Friday, July 21, 2017


By George M. Thomas

Kenneth Branagh stars in Dunkirk.
DUNKIRK sticks with you long after leaving the theater.

It’s spectacular filmmaking without an emphasis on any one character.  In the case of DUNKIRK, its story is the one large character looming throughout with actors playing their roles without the benefit of grandeur and long-winded speeches that sometimes typify what audiences and filmmakers believe a war film to be.

Director Christopher Nolan assumes the mission of telling the story of DUNKIRK, a World War II battle that could have been epically disastrous for European Allied forces. The result is stunning – breathtaking cinematography and the telling of the story from multiple perspectives.

On the ground, we watch as two soldiers in particular do almost anything they can to survive the continued assault on them and their colleagues as they try to evacuate DUNKIRK.  Their experience provides enough drama so that Nolan, who also wrote the script, doesn’t have to provide it via artificial means.

Oscar winner Mark Rylance (BRIDGE OF SPIES) brings to the forefront the tales of the sea as he portrays Mr. Dawson, a dutiful British citizen answer the call for civilians with boats to help ferry some of the 400,000 soldiers from DUNKIRK via their vessels.

First Kill (opens in Mentor July 21st at Atlas Diamond Center Cinemas 16)

[FIRST KILL opens in Mentor, OH on Friday July 21st exclusively at Atlas Diamond Center Cinemas 16. Also available the same day on VOD.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Businessman and dad Will (Hayden Christensen) takes his wife Laura (Megan Leonard) and son Danny (Ty Shelton) camping after Danny gets bullied at school. Will hopes to bond with his son and toughen the boy up a bit by taking him hunting. But instead of bagging any game, father and son wind up in the middle of an argument between a pair of bank robbers. Guns come out and one robber shoots the other, then turns his gun on Will and Danny. In self defense, Will kills the man.

It turns out the man Will killed was a police officer.

There’s barely time to process that, however. The other robber, Levi (Gethin Anthony), is still alive. Crook or not, Will considers it his responsibility to get Levi medical help. And since Laura is a nurse, he takes the robber to his cabin to get stitched up. Levi repays the good deed by taking Danny hostage.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Endless Poetry (July 21st and 22nd at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[ENDLESS POETRY screens Friday July 21st at 9:20 pm and Saturday July 22nd at 6:55 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

Not so much a sequel as it is part of the same film, surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ENDLESS POETRY picks up right where his previous film, THE DANCE OF REALITY, left off. Leaving his childhood behind, ENDLESS POETRY finds Jodorowsky as a young man (Adan Jodorowsky) living in Santiago, Chile.

Although Alejandro’s father Jaime’s (Brontis Jodorowsky) attitude seemed to soften somewhat by the end of THE DANCE OF REALITY, he’s back to being a stern figure as ENDLESS POETRY begins. This is a man who hires a little person to dress up like Hitler and stand outside his store to drum up business, and he definitely has no sympathy for shoplifters. He also wants his son to become a doctor rather than follow his muse to become an artist, a profession Jaime believes is reserved for homosexuals.

Maudie (opens Friday July 21st at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

[MAUDIE opens in Cleveland on Friday July 21st at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Pamela Zoslov

The difference between Art and Life is that Art is more bearable.
— Charles Bukowski

"A World Without Shadows” is the title of a stage play and short film about Maud Lewis, a celebrated Canadian folk artist who lived most of her life in a tiny, primitive house in Nova Scotia, covering every surface of the home with vibrant flowers, birds, and butterflies and painting whimsical cats in tulip fields, carriages carrying brightly dressed people, seagulls soaring over seascapes. Bent-backed and increasingly crippled by rheumatoid arthritis, the diminutive self-taught artist sold her paintings for five dollars apiece to locals and tourists who stopped by the house she shared with her husband, Everett. The couple are described in the documentary as having a “childlike, tremendous feeling; no shadows at all. Everything is happy and gay and quick and lively.”

Repost: The Love Witch (July 22nd and 23rd at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[THE LOVE WITCH screens Saturday July 22nd at 9:25 pm and Sunday July 24th at 6:30 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Eric Sever

Simultaneously garish and cheap, the exploitation films of the late Sixties and early Seventies - particularly gothic European horrors -- were filled with lusty, bloody women, who were almost always relegated to being prey for some creature (often with strong sexual overtones) or to being villainous eye candy.

In THE LOVE WITCH, writer/director Anna Biller reimagines that later femme fatale archetype, lovingly throwing in all the old Satanic film tropes - tarot cards, candles, potions, pentagrams, black robes, and nude altars.

