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A True Beauty: Chained for Life

By Elias Savada. A piece of the infamous “Gooble Gobble” carnival communal wedding chant from Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) isn’t the only ditty from that horror classic paid homage to in Aaron Schimberg’s wicked movie-within-a-horror-movie, social satire Chained for Life, which world premiered recently at BAMcinemaFest. In fact, performers emit the standalone line “One of Us” […]

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Weird Science: Three Identical Strangers

By Elias Savada. I’ve been told, at rare moments throughout my life, that I look just like someone else, other than my dad or a close cousin, of course. Usually, if shown a photograph of the other person, I would not see a resemblance at all. For Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman, there was […]

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Not Playing Smart: The Catcher Was a Spy

By Elias Savada. There’s an unsettling blandness flowing through The Catcher Was a Spy, a well photographed and impressively designed film about a fascinating character who made a mark in two wildly divergent professions. It’s a fictionalized account of Major League Baseball player Morris “Moe” Berg, as based on Nicholas Dawidoff’s 1994 bestselling biography The Catcher […]

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A Treat Grows in Brooklyn: Hearts Beat Loud

By Elias Savada. One way or another, I always seem to get a plastic high when watching a film with an old fashioned record store. High Fidelity (2000), Empire Records (1995), Ghost World (2001), and even Last Shop Standing, Pip Piper 2012’s documentary about the rise and fall of about two dozen independent mom-and-pop outlets in […]

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Arthouse Redux: Claire’s Camera

By Elias Savada. I’m a latecomer to the work of South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo, but I recently caught Night and Day (2004) and Right Now, Wrong Then (2015), which reveal this Seoul-born and Korean-then-American-trained filmmaker’s unconventional, character-driven films as interesting and sometimes forceful human studies (as well as being festival favorites). He’s also, apparently, a […]

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Mountain: Epic to the Extreme

By Elias Savada. The word “breathtaking” doesn’t do justice to Australian documentarian Jennifer Peedom’s Mountain. It’s so far beyond that. The manner of the imposing photography, which often suggests someone climbing upside down, is just one of the remarkable things about this emotionally driven exploration of the majesty of rock. What makes this film tick are […]

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Bumpy Origins – Solo: A Star Wars Story

By Elias Savada, In a galaxy far, far away, veteran multi-hyphenate filmmaker Ron Howard has directed Solo with a sure, reliable hand, cobbling together the second standalone Star Wars Story (following 2016’s Rogue One) for a bumpy journey into thousands of multiplexes. This Han Solo origin story (the first for anyone associated with The Force) is not […]

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Deadpool 2: Shtick Happens. Again.

By Elias Savada. So, as numerous superhero universes collide in worldwide multiplexes, you might wonder if there is an escalating case of mega-budget overload on the horizon. 20th Century-Fox’s Deadpool 2 arrives three weeks after Disney’s oversized Avengers: Infinity Wars shredded box office records in advance of this weekend’s match-up, which will see the Ryan Reynolds-starrer […]

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Celebrating a Life Well Spent: Itzhak

By Elias Savada. It’s fitting that this refreshing documentary starts out with the world renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman performing a rousing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Citi Field in Queens, New York. He may have been born in Tel Aviv 70-plus years ago, but he’s a die-hard Mets fan and tried-and-true New Yorker. And […]

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The Endless: Who’s Crazy Now?

By Elias Savada. I’ve been a fan of horror maestros Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead ever since catching their 2012 feature debut Resolution at that year’s SpookyFest in Washington DC. Last year that festival (following the lead of the Tribeca Film Festival, where the filmmakers are deservedly well appreciated) also sported the Washington premiere of The […]

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