Currently browsing posts by Jill Boniske.

Quickie Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web

To call this an adaptation is an insult to all other adaptations. I was wary when I read that another author was continuing “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series following Stieg Larsson’s death, but once I read it, I was looking forward to more. So when I heard about the The Girl in the Spider’s Web film, I was cautiously optimistic. (I was a lot more taken with the Swedish versions of the originals than the American one.) But what this film does to the book is ignore it entirely and replace a gripping story and complex characters with a lame cookie cutter action pic. Shame on them!

Review: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

This anthology film from the Coen Brothers will only be in a few big city theaters for a week before it begins streaming on Netflix. It’s made up of six separate stories all set in the Wild West held together by beautiful cinematography and a great cast. A couple of the stories are a lot of fun. A few, meh! All together it clocks in at 132 minutes, and there were certainly places where a little snip or two would have made it better. But if you’re a fan of the Coens, you’ll probably overlook the length and have a fine time.

Review: El Ángel

Set in Buenos Aires in 1971, El Ángel is a true crime drama about a baby-faced teenage sociopath named Carlitos (Lorenzo Ferro) whose love for thievery blossomed into a passion for cold-blooded murder when he met fellow student Ramon (Chino Darin). It’s a truly disturbing portrait of a kid totally devoid of a moral compass. And you’re on the edge of your seat the whole way because you just know he and his accomplices will (and should) be caught.

Review: The Great Buster

The full title of this documentary is The Great Buster: A Celebration and it certainly is that. From Dick Van Dyke to Mel Brooks to Werner Herzog, silent film star Buster Keaton aka The Great Stone Face is lauded for his enduring influence on film and comedy. This comprehensive bio-pic is from director Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon) who loves telling the stories of the great men of cinema. And Keaton surely was one of the greats. The film is a fairly straightforward chronological telling of his life and career featuring lots of talking heads and film clips from his movies. For those who are unfamiliar with his work, the film will no doubt make them want to see his work. And for those who already knew him, it’s a loving reminder of a man way ahead of his time.

Arty Chick’s Middleburg Film Festival Download 2018

Another year at a fabulous festival! I wonder how long this little Virginia horse country festival can keep it up. It’s sure to burst its seams soon. This year’s slate was amazing, as usual. I was only able to fit in 10 of the 29 films offered in my three days of the festival and missed quite a few I really wanted to see. But what I saw was impressive. The big winner for me (it won the audience award, too) was Peter Farrelly’s Green Book, which will certainly be vying for the Oscar. But there really were quite a few standout films. Here’s my list with trailers and my preliminary impressions. Full reviews of select films will come later, so check back.

Review: Studio 54

I was never a fan of disco, and you’d have had to drag me kicking and screaming to any club in New York when I lived there, so I was surprised by how much I liked this documentary about the club that defined the era. Studio 54 had closed just a couple of years before I moved to New York, but it was still held up as the club to which all others aspired. This documentary takes you from its inception to its demise, which was surprisingly less than 3 years. But it was a hell of a ride!

Review: The Guilty

This Danish thriller aka Den skyldige is simply amazing. There is just one man on camera through almost all the film’s 85 minutes, and you can’t look away for a second. Asger (Jakob Cedergren) is a cop who’s been put on desk duty. Tomorrow is a trial and its outcome will decide if he’s back out with his partner. In the meantime, he’s answering the phone at 211 (Danish 911) and counting the minutes until he’s gone. That is until he answers a call and it’s a woman who’s being kidnapped.

Review: Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable

Garry Winogrand was one of the masters of street photography. He spent decades roaming New York, and later Texas and California, freezing the moments that made statements about the time and place. He died in 1984, leaving behind thousands of unprocessed rolls of film and unprinted photographs. But his work starting in the 1960s had already secured his place in the photography canon, thanks in large part to MOMA curator John Szarkowski. Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable is a loving portrait of the man and his art, and a visual treat for street photography aficionados.

Review: All About Nina

Nina (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is a foul-mouthed comedienne in New York struggling to make her mark. And she’s in a sick relationship with a married man. Something’s gotta change. Her only hope is a move to LA where there’s a competition that, should she win, she’ll get a one hour special all her own on a hit show called Comedy Prime. So NY girl heads to the coast. And she meets nice guy Rafe (Common) there. Only she’s really not that good at healthy relationships because she has all this baggage. So will she win the competition and figure out how to be with a guy who treats her right?

Manhattan Short Film Festival

To call it a festival is a stretch, but it’s a cool idea. A panel somewhere looks at a ton of short films from around the world and somehow chooses just 9 films to be watched and judged by everyday viewers like you and me. Their publicity says this is the 21st year! And I only heard of this a few weeks ago. There were screenings around the globe over a week and a half. Mine was at the local library, and I’d have preferred a real cinema, but…