The young, witchy heroine Elaine (played by the gorgeous Samantha Robinson) is seductive, dangerous, and sexually aggressive, but she is also a woman who operates from an outdated "Stepford Wives" standard of femininity. She uses her powers almost exclusively to find and to please men. She believes that this should be the ultimate goal for any woman.

Friday, July 14, 2017

The Little Hours (opens July 14th at the Cedar Lee Theatre)

 [THE LITTLE HOURS opens in Cleveland on Friday July 14th exclusively at the Cedar Lee Theatre.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

A trio of 14th century nuns – Alessandra (Allison Brie), Ginerva (Kate Micucci), and Fernanda (Aubrey Plaz) – try to make the best of their lot in life in the deadpan comedy THE LITTLE HOURS. They fight among themselves, but come together to tear into the convent’s hired help. So brutal is their most recent barrage of insults and abuse that the gardener turns in his notice, leaving Sister Marea (Molly Shannon) short handed.

Meanwhile, Father Tommasso (John C. Reilly) sets off to sell various wares made by the nuns in the nearby village. Unfortunately he’s been getting into the communion wine and ends up overturning his cart in a stream, ruining everything he meant to sell.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Repost: Jodorowsky's Dune (July 13th and 15th at the Cleveland Cinematheque)

[JODOROWSKY'S DUNE screens Thursday July 13th at 6:45 pm and Saturday July 15th at 8:50 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque.]

Review by Bob Ignizio

One of the more famous movies never made was an adaptation of Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune that was kicking around in the mid seventies. Cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky wrote the screenplay and would have directed, with Michael Seydoux producing. It got pretty far along in pre-production, but ultimately no studio was willing to come up with the necessary budget to make the film and it fizzled out.

And yet the legend of the film persisted among science fiction fans and admirers of Jodorowsky. The idea of the man responsible for visually stunning acid-head epics like EL TOPO and THE HOLY MOUNTAIN tackling one of the avowed classics of science fiction literature is a tantalizing “what if?” that will never really be answered. Thanks to director Frank Pavich's documentary JODOROWSKY'S DUNE, however, we at least get some idea of what such a film might have been like.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Review by Bob Ignizio

Every once in a while, a mainstream film comes along that seems to please everyone. The critics give it high grades, general audiences feel like they got their money’s worth and then some, and even the nit picky fanboys pronounce it acceptable. And when that happens, there’s always that one critic (well, usually a few more than one, but you get the idea) who has to be the contrary asshole. Guess it’s my turn to be that critic with SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

HOMECOMING thankfully skips the already twice-depicted-on-film story of how Peter Parker (Tom Holland) became Spider-Man, and instead picks up where we left the webslinger at the end of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. He’s just helped Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr., natch) in his conflict with Captain America, and now thinks he’s ready for the super hero big leagues.

For Stark, though, Peter is largely an afterthought as he moves on to other projects and priorities. He leaves Peter with the fancy new suit he was given in CIVIL WAR, and assigns his personal assistant Happy Hogan (Jon Favreu) to keep an eye on the kid. It’s a job Hogan doesn’t take all that seriously, as he’s in the midst of moving all the various high-tech gadgetry from Avengers Tower to the team’s new HQ.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Dope Island: Exclusive Advance Directors Cut of War for the Planet of the Apes!

Excerpt from "Felix Doubles for Darwin" from 1924, but of course you all knew that already. Some days I can't remember whether it was Felix the Cat or Gumby who had the Blockheads as token villains. That ever happen to you?

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Class of '82 Reunites! "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" Returning to Cinemas

[Press release from Fathom Events.]
It's awesome ... totally awesome!

For two days only -- Sunday, July 30, and Wednesday, August 2 -- Fathom Events and the TCM Big Screen Classics Series are hosting a cinematic class reunion like no other:

It's been 35 years since Fast Times at Ridgemont High first hit the big screen.  Named in 2005 to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry, Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a cultural time capsule, a hilarious comedy, and a still-emotionally-relevant exploration of kids who want to grow up too fast.

Join stoner dude Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn), naïve sophomore Stacy Hamilton (Jennifer Jason Leigh), her managerial brother Brad (Judge Reinhold), the worldly Linda Barrett (Phoebe Cates), the shy Mark "Rat" Ratner (Brian Backer) and sleazy Mike Damone (Robert Romanus) as they experience the best and worst high school has to offer ... and take a trip back in time to the pre-digital world of 1982!

TCM primetime host Ben Mankiewicz will provide specially produced commentary before and after the feature, which will return to more than 700 movie theaters for two days only:

* Sunday, July 30, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (local time)
* Wednesday, August 2, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. (local time)

Tickets are available now at or at participating theater box offices.