Eric D. Snider

Movie Review: "Elle (French)" B+ November 11, 2016

At the intersection of sex and violence

"Elle" begins at the end of a rape: Michele Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert), an intense fiftysomething businesswoman, attacked in her home by a masked assailant. Though traumatized (she replays it in her head, sometimes imagining that she successfully fought off the rapist), she tries to be nonchalant when telling her best friend and business partner, Anna (Anna Consigny), and Anna's husband, Robert (Christian Berkel) ... with whom Michele is having a casual affair. She won't tell the police, having mistrusted them since childhood.

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Movie Review: "Arrival" A November 10, 2016

Figuring out what the aliens are saying

Dr. Louise Banks, a linguistics expert, knows how important word choice is when she tells her daughter, "I used to think this was the beginning of your story." We hear this at the beginning of "Arrival," accompanied by images of the girl's birth and early childhood, narrated by Louise (Amy Adams), who goes on to show us the girl's death as a teenager -- the end of her story, it would seem. But Louise isn't so sure about "beginnings" and "endings" anymore.

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Eric's Blog November 4, 2016

Friday movie roundup - Nov. 4

Here are the reviews I've posted recently, arranged in order of quality. (Quality of the movie, I mean. The reviews are uniformly stellar.)

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Movie Review: "Hacksaw Ridge" B- November 4, 2016

Mel Gibson has returned to kill again

"Hacksaw Ridge" begins with soldiers being set on fire in slow motion while someone recites Bible-y platitudes in a Southern drawl. In other words, it's a Mel Gibson film, his first opportunity since "Apocalypto," 10 years ago, to depict stoic men being maimed and killed (which he loves).

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Movie Review: "Doctor Strange" B+ November 2, 2016

Old doctor and franchise learn new tricks

With its trippy inter-dimensional mysticism and heady philosophy, "Doctor Strange" marks the first time in a while that a Marvel Cinematic Universeā„¢ movie has offered anything new to look at or think about. It's yet another origin story (and similar to Iron Man's at that), but the mind-bending aesthetic trappings give it a lift. And like "Guardians of the Galaxy," it stands alone with no direct connection to the Avengers while establishing tantalizing possibilities for future interactions.

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Movie Review: "Boo! A Madea Halloween" C October 31, 2016

The old bat just wants to spank everyone

I saw 10 of the 11 movies that Tyler Perry made between 2005 and 2011, then missed the next five (spanning six years -- he slowed down!). So I didn't see it when Madea, the giant sassy Atlanta grandmother who is Perry's signature character, went into witness protection, or when she celebrated Christmas. Her observance of Halloween, though, is a comforting reassurance that no matter how many films Perry writes, directs, produces, and stars in, he's not especially interested in getting better at it.

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Movie Review: "Inferno" C October 28, 2016

More of the same, yet somehow less of it

Did you like "The Da Vinci Code" and its sequel, "Angels & Demons"? Then don't bother -- wait, you did? Really? Huh. Well, I guess I have good news, then. The third one, "Inferno," is a lot like the first two, but with fewer puzzles and less action. Does this appeal to you? Is this what you want?

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Movie Review: "Ouija: Origin of Evil" B+ October 25, 2016

Better than a horror prequel should be

I "missed" (if that is the right word) the 2014 film "Ouija," based on the pretend-satanic board game beloved by imaginative adolescents since time immemorial. It got almost nothing but bad reviews, and I'll take my colleagues at their collective word. So the prequel, "Ouija: Origin of Evil" -- from "Oculus" and "Hush" director Mike Flanagan and co-writer Jeff Howard -- is a pleasant, creepy surprise, a stylish funhouse that, like Flanagan's other films, finds new life in old scenarios.

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Movie Review: "American Honey" B+ October 24, 2016

Wayward teen girl on a personal odyssey

"American Honey" won't make you feel very hopeful about The Kids These Days, but it may fill you with compassion for a generation of unwanted young Americans left to fend for themselves in a cratered economy and a collapsed middle class.

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Eric's Blog October 21, 2016

Friday movie roundup - Oct. 21

A few good options out there (and on VOD), along with many mediocre ones.

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