Movie Review


During 2023, Huntington’s beloved arthouse community theater, the Cinema Arts Centre, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. In celebration of its decades-long tenure as Huntington’s premier destination for independent film, the Cinema will show a number of universally acclaimed classic films, as well as many audience favorites from its long history as one of Huntington’s main destinations for the arts.

After a turbulent few years coping with a temporary closure due to COVID, and then a major restoration of its three theaters, the theater reopened in Spring 2022, and has seen success screening highly acclaimed classic films – many of which audiences rarely have the opportunity to see on the big screen.

From its earliest history, the Cinema Arts Centre, also known as CAC by many of its followers, has relied upon its dedicated legion of members and supporters in the Huntington and Long Island communities. Long-time patrons often reminisce about the early days when films were projected on a sheet hung on a wall in a friend’s dance studio. Today, in large part due to the support of the local community, the Town of Huntington, Suffolk County, and the New York State Council on the Arts, the theater shows a diverse selection of film, 365 days a year in its three, newly renovated theaters.

Collaboration with other local businesses has also been a fundamental piece of the Cinema’s success. The Folk Music Society of Huntington, The Next Chapter, Huntington’s new independent bookstore, and local comic shop, Escape Pod Comics, have all partnered with the Cinema to present special events this year. This January, CAC will be partnering with Butera’s Restaurant for a special brunch screening of the Academy Award winning Italian classic Cinema Paradiso.

In recent years, the theater has placed a greater focus on hosting events that appeal to all corners of the community. With the introduction of weekly screenings of treasured family-friendly films, as well as screenings of offbeat horror and cult films, concert films, and critically acclaimed classics; the Cinema has been able to round out its program schedule – which still affords audiences unparalleled access to both new and old independent and international cinema.

“This has been a transformative year for the Cinema Arts Centre,” said Nate Close, Director of Marketing and Communication. “50 years in business is a huge achievement for any organization. We believe that it’s the special, and intimate, relationship that we’ve fostered with our community that has allowed us to remain part of the fabric of Huntington for so long. Whether that means showing nostalgic favorites, or things that you can’t see anywhere else, or just offering a place where everyone is welcome and people can come together. Community is everything to us and we look forward to the showing movies here in Huntington for the next 50 years.”

2023 film schedule will include screenings of the 1942 classic Casablanca, Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather Part II (1974), Cinema Paradiso (1988), family favorites such as The Goonies (1985), The NeverEnding Story (1984), and Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971), along with a 90th anniversary screening of King Kong (1933), and even some recent cult favorites such as Twilight (2008), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

The Cinema Arts Centre is located at 423 Park Avenue in Huntington. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 631-423-7610 or visit

A scene from Cinema Paradiso. 1988. Cristaldi Film. Courtesy of Titanus & Miramax.
The Cinema Arts Centre will host a three-day celebration of Italian Cinema

In the month of January, Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre will host a celebration of Italian Cinema. The three day series will feature new restorations of several of Italian cinema’s most enduring classics: Giuseppe Tornatore’s Academy Award winning Cinema Paradiso, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, and Bernardo Bertolucci‘s The Conformist. As well as film screenings, the series will be ornamented by a live concert from Italian vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi.

The series celebrates the vibrant decades-spanning oeuvre of Italian cinema’s greatest artists, presenting the newly restored films for rare big-screen viewings. Each of the three films will feature post-film discussions, where cinema staff and program patrons will examine filmmaking techniques used in the films, the history of Italian cinema, along with the impact these films had on cinema as a whole.

The Cinema Arts Centre’s Italian Cinema program will begin on Sunday, January 29th with a screening of Cinema Paradiso, and an Italian Cinema Concert, and will run for three consecutive days, concluding with a screening of La Dolce Vita on Tuesday, January 31st.

