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Black Hawk Down
Ridley Scott's newest about the disastrous 1993 raid in Mogadishu, Somalia, that left 18 U.S. servicemen dead, many more wounded, and almost a thousand Somalians dead -- unspools like a...
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Film Review  January 18, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...In the heat of battle and overwhelming violence, who really knows what the hell is going on? Certainly not the Major General, whose relayed-by-satellite-uplink directions to his Humvee-bound soldiers (“Turn left at the alley!” “Which alley?!”) as they try to rescue their downed comrades have the feel of too little, too late. Despite the visceral carnage in the film -- and how could you in good conscience not include it? -- Black Hawk Down is an amazingly well-shot picture, by Slavomir Idziak and Scott himself, whose always keen eye is working triple overtime here..."

Black Knight
After the inexplicable popular success of Big Momma's House, no doubt Martin Lawrence and his handlers were searching for some sort of follow-up that would broaden the abrasive comic's range....

Film Review  November 23, 2001, by Marc Savlov
"...Something literary yet wacky, something that would allow Lawrence the chance to flex those comic muscles. The result of this is Black Knight, which ransacks Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court in search of urban yucks and comes up lacking in almost every department..."

Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky and Natalie Portman whip things into a baroque frenzy in this crazed hybrid of drama and horror set amid a ballet corps.
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Film Review  December 10, 2010, by Kimberley Jones
"...Starring: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder and Benjamin Millepied. After 2008’s conventionally plotted, overpraised The Wrestler, Darren Aronofsky dives back into another competitive sport of sorts in the deliciously wackadoodle Black Swan..."

The Black Balloon
This prize-winning Australian film is a moving, youth-oriented work, featuring lovely performances by Toni Collette and Gemma Ward.
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Film Review  April 10, 2009, by Kimberley Jones
"...Speaking of said family, Collette (United States of Tara) plays the boy's mother, and she's funny and fierce and deeply moving, much like the picture on a whole. There are a few minor missteps in The Black Balloon (which has won just about every award under the sun in its native Australia, in addition to the Crystal Bear for youth-oriented films at the Berlin International Film Festival): the occasional off-putting quirk, a song-and-dance bit..."

Black Mass
Johnny Depp plays the notorious South Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger
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Film Review  September 18, 2015, by Kimberley Jones
"...It’s only a movie, right? But Bulger’s reign of terror is still fresh in the minds of his victims (or their families, in the case of those he had executed). By necessity, Black Mass begins in a hole it can never dig out of..."

Playback: White Riot, Black Identity
Crowdfunding a black punk narrative, shuttering the Houston Press, and soundtracking Enchanted Rock
Music Column  November 9, 2017, by Kevin Curtin
"...Well-meaning Caucasians in Bad Brains tees believe they're progressive when attending Jesus Piece shows, but 41 years on, punk hasn't escaped its origins of white rebellion. In an upcoming narrative short, Austin writer/director Ryan Darbonne explores black punk musicians existing in a scene that's largely white and how that fits into the larger cultural identities of people of color...."

AFCA Backs 'Black Swan'
Local film critics pick year's best
DAILY Screens  December 22, 2010, by Kimberley Jones
"...The Social Network has been dominating the awards season something fierce, but leave it to those contrarians at the Austin Film Critics Association (of which I am proud member) to buck the trend, naming Black Swan its best film of the year...."

A Celebration of Austin’s Black Cemeteries
Cemetery tour to help re-discover Austin’s lost black history
News Story  November 3, 2016, by Kahron Spearman
"...Trying to turn Bethany's fortune and calling attention to Austin's ignored places of rest is Six Square, a nonprofit representing Austin's black cultural district. The group has invited national experts, scholars, local activists, and community members to participate this week in what's being billed as The Home­coming, a celebration of Austin's black cemeter­ies..."

Sympathetic Coverage for Austin Bomber Mark Conditt
National outlets muddy moral picture
News Story  March 29, 2018, by Mary Tuma
"...While national publications did produce some dogged reporting on the saga, those same outlets' narratives of Conditt's character echo the typically soft, infantilizing, and empathetic treatment of white male suspects as compared to their black counterparts, and even victims. Bringing up petty criminal histories or drug use of black suspects while noting academic achievements and religious backgrounds of white suspects are among the stories' hallmarks...."

