• Screen Savor: Bird on a wire

    Greta Gerwig may lack range as an actress, but it’s possible that her real talent lies behind the camera instead of in front of it. With “Lady Bird” (A24), her second full-length feature film as writer/director (and first since she co-wrote and co-directed the 2008 mumblecore movie Nights and Weekends), Gerwig joins the ranks of acclaimed female filmmakers such as Jill Soloway, Nicole Holofcener, Dee Rees, Lisa Cholodenko, Gillian Robespierre and Sofia Coppola.

  • Screen Savor: Brad's Status

    It looks like 2017 could be the year that queer screenwriter and director Mike White (“Year of the Dog”) might just get his first Academy Award nomination and may even take home an Oscar. White, who also has the smudge of “The Emoji Movie” on his screenplay resume, along with outstanding films such as “School of Rock” and “The Good Girl,” wrote director Miguel Arteta’s 2017 film “Beatriz at Dinner,” which has received raves from critics and audiences alike.

  • Screen Savor: Bred in the bone

    Beginning with 2014’s terror double-whammy of “The Babadook” and “It Follows", the big-screen horror genre has been undergoing a thrilling transformation. The trend continued with 2015’s “The Witch” and 2018’s “Annihilation”. With the arrival of “Hereditary” (A24), it would appear that this new breed of horror is here to stay. Sure, there will always be more traditional scary movies such as 2017’s “It”, but this exciting new take on a classic variety of cinema is a welcome addition to the oeuvre.

  • Screen Savor: Brokeback farm

    With “God’s Own Country” (Samuel Goldwyn Films/Orion), out actor turned writer/director Francis Lee has crafted one of the most impressive, if somewhat unsettling, debut features of 2017. As the sun rises over the main house of a farm in Yorkshire, England, we hear and then see Johnny (Josh O’Connor) vomiting into a toilet. He’s sick from binge-drinking the night before and his mother Deidre (Gemma Jones) lets Johnny know that he kept her and his father Martin (Ian Hart) up half the night with his being sick.

  • Screen Savor: Colette It Be

    What does it say about the times in which we live that two movies, “Colette” (Bleecker Street) and “The Wife”, about women who were the wives of writers and who were secretly the ones writing their husbands’ books, are playing in theaters at the same time? “The Wife” is set in the mid-to-late 20th century, while “Colette” takes place in the late 19th century and early 20th century, but some of the similarities are difficult to avoid.

  • Screen Savor: Diamond Stud

    It’s a safe bet that you’ve never seen anything quite like“Diamantino” (Kino Lorber), the bizarre feature film debut of co-writers/co-directors Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt. A surreal and fantastical comedy about star footballer Diamantino Matamouros (the sizzling Carloto Cotta who, thankfully, spends much of the movie in various states of undress), who is unwittingly recruited to help in a nationalist plot to have Portugal leave the E.U. 

  • Screen Savor: Endless Sommar 

    Writer/director Ari Aster calls “Midsommar”(A24), his second full-length feature (after his 2018 masterwork “Hereditary”), an “operatic break-up movie” with fairy tale influences. That’s only partly true. Yes, there are elements that echo some of the gruesomeness of the work of dark folklorists Brothers Grimm.

  • Screen Savor: Fabulous Beasts


    "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" (WB), the latest film adaptation in J.K. Rowling’s popular and profitable film franchise that spawned eight Harry Potter movies, emphasizes comedy and terror in equal measure. Set in New York just a few years after the end of World War I and just before the stock market crash, it’s a prescient Potter prequel that couldn’t be timelier.

  • Screen Savor: Fade to black

    First things first. Fatih Akin’s “In The Fade” (WB/Magnolia) is not the best foreign language film of 2017. “BPM (Beats Per Minute)”, about the birth of ACT UP in Paris in the late 1980s, deserves that honor. Nevertheless, “In The Fade,” which is racking up awards, including a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice, award, among others, certainly qualifies as one of the best foreign films of the year.

