Johnny Szlauderbach

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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REVIEW: ‘Loving’ brings history down to size

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

Jeff Nichols isn’t even 40, but in the past decade, he’s announced himself as one of our country’s most vital moviemakers. His grasp of quotidian Midwestern detail is unparalleled; he captures the red-state landscapes of Wal-mart Superstores and Ford pickups like no one else in contemporary Hollywood. Early works like Shotgun Stories and Take Shelter…

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REVIEW: ‘Arrival,’ and not a second too soon

By Johnny Szlauderbach / November 11th, 2016 / 0 Comments

Denis Villeneuve’s grip is so tight, his touch so icy, that I wouldn’t blame captive audiences for feeling short on oxygen. His movies are as chilly as their icepick titles (Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario). Cold without being cerebral, quick without necessarily being fun, gorgeous without being pretty, his movies feel as alive and human as…

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REVIEW: ‘Doctor Strange’ is an empty-headed head trip

By Johnny Szlauderbach / November 4th, 2016 / 0 Comments

Although Doctor Strange’s aesthetic cues run the cinematic gamut—mid-century sci-fi, grimy kung fu, Japanese New Wave horror—its blend of psychedelic, M.C. Escher-inspired optical illusion is most directly indebted to Stanley Kubrick and Christopher Nolan. That’s an especially icy pair, and those two only barely got away with their respective gambits. 2001 earned its bursting, psychedelic…

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REVIEW: Mel Gibson embraces the insanity with ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

By Johnny Szlauderbach / November 4th, 2016 / 0 Comments

A distinct blend of cornball sincerity and perverse ultra-violence, Hacksaw Ridge is the kind of thing that could only come from the mind of Mel Gibson. He’s a man out of time: inspired, square, and completely out of his mind. In form and content, movies like Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ manage to…

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