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Articles written by Kirk Boxleitner


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  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Apr 11, 2024

    I'd meant to see "Dumb Money" near the end of last year, but recent absurdities in the news had me feeling weirdly nostalgic for the comparatively quaint online firestorms of the COVID era. Indeed, while the art of cinema has progressed now to where many movies have incorporated the realities of social media into their narratives, "Dumb Money" is the first film I've ever seen in which Reddit, as a forum, has legitimately earned a supporting cast member credit. Because the filmmakers wisely...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Mar 28, 2024

    As was the case with 2021's "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," I registered the divergence in reactions to "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire." As with the previous film, many reviewers can't seem to stand it, whereas audience reaction scores have been overwhelmingly positive. "Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire" is not a film whose screenplay will be studied by future film nerds for how well-constructed it is, in the way the original "Ghostbusters" and 1985's "Back to the Future" are now. But what's ironic is...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Mar 21, 2024

    I somehow missed "Saint Maud," the 2019 debut film by writer-director Rose Glass, but after seeing "Love Lies Bleeding," which Glass directed and co-wrote with Weronika Tofilska, I'm definitely checking out whatever she has to offer from this point forward. "Love Lies Bleeding" is quite possibly an even more lesbian film than "Drive-Away Dolls," which I reviewed just a few weeks ago, but this is in no way a criticism. For a London-born gal whose lifespan post-dates the 1980s, Glass has a knack...

  • 'Dune: Part Two' finally delivers what Herbert's novel deserves

    Kirk Boxleitner|Mar 7, 2024

    Denis Villeneuve stuck the landing. I've only followed Villeneuve's filmmaking career since "Sicario" in 2015 - he's been directing feature films since 1998 - but every film he's made from "Sicario" forward, including 2016's "Arrival," 2017's "Blade Runner 2049" and 2021's "Dune," has been virtually flawless. "Dune: Part Two" is no exception, as Villeneuve gives Frank Herbert's 1965 epic science fiction novel the cinematic adaptation it's always deserved. Even brilliant auteurs that include...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Feb 29, 2024

    Minor spoiler to start: "Drive-Away Dolls," contrary to its mildly misleading trailer, is not set in the 21st century. This matters because this period piece from 1999 is probably a golden mean between an absence of cellphones, whose presence would preclude most of this film's plot points, and a relative level of LGBTQ acceptance in society, which allows our lesbian protagonists to be careless over the course of their misadventures. It also matters because "Drive-Away Dolls" represents a...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Feb 22, 2024

    This year's Academy Awards are coming up next month, but I've never been any good at predicting the winners, so I thought I'd look back at a film that was nominated for eight Academy Awards 30 years ago and didn't win one. When "The Remains of the Day" premiered in 1993, my tastes ran more toward Miramax than Merchant Ivory, but a family friend recently suggested to my mother, the retired English teacher, that they give the film a second viewing. My mom had taught the 1989 Booker Prize-winning...

  • In the Dark Reviews

    Kirk Boxleitner|Feb 8, 2024

    In adapting Martin Amis' 2014 novel, "The Zone of Interest" to the big screen, writer-director Jonathan Glazer takes seriously the phrase, "the banality of evil," originally popularized by Hannah Arendt in 1963. Arendt and Glazer express the legacy of the Nazis during World War II by focusing on how they hid their evil in plain sight, behind a screen of domestic mundanity. Glazer's adaptation of "The Zone of Interest" lacks a plot, as it centers on German SS officer Rudolf Höss (played by...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jan 25, 2024

    It's a measure of how far pop culture has progressed that "The Iron Claw" is neither Zac Efron's first critically praised performance, nor is it the first film about professional wrestling to earn critical acclaim. "The Wrestler" revitalized Mickey Rourke's career 16 years ago, and Efron's performance was the best thing about "Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile" five years ago, but what still makes "The Iron Claw" stand out is how successfully it simulates a specific era of professional...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jan 18, 2024

    The cold weather has had me housebound, so no trips to the movie theater for me. Instead, I bunkered down and caught up on streaming series as two shows ended their seasons and another made its premiere. The first season of "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters" on Apple TV+ had solid performers, but not all of their characters were written equally well. It often felt as though father and son Kurt and Wyatt Russell were carrying the show in their flawless portrayals of the older and younger versions of...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jan 11, 2024

    As a Washington boy, there's no way I wasn't reviewing this week's premiere of "The Boys in the Boat," based on the 2013 book by Daniel James Brown, about the University of Washington rowing team that competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics. I was joined during my screening by a fan of the book, retired English literature teacher Linda Boxleitner, my mom, who lives in Cape George, and my insights below borrow liberally from her own. I tend to see films about sporting or athletic competitions as...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Jan 4, 2024

    "Ferrari" is every inch a Michael Mann film, which means its acting, cinematography and production are all impeccable, but for once, I didn't find the result entirely compelling. Mann has sought to make this movie since the turn of the millennium, which makes sense. Mann's obsession with propulsion likely inspired lesser directors such as Michael Bay. Mann's narratives tend toward masculine protagonists, who pathologically need to pursue that which could lead to their own unraveling. Within the...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 28, 2023

    I've shilled for this one before, but unlike "Die Hard" or "A Christmas Story," it has yet to make the jump from a holiday curio to a beloved Christmas classic, so here's hoping I can make it happen this time around ... It's that drowsy week between Christmas and New Year's, when you're still in a festive mood, but you've run out of options for holiday viewing that you haven't already seen. You've already watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life," you know the adaptations o...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 21, 2023

    Whether you're looking for childish flights of fancy in the cinema or suspenseful spy thrillers on streaming, this week's reviews have you covered. "Wonka" smartly seeks to appeal chiefly to those who know of its title character through 1971's "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," starring Gene Wilder, rather than Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in 2005, starring Johnny Depp, or Roald Dahl's original 1964 novel. Wilder's Wonka shared some of the less-than-kid-friendly edge...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 14, 2023

