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And topping the list for those lucky enough to be near a theater showing it is EAST SIDE SUSHI, Anthony Lucero’s winning tale of Juana, a single Latino mother with killer knife skills who dreams of being a sushi chef. As a meditation about dreams, determination, and embracing change, it has few peers. Plus, there’s a star-making performance by DIana Elizabeth Torres as Juana, and cinematography that explains the irresistible lure of Japanese food. You WILL want sushi after seeing it. Click here for the interview with Lucero. Click here to find out where it’s playing.
For those of us who remember the pop-culture phenomenon that was the 1972 Fischer-Spassky chess match, PAWN SACRIFICE is the behind-the-scenes story of all the drama, political and psychological, that was not reported at the time. Tobey Maguire’s performance as troubled chess genius Bobby Fischer is bold, but never reckless, while as his nemesis, Soviet World Champion Boris Spassky, Liev Schreiber is the walking embodiment of Russian melancholy and black humor. My review is here.
If you haven’t seen the whip smart comedy GRANDMA yet, what are you waiting for? Lily Tomlin gives the performance of a lifetime as a woman on a day-long odyssey with her granddaughter in search of the cold hard cash the younger woman desperately needs. Tomlin is in every frame of the story, sarcastic, vulnerable, tough, wise, foolish, sentimental, stubborn, and stubbornly, beautifully, perfect in her imperfections. My review is here. My interview with Tomlin and writer/director Paul Weitz is here.
STEVE JOBS was the stuff of legend before his untimely passing in 2011. There’s already been one feature film about his life starring Ashton Kutcher (review here) and one in the pipeline starring Michael Fassbender (interview with him for SHAME here). For now, there Alex Gibney’s documentary illuminating doc, STEVE JOBS: THE MAN IN THE MACHINE, about the good, the bad, the brilliant, and the infuriating about the man who founded Apple Computers and changed the way we related to technology. My review is here.
Hell may have frozen over and I say that because M. Night Shyamalan has made a tidy, and funny, horror film in THE VISIT. The former wunderkind was written off by many of us as a flash in the pan after he followed up the terrific THE SIXTH SENSE with a series of increasingly inept films culminating in THE LAST AIRBENDER and AFTER EARTH. THE VISIT, however, is genuinely terrifying as it pits compassion against insanity when two kids visit their grandparents at a remote farmhouse. All intimations of Hansel and Gretel intentional. My review is here.