The Films:
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Sunday, January 29th, Brunch at 10 AM | Film at 11 AM
Winner of an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Cinema Paradiso is the beautiful, enchanting story of a young boy’s lifelong love-affair with the movies. Set in an Italian village, Salvatore finds himself enchanted by the flickering images at the Cinema Paradiso. When the projectionist, Alfredo, agrees to reveal the mysteries of moviemaking, a deep friendship is born. The day comes for Salvatore to leave and pursue his dream of making movies of his own. Thirty years later he receives a message that beckons him back home to a secret and beautiful discovery that awaits him.

Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist (1970)
Monday, January 30th at 7:00 PM
Bernardo Bertolucci’s masterpiece, set in Mussolini’s Italy, follows a repressed man, Jean-Louis Trintignant, who joins the Fascists in a desperate attempt to fit in and purge memories of a youthful murder. While on his way to assassinate a political refugee, he flashes back through numerous exaggerated, distorted scenes that encompass the formative experiences of his life. A hugely influential film to American cinema of the seventies, Bertolucci marries expressionism with a strain of 70’s realism in this exploration of sex, desire, politics, and responsibility.

Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960)
Tuesday, January 31st at 7:00 PM

The biggest hit from the most popular Italian filmmaker of all time, La dolce Vita rocketed Federico Fellini to international success—ironically, by offering a damning critique of the culture of stardom. A look at the darkness beneath the seductive lifestyles of Rome’s rich and glamorous, the film follows a notorious celebrity journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) during a hectic week spent on the peripheries of the spotlight. A sharp commentary on the decadence of contemporary Europe, it provided a glimpse of how fame-obsessed our society would become.

The Concert:

Fotogrammi: Scenes from Life and Music by Mafalda Minnozzi
Sunday, January 29th at 4 PM

In Fotogrammi, internationally renowned vocalist Mafalda Minnozzi presents an intimate soundtrack inspired by the composers who accompanied and inspired her during her 35 year career in Italy, Brazil, and beyond. With a jazz sensibility and unique arrangements featuring accomplished guitarist Paul Ricci, Mafalda taps into her acclaimed albums “Cinema City – Jazz Scenes From Italian Film” and “Sensorial – Portraits in Bossa and Jazz.” Presenting diverse selections such as Ennio Morricone’s “Cinema Paradiso” to Jobim’s “Águas de Março,” and from Bruno Martino’s “Estate” to Piaf’s ”Hymne A L’Amour.”


Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave, Huntington

You can purchase tickets or find more information about these and other events on the Cinema Arts Centre website:

A scene from 'The Mummy'

To kick off the new year, Huntington’s Cinema Arts Centre will begin screening an assortment of hit films from the 1980s and 90s. This selection of films will include something for everyone, including beloved family friendly classics, offbeat comedies, action adventures, and obscure cult classics.

At a time when cinema attendance is down across the country, the Cinema Arts Centre wants to remind people why coming to the movies is so special — by playing audience favorites that are rarely seen in theaters.

The Cinema will host screenings of films that include The Addams Family (1991), The Mummy (1999) starring Brendan Fraser, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), The Goonies (1985) Happy Gilmore (1996), the Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona (1987) Slumber Party Massacre II (1987), Darren Aronofsky’s Pi (1998), Little Giants (1994) starring Rick Moranis, The NeverEnding Story (1984), and Roald Dahl’s Matilda (1996), The Witches (1990), & James and the Giant Peach (1996).