Backing 'Black'
The Austin Film Critics Association announces 2010 awards
Screens Story  December 24, 2010, by Kimberley Jones
"...The Austin Film Critics Association announced its top picks of the year yesterday, with Darren Aronofsky's psychosexual drama Black Swan taking Best Film and an additional four prizes, including a Best Actress win for Natalie Portman. The actress has swept virtually every critics' group awards out there for her turn as a deranged prima ballerina; indeed, her AFCA Best Actress decision was one of only two categories that didn't require a second ballot (Aaron Sorkin's win for Best Adapted Screenplay was the other early lock)..."

In Person: Mark Z. Danielewski and Poe
Chronicle writer Roger Gathman imagined Mark Z. Danielewski as "one of the roughs," because his novel, House of Leaves, is saturated in the tattoo parlor demimonde of Los Angeles. What he found is something quite different.
Books Story  November 24, 2000, by Roger Gathman
"...They clutch their newest Poe CD (Haunted) and absorb homeroom orders from the Borders manager ("Those who have brought Poe's CD must take the inner sleeve of the CD out of the jacket for Poe to sign, those who have bought the CD at Borders may present the CD jacket to be signed."). Poe, a lanky young blond woman wearing black and a yellow rain slicker, sits on a table with her brother..."

In Black and White
Jesse Jackson and Tom Wicker
Books Story  August 30, 1996
"...However familiar and even tiresomely repeated a proposition by now," writes Marshall Frady on the first page of Jesse, "it nevertheless remains the case that the fundamental American crisis is still that of race." Similarly, retired New York Times columnist Tom Wicker begins Tragic Failure with the statement that "the continuing separation of whites and blacks into hostile and unequal classes... is the fundamental cause of the political deadlock, economic inequity, and social rancor that mark American life." Both books thus begin by attempting to dispense quickly with the predominant racial reflex of white Americans: Denial that race remains a problem in the United States...."

DVDanger: Edgar Allan Poe's Black Cats
Two Italian retellings of the American horror classic
DAILY Screens  October 27, 2015, by Richard Whittaker
"...Take "The Black Cat", his 1843 short story about the declining relationship between a man and his pet. It's really a tale of the damaging influence of alcoholism on a once-sane man, up there with William Hogarth's famous 1751 etching, Gin Lane, and Charles Bukowski's Factotum..."

Almost 'On the Mark'
Postmarks  December 15, 2009
"...11]: I have been an Austin Chronicle reader (quasi … see below) for 10 years, and this is my first letter to the editor. I so enjoyed, and didn't, your article on Richard Linklater's Me and Orson Wells by Louis Black..."

Black Sheep Boys
Okkervil River navigates the headwaters of its career
Music Story  April 1, 2005, by Melanie Haupt
"..."A black sheep boy dissolves in hot cream,..."

Kind Words and Thoughts About Black
Postmarks  May 10, 2010
"...Dear Editor, It was interesting reading last week's stream-of-consciousness column by Louis Black [“Page Two,” May 7] – partly about the markers that indicate the start of summer – and Harry Knowles' letter to the editor about Black (“Knowing Black”) [“Postmarks,” May 7]. When I lived in New Orleans, we used to mark the start of summer as those minutes right after the Neville Brothers finished their set on the last Sunday of Jazz Fest..."

Linklater/Hawke/Black: The Complete Transcript
Screens Story  March 10, 2016
"...In mid-February, Ethan Hawke was in town for a two-night berth at the Austin Film Society, screening a 35mm print of Before the Devil Knows You're Dead – Sidney Lumet's last film and one of the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman's great performances – as well as taking part in a conversation with his longtime collaborator and friend Richard Linklater, who, incidentally, is the subject of a new documentary by Louis Black, Richard Linklater: dream is destiny, co-directed with Karen Bernstein. With all three screening films at the 2016 South by Southwest Film Festival, they gathered at Louis Black's home in Hyde Park for a 90-minute conversation, presented here and only lightly edited. ETHAN BEING INTERVIEWED BY RICK AND LOUIS..."

