 / 0 Comments

The Love Witch is a fireworks display of movie ecstasy. As self-consciously retro as all of Tarantino, it’s stuck out of time. Any single frame might suggest an especially lavish-but-forgotten collaboration between C-grade horror maestros Roger Corman and Mario Bava, with a behind-the-scenes assist from sexploitation auteur Doris Wishman. (Its soundtrack, again besting Tarantino, is…

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REVIEW: Expectation and reality collide in “Rules Don’t Apply”

By Johnny Szlauderbach / November 23rd, 2016 / 0 Comments

  Attempting to explain the fascination “movie people” have with Howard Hughes, David Thomson puts it best: “the daft wealth, the amazing fame, and the yearning to be nothing; the obsession with flying; the taste for hotels, Las Vegas, and bloodless food delivered in plastic bags—this is the little boy’s kingdom; the foolish resort to…

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REVIEW: ‘Allied,’ for the love of the movies

By Johnny Szlauderbach / November 23rd, 2016 / 0 Comments

  1942. Occupied Casablanca. Champagne corks pop as a big band swings. A nightclub whirs with cigarette girls, refugees, burnouts, Nazi officers, Resistance fighters, and Vichy troops. A pair of well-dressed spies walks in. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world… Well, you know the rest. Sort of. For…

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