This selection of films represents some of the favorite guilty pleasures of staff and supporters of the Cinema Arts Centre, and films that audiences feel a great sense of nostalgia for. Many of these films were programed after being suggested by local film lovers. The Cinema encourages the Huntington community to reach out to share films that they want to see. Suggestions should be sent to [email protected]

Upcoming Programs:

The Addams Family (1991)

Sunday, January 1st at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids


When a man (Christopher Lloyd) claiming to be Fester, the missing brother of Gomez Addams (Raul Julia), arrives at the Addams’ home, the family is thrilled. However, Morticia (Anjelica Huston) begins to suspect the man is a fraud, since he cannot recall details of Fester’s life. With the help of lawyer Tully Alford (Dan Hedaya), Fester manages to get the Addams clan evicted from their home. Gomez realizes the two men are conspiring to swindle the Addams fortune and that he must challenge Fester. (US, 1991, 99min., English, PG-13 | Dir. Barry Sonnenfeld)

The Mummy (1999)

Friday, January 6th at 9:30 PM
$15 Public | $10 Members

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz star in the cult classic that set the standard for the action-adventure genre, 1999’s The Mummy. Adapted from Karl Freund’s 1932 film of the same name, the story follows adventurer Rick O’Connell (Fraser), who discovers the hidden ruins of Hamunaptra. Returning with an archaeological expedition, the mummy of High Priest Imhotep wakes after 3,000 years and begins to wreak havoc as he searches for the reincarnation of his long-lost love. (US, 1999, 125min., English, PG-13 | Dir. Stephen Sommers)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Sunday, January 8th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

In New York, mysterious radioactive ooze has mutated four sewer turtles into talking, upright-walking, crime-fighting ninjas. The intrepid heroes – Michelangelo (Robbie Rist), Donatello (Corey Feldman), Raphael (Josh Pais) and Leonardo (Brian Tochi) – are trained in the Ninjutsu arts by their rat sensei, Splinter. When a villainous rogue ninja, who is a former pupil of Splinter, arrives and spreads lawlessness throughout the city, it’s up to the plucky turtles to stop him. (Hong Kong/US, 1990, 93min., English, PG | Dir. Steve Barron)

Happy Gilmore (1996)

Cult Café

Saturday, January 14th at 10:00 PM
$7 Public | $5 Members


All Happy Gilmore (Adam Sandler) has ever wanted is to be a professional hockey player. But he soon discovers he may actually have a talent for playing an entirely different sport: golf. When his grandmother (Frances Bay) learns she is about to lose her home, Happy joins a golf tournament to try and win enough money to buy it for her. With his powerful driving skills and foulmouthed attitude, Happy becomes an unlikely golf hero – much to the chagrin of the well-mannered golf professionals. (USA, 1996, 92 min, PG-13| Dir. Dennis Dugan)

Slumber Party Massacre 2 (1987)

With post-Film discussion with Costume Designer Jolene Marie Richardson and Fashion Historian Marcus Slabine

Thursday, January 19th at 7:30 PM
$17 Public | $12 Members
An all-female hard rock band rents a condo for a much-needed vacation. Their tranquility is cut short by a heavy metal dream-demon and his murder weapon of choice: the drill-tar.Written and directed by Deborah Brock (Rock ’N’ Roll High School Forever), Slumber Party Massacre II combines the most successful elements of Satisfaction, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 and Beverly Hills, 90210 to create one of the most outrageous trash-slashers. Although the sequel contains none of Slumber Party Massacre’s subversiveness, it does have a wise-cracking killer who materializes from a dream and takes time out for breakdancing. This is how life should be. (US, 1987, 77min., English, R | Dir. Deborah Brock)

Pi (1998)

Friday, January 20th at 9:30 PM
$15 Public | $10 Members
Numbers whiz Max Cohen (Sean Gullette) is stunted by psychological delusions of paranoia and debilitating headaches. He lives in a messy Chinatown apartment, where he tinkers with equations and his homemade, super-advanced computer. One day, however, Cohen encounters a mysterious number. Soon after reporting his discovery to his mentor (Mark Margolis) and to a religious friend (Ben Shenkman), he finds himself the target of ill-intentioned Wall Street agents bent on using the number for profit. (US, 1998, 84min., English, R | Dir. Darren Aronofsky)

Raising Arizona (1987)