On His Mark
Richard Linklater explores the rich contradictions of artifice and reality, theatre and film, love and desire in Me and Orson Welles
Screens Story  December 11, 2009, by Louis Black
"...Linklater believes in intensely rehearsing the cast before the film starts shooting, which bears results on the screen. Regularly Linklater gets some of his veteran actors to hit career highs, including Matthew McConaughey, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Keanu Reeves, and Jack Black (his performance in School of Rock is one of his best)...."

Black's Brevity?
Postmarks  May 1, 2008
"...Louis Black, You are the man. I love the sensibility and brevity of your work and The Austin Chronicle..."

Black Is More Enemy to Kerry Than Friend
Postmarks  May 25, 2004


Smoke and Mirrors
Terry Black's isn't quite ready for the big leagues
Food Story  August 28, 2014, by Virginia B. Wood
"...Austin barbecue has been the focus of regional and national media attention for the past few years now, and the bright lights have attracted a new generation of aspiring pitmasters. After putting in some years working the pits at their family's renowned Lockhart barbecue temple, twin brothers Mike and Mark Black struck out to make their mark in the Texas capital..."

True Love and Lawsuits in the Wedding Capital of Texas
'Til death do us party
News Story  April 26, 2018, by Kate Groetzinger
"...Right after that, George heard about a public meeting hosted by Mark Black and his father Terry, of the Black barbecue family, regarding their plan to turn a property they owned in the Dripping Springs area into a wedding venue. Although the property belongs to Black Market Investments, a business entity owned by Terry Black and his sons, Mark has led efforts to develop the property..."

Love and Death in Saigon
Hey. Wait a minute, pal. Just how many Tony Leungs do we need, anyway? There are so many these days that they have to be identified by their full Cantonese...
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Film Review  June 10, 1994, by Marc Savlov
"...Tony Leung Kar-Fei (of The Lover) stars alongside Hong Kong heartthrob Chow Yun-Fat (this Tony Leung is not to be confused with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, who starred opposite Chow in John Woo's Hard Boiled) in what is actually A Better Tomorrow III (and you will of course remember that John Woo directed numbers one and two) directed by sometime-Woo-collaborator Tsui Hark, who, if memory serves, attended UT Austin some time ago. (Got that? Good… we're gonna have a quiz later.) Chow is Mark, the gangster with a heart of gold from A Better Tomorrow I and II, although this time out, director Hark has given us a prequel of sorts, set during the final days of the Vietnam war, in which we come to understand how Chow's multi-sided character came to be that way (very much along the lines of the opening to Lucas' Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where we caught young Indy first laying hands on that trusty bullwhip and fedora; here, however, we see how Mark got his cool Ray-Bans, black duster, and twin .45s)..."

Against the Grain
A profile of Bad Livers bassist Mark Rubin
Music Story  November 5, 1999, by Andy Langer
"..."You have to be very careful, because anything you do will reflect on your entire tribe. I'm certain the first black families that moved into the suburbs felt the same way..."

Sometimes Rumble, Sometimes Tumble
Joe Lansdale may be Texas' bloody answer to Mark Twain
Books Story  June 26, 2009, by Joe O'Connell
"...Lansdale, 57, readily admits that Hap Collins from Vanilla Ride – his first Hap and Leonard crime novel in eight years – is his alter ego. An idealistic but jaded former Sixties activist with both a liberal bent and a blue-collar lifestyle, Hap teams with Leonard Pine, a gay, black Vietnam vet, to whoop ass and take names in a series of East Texas-set novels, of which Vanilla Ride is the seventh..."

SXSW Announces Film Lineup
Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, Ben Wheatley's Free Fire, and more
DAILY SXSW  January 31, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...11 North American first time looks, and 51 feature debuts. The SXSW Film roster has arrived, with big features like Edgar Wright's Baby Driver, the debut of Starz's American Gods adaptation, and documentaries on subjects from the Grateful Dead to Black Lives Matter...."

