Film review: "Southside with You"

Film review: "Southside with You"

Dramatizing the first date between Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama, "Southside with You" plays first and foremost as a smart, simple romance.

Film review: "Equity"

Over the years, we've gotten plenty of films about the cutthroat world of high finance, but from "Wall Street" to "The Big Short," they're all typically male-centric affairs. The fact that "Equity" is the practically unheard of financial thriller told from the female perspective immediately distinguishes itself from the pack.

Film review: "Don't Think Twice"

Comedian Mike Birbiglia made headlines a few weeks back when he took to Twitter to express his frustration with the MPAA's decision to slap his latest film, "Don't Think Twice," with an "R" rating simply because the film had a couple scenes in which adults smoke pot. Meanwhile, Birbiglia argued, a film like "Suicide Squad" can be loaded with non-stop violence (however bloodless), show characters being decapitated, mowed down by machine guns, swords, and bombs, and only merit a "PG-13."

Film review: "Kubo and the Two Strings"

Paper trail

The latest from Laika is a visually stunning and wildly entertaining ode to the power of storytelling

Film review: "Hell or High Water"

Two down-on-their luck brothers turn to small-time bank robbing in order to secure enough money to keep themselves afloat in "Hell or High Water," British director David Mackenzie's excellent modern Texas noir. In debt and facing foreclosure on their family ranch, Toby (Chris Pine) and his reckless ex-con brother, Tanner (Ben Foster), see their crimes as a rather poetic solution to their troubles: They can raise the necessary money while getting it over on the same banks that have been sucking them dry all their lives.

Film review: "Our Little Sister"

From Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda ("After Life," "Still Walking") comes "Our Little Sister," a sweet, sensitive family drama based on the popular manga "Umimachi Diary," by Akimi Yoshida. The story revolves around the lives of three sisters: responsible, motherly Sachi (Haruka Ayase), fun-loving Yoshino (Masami Nagasawa), and oddball Chika (Kaho), living together in their grandmother's house.

Film review: "Pete's Dragon"

With its gentle tone, "Pete's Dragon" would make a pretty spectacular first movie-going experience for any young child (though adults will get plenty out of it as well -- it's probably a good idea to bring tissues).

Film review: "Nuts"

In Milford, Kansas, in 1918, Dr. John R. Brinkley came up with the novel (insane) idea that he might be able to cure impotence by transplanting goat testicles into the bodies of humans. Shockingly, Brinkley's experimental surgery actually caught on, earning him widespread admiration and the approval of luminaries such as Buster Keaton, William Jennings Bryan, and Rudolph Valentino, even as his practices turned him into the arch-nemesis of the American Medical Association.

Film review: "Suicide Squad"

Dead on arrival
It gives me no pleasure to report that DC's supervillain team-up flick, "Suicide Squad," isn't a good movie. I take no joy in further stoking the flames of rivalry between DC and Marvel; as a fan of many in DC's stable of characters, I want nothing more than to see good films based on the characters I've loved since I was a kid.

Film review: "Eat That Question"

With a background in classical music, a yen for the absurd, and a desire to disrupt the status quo, rock musician Frank Zappa was a true iconoclast. The bandleader and activist now gets the documentary treatment in Thorsten Schütte's "Eat That Question: Frank Zappa in His Own Words."

Film review: "Tickled"

No laughing matter
In the wildly entertaining documentary "Tickled," what begins as a light-hearted look into a ridiculous pastime slowly transforms into something strange and altogether disturbing. New Zealand-based pop culture reporter David Farrier has made a career out of fluffy stories focusing on "the weird and bizarre side of life."

Film review: "Star Trek Beyond"

To infinity and beyond
At first blush, director Justin Lin might appear an odd fit to take over the "Star Trek" film series. While helming four of the seven entries in the "Fast and Furious" franchise, Lin proved himself a maestro of swaggering action, crunching metal, and revving engines, all characteristics that seem a far cry from "Trek's" earnest tales of exploration and diplomacy.

Who you gonna call?

Like most of Paul Feig’s films, “Ghostbusters” is an examination of female friendship, and the likability and easygoing, natural chemistry of the ensemble makes it work.

Film review: “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”

Back in 2013, real-life brothers Mike and Dave Stangle faced the prospect of finding dates to their cousin’s wedding, eventually deciding that the most effective option was to place an ad on Craigslist. With a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor and a memorable image featuring their faces Photoshopped onto the bodies of centaurs, the ad went viral, ultimately resulting in TV appearances and even a book deal.

Film review: "Unlocking the Cage"

The latest film from esteemed, Oscar-nominated documentarians D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus (“The War Room”), “Unlocking the Cage” follows the efforts of animal rights lawyer and founder of The Nonhuman Rights Project Steven Wise in his legal quest to have the rights of personhood bestowed on chimpanzees. The idea is to use this somewhat vague legal concept as a means to combat the primates mistreatment at the hands of both medical research and amusement facilities.

Film preview: The Rochester International Jewish Film Festival 2016

The JCC Ames Amzalak Rochester International Jewish Film Festival turns sweet 16 this year, and will celebrate the Jewish culture with a fantastic lineup of 26 contemporary films from around the world. Things get started on a high note this Sunday with the Opening Night selection "Rock in the Red Zone" — followed by a Q&A and musical performance by Avi Vaknin — and things don't wind down until next Monday with the food documentary "In Search of Israeli Cuisine," appropriate for "the only film festival that worries about when people eat," Festival Director Lori Michlin Harter says jokingly.


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