Screeners

THE LINGERING SCURGE OF RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC HATE

THE LINGERING SCURGE OF RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC HATE

By | April 19, 2017 at 10:12 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: THE PROMISE Directed by Academy Award winner Terry George (“Hotel Rwanda”) and based on a true story, this heartfelt and unflinchingly honest film is about the barbarian Ottoman Turks murder of 1.5 million Armenians in World War...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 04/20 - 04/26 2017

GEEZER GANG STRIKES AGAIN! 

GEEZER GANG STRIKES AGAIN! 

By | April 12, 2017 at 6:40 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons  NOW PLAYING: GOING IN STYLE The real – and only attraction here is the great cast.  But other than that, the film is a let down – especially if you were expecting big laughs from a crude and rude storyline. This update of 1979’s...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 04/13 - 04/19 2017

CYBER SOUL SURVIVOR

CYBER SOUL SURVIVOR

By | April 5, 2017 at 4:07 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: GHOST IN THE SHELL Mamoru’s 1995 same-name Japanimation masterpiece is a certified cult favorite.  When the live action reboot was announced, there was considerable controversy when Scarlett  Johansson was named for the lead...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 04/06 - 04/12 2017

ANOTHER KIND OF MARTIAN MENACE

ANOTHER KIND OF MARTIAN MENACE

By | March 29, 2017 at 4:35 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: LIFE The six-member multi-ethnic crew of the International Space Station take delivery of a Martian soil sample only to discover there’s evidence of life on the red planet – a harmless single-celled organism the crew names...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 03/30 - 04/05 2017

MORE BEAST, LESS BEAUTY

MORE BEAST, LESS BEAUTY

By | March 22, 2017 at 7:45 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST  Not my favorite Disney fairy tale or animated movie, but a watchable live action remake.  Emma Watson has an almost perfect look, she is a true beauty and radiates a sweet charisma every second she’s on...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 03/23 - 03/29 2017

FIGHTING PRIMORDIAL BEASTS

FIGHTING PRIMORDIAL BEASTS

By | March 15, 2017 at 8:20 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: KONG SKULL ISLAND Not really a prequel or a sequel but rather a Kong story set in a parallel time stream, so it doesn’t; really matter if you are up to date on the cinematic chronology of the great ape we first learned to love on the...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 03/16 - 03/22 2017

THE LAST MUTANT RISES

THE LAST MUTANT RISES

By | March 8, 2017 at 2:05 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: LOGAN Already a massive hit with audiences and critics alike, this final Wolverine outing is the best of all.  Hugh Jackman’s tenth turn as Wolverine is surprisingly subtle, heartfelt, psychologically compelling and emotionally...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 03/09 - 03/15 2017

FIRST “BEST MOVIE”

FIRST “BEST MOVIE”

By | March 1, 2017 at 1:56 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons Like the Super Bowl, the Oscar© are hard to not watch.  I guess at least for the past several decades we have been conditioned through repetition to experience en masse these two near liturgical American rites.  It must be some kind of primitive...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 03/02 - 03/08 2017

MY OSCAR© PICKS

MY OSCAR© PICKS

By | February 22, 2017 at 1:40 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons  I am not an Academy member, although some of my friends are and have shared with me their favorites -- which always results in a lively discussion.  However, I have seen almost all the nominated films except for some of the Animated and Live...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 02/23 - 03/01 2017

KOREAN CULTURE CLASH

KOREAN CULTURE CLASH

By | February 15, 2017 at 2:10 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons The Handmaiden From celebrated director Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, Thirst and Stoker) comes this ravishing crime drama. The story is set in 1930s Korea when a thief goes to work as an heiress’s handmaiden.  Thus begins a lush,...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 02/16 - 02/22 2017

LONG LIVE SUBVERSIVE ANIMATION!

LONG LIVE SUBVERSIVE ANIMATION!