The Spiderwick Chronicles
This children's fantasy holds a lot of emotional promise but get waylaid by an overabundance of CGI effects.
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Film Review  February 22, 2008, by Steve Davis
"...The Lord of the Rings trilogy managed to keep it real despite its heavily laden special effects, while more than one of the Harry Potter movies just seemed like a showcase for the technical wizardry of computer geeks. Based on the bestselling series of children’s books created by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, The Spiderwick Chronicles starts off promisingly by empathetically depicting the fear and anger children feel when their parents separate, but ultimately its human emotions are dominated by goblins, trolls, and other CGI-generated creatures running amok on the screen..."

Dear White People
This idea-packed comedy pokes holes in the notion of a post-racial America.
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Film Review  October 24, 2014, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Ostensibly, the film follows four black college students who are trying to hone their identities while students at the mythical Ivy League college Winchester University. The film’s title echoes the name of the radio show hosted by Samantha White (Thompson), a firebrand who looks and dresses like Denise Huxtable..."

Natural Selection
This locally shot black comedy examines the bizarre feedback loop that exists among celebrity psychopaths, the increasingly tabloidized mainstream news media, and, not least, our own bad selves.
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Film Review  February 4, 2000, by Russell Smith
"...That said, I'm not sure the actual fruit of Bristol's labors isn't as much a part of the problem as the solution. This locally shot black comedy, like Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers, examines the bizarre feedback loop that exists among celebrity psychopaths, the increasingly tabloidized mainstream news media, and, not least, our own bad selves, the slavering, goonish consumers for whom no meaningful line exists between entertainment and real life..."

AFF Knows We Like to Watch
Local film Harmony and Me tops sneak peek at festival lineup
DAILY Screens  August 26, 2009, by Kimberley Jones
"...Is it just us, or is the Austin Film Festival doing some kind of an elaborate dance of the seven veils? It seems every week there's some new tantalizing goody revealed about the upcoming fest. This week's tasty bit: AFF announced today ten titles from this year's lineup, including three intriguing-sounding documentaries about black comedy (Robert Townsend's Why We Laugh), screenwriting (Peter Hanson's Tales From the Script), and the 2008 national party conventions (Barry Levinson's Poliwood)..."

Undercover Brother
How do you parody a genre that as often as not is so over the top as to effectively be a parody of itself already? Lee (cousin to Spike) tackles...
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Film Review  June 7, 2002, by Marc Savlov
"...Starring: Gary Anthony Williams, Chi Mcbride, Billy Dee Williams, Neil Patrick Harris, Aunjanue Ellis, David Chappelle, Denise Richards, Chris Kattan and Eddie Griffin. How do you parody a genre that as often as not is so over the top as to effectively be a parody of itself already? Lee (cousin to Spike) tackles the blaxploitation films of the Seventies with enough good-humored gusto to pull this one off somehow, thanks in large part to Eddie Griffin's irresistibly cool panache and an above-average script (by John Ridley and Michael McCullers) that takes color-blind potshots at everything black, white, and all shades of gray without ever devolving into the kind of infantile scatological humor that's marred so many comedies of this stripe since the Zucker-Abrahams team behind the Airplane! series finally hung up their wings..."

Brassed Off!
Robust, combative, big-souled, and unapologetically maudlin, Mark Herman's Brassed Off! draws its blood from the same universal workingman's heart as the English coal-mining culture it portrays. The semi-fictional story is...
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Film Review  June 13, 1997, by Russell Smith
"...These troubles are epidemic, though, with families and marriages cracking up over money problems and his own son being menaced by loan sharks. Not even a worsening case of black lung can distract Danny from his dream of leading Grimley to the All-England championship..."

The Big Year
Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson co-star in this comedy about competitive birdwatchers.
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Film Review  October 21, 2011, by Kimberley Jones
"...Directed by: David Frankel. Starring: Jack Black, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Rashida Jones, Rosamund Pike, Kevin Pollak, Joel McHale, Tim Blake Nelson and Anjelica Huston...."

Anchoress
Striking visuals and a theme that transcends its 14th-century setting mark Chris Newby's debut film Anchoress. The film's screenplay is loosely based on two letters from the late 1300s that...
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Film Review  September 23, 1994, by Alison Macor
"...Director Newby visualized the design of the film as a western, making use of the genre's spatial dynamics (open plains, isolated homesteads) to illustrate visually the struggle between Christianity and paganism. Shot in black-and-white, the film's beauty is magnificent..."

