GrouchoReviews.com http://grouchoreviews.com/ Tue, 18 Dec 2018 13:04:42 GMT Film/DVD reviews, interviews and features. Ben is Back (2018) [** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5140 /reviews/5140 Roberts’ role as an intense mama bear cleverly corrupts her famous smile to an “everything’s okay” mask. Ultimately, Ben is Back is about the lies addicts tell their loved ones, and those their loved ones tell th Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) [*** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5139 /reviews/5139 McCarthy clearly feels a connection to Israel’s outsider artistry, her utter commitment to become someone else for a few stolen moments, and her pride in a job well done... Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Green Book (2018) [** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5138 /reviews/5138 Though breezily entertaining, this cinematic vehicle also lurches into and out of the usual racial potholes, making its song of the South--and North--catch in the throat. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5137 /reviews/5137 Productively acknowledges real-life dangers, with stellar animation and designs shoring up the storytelling of Johnston and Pamela Ribon‘s witty script...a useful all-ages fable for our time. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Instant Family (2018) [*] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5136 /reviews/5136 Humor is subjective, of course, but the film offers this litmus test: do you laugh when a sane adult finally slaps Ellie (‘You listen to me, you crazy woman!‘) and when another slaps cuffs on Pete? Or do you cheer? Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Boy Erased (2018) [** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5135 /reviews/5135 On the side of truth, social justice, and human dignity...despite all that, Boy Erased never quite coalesces into the deeply moving and insightful film its pedigree seems to promise. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Wildlife (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5134 /reviews/5134 First-time director Dano, who co-scripted with partner Zoe Kazan, has a knack for capturing quotidian daily struggles as well as moments of discovery that hearten or, more often, horrify. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Beautiful Boy (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5133 /reviews/5133 Makes a good case for itself as the addiction movie America needs right now...[offers] a primal ‘you are not alone‘ catharsis for sufferers under the powerful grip of addiction or with a front-row seat to it. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Fail State (2018) [*** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5092 /reviews/5092 Takes a cogent look at the issues, making comprehensible the complex history of American higher education, the government‘s shifting role in supporting it, and the increasingly corporate exploitation of the American-Dreaming underclass. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Halloween (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5132 /reviews/5132 Because Green loves the material enough to have some good, old-fashioned fun in this playground, he’s able to bring the audience along with him. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese First Man (2018) [*** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5131 /reviews/5131 By focusing on Armstrong’s human perspective, First Man gives us a new window into the costs and benefits of taking ‘one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.‘ Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Frederick Wiseman…Monrovia, Indiana; Titicut Follies…9/28/2018 http://grouchoreviews.com/interviews/470 /interviews/470 I‘m trying to make a group of movies that represent as many different aspects of contemporary life as I can. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Kathryn Hahn & Tamara Jenkins…Private Life…10/5/2018 http://grouchoreviews.com/interviews/469 /interviews/469 [Hahn:] Like childbirth, a movie is like: you kind of forget the pain and would do it again in a second. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese A Star is Born (2018) [** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5130 /reviews/5130 Unabashed melodrama...the film’s strongest moments are acoustic, not plugged-in...intimate, truth-telling exchanges between lovers who want the best for each other.  Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Smallfoot (2018) [**] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5129 /reviews/5129 Bland... something of a thinker, even a subversive one, but it’s dubious that kids will pick up on the provocation between the pratfalls and the pop songs. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5128 /reviews/5128 [A] dire accounting of the corruption of the Republican Party, the sell-out centrism of the Democratic Party, and the victimization of working-class Americans...[and] an urgent call to action. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Pick of the Litter (2018) [*** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5127 /reviews/5127 Informs and entertains in equal measure...not only proves thoroughly family friendly, but it’s that rare moviegoing option likely to please everyone in any group. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Operation Finale (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5126 /reviews/5126 A functional spy thriller and, more importantly, an intriguing character study of two men shaped by hatred. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Searching (2018) [** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5125 /reviews/5125 Twisty thrills also result in a climactic pileup, a resolution that strains credibility...with a dynamic leading performance by Cho, Chaganty manages an engaging popcorn suspense picture that also speaks to technology enabling and frustrating... Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese The Wife (2018) [***] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5124 /reviews/5124 The ultimate secret of the Castlemans’ marriage isn’t entirely convincing in Joan’s every rationale, but Close’s sheer force of acting makes it possible to believe in the character, at minimum in the emotional broad strokes. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Crazy Rich Asians (2018) [** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5123 /reviews/5123 By the film’s climax, a $40 million wedding, conspicuous consumerism has been glamorized beyond the point of no return, and the difference between romance and showmanship becomes, at least momentarily, irrelevant. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese BlacKkKlansman (2018) [*** 1/2] http://grouchoreviews.com/reviews/5122 /reviews/5122 Can be overtly funny in its absurdity. For the most part, however, BlacKkKlansman isn’t a comedy at all, but an earnest, vintage Spike Lee joint recounting history and projecting it onto our present. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Bo Burnham…Eighth Grade…6/7/2018 http://grouchoreviews.com/interviews/468 /interviews/468 I felt...pop culture is insane, and I always felt so gross for participating in it, and so hypocritical for participating in it. So what I’ll be is an angry hypocrite. Because that’s a coherent, at least, worldview. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Paul Schrader…First Reformed, Auto Focus…4/6/2018 http://grouchoreviews.com/interviews/464 /interviews/464 ‘Why are we here? Where are we going? What will become of us?’ And for twenty or thirty thousand years, that’s been a hypothetical question…well, it’s no longer… Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Interview: Jason Isaacs…The Death of Stalin, Star Trek: Discovery, Harry Potter…4/22/2018 http://grouchoreviews.com/interviews/465 /interviews/465 You can‘t sprinkle perfume on a turd...You can‘t make a bad script into a good story. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: 2017 Top 10 http://grouchoreviews.com/features/259 /features/259 The Year‘s Best Films               1. The Florida Project Sean Baker’s follow-up to the stylish, street-level Tangerine is the sort of film that sticks with you, whether you like it or not. In part a tribute to The Little Rascals, The Florida Project works on that level alone, with a low... Sun, 01 Jan 2017 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: 2016 Top 10 http://grouchoreviews.com/features/258 /features/258 The Year‘s Best Films               1. Moonlight  In skillfully adapting Tarell Alvin McCraney’s unproduced play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, writer-director Barry Jenkins shows a deep curiosity about one person’s development and inner life. We see this person grow from boy to teen... Fri, 01 Jan 2016 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: Silicon Valley Comic Con 2016 http://grouchoreviews.com/features/257 /features/257 Thanks to prime mover Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, San Jose now has its own “Comic-Con“: the Silicon Valley Comic Con. San Jose has been home to many science-fiction/film and TV/comic-themed toy shows or conventions over the years (many of us still have fond memories of TimeCon at the old San Jose Convention Center), some of them pretty rink... Fri, 01 Jan 2016 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: 2015 Top 10 http://grouchoreviews.com/features/256 /features/256 The Year‘s Best Films                     1. Chi-Raq  The right film at the right time, Spike Lee’s latest is his most creatively fertile and socially immediate narrative feature in years. A grabber from its opening sequence, a lyric video for Nick Cannon’s gut-punching... Thu, 01 Jan 2015 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese Feature: The 58th San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23-May 7, 2015) http://grouchoreviews.com/features/255 /features/255 SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST CAPSULE REVIEWS! By my count, this year‘s San Francisco International Film Festival (April 23-May 7, 2015) features 58 narrative features, one for every year in the fest‘s history. That‘s on top of 34 documentary features, 6 shorts programs, and a panoply of awards presentations/tributes, live performance events, lectu... Thu, 01 Jan 2015 08:00:00 GMT Peter Canavese