Disney's "Moana" tops U.S. box office with $81 million over the Thanksgiving weekend
"Dr. Strange" surpasses "Iron Man" as 9th highest grossing Marvel movie worldwide.
Wide releases this week: Disney's "Moana", Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard in "Allied", Billy Bob Thornton in "Bad Santa 2"

Moonlight Review

Category: Drama | Writer: Ali Amad | Published on 4/1/2017


Coming off a barrage of boycotts and hashtags (remember #OscarsSoWhite?) accusing it of white-centric elitism in 2016, the Academy duly adjusted this year with no less than three heavily African-American films amongst the Best Picture nominees: Hidden Figures, Fences (which is reviewed here) and the surprise (and controversial) winner, Moonlight.

Now, it’s of my opinion that Fences is the better film, but it’s easy to see why Moonlight won. It’s the kind of awards circuit film that promoters dream about, with two minorities in the LGBT and black communities for the price of one ticket. Moonlight is also arguably the more important film of this year’s nine nominees, and the Oscars, for all its READ MORE

Fences Review

Category: Drama | Writer: Ali Amad | Published on 2/17/2017


Fences is one of those movie adaptations I would place in the following category: unnecessary, but with a caveat.

Unlike most adaptations these past few years (Battleship and John Carter come to mind), Fences is a truly worthwhile venture, even if there is virtually nothing in the movie version that expands cinematically on its source material. But the fact remains that cinema can reach an audience most plays, even those from as prominent an American playwright as August Wilson, can rarely aspire to reach.

Reprising their Tony Award-winning lead roles from the 2010 revival of the 1983 play, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis do some incredible work in Fences. Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, READ MORE

Split Review

Category: Thriller | Writer: Ali Amad | Published on 1/22/2017


M. Night Shyamalan is finally back! That was the buzz ahead of his latest film, Split, which currently sits loftily atop the U.S. box office. But was he truly back, I wondered, as I sat in a packed Tuesday night screening with skeptical anticipation.

First of all, I'll say that I was a big fan of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and to a lesser extent, The Village, which is nowhere near as effective on a second viewing. Jumping to 2017, I'd avoided seeing anything Shyamalan related after watching The Last Airbender, inarguably one of the worst big budget films of all time. But I decided to give Split a chance because the premise promised some new terrain for him to explore. The psychological READ MORE

Arrival Review

Category: Sci-Fi | Writer: Ali Amad | Published on 1/3/2017


After viewing Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, I couldn’t resist comparing them with recent sci-fi hits such as Interstellar and The Martian.

All three films deal with the heady dilemma of what to do when our way of life on Earth is threatened, focusing on what we cling to in the challenging moments we might face as a race and as individuals. Both films look to an uncertain future that reflects our uneasy present. But without a doubt, Arrival is the superior experience and one of the best films of 2016.


The beauty of Arrival is its deceptive simplicity. Based on “Story of Your Life,” a short story written by Tim Chiang, the film READ MORE

DIFF 2016 Movie Preview: Manchester by the Sea

Category: Drama | Writer: Ali Amad | Published on 12/14/2016

Manchester by the Sea:

Playing: Wednesday, Dec. 14, 8:45 P.M.

What’s a better way to cap off DIFF 2016 than catch the film that garnered five Golden Globe nominations this past Monday? The award attention is a testament to the reputation of the film and the talent of its cast, including Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler. It’s also a glowing nod to Kenneth Lonergan, nominated for Golden Globes for both his directing and writing of this film.

Before “Manchester by the Sea,” Lonergan was best-known for penning the screenplay for Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”, and although his last writing-directing effort “MargaretREAD MORE