  • Screen Savor: Fathers’ days

    In case you missed it, there appears to be a new movie trend in the works this spring. Single dads raising teenagers. First there was gay filmmaker Andrew Haigh’s “Lean On Pete”. The forthcoming “Eighth Grade” features a single dad and his daughter. Presently, we have Brett Haley’s “Hearts Beat Loud” (Gunpowder & Sky).

  • Screen Savor: Feat of Strength

    Stronger (Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions) is the second big-screen Hollywood dramatization of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, following 2016’s Patriots Day. Like that film, Stronger doesn’t shy away from the gruesome details, while also providing a relatable portrait of what it means to be Boston Strong.

  • Screen Savor: Florida rules

    It’s not an exaggeration (or an insult) to say that filmmaker Sean Baker has been obsessed with sex in his last few films. “Starlet,” from 2012, focused on the unlikely friendship between two women, one of whom was a young porn actress, while 2015’s “Tangerine,” shot entirely on an iPhone, centers on a transgender hooker.

  • Screen Savor: For the Love of Joni

    In the pantheon of classic concert movies, Martin Scorcese’s “The Last Waltz” (an all-star final concert by The Band) from 1978 and Jonathan Demme’s “Stop Making Sense” (starring Talking Heads) from 1984, still reign supreme.
  • Screen Savor: Getting read

    Have you ever started reading a book and within the first few pages you figured out everything you need to know about the characters as well as how it will end? That’s a fair description of the predictable and mildly amusing “Book Club” (Paramount). It’s the kind of “women of a certain age” flick that Nancy Meyers writes and direct (“It’s Complicated” and “Something’s Gotta Give”) with some degree of success. In this case, writer and co-director Bill Holderman is out of his league.

  • Screen Savor: Grace in Gravity

    “By the Grace of God” (Music Box Films), French gay filmmaker/screenwriter François Ozon shifts gears and gets serious in a powerful, if overly long, movie based on the true story of the scandal (still fresh in the minds of some) that rocked the indestructible Catholic Church in Lyon, France.

  • Screen Savor: Heart beats

    One thing you can say about the French, they know how to make a movie about AIDS. Whereas Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau’s 2016 film “Paris 05:59: Théo & Hugo”presented a current look at French gay men dealing with the AIDS epidemic, the informative and devastating “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (The Orchard), directed and co-written by Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys), takes us back to the early 1990s, and the rise of AIDS activism in Paris.

  • Screen Savor: Loco for Coco

    If it struck you as strange that Disney would make not one, but two, animated features set in the Pacific region, then you are probably not alone. While both 2002’s “Lilo & Stitch” and 2016’s “Moana” were Academy Award-nominees, neither took home the trophy. Disney has had a decent run in the 2010s, taking home Oscars in every year but 2011, when Paramount’s “Rango” won.

  • Screen Savor: Long Shot in The Dark W/Trailer

    The CV of Jonathan Levine, director of the goofy Seth Rogen/Charlie Theron rom-com “Long Shot” (Lionsgate), speaks for itself, going a long way to explain the casting of Rogen in a romantic lead role. With “Long Shot”, Rogen has been directed by Levine in three movies, including the exceptional buddy dramedy “50/50” (alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the regrettable holiday flick “The Night Before” (with Gordon-Levitt, again). Obviously, the director and actor have a solid working relationship, and “Long Shot” lands, clumsily, between their two prior collaborations.

  • Screen Savor: Marshall law

    You have to give Reginald Hudlin, director of "Marshall" (Open Road), credit. The man responsible for such non-classics as House Party (starring Kid’n Play), Boomerang (starring Eddie Murphy) and The Ladies Man (starring Tim Meadows, based on his SNL character), wanted to make a different kind of movie than people were used to seeing from him.

  • Screen Savor: Murder most foul

    The Kenneth Branagh-directed remake of “Murder on the Orient Express” (20th Century Fox), in which Branagh also stars as Agatha Christie’s Belgian master detective Hercule Poirot, inspires its own set of mysteries. For example, why would anyone remake a perfectly good movie? The 1974 version, directed by Sidney Lumet, was considered to be one of the best movies of that year. Ingrid Bergman won her third career Oscar for her portrayal of missionary Greta.