Envy
Director Barry Levinson tackles the human vice of envy in this comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jack Black.
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Film Review  May 7, 2004, by Marc Savlov
"...Directed by: Barry Levinson. Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler and Christopher Walken..."

Life as a House
This family melodrama is as subtle as a load of bricks and occasionally as painful, but it offers two of the most finely tuned acting performances yet this year: that...
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Film Review  November 2, 2001, by Marrit Ingman
"...Cancer-stricken George (Kline) begins the film as a standard-issue Hollywood eccentric: He infuriates his neighbors on a tony, seaside Orange County cul-de-sac by urinating outside his shack-like house, and he works at a suitably whimsical job (architectural modeling done entirely by hand, complete with tiny thatches of faux grass lovingly glued into place). Sam (Christensen) begins the film as a conventional Troubled Goth Teen: Heavily pierced, black-clad, and bedaubed with Urban Decay eyeshadow, he huffs fumes in his room and considers a summer job in gay hustling..."

Crazy in Alabama
There's something deliciously off-kilter about Melanie Griffith in Crazy in Alabama: her breathy cadence, that coy uncertainty in her voice, and her delicate beauty all perfectly embody the slightly addled...
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Film Review  October 22, 1999, by Steve Davis
"...Directed by: Antonio Banderas. Starring: Fannie Flagg, Noah Emmerich, Robert Wagner, Richard Schiff, Rod Steiger, Meat Loaf Aday, Cathy Moriarity, Lucas Black, David Morse and Melanie Griffith..."

Twin Town
Produced by Andrew MacDonald and Danny Boyle -- the pair who brought us Trainspotting and Shallow Grave -- this feature debut by former documentarian Allen is a drug-fueled, nihilistic, free-for-all...
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Film Review  June 20, 1997, by Marc Savlov
"...Produced by Andrew MacDonald and Danny Boyle -- the pair who brought us Trainspotting and Shallow Grave -- this feature debut by former documentarian Allen is a drug-fueled, nihilistic, free-for-all ride through the streets and alleys of modern-day Swansea, South Wales. While at first glance, Twin Town appears to be a direct continuation of Trainspotting -- right down to its mordant black humor and over-the-top drug use -- it's a far more scattershot affair..."

The Dark Tower
Roland the Gunslinger hits the big screen
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Film Review  August 11, 2017, by Marc Savlov
"...The plot is borderline indecipherable to the uninitiated, but I’ll give it a go. Young Jake Chambers (Taylor), a smart, artistic kid living just outside of New York City, suffers from terrifying dreams of another world in which Roland (Elba), a gunslinger straight out of Zane Grey, tracks the Man in Black (McConaughey) as the latter attempts to destroy the titular tower that rests at the center of all realities..."

Crimson Peak
Guillermo del Toro goes Gothic, but falls short
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Film Review  October 16, 2015, by Marc Savlov
"...Early on, she meets and is smitten with one of her industrialist father’s potential clients, the English baronet Thomas Sharpe (Hiddleston), who’s arrived in Buffalo seeking funding for a engineering project in his native Cumberland. He and his sister Lucille (Chastain, cool as black ice) end up returning to their crumbling ancestral manse with Edith and her money (they hope) in tow..."

Food-o-File
The barbecue beat, plus big news for the Omelettry
Food Column  March 21, 2014, by Virginia B. Wood
"...The national attention garnered by Austin's homegrown barbecue joints and the overall Texas barbecue renaissance has inspired expansion plans among longtime Central Texas barbecue stalwarts. Kent Black, of Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, told us recently he's making progress with his foray into San Marcos, where he's opening a barbecue restaurant with a scenic beer garden later this year..."