Friday, January 27th at 9:30 PM
$15 Public | $10 Members
An ex-con (Nicolas Cage) and an ex-cop (Holly Hunter) meet, marry and long for a child of their own. When it is discovered that Hi is unable to have children they decide to snatch a baby. They try to keep their crime a secret, while friends, co-workers and a bounty hunter look to use the child for their own purposes. (US, 1987, 94min., English, PG-13 | Dir. Joel Coen)

Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992)

Cult Café

Saturday, February 11th at 10:00 PM
$7 Public | $5 Members


A tribute to the controversial black activist and leader of the struggle for black liberation. He hit bottom during his imprisonment in the ’50s, he became a Black Muslim and then a leader in the Nation of Islam. His assassination in 1965 left a legacy of self-determination and racial pride. (USA, 1992, 201 min, PG-13| Dir. Spike Lee)

The Goonies (1985)

Sunday, February 12th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

From the imagination of Steven Spielberg, The Goonies plunges a band of small heroes into a swashbuckling, surprise-around-every-corner quest beyond their wildest dreams! Following a mysterious treasure map into a spectacular underground realm of twisting passages, outrageous booby traps and a long-lost pirate ship full of golden doubloons, the kids race to stay one step ahead of a family of bumbling bad guys… and a mild-mannered monster with a face only a mother could love. A family adventure classic from start to buccaneering finish, The Goonies is a cinematic treasure trove of breathtaking action, dazzling effects and shiver-yer-timbers thrills! (US, 1985, 114min., English, PG | Dir. Richard Donner)

Boyz N The Hood (1991)

Cult Café

Saturday, February 18th at 10:00 PM
$7 Public | $5 Members


Tre (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is sent to live with his father, Furious Styles (Larry Fishburne), in tough South Central Los Angeles. Although his hard-nosed father instills proper values and respect in him, and his devout girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) teaches him about faith, Tre’s friends Doughboy (Ice Cube) and Ricky (Morris Chestnut) don’t have the same kind of support and are drawn into the neighborhood’s booming drug and gang culture, with increasingly tragic results. (USA, 1991, 112 min, R | Dir. John Singleton)

Little Giants (1994)

Sunday, February 19th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

Ever since childhood, nerdy Danny O’Shea (Rick Moranis) has felt inferior to his brother, Kevin (Ed O’Neill), a former college football star. Danny runs a gas station, while Kevin coaches the local youth football team. When Kevin’s team rejects Danny’s daughter, Becky (Shawna Waldron), because she’s a girl, Becky convinces her dad to start a rival team, though the city can support only one. To prove himself against his brother, Danny begins coaching his team of misfits for a playoff game. (US, 1994, 107min., English, PG | Dir. Duwayne Dunham)

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

Sunday, February 26th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

On his way to school, Bastian (Barret Oliver) ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies. Sneaking away with a book called “The Neverending Story,” Bastian begins reading it in the school attic. The novel is about Fantasia, a fantasy land threatened by “The Nothing,” a darkness that destroys everything it touches. The kingdom needs the help of a human child to survive. When Bastian reads a description of himself in the book, he begins to wonder if Fantasia is real and needs him to survive. (West Germany/US, 1984, 102min., English, PG | Dir. Wolfgang Petersen)

Matilda (1996)

Sunday, March 5th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

This film adaptation of a Roald Dahl work tells the story of Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson), a gifted girl forced to put up with a crude, distant father (Danny DeVito) and mother (Rhea Perlman). Worse, Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), the evil principal at Matilda’s school, is a terrifyingly strict bully. However, when Matilda realizes she has the power of telekinesis, she begins to defend her friends from Trunchbull’s wrath and fight back against her unkind parents. (US, 1996, 102min., English, PG | Dir. Danny DeVito)

The Witches (1990)

