Review: “Donovan Reid”

A young man walks into a police station. Either unable or unwilling to speak, he non-verbally asks for something with which to write. Given a pen and a piece of paper, he scribbles down and displays the following: “I am Donovan Reid”. So begins Donovan Reid, a film co-written and directed by former Petaluman Austin…

A Day at SFFILM 2019

I’ve been covering the San Francisco International Film Festival for over ten years now, so long that it’s changed its name. Now it’s known as the SFFILM Festival and it’s running now through April 23 at a variety of venues in the Bay Area. My day began with a “check-in” at the Festival Lounge. This…

Film Review: ‘Three Identical Strangers’

An eerie sense of discomfort and anxiety begins to arise roughly halfway through the remarkable, entertaining, gripping, and disturbing new documentary ‘Three Identical Strangers.’ Once it starts, it only builds, continuing till long after the credits roll. Directed by Tim Wardle (“One Killer Punch”), this surprise hit (from CNN Films and England’s Channel 4) related…

Review: “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”

The first dinosaur movie I ever remember seeing was Irwin Allen’s ‘The Lost World.’ I was five-years-old when I saw it at the Grove Theater in downtown Upland, in Southern California. From watching that film – about an expedition to a remote jungle where dinosaurs still exist – I learned a number of things. I…

Review: ‘The Nice Guys’

“The Nice Guys,” writer-director Shane Black’s darkly entertaining R-rated homage to action movies of the 1970s, is not particularly nice. But it’s a whole lot nicer than many of the films that inspired it. Low-rent L.A. private eye Holland March (Ryan Gosling, displaying admirable physical comedy chops) is a drunk and a screw-up, but he…

Review: ‘Money Monster’

Few filmmaking tricks are harder to pull off than that of fusing honest, political outrage with solid, crowd-pleasing entertainment. Whenever significant political questions are tucked into a mainstream movie – as in the recent “Avengers” and Captain America films – they are usually so dumbed down and simplified they are unlikely to cause anyone to…