Brawl in the Family
It's Round 10 of the Rude Mechanicals' annual fundraiser, and the Black Eye Ball promises to pack enough punch to send a herd of Santa Gertrudis to Slumberland
Arts Story  August 19, 2005, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...The acclaimed theatre company continues to break artistic ground and fill seats in its newly redecorated Eastside venue, it's been on the road and in the planes, and now 2005's iteration of its annual celebration is going to smack you upside the entertainment plexus. You have an ox you need stunned? Bring it to the Black Eye Ball, a fundraiser that'll pack enough punch to send half a herd of Santa Gertrudis to Slumberland..."

Food-O-File
Another day, another barbecue dynasty fracas
Food Column  November 22, 2013, by Virginia B. Wood
"...They really need a good brick-and-mortar spot in which to expand their pit capacity... Another multigeneration contingent of a venerable Lockhart barbecue family announced their intention to take on the Austin market last week when brothers Mark and Michael Black (great-grandsons of Edgar Black Sr.) hung a banner on the old Holiday House (1003 Barton Springs Rd.) proclaiming "Black's Barbecue – A Lockhart Family Tradition – Coming Soon." However, Eric Lenderman, operations manager of the original Black's Barbecue (215 N..."

Perry Names New Press Staff
Gov. hires old Dewhurst spokesman to head up his communications staff.
DAILY News  August 21, 2008, by Richard Whittaker
"...Gov. Rick Perry has appointed former lobbyist Mark Miner to replace his outgoing director of communications Robert Black..."

Shanghai Noon
After more than 70 films, Jackie Chan has finally met his match, and wouldn't you know, it's Owen Wilson (UT acting alum and Wes Anderson's writing partner). With his scruffy...
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Film Review  May 26, 2000, by Marc Savlov
"...There's no way to overstate just how good Wilson is in this film. As winningly inept train robber Roy O'Bannon, his goofy, laconic delivery matches his tired black chaps and fringed rawhide jacket to a tee: He's Robert Redford's Sundance Kid filtered through a hickory haze of Woody Allen quirks, hanging on to his last vestige of male pride as all those around him head off for greener pastures..."

Playback: Austin’s Rarest Vinyl
Want exclusive vinyl for Record Store Black Friday? Check out some of Austin's rarest wax.
Music Column  November 21, 2017, by Kevin Curtin
"...In the spirit of bullshit consumer holiday Black Friday, "Playback" presents a list of some of Austin's most precious vinyl. Whereas today labels release super-limited runs to incite collectability, these largely private press editions were put out in small batches because minimal finances and fan bases dictated it..."

Amy
Doc about the life of Amy Winehouse is revelatory, amusing, and deeply devastating
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Film Review  July 10, 2015, by Marc Savlov
"...They should have stopped when she died of alcohol poisoning at the age of 27 four years ago this month, and really, they never should have begun. Watching a supremely talented hot mess spiral downward into the black maw of too much, too soon, isn’t merely the great American pastime, but the not-so-great human pastime..."

Man of Tai Chi
Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut sizzles with mandible-cracking action, political intrigue, and electrifying martial physicality.
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Film Review  November 1, 2013, by Marc Savlov
"...Clad in black, Reeves plays the villainous, cash-heavy Yank Donaka Mark, who ensnares Chen’s pure-of-heart Tai Chi fighter in a slimy underground fight club. True to the tropes of the chopsocky morality plays produced by the Shaw Brothers Studios, there’s a vengeance/redemption heartbeat at the crimson core of the film...."

Much Ado About Nothing
With Shakespearean language tripping off their contemporary tongues, the actors are more than game for Joss Whedon's informal, black-and-white take on this classic comedy.
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Film Review  June 21, 2013, by Steve Davis
"...Shot in just 12 days, the black-and-white Much Ado About Nothing is the antidote to Whedon’s Marvel Comics franchise. (He’s traded the blockbuster for the little movie, the superhero for Hero.) Set in an affluent, tree-lined Los Angeles suburb (Brentwood, perhaps?), the film takes place over the course of a weekend party in which the guests drink martinis, roast marshmallows, and conga late into the night..."

War, Inc.
John Cusack's War, Inc. rails against the military-industrial complex in a barely disguised contemporary story about covert operations.
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Film Review  June 13, 2008, by Marc Savlov
"...War, Inc. is a black-ops satire crossbred from the cine-genes of Dr..."

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