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Bringing the Magic To Her Music: Linda Ronstadt – The Sound of My Voice

By Elias Savada. No, Linda Ronstadt is not dead. While Parkinson’s Disease has sadly removed her from the public and concert stage for over a decade, the joy of her music is heartwarmingly captured in this greatest-hits-and-more salute from award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The extraordinarily talented artist, now retired in San Francisco, […]

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Drenched with Grim Teen Angst: Monos

By Elias Savada. There’s a certain phantasmagoria at play in Alejandro Landes’ Monos, in which a group of eight teenagers are living an odd communal life in the mountains of Latin America. Maybe it’s the altitude – they live in a spartan, often muddy, encampment high above the clouds and the apparent skirmishes in the […]

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Oy, Vat a Story! Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles

By Elias Savada. At moments during filmmaker Max Lewkowicz’s lovely homage to one of the world’s greatest musicals, I was verklempt. I got choked up over Chaim Topol’s interpretation of Tevye the milkman in Norman Jewison’s film version of Fiddler on the Roof, and when Lin-Manuel Miranda breaks out into a rendition of To Life […]

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Danish Redux: After the Wedding

By Elias Savada. Sad to say, but it wasn’t a good idea for American filmmaker Bart Freundlich to remake the Oscar-nominated Best Foreign Language Feature Efter Brylluppet (After the Wedding), the 2006 film from Danish writer-director Susanne Bier. Bier, whose 2004 Danish war drama Brødre (Brothers) was also rejiggered for American audiences to negligible advantage, […]

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Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché – Saluting the Film Archival Community

By Elias Savada. In a way, I consider myself a film archivist. I don’t do that for a living now, but I do have close ties with many such institutions, especially in the United States (the larger repositories being the Library of Congress, NYC’s Museum of Modern Art, Rochester’s George Eastman Museum, the UCLA Film […]

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Peace & Love, 50 Years On – Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation

By Elias Savada. Fifty years ago (gulp!) I never made it to Woodstock. I didn’t even try, although I had a hallucinogenic blast four years later at the 1973 Summer Jam in Watkins Glen (instant weekend population: 600,000). $10 to see the Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead and The Band perform. Drove up from D.C., […]

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It’s a Hard Knock Life: American Woman

By Elias Savada. Wanna watch a train wreck? Sienna Miller plays one in Jake Scott’s third feature. For the first half-hour of this blue-collar salute to misguided motherhood (and the remorse that follows in the wake of a parent’s “worst nightmare” scenario), Miller plays Deb Callahan, an angry, immature 31-year-old single mother and grandmother who […]

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Kal-El Spelled Badly Is Brightburn

By Elias Savada. Here’s a twist on one of those what if comic book, sci-fi scenarios. What if an alien baby (conveniently human in form) crashes to Earth and becomes an evil superhero. A real vindictive one. His small, single occupancy spacecraft arrives not in Superman’s adopted hometown of Smallville, Kansas (the eponymous name of […]

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Scholar, Lawyer, Catcher, Spy: The Spy Behind Home Plate

By Elias Savada. I can’t take credit for creating that tagline, but it is a perfect John Le Carré allusion. It’s from author Nicholas Dawidoff (who appears in this film), who used it as a title for a 1992 article for Sports Illustrated about a most unusual renaissance man. Aviva Kempner, D.C.’s premiere Jewish filmmaker, is […]

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A Disquieting Tale: Unarmed Man

By Elias Savada. Harold Jackson III is a very focused, and quite talented, individual. He does just about everything in Unarmed Man, his latest feature: executive producer, producer, director, writer, director of photography. He handles all chores well, as he has done for most of his career as a DC-based filmmaker, including for the underappreciated Last […]

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