Sunday, March 12th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

While staying at a hotel in England with his grandmother, Helga (Mai Zetterling), young Luke (Jasen Fisher) inadvertently spies on a convention of witches. The Grand High Witch (Anjelica Huston) reveals a plan to turn all children into mice through a magical formula. When they find that Luke has overheard, the witches test the formula on him. Now, with the help of Helga and the hotel manager, Mr. Stringer (Rowan Atkinson), Luke the mouse must fight back against the witches. Based on the book by Roald Dahl. (UK/US, 1990, 91min., English, PG | Nicolas Roeg)

James And the Giant Peach (1996)

Sunday, March 26th at 12:00 PM
$12 Public | $7 Members | $5 Kids

Featuring stop-motion animation and live action, this inventive adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved children’s tale follows the adventures of James (Paul Terry), an orphaned young British boy. Forced to live with his cruel aunts (Joanna LumleyMiriam Margolyes), James finds a way out of his bleak existence when he discovers an enormous enchanted peach. After rolling into the sea inside the buoyant fruit, James, accompanied by a crew of friendly talking insects, sets sail for New York City. (UK/US, 1996, 79min., English, PG | Dir. Henry Selick)

 The Cinema Arts Centre, is located at 423 Park Ave, Huntington. For more information, visit

A scene from ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’
Photo from Fathom Events

Frank Capra’s heart-warming masterpiece It’s A Wonderful Life celebrates its 75th anniversary this week and in commemoration, Turner Classic Movies, Paramount Pictures and Fathom Events are bringing the classic holiday film to over 1,000 select theaters nationwide on Sunday, Dec. 18  and Wednesday, Dec. 21. 

The story follows George Bailey (James Stewart) who sets aside his dreams of world travel to run his father’s small community bank and to protect the people of Bedford Falls from greedy businessman Mr. Potter (Lionel Barrymore). When a costly mistake pushes George to the brink of despair, a visit from a kindly stranger (Henry Travers) shows George how the life of one good man can change the world forever. 

Locally the film will be screened at Island Cinema De Lux in Holtsville on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.; AMC Stony Brook 17 on Dec. 18 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.; Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas on Dec. 18 at 3:30 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m.; and Regal UA Farmingdale at noon, 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on both days. To purchase tickets in advance, visit

'Coraline' heads to the Cinema Arts Centre on Dec. 18.

Gingerbread Houses Galore

Benner’s Farm, 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, East Setauket hosts a its last children’s workshop of the year, Gingerbread Houses Galore on the Farm, on Dec. 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to noon. Mix in some gingerbread, some candy, some yummy icing, and some creativity, and this workshop is a hit! The program will consist of several gingerbread activities that incorporate the spirit of the farm during the holidays. Each child will go home with a gingerbread house as well as many other crafts. For ages 4 to 9. $40 per child. To register, call 689-8172 or visit

Take a Bird to Lunch

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, 581 W. Jericho Turnpike, Smithtown presents a family program, Take a Bird to Lunch, on Dec. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. With the cold months here, many birds have either been migrating south, or bulking up for the long winter ahead. Using natural materials, you will make bird feeders to hang in your yard to give the migrating birds, as well as the year-long residents an extra boost! $4 per child. Please call 265-1054 for reservations.

Crafternoons at the library

Stop by Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, 120 Main St., Setauket on Dec. 17 anytime between 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for a holiday-themed “Crafternoon”! Children ages 3 to 12 welcome (younger kids may need supervision). No registration required. Questions? Call 941-4080. 

Elf Workshops

The Long Island Explorium, 101 East Broadway, Port Jefferson presents Elf Workshops in December from 1 to 2:30 p.m. to make a gift for someone special in your life including Dec. 17 (create a snow globe). Each workshop is designed so that students learn the science behind their wonderful creations. For children in grades 2 to 6. $30 per child per workshop includes all supplies. To register, call 331-3277 or visit

Pinecone Pals

Sunken Meadow State Park, Sunken Meadow Parkway, Kings Park presents a family program, Pinecone Pals on Dec. 18 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.  Winter is a great time to find pine cones! Come  collect some at the park, explore their structure, and create fun pine cone animal crafts to take home! $4 per person. To register, visit & search #NatureEdventure.



Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington continues its Cinema for Kids series with a screening of Coraline on Dec. 18 at noon. Coraline is a wondrous, thrilling, fun and suspenseful adventure. A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life – only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous and her counterfeit parents try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to save her family and get back home. The voice cast includes Dakota Fanning, Teri Hatcher, Ian McShane, Jennifer Saunders and Dawn French. Rated PG. Tickets are $12 adults, $5 children ages 12 and under. Visit


‘Barnaby Saves Christmas’

Theatre Three, 412 Main St. Port Jefferson presents the holiday musical Barnaby Saves Christmas from Nov. 19 to Dec. 30. Come join Santa, Barnaby, Franklynne and all of their friends for a wonderful holiday treat. As our littlest elf and his reindeer friend set off on their journey to save Christmas, they meet some new friends along the way and learn the true meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and the holiday season. Tickets are $10. To order, call 928-9100 or visit

‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’

Catch a performance of ‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’ this weekend! Photo by Jackie St. Louis

The Smithtown Performing Arts Center, 2 East Main St., Smithtown kicks off the holiday season with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Jr. from Nov. 19 to Jan. 22. The classic story tells of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped under the spell of an enchantress. If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity. All seats are $25. To order, visit


A perennial favorite, Frosty returns to the John W. Engeman Theater, 250 Main St., Northport on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at 10:30 a.m. from Nov. 26 to Dec. 24 and daily from Dec. 26 to 31. Join Jenny and Frosty on their chilly adventures as they try to save the town of Chillsville from mean old Ethel Pierpot and her evil machine that will melt all the snow. Jenny calls on her Mom, the mayor, and all of you to help her save her home, get Frosty to the North Pole, and make this holiday season a Winter Wonderland for one and all! All seats are $20. To order, call 261-2900 or visit

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Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan in a scene from 'She Said' Photo courtesy of Annapurna Pictures/Plan B Entertainment/Universal Pictures

By Jeffrey Sanzel

In 2019, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement. The two New York Times reporters had exposed producer Harvey Weinstein’s long history of abuse and sexual misconduct, leading to national awareness of the #MeToo movement. The phrase traces to MySpace 2006: Sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke founded the movement as a way for Black girls to share their stories of sexual trauma.

From All the Presidents Men (1976) through Spotlight (2015) and The Post (2017), cinema has addressed difficult topics through the sub-genre of investigative journalism. These movies take a potentially static premise—working an article through phone calls, research, and interviews—and elevating them into an emotionally connective experience. Director Maria Schrader has masterfully directed Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s smart and lean script for She Said. The result is a taut, unsettling, and riveting two hours.

She Said opens with the 2016 inquiry into then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s alleged sexual misconduct. The quick prologue presents the retaliation against his accusers and death threats against the reporter. The telling segment sets up what is to follow.

The film jumps five months to the ousting of conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly. The New York Times staff embarks on exposing sexual harassment in the workplace, finding widespread problems in large companies, including Amazon and Starbucks. 

Actor Rose McGowan becomes an inciting force when reporter Jodi Kantor receives a tip that McGowan had been raped by Weinstein when she was twenty-three. Kantor pursues leads and conducts interviews, but she realizes that even high-profile stars—including Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow—do not want to go on record. This reluctance further emphasizes the power and exploitation systemic in the Hollywood community and culture.

Kantor then joins forces with Megan Twohey. They interview some of Weinstein’s victims, encountering appalling experiences. The pair relentlessly pursue leads, traveling across the country and even to the UK. In every case, they face reluctance rooted in fear. 

The film accurately paints Weinstein as an arch manipulator—a bully who used emotional abuse to prey on young women. He cajoled with statements such as, “It’s just business.” He promised advancement and threatened to blackball, with his greatest weapon being his far-reaching control in the industry. One victim expresses guilt and shame over her powerlessness: “It’s like he took my voice that day.” Weinstein’s influence, coupled with Miramax’s multiple payouts and NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), kept the producer safe for years. Weinstein built the silence, and people complied.