By | February 8, 2017 at 4:48 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD The Complete Collection Attention fartknockers!  Creator Mike Judge’s beloved slackers are back.  When these two subversive nihilistic misfits first appeared on MTV more than a decade ago, critics dismissed them as brain...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 02/09 - 02/15 2017

FOUR FINE FOREIGN FLICKS TO FIND

FOUR FINE FOREIGN FLICKS TO FIND

By | February 1, 2017 at 2:10 am | No comments

By Robin E, Simmons Not all these terrific films are playing locally, but keep an eye out for them at your neighborhood art theater and various streaming sites.  Several of these titles were big hits art our just completed Palm Springs International Film Festival. If you...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 02/02 - 02/08 2017

FUL THROTTLE DIESEL!

FUL THROTTLE DIESEL!

By | January 25, 2017 at 8:15 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE  If you’re as hooked as I am on movies that trigger an adrenaline rush, then you will welcome this fix to your addiction.  There are no doubt the extreme sports stunts on display here deliver the...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 01/26 - 02/01 2017

POETIC DRIVER

POETIC DRIVER

By | January 18, 2017 at 11:52 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: PATERSON I loved this beautiful, satisfying and touching film. It’s easily one of writer/director Jim Jarmusch's most accomplished, if not his best movie so far. In tone, structure and theme, there’s a sweet affection and sublime...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 01/19 - 01/25 2017

DO THE MATH

DO THE MATH

By | January 11, 2017 at 11:10 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: Last week at the PSIFF someone asked me, “Do movies matter?”  I said, “Yes, absolutely.  We need stories to understand who we are, our relationship to the planet and each other.”  I thought of that question again when...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 01/12 - 01/18 2017

WHEN GOD IS QUIET

WHEN GOD IS QUIET

By | January 4, 2017 at 11:08 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: SILENCE  For nearly thirty years, Oscar© winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese has had Japanese novelist Shusaku Endo’s tale of a 17th-century Jesuit Missionary faced with the dilemma of whether or not to apostatize on his to-do list...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 01/05 - 01/11 2017

FAITH & FEAR

FAITH & FEAR

By | December 28, 2016 at 5:55 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons A MONSTER CALL Director J.A. Bayona (“The Orphanage,” “The Impossible”) and screenwriter Patrick Ness adapt Ness’ own award-winning children’s book, which was a project left unfinished by the late Siobhan Dowd.  The plot adheres to...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 12/29 2016 - 01/04 2017

BEST BETS: BIG & SMALL SCREEN

By | December 22, 2016 at 11:30 am | No comments

By Robin E.Simmons ROGUE ONE  Clearly, the “Star Wars” legacy has permeated global pop culture and the saturation point appears to still be far, far away.  George Lucas has given birth to what is almost a religion and the “Force” remains a potent element...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 12/22 - 12/28 2016

BREAKING THE RULES

BREAKING THE RULES

By | December 14, 2016 at 8:12 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: RULES DON”T APPLY It’s no secret that Warren Beatty has nurtured a long-held passion (or is it a compulsion?) to star and direct in a feature film biography of the notoriously eccentric billionaire industrialist, pilot, filmmaker,...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners, Week 12/15 - 12/21 2016

MS SLOANE SLAYS

MS SLOANE SLAYS

By | December 7, 2016 at 9:20 pm | No comments

NOW PLAYING: MISS SLOANE This is a dense political drama set in the high stakes world of power-brokers and lobbyists. Under John Madden’s tight direction, Jessica Chastain plays Elizabeth Sloane, a crafty and determined gun lobbyist who is committed to win no matter the...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

A BOUNTY OF CLASSIC HOME VID TITLES

A BOUNTY OF CLASSIC HOME VID TITLES

By | November 30, 2016 at 4:10 am | No comments

By Robin E Simmons   MOBY DICK (1956) For its 60th anniversary, John Huston’s lauded adaptation of Herman Melville’s mighty sea saga of obsession and madness debuts on hi-def in a presentation meticulously retimed referencing an archival Library of Congress...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

SPELL BOUND

SPELL BOUND

By | November 22, 2016 at 5:10 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM No longer set in Great Britain, this new story based in the world of Harry Potter unfolds in 1926 New York decades before Harry and his pals enrolled in Hogwart’s wizard academy. The movie...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

OUT OF THIS WORLD

OUT OF THIS WORLD

By | November 16, 2016 at 9:14 am | No comments

NOW PLAYING: ARRIVAL Alien invasions and extraterrestrial visitors are a staple of vintage sci-fi paperbacks and classic mostly low budget films from the 1950s.  Remember “The Man from Planet X”? Director Denis Villeneuve’s (“Sicario,” “Prisoners”)...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIER!

