Author Archives: Michael J

About Michael J

I watch movies, write about movies, think about movies, and cook.

MOKA

Diane (Emmanuelle Devos) is hurting. Her young son, Luc, was killed in a hit-and-run. And with no one to take responsibility, no one to blame, grief has driven her deep inside herself. Diane pulls back from the world, from her … Continue reading

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WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

There’s no hyperbole in calling War for the Planet of the Apes the best of the franchise just as there is no overstating the series’ contribution to motion capture performance. With each Apes installment, the technology gets a little better, but … Continue reading

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2017: THE BEST SO FAR

Taken as a whole, 2017 at the movies has left me somewhat dismayed. This is at least partly due, I think, to the overlong award season. With each passing year, this toxic notion of competition clouds the waters and does … Continue reading

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STAR WARS AT 40

A space opera in eight films, five directors, and two studios. A long time ago — May 25, 1977, to be precise — in a Hollywood far, far away, Star Wars took cinematic hearts and minds by storm. Later subtitled … Continue reading

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BABY DRIVER

There is a scene roughly halfway through Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1948 backstage masterpiece The Red Shoes where Ballet Russe impresario Lermontov comforts his understandably nervous principal dancer, Vicky Page. “Nothing matters by the music,” Lermontov assures her. He hums … Continue reading

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BAND AID

The beauty of Band Aid is that while every happy couple may be alike, not every romantic comedy about them has to be. Director Zoe Lister-Jones (who also wrote, produced, and stars) manages to avoid the pitfalls of a typical … Continue reading

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CHASING TRANE: THE JOHN COLTRANE DOCUMENTARY

Chasing Trane, the new documentary about saxophonist John Coltrane, opens with a digital trip through the cosmos. Coltrane’s music arranges the galaxies and a constellation forms to assemble his image while disembodied voices rhapsodies about the great jazz musician. Time … Continue reading

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