“Kinpika” – Peaks your interest [TELEVISION REVIEW]

Based on a series of books by Jirô Asada, written for television by Shin’ichi Hisamatsu, and expertly directed with style by Masaki Nishiura, “Kinpika” is a Japanese limited series to be savored. It is about a disgruntled and cynical retired detective who assembles an unsanctioned trio of convicted criminals and gives them free reign to…

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“Reasonable Doubt” – Justifiable [TELEVISION REVIEW]

Legal shows are a dime a dozen. Well maybe not a dime because most of them are about very expensive lawyers. But, as the saying goes, it’s how you tell the story, not whether the story is new. “Reasonable Doubt,” created by Raamla Mohamed, tells it pretty darn well. Kerry Washington, who executive produces, directed…

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“Reboot” – Again Please [TELEVISION REVIEW]

“Reboot,” from the deviously clever mind of Steven Levitan (“Modern Family”), is one laugh out loud moment after another, played in front of the curtain of Hollywood and behind the wall of family dysfunction. And it all works! Ostensibly about the making, or rather remaking, of a popular early 2000’s sitcom, we are given an…

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“Hold Me Tight” – Don’t let go [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Hold Me Tight,” based on Claudine Galea’s play “Je Reviens de Loin” (“I’ve Returned from Afar”), is a disorienting film written and directed by Mathieu Amalric. It will keep you disturbingly off center almost throughout its fast-paced 90 minutes. Packing a very few things, looking around her house for one last time, Clarisse leaves it…

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“Bandit” Stick ‘em up [MOVIE REVIEW]

The true story of career criminal Gilbert Galvan belongs in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” It definitely comes under the category of “truth is stranger than fiction.”  Director Allan Ungar starts us out at the end. In stunning opening credits, as our anti-hero unloads his gun, stubs out his ever present cigarette, and prepares his…

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“Paris Police 1900” – Yesterday and Today [TELEVISION REVIEW]

Corruption, murder, right wing fanatics, anarchists, sex, blackmail. As the French would say, “délicieux.” 1900, thought of as the Belle Epoque, all fashion, society, wealth, art, and music, was anything but beautiful. The members of the Haute Sociétée were also members of groups promoting ultra right wing causes, government overthrow, and price fixing. President Félix…

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“See How they Run” – Pretty fast [MOVIE REVIEW]

Writer Mark Chappell came up with a killer idea when he decided to reverentially spoof Agatha Christie’s unbelievably long-running West End play The Mousetrap. Directed smoothly by Tom George, the action rarely lags and the dialogue crackles with humor. Both satirically referencing Christie’s work while mirroring it.  Cue the voice-over of Leo Kopernick, the blacklisted…

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“Simchas and Sorrows” – Agnes loves Levi [MOVIE REVIEW]

Genevieve Adams, writer, director, and star of “Simchas and Sorrow” (Joys and Sorrows) has successfully waded into quicksand and come out unscathed. Telling a rather autobiographical story, Adams takes on the role of…herself.  Agnes, a struggling playwright who teaches an after school drama class to children, is your basic non-believer, in all the good ways.…

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“God’s Country” – There is no god here [MOVIE REVIEW]

Director and co-writer Julian Higgins is very clear from the outset that he was making a western. How do we know? The first few minutes are a pastiche of 19th Century photos of Western iconography—Native Americans, cowboys, ranches, farmers, settlers – followed by a sweeping shot of a mountain range in a desolate winter landscape. …

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“The Class” – But who’s getting schooled? [MOVIE REVIEW]

Imitation is sometimes the highest form of flattery. Unfortunately, in the case of “The Class,” it’s misplaced. Director/writer Nicholas Celozzi was channeling his inner “John Hughes” when he conceived his film as a modern-day retelling of Hughes’s iconic 1985 film “The Breakfast Club.” “The Breakfast Club” was about random students who didn’t know each other…

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“Private Desert” – Not alone [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Private Desert” is a remarkably nuanced story about love, masculinity, expectations, and vulnerability. That it involves two men is incidental. Directed by Aly Muritiba and co-written by Muritiba and Henrique Dos Santos, “Private Desert” gently surprises at every turn by unwrapping layer after layer of character and emotion. Daniel, suspended from his job as a…

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“Wedding Season” – It’s deadly [TELEVISION REVIEW]

“Wedding Season,”a new limited series from Hulu,  starts fresh out of the box filled with possibilities that are ultimately not fulfilled. Episode one, introducing all the characters, rife with promise, humor, and pathology, is gradually eroded away in the subsequent episodes. Opening on an elaborate cathedral wedding, we see Stefan as he enters the church,…

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“Carnal Knowledge” – Still unlawful [MOVIE REVIEW]

“Carnal Knowledge,” now being re-released by Rialto Pictures in a new 4K restoration, is as searing today as it was when it was released in 1971. Directed by Mike Nichols and written by Jules Feiffer, the film follows two college roommates through decades of sexual triumphs and failures. It is significant to note that nowhere…

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“Adieu Godard” – A fine fare thee well [MOVIE REVIEW]

Amartya Bhattacharyya, the writer, director, cinematographer, and editor (as well as the dubber for several of the characters and all the “extraneous” sounds) of “Adieu Godard,” used those talents to create this very enjoyable and thoroughly absurd feature film. Ananda (Choudhury Bikash Das) is addicted to porn. He may not be as elderly as he…

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