The interviews with two former assistants—Zelda Perkins and Laura Madden—are central to the film. Madden, who initially declines to speak, hears from someone in the Weinstein organization, revealing the network of awareness in Weinstein’s court. This threat ignites Madden’s desire to cooperate with the investigation. 

The film shows the difficulty in finding corroborating evidence. The title—She Said—indicates the challenge of going beyond accusations. Threats of career loss, bad publicity, and “cash for silence” are roadblocks that Kantor and Twohey must overcome. Even the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) shows reluctance to cooperate. 

The quest takes a toll on Kantor and Twohey, invading their personal lives (though they are fortunate in the support of understanding husbands). Twohey gives birth early on and struggles with postpartum depression. Their perseverance is rewarded when several sources agree to go on public record, including Ashley Judd, who appears as herself.

As a film, She Said is relentlessly tense, with almost no breathing space, though much plays in low tones and silence. A few occasional flashbacks are a bit clumsy, but the disturbing recreation of the audiotape of Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez is brilliantly recreated against images of hotel corridors. Likewise, a victim’s clothing on the floor, shown against the sound of a shower, is equally unnerving.

Carey Mulligan (Twohey) and Zoe Kazan (Kantor), both intense but never overwrought, skillfully head up a fine ensemble cast. As editor Rebecca Corbett, Patricia Clarkson once again shows her ability to be understated and fully present, guiding the two reporters with a strong hand. 

Andre Braugher displays wry depth as executive editor Dean Baquet. Jennifer Ehle and Samantha Morton are outstanding as Laura and Zelda, bringing dignity to the pain of two damaged survivors. Peter Friedman’s canny lawyer, Lanny Davis, offers dimension as well as the prevailing attitude of the misogynistic “normal.” Zach Grenier’s adversarial account, Irwin Reiter, seethes with conflict. 

While Weinstein’s hulking figure is only seen from the back, Mike Houston imbues the predator’s voiceovers with brutish, self-entitled cruelty. Finally, Judd’s presence lends an incredible additional weight to the film. Everyone invests in the narrative’s high stakes.

Suffused with tension, She Said finds much of its center in the necessarily uncomfortable and the shadow of the unspoken. Just before the story is about to run, Twohey expresses the prevailing fear: it will run, and people won’t care. While She Said is an incredible film, it is also a sober reminder there is still much work to be done.

Rated R, the film is now playing in local theaters.

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in a scene from 'Spirited.' Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

By Jeffrey Sanzel

No holiday season goes by without a new take on that perennial favorite, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Whether traditional or modern, serious or spoof, the story survives and thrives. 

Reviews are expected to contain some sense of objectivity. However, having had a long and personal connection to this story, I would be disingenuous, pretending I do not have strong, protective feelings. Over the years, I have viewed every version possible. 

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in a scene from ‘Spirited.’ Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

Adaptations of A Christmas Carol are most often referenced by their principals. Among the finest of the traditional versions are, of course, Alistair Sim and George C. Scott. The stronger musicals include Albert Finney, Mr. Magoo (voiced by Jim Backus), and the Muppets (with Michael Caine as the miser). Henry Winkler, Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams, Robert Guillaume, and Susan Lucci barely scratch the surface of the updated undertakings. Many are fans of Bill Murray’s Scrooged, but I confess to have never been on board with its strident humor and ambivalent ending. I have endured Kelsey Grammar, Tom Arnold, Tori Spelling, and even Barbie. 

This leads us to the newest addition, Spirited. Director Sean Anders has co-written the screenplay with John Morris. Composers Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman, La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen) provide the score. Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds star. And the film is pure, outrageous joy from beginning to end.

