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David Kanowsky

Stories by David

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Movie Review: The Girl in the Spider’s Web a third-rate thriller

So now we have the return of that Swedish young woman with the dragon tattoo, in a sequel to the three films of the Stieg Larsson novels. It happens very often that a sequel, produced off the mainstream of the originals, is of less quality than the originals. The Girl in the Spider’s Web fits that appraisal, and below.

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‘The Guilty’ a good movie for Hitchcock fans

Here is a film that has some unusual features and has been lauded all year on the international film festival circuit.

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The Sisters Brothers: A ‘Gold Rush’ of a story

John C. Reilly, once again emerges from the shadows of supporting roles (as he did in Chicago, 2002) and shines in The Sisters Brothers.

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Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga superb in 'A Star is Born'

Bradley Cooper, in his directorial debut, has undertaken a courageous task in piloting this film. A Star is Born has been made at least three times in previous generations — in 1937, 1954 and 1976.

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A Simple Favor misses mark on Hitchcockian plot twists

A Simple Favor proved to be a disappointment for me. I was expecting a film that had suspense, about a missing friend, and some humor in the dialog between the two friends. That is what seemed to be promised in the promos and the trailer.

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Operation Finale recounts efforts to bring Holocaust architect to justice

There have been several movies over the years that attempt to display the horror of the Holocaust. Sometimes the focus is on the plight of an individual or a family or a village.

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Review: Crazy Rich Asians hardly original, but well done

Crazy Rich Asians is a pleasant film that has some very nice features in it. The entire cast are Asian actors, the music background and for dancing is all western, familiar and modern. Most of the story takes place in Singapore and we get spectacular views of the structures that make Singapore unique in the modern architectural world.

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BlacKkKlansman a first-rate suspense drama

BLACKkKLANSMAN is based on a true story of events in Colorado Springs in the 1970’s. It deals with the conflict between the Ku Klux Klan and the city police.

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Christopher Robin offers treatise on priorities in life

There is a lot of pleasure that may be derived from Christopher Robin. But there is a lot of the movie that misses the target, namely the two types of audience.

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Three Indentical Strangers reveals questionable practices of adoption agency

Three Identical Strangers is a documentary film centered around the story of three triplets separated at birth and put up for adoption in New York in the early 1960’s.

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Mamma Mia an absolute cinema delight

Who could forget that 2008 very entertaining film, with its big-name stars, its music and dancing and its Greek island setting.

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‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ a fine tribute to a much-loved man

Fred Rogers firmly believed that the world could be vastly improved if all the people were to honor and respect the life of every individual.

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The Seagull an unfolding of tense fragile relationships

The Seagull is a film based on the play written by Anton Chekhov in 1895.

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‘Oceans 8’ promises more than it delivers

Ocean’s 8 is another in the series of high-powered caper stories that promises more than it delivers. The major added feature here is that the team of thieves, all experts, are women.

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The Rider is first-class cinema with excellent story line

The Rider is based on real people and events, with a cast of players who never appeared in a movie before. Director Chloé Zhao was ready to sign a rodeo star to appear in her next film.

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‘Finding Your Feet’ will make you make you laugh, cry and applaud

Finding Your Feet is a British film that gives us a very great deal of pleasure. It achieves a rank of excellence to match The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (1 & 2) for its humor, its melodrama, its appealing and lovable characters.

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Review: Tully takes on traumas of motherhood

At the start of this film, we are focused on a woman who is pregnant and close to giving birth. She’s married and she has two young children — a charming girl and a boy who is borderline autistic. This third child was unplanned for by Marlo (Charlize Theron) and her husband, Drew (Ron Livingston).

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The Leisure Seeker depicts rewards, trials of aging

We have here the type of film that seems to be hard to find these days. The Leisure Seeker is about an elderly couple who have been married for almost a half-century.

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Isle of Dogs a masterpiece in animation

Isle of Dogs takes place in Japan in the future. The central location is Megasaki, a seaside city dominated by a not-nice mayor.