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIER!

By | November 9, 2016 at 9:10 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: HACKSAW RIDGE When it comes to directing war films, Mel Gibson has proven himself among the best of the best. From BRAVEHEART to APOCALYPTO, Gibson has created hours of gripping entertainment that showcases rousing stories of blood, guts...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

DANTE’S FLAME BARELY BURNS

DANTE’S FLAME BARELY BURNS

By | November 2, 2016 at 11:25 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: INFERNO Walking out of a local theater showing this film, I heard a patron say, “The only mystery in Inferno is how this piece of crap movie got made.”  Harsh words indeed, but I totally agree with this overheard...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

AUTISTIC AUDITOR UNCOOKS THE BOOKS

AUTISTIC AUDITOR UNCOOKS THE BOOKS

By | October 28, 2016 at 12:50 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING:   THE ACCOUNTANT  Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a math savant whose skills as an accountant in a small town strip mall allows him to work in secret for some of the world’s most dangerous criminals. When Wolff uncooks...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

NEW RETRO THRILLERS FOR HI-DEF HOME VIEWING

NEW RETRO THRILLERS FOR HI-DEF HOME VIEWING

By | October 20, 2016 at 8:40 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons  Film buffs and collectors everywhere are grateful for the handful of boutique home video distributors (besides Criterion) that have licensed, transferred -- and in some cases restored -- vintage films for the highest quality home theater experience.  To...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

BEYOND WHIMSY

BEYOND WHIMSY

By | October 6, 2016 at 11:22 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN From director Tim Burton singular vision and based on Ransom Rigg’s 2011 best selling YA novel, comes this visually rich, almost hallucinogenic adventure.  Jake is a teen misunderstood by...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

PC POSSE RIDES!

PC POSSE RIDES!

By | September 28, 2016 at 9:30 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN Director Antoine Fuqua lays on a contemporary patina on his western action drama reboot of 1960’s The Magnificent Seven which was in turn a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s classic 1954 film about hired mercenaries...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

HERO OR TRAITOR?

HERO OR TRAITOR?

By | September 21, 2016 at 12:46 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: SNOWDEN The first thing I did when I got home after watching “SNOWDEN” at the newly refurbished Mary Pickford Theater was to stick a piece of masking tape over the camera lens of my laptop computer. I love paranoid thrillers and...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS!

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS!

By | September 15, 2016 at 3:12 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: SULLY Clint Eastwood’s 35th feature film as a director is a thrilling, taught, tense and swiftly paced tribute to a modern, self-effacing hero. Tom Hanks is perfectly cast as airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who successfully...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

ANIMATED MYTHIC HEROES

ANIMATED MYTHIC HEROES

By | September 8, 2016 at 1:00 am | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Kubo and the Two Strings matches its incredible animation with an absorbing -- and bravely melancholy -- story that has something to offer audiences of all ages. Kubo and the Two Strings is a colorful,...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

THE ART OF FEAR

THE ART OF FEAR

By | September 1, 2016 at 2:48 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: DON’T BREATHE I think it was Alfred Hitchcock who said the secret of suspense is the friction of hope and fear rubbing together. I have always appreciated the art of creating fear whether in books or movies. I love this very smart and...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

A BOY AND HIS DRAGON

A BOY AND HIS DRAGON

By | August 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: PETE’S DRAGON “But it is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea Disney has had great good luck mining it’s own archives to redo, reboot or upgrade its more...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners

GOOD BAD GUYS?

GOOD BAD GUYS?

By | August 11, 2016 at 5:50 pm | No comments

By Robin E. Simmons NOW PLAYING: SUICIDE SQUAD I was hoping that the colorful, fluorescent font used in the opening credits heralded a more cartoony, comic book look for the movie to come. But being true to its source material, and the writer-director David Ayer’s...

Posted in: Columns, Screeners