Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Cross-Cultural Collaboration

Yo-Yo Ma aims for more than music magic in this doc about his Silk Road Ensemble
"What might happen when strangers meet?" This was the question renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma asked himself in 2000, when he first pulled together more than 60 world-class musicians and composers for an epic classical jam session that eventually evolved into a global supergroup of sorts called the Silk Road Ensemble.

Tired Legacy

Jason Bourne works as an action film, but also shows that the franchise hasn't kept up with the times
It's been nine years since we last saw Matt Damon racing around the world and beating people up as brainwashed assassin Jason Bourne... and the weight of those interim years rests heavily upon this fourth installment. Oh, it's not that Damon, now 45 years old, isn't up to the physical demands of the role.

A Load of Scrat

Ice Age: Collision Course continues a franchise that keeps going only because it can
A curious realization came over me as I waited to watch Ice Age: Collision Course: I had no idea how many of these movies there had been. On the one hand, I was pretty sure that this was the fourth, though in fact it's the fifth; on the other hand, I wouldn't have been surprised if you had told me it was the 37th.

Cats and Dogs

The Secret Life of Pets is a pure joy of the imagination
What do our pets do all day while we're at work or school? Mostly sleep, probably.

Ain't Afraid of No Feminism

The Ghostbusters reboot dishes out laughs with a new team of ghoul chasers
My reaction to the idea of an all-female Ghostbusters reboot? I'm desperate for movies about women doing all sorts of things — including silly stuff like engaging in experimental particle physics, playing around with total protonic reversal and saving New York City — but I'd also like women to get their own stories and the opportunity to create their own iconic characters.

Wedded Miss

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates needs to go away
Do you think Adam Devine is the funniest person alive? Not do you think he's funny, but do you think he's light-years funnier than Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Amy Schumer and John Oliver combined?

Watch Me Whip

In the '80s, a couple of kids filmed a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark
If Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made was simply a good-hearted documentary about a bunch of kids remaking their favorite flick shot for shot, it might be entertaining for serious film geeks and Raiders of the Lost Ark fans, but few others. This charming movie, though, proves far more than that, as it recounts the story of three Mississippi 11-year-olds who spent the better part of the '80s — and their respective childhoods — crafting a homemade ode to the 1981 Steven Spielberg action classic.

Kid Stuff

Steven Spielberg's gifts shouldn't be taken for granted in The BFG
It is probably a cliché at this point to note that Steven Spielberg has become a victim of his own success, but... well, there it is. We know that he's capable of masterpieces, whether he's venturing into genre fare or exploring the Big Events of history. We've seen what it looks like when he's applying his incomparable skills behind the camera to fascinating ideas, or profound emotion.

Equestrian Dreams

Dark Horse is an inspirational, almost unbelievable, documentary
There is nothing so magnificent, so utterly inspirational, as a horse at full gallop, its muscular torso flexing with each lengthening stride, suspending the creature in an airborne state of physical grace for a brief second or two before the hooves hit the ground again, only to lift the animal aloft once more. It's a spectacular thing to behold, hypnotic in its poise and beauty.

Spy Games

Central Intelligence isn't the silly popcorn flick you were waiting for this summer
There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with a silly summer popcorn movie. Turn your brain off, spend a couple of hours away from the stress of your life, and just enjoy a spectacle in a dark, air-conditioned theater.

Change Up

Despite its insane premise, The Lobster maintains its charm
Consider The Lobster, the latest salvo from Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos, and his first English-language feature. Much like his home-school nightmare Dogtooth, The Lobster presents a very controlled, mannered universe in which the set of rules are firmly in place.


Finding Dory misses the spark of originality Pixar is capable of at its best
Before Finding Dory, as has been traditional with Pixar's animated features, there's a short film as a kind of cinematic appetizer. Alan Barillaro's Piper — the tale of a young sandpiper learning the hard lessons of how to forage for food at the ocean's edge — is an absolute delight, from the astonishing photorealism of its lighting to the emotionally rich (and fairly literal) interpretation of the old "give a man a fish/teach a man to fish" aphorism.

See Anthony Run

Weiner brilliantly captures both a specific and general pathology
At one point during the endlessly fascinating documentary Weiner, co-director Josh Kriegman asks his subject, Anthony Weiner, "Why have you let me film this?" It's a question that might have had an obvious answer at the outset of the project, as Weiner — the former New York congressman who resigned in 2011 following a highly publicized sexting scandal — tried to revive his political career by running for mayor of New York in 2013.

Pointless Green

The latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is one long action-movie cliché
Apparently the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, when they debuted way back in the 1980s, were intended as a parody of superhero comics. I picked up this tidbit from the TMNT Wikipedia page.

Math Problem

The Man Who Knew Infinity is inspiring, but also a slog
Falling prey to the great-man biopic syndrome, The Man Who Knew Infinity takes a reverent stance toward its subject, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, played by Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel. The dutiful portrait, along with the obscurity of the film's mathematical formulas and postulations for the general viewing audience, is likely to make this outing seem more slog than jog.


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