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Chappaquiddick recounts Kennedy manslaughter incident

Chappaquiddick is the island in Massachusetts where, in July, 1969, the car driven by Senator Ted Kennedy with Mary Jo Kopechne as passenger went off a narrow bridge into the water.

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Love Simon thought-provoking, fun to watch

Love, Simon is an appealing story about teenagers who are not being crushed by the usual adolescent inner turbulence. Their home lives seem OK and their schoolwork is satisfactory.

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The 1517 to Paris a study in life moments in midst of tragedy

The 15:17 to Paris is a film based on real facts that occurred in 2015 aboard a passenger train on its way to Paris. A terrorist had boarded the train, with the intent of mass murder of hundreds of passengers.

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Strong characters carry the story of ‘Phantom Thread’

Daniel Day-Lewis has announced he is retiring from motion pictures. Once again, as he gives us his valediction in this film, we see why he has been so renowned on screen.

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Movie Review: ‘I, Tonya’ is excellent, holds our attention

The 1994 incident that involved the attack on skater Nancy Kerrigan is well known to most people who were around at that time. 

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Movie Review: True story, fine performances make ‘Molly’s Game’ worthwhile

Molly’s Game is a movie based on the true story of a woman who was a substantial person, with outstanding accomplishments and some heroic deeds.

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‘The Post’ a well-known story, but never slow nor dull

The Post tells a story that is well known, but it never feels slow or dull. That’s because it is an exciting real story and because of the quality of the film.

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‘Darkest Hour’ keeps us on edge of our seats

Darkest Hour is a depiction of a few weeks that changed — saved— the free world.

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‘The Shape of Water’ a very satisfying drama

The Shape of Water is a fantasy film with toned-down unreal images so we do not see swarms of CGI things crashing and smashing each other for two hours.

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‘The Greatest Showman’ a thoroughly entertaining film

The Greatest Showman also has a story with the musical stars playing roles in a quasi-biography of P. T. Barnum of circus fame.

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Big acting by 5-inch Damon in ‘Downsizing’

Downsizing is a film that uses a sci-fi theme to portray the odyssey of a man who is trying to make more sense of his life.

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Movie Review: Wanna-be comedy 'Just Getting Started' short on laughs

Morgan Freeman as Duke, Tommy Lee Jones as Leo and Rene Russo as Suzie star in Just Getting Started, a quasi-comic film that, while not a complete flop, has a bit of entertainment value. But just a bit.

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Lady Bird is brilliantly written, superbly acted

Greta Gerwig wrote the script for and directed this film. Lady Bird is the story of a teen age girl and the travails she experiences in her high school senior year.

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Wonder absolutely uplifting, but definitely bring a tissue

Wonder is a formulaic feel-good movie that follows the recipe of many films that we have seen over the years.

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Movie Review: First-rate cinematic values in Murder on the Orient Express

Murder on the Orient Express is a remake of the 1974 film version of Agatha Christie’s masterpiece novel.

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Goodbye Christopher Robin offers fine acting, fact-based story

Goodbye Christopher Robin displays the work, the world and the worries of Alan Alexander Milne who is familiar to most people. A. A. Milne is the writer from England who authored the series of children’s books starting with Winnie the Pooh.

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Movie Review: ‘Only the Brave’ tells story of elite firefighting crew who lost their lives in Yarnell

Only the Brave is the story of the elite firefighting crew that lost their lives in a historically large wildfire in Arizona in 2013.

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Judi Dench worth price of admission alone in Victoria & Abdul

Well, here’s another reason to be thankful for the presence of Judi Dench. This is her second portrayal of Queen Victoria. The other was the excellent Mrs. Brown in 1997, in which she befriends one of her servants.

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Battle of the Sexes relives famous King-Riggs tennis match

Battle of the Sexes tells us the story of the match and the drama behind the match and the agony felt by Billie Jean and Bobby leading up to the match. Battle of the Sexes is an excellent portrayal of those events, with very fine performances by the two leads and the major supporting actors.