    It was one of the most daring moves on what would become one of the most popular shows on television, and it started because the actors were delivering their lines so quickly that the episodes were running short on time. By reader request, we're reviewing the second season of "Moonlighting," which originally aired from the fall of 1985 through the spring of 1986, and which is now streaming on Hulu. Even though it boasted more lines of dialogue per episode than any other hour-long scripted show...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Dec 7, 2023

    Too many of my fellow critics of cinema have a long and unfortunate history of refusing to acknowledge the artistic validity of any number of specific genres of film, until they're forced to do so by an emerging popular consensus that proves so broad and strong that it threatens to render their perspectives culturally irrelevant. Once upon a time, gangster flicks were considered as soulless and formulaic, as fine folks such as Martin Scorsese have deemed the majority of modern onscreen superhero...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 30, 2023

    Welcome to the Disney era of "Doctor Who." Once upon a time, there was a globally popular, decades-spanning sci-fi TV series about a mythic alien trickster who changed into different lead actors every few years and who traveled through space and time in a disappearing blue box that was bigger on the inside than on the outside. As the narrative became less accessible to casual viewers, due to the compounding complexity of its many backstories, it only took a handful of ill-considered revisions...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 23, 2023

    The Apple TV+ streaming service delivered a couple of solid sci-fi series these past few weeks. Nov. 17 saw the premiere of the first two episodes of "Monarch: Legacy of Monsters," which is slated to last at least 10 episodes total, running weekly through Jan. 12. "Monarch" is set in Legendary and Warner Bros. Pictures' "MonsterVerse," and I'd recommend having seen at least 2014's "Godzilla" and 2017's "Kong: Skull Island" before starting this one, which I suspect might also soon encompass the...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 16, 2023

    Two very different films showcased the standout acting talents of their young supporting performers in theaters this past weekend. Dominic Sessa made his film acting debut in "The Holdovers," by two-time Academy Award-winning director Alexander Payne, and Sessa holds his own in spite of sharing the screen with seasoned performers Paul Giamatti and Da'Vine Joy Randolph. This unlikely trio forms the backbone of a Christmas character study, set in a fictional Massachusetts boarding school in 1970....

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 9, 2023

    It's the most influential television show that multiple generations of TV viewers have never seen, and it ended an entire season of simmering sexual tension with a free-for-all food fight. Because I'm faced with slim pickings for recent theatrical releases, I'll try an experiment by reviewing the first season of a show that made its streaming debut on Hulu in October, after originally airing from 1985-89. You can tell me if you want me to continue. "Moonlighting" wasn't the first romantic...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Nov 2, 2023

    I saw "The Bowmakers," by director Ward Serrill and producer Rocky Freidman, as part of the 2019 Port Townsend Film Festival, back when Freidman still co-owned the Rose Theatre. Even as one of 15 films I saw that weekend, "The Bowmakers" stood out for Serrill's deft weaving of multiple nations' cultural histories, its detailed view of workpeople's processes and its idiosyncratic first-person biographies. I shouldn't be surprised to find that same alchemy in Serrill's follow-up collaboration...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 12, 2023

    Between the Oct. 5 premieres of the second seasons of "Loki" on Disney+ and "Quantum Leap" on Peacock, plus the Oct. 6 premiere of "Totally Killer" on Amazon Prime Video, it was a banner weekend for time-travel capers on streaming media. Before you dive into "Loki" Season 2, it's best to refresh yourself on Season 1, in which the Norse god Thor's trickster brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) - or rather, an alternate timeline variant of Loki who didn't die fighting Thanos - was recruited by the...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 5, 2023

    Spending the week after the Port Townsend Film Festival in quarantine due to COVID allowed me to catch up on old and new streaming series. "Reservation Dogs" After three seasons and 28 episodes, "Reservation Dogs" went out without a single misstep, wrapping up its multigenerational saga of the oddball everyday lives of the fictional Native American reservation of Okern, Okla., by bidding a farewell to Old Man Fixico, the medicine man who served as the glue holding the community together. The...

  • Port of Grapeview responds to break-in, thefts

    Kirk Boxleitner|Oct 5, 2023

    The Port of Grapeview had a break-in and theft from its storage shed, which port commissioners addressed during their Sept. 19 meeting. As commission chair Mike Blaisdell reported, an inventory of the shed's contents showed the port's lawnmower was stolen, and that Commissioner Art Whitson had filed a police report. "I'm just lucky I decided to go by the port that day, because nobody really noticed it," Whitson said. "I happened to look over (and thought), 'Why is the door open?' " Blaisdell said the port has insurance coverage for the storage...

  • Temporary pier closure in Hoodsport

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 28, 2023

    The Port of Hoodsport temporarily closed the public pier and dock in downtown Hoodsport. According to Port of Hoodsport Commissioner Lori Kincannon, the port has been awaiting the results of a new site inspection report before beginning the bid process for needed repairs. “The port has not yet received the contractor’s inspection report, or the engineers’ letter on their findings,” port Executive Director Kathleen Wyatt said. On Sept. 16, representatives of Hoodsport-based Integrated Northwe...

  • IN THE DARK REVIEWS

    Kirk Boxleitner|Sep 28, 2023

    My first Port Townsend Film Festival was in 2016, and my first marathon review of the film festival for the newspaper was in 2017. This event has evolved yearly, but this year has brought welcome changes. The festival now allows attendees to make digital reservations for their chosen shows and the festival's handouts include guides to all the places to buy snacks and drinks between screenings. My goal was to watch as many as a dozen films in four days. Sept. 21: Day 1 "Red, White & Brass"...

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