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Handicapping the Oscars: 2019 Oscar Nominated Shorts

By Elias Savada. Another year and another Academy Awards show looms large, filled with commentary about snubs and surprises and a program, the first in decades, without a host. While many of us wonder which film will take home the statuette (my personal favorite remains Green Book, but Roma seems to be gaining traction), you might […]

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Real-Life Whac-a-Mole: Rodents of Usual Size

By Elias Savada. First, I thought this might be another horror film with oversized critters due to 1) atomic radiation run amuck, 2) global waming (as Mr. Trump likes to call it), or 3) some crazed offspring of Minnie Mouse and Bucky the Beaver. The correct answer is 4) none of the above. Rodents of Unusual […]

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Maryland, Oy Maryland: Sickies Making Films

By Elias Savada. Baltimore filmmaker Joe Tropea tackles a not very pressing subject with his new film. It’s an admirable history lesson and enjoyable examination of Maryland’s long-deceased era of film censorship, a period that extended from 1916 to 1981. Most people don’t remember the state’s control over all film content that would play on […]

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The Sweet, Swedish Smell of Fear: Border

By Elias Savada. Scandinavian folklore is home to dozens of curious creatures. Trolls, dwarves, and elves might be the ones most of us on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean recall on a regular basis. It’s a natural progression that movies and television have appropriated these supernatural beings, particularly in their homelands. I suspect the […]

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A Formidable Pairing: Green Book

By Elias Savada. The exceptionally crisp performances by Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen are but two of the great things about Green Book, a very solid contender for Best Picture accolades, and much more. This heartwarming, soul searching inspired-by-a-true-story features well-educated virtuoso pianist Don Shirley (Ali) and his Italian-American chauffeur-protector-confidant Tony Villelonga (Mortensen) as they road trip […]

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Pork Pie Hats Off to The Great Buster: A Celebration

By Elias Savada. The breakneck parade of Hollywood celebrities seems endless in Peter Bogdanovich’s love letter to silent film comedian Buster Keaton. It feels like Friends, Romans, and Countrymen are marching before the camera to recount the influences galore that the great actor and filmmaker has had on their lives. Keaton, star of such silent feature […]

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Pushing Life to the Edge: Free Solo

By Elias Savada. Alex Honnold dreams the impossible dream, and he climbs where the brave dare not go. Unlike Don Quixote, he defies death by climbing mountains of sheer granite. Without a rope. Free solo climbing is a solitary affair that is exhilarating to the extreme. A single misstep generally proves fatal. Like the annual award […]

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The Sublime Art of Ashby: Hal

By Elias Savada. Hal (no relation to the sentient computer in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey), is a reflective meditation on the (high) life and (best) films of Hal Ashby, a director of note during the 1970s, when he churned out award-worthy films that now shape this debut documentary from Los Angeles-based editor Amy […]

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Mommy Noir: A Simple Favor

By Elias Savada. The crazy wait-who-did-what? mystery that is A Simple Favor offers up a pair of smooth, subversive, suburban housewives that spin some sparkling dialogue off each other and their communal parental units. Mystery loves the company of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in Paul Feig’s head-spinning, twisty-turvy tale of fremily intrigue. Equal parts secrets, […]

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Beyond Geekdom: Science Fair

By Elias Savada. Science Fair, the new National Geographic documentary, follows the audience-pleasing formula easily recognizable in its predecessors. There are many fans of Spellbound (2002), an enlightening race to the top of the Scripps National Spelling Bee; Mad Hot Ballroom (2005), which chronicled schoolkids in New York City vying for a chance for the brass ring […]

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