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Home Again certainly pleasant, hardly memorable

It is always a pleasure to see Reese Witherspoon brighten a movie screen, but that charm does not help lift Home Again to be more than a mediocre film in which almost every scene is predictable.

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Lack of a coherent, credible story sinks Tulip Fever

In the Netherlands, in the early 1600s, there was a phenomenon taking place called tulip-mania. The lovely flower had been brought from Asia to the Netherlands, which was a leading economic power at that time.

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Logan Lucky a new twist on Ocean’s Eleven plot

Logan Lucky is an interesting variance on the Hollywood practice of making movies that are sequels, or remakes of popular films of the past. Director Steven Soderbergh has put a new twist on that strategy. He gives us, in Logan Lucky, a replay of his successful Ocean’s Eleven (2001) that takes place in a different world.

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Solid performances all around in Wind River

Wind River in Wyoming is one of the largest Native American Reservations. In this movie, based on real events, Jeremy Renner plays a wildlife tracker, Cory Lambert. He is a resident of the reservation. He was married to a Native American woman and had two children.

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Hitman’s Bodyguard heavy on action, short on substance

The Hitman’s Bodyguard is a very noisy, international killing adventure with guns of all sorts being fired almost continuously. And between gun battles, there are killings by lots of other means — knife, club, martial arts, etc.

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Glass Castle chronicles family’s plight of father’s alcoholism

An outstanding cast delivers outstanding performances in The Glass Castle, the true-to-life story about a troubled family, unaware of their sad plight. The movie is based on the memoir of Jeannette Walls, one of the children in the family who grew up to be a successful magazine columnist in New York. That role, played by Ella Anderson as a child and Brie Larson as the adult, provides the perspective of the story.

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Atomic Blonde all about martial arts, groin-kicking, back stabbing and head smashing

Charlize Theron, the very beautiful and talented actress, has embraced the Jason Bourne genre of films, and under director David Leitch taken it a few steps up. In Atomic Blonde, Theron is Lorraine Broughton, a British M-16 espionage operative, sent to Berlin on a mission.

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The Big Sick offers solid drama spiced with comedic flair

The Big Sick is a story about a couple who meet and fall in love. They are of the ‘millennial’ generation and the story is embedded in that culture. As much as they feel for each other, we don’t hear the words, “I love you” and there is no commitment or mention of marriage. This atmosphere is not disturbing, nor does it detract from the fine quality of the film.

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‘Beguiled’ presents issues, keeps viewer wondering

The Beguiled is not like so many current films with heavy concentration on action, destruction and massive shootouts. There are many scenes with lots of suspense but that is founded more on personalities and the plot is loaded with mostly quiet sexual tensions.

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Baby Driver loaded with action and excitement

In this film season, when emphasis is on features aimed at younger audiences, Baby Driver fits into that class, but at a much higher level of quality, interest and sophistication. Baby Driver is loaded with action and excitement without the use of computer generated images. The story keeps our attention sharply, often as we cling to the edge of our seats. And for sophistication, the characters are not simply dumb, crooked robots.

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Great performance by Mara in ‘Megan Leavey’

Megan Leavey is a movie based on the true story of a woman in the Marines and the dog she leads in detecting explosives and firearms. It is an outstanding film with a great performance by Kate Mara who plays the title character. The war scenes are in local skirmishes, away from major battlefields, and introduced with nail-biting suspense.

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‘Woman of steel devoted to justice and peace’

Wonder Woman is a film that brings some mixed feelings about watching it for 2+ hours. There are the traditional segments of intense, over-the-top action, with extensive crash-bang CGI sequences that adhere to the legend of the woman of wonder. She is the super hero ‘woman of steel’ devoted to justice and peace. There is nothing I would criticize about this aspect of the film. It is what to expect if you have followed any of Wonder Woman’s career since her comic book inception in the mid-1940s.

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