The plot is an absurdist mix of sentimentality and insanity, offering a fresh new vision that surprises and charms for the brisk two hours and ten-minute running time. Jacob Marley (phenomenal Patrick Page, looking and playing like a spritely Christopher Plummer) has managed the afterlife trio of Christmases Past (Sunita Mani, nailing both the earnest and the deadpan), Present (Ferrell at his best), and Future (voiced hilariously by Tracy Morgan), along with an enormous staff in what looks like a Victorian office meets twenty-first-century bureau. 

Each year, one reprehensible human is selected to be studied and redeemed. Research is done; sets are built; plans are made. The world is Alice in Wonderland crossed with M.C. Escher—sort of The Good Place: Holiday Edition.

Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell in a scene from ‘Spirited.’ Photo courtesy of Apple TV+

In a chance encounter, Present sets his heart on rescuing the seemingly unredeemable Clint Briggs (perfectly wry Ryan Reynolds), a media consultant lacking any conscience. Against Marley’s wishes, Present embarks on the mission to save the unsavable. Spoiler Alert (sort of): Present is Ebenezer Scrooge. The story then follows the intersection of these two who share a commonality. In essence, the question becomes, “Who redeems the redeemer?”

Ferrell is both genuine and hilarious, showing incredible restraint and real connection. He even succeeds as the traditional Scrooge in a few momentary flashbacks. Reynolds is the perfect foil, edgy and honest, and very funny. 

The great Octavia Spencer is Briggs’ quasi-Bob Cratchit but also becomes the object of Present/Scrooge’s affections. Glimpses of Brigg’s family, including his late sister, Carrie (poignant Andrea Anders), and her daughter, Wren (unassuming and genuine Marlow Barkley), build background. 

All these pieces are standard Christmas Carol tropes. But the zany, hyper-meta view matched by a fantastic score, jubilant dancing (outrageously choreographed by Chloe Arnold), and two lead performances that land every moment make Spirited something special. 

From the opening (“That Christmas Morning Feelin’”) to Reynold’s psychotic call to commerce (“Bringin’ Back Christmas”) to the greatest send-up of “Consider Yourself” since Monty Python’s “Every Sperm Is Sacred” (“Good Afternoon”), the film’s musical sequences simultaneously celebrate and satirize. Spencer finds the right blend of humor and heartache in “The View from Here.” While none of the leads are powerhouse singers, the uniformly pleasant voices hit the right vocal and emotional notes.

Anders succeeds on every level as director and adaptor, supported by a production team that delivers strong visuals and whimsical designs. He makes the central message—our choices make us who we are—feel earned rather than saccharine. In addition to a range of Dickens Easter Eggs, the film contains one of the greatest cameos seen in years.

Two more Christmas Carols will be arriving this season. A Christmas Karen takes a comedic look, with a demanding woman coming to terms with her sense of entitlement. Netflix offers the animated Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, adapted from the 1970 film. With a star-studded cast, Luke Evans voices Scrooge. Whether they become valued additions to the canon remains to be seen. In the meantime, we have Spirited to keep us warm and happy. 

I suspect many will disagree with this glowing assessment and see Spirited as one big “Bah, humbug.” As a good friend always said, “That’s why refrigerators come in different colors.” I went into this movie skeptical, dubious, and with my quill sharpened. But, like Scrooge, I left in a giddy state of Christmas euphoria.

Rated PG-13, Spirited is currently playing in local theatres as well as on Apple TV+.

From left, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly sing 'Good Mornin' in a scene from 'Singin' In the Rain'

In honor of its 70th anniversary, Singin in the Rain will be screened at the Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. with new digital restoration. The film will be introduced by film historian and NYS librarian Philip Harwood, who will explore the importance of the classic movie to the history of cinema.

Gene Kelly in ‘Singin’ In the Rain’

On a short list of the greatest screen musicals ever made, Singin’ in the Rain began with legendary MGM producer Arthur Freed giving screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green a stack of songs he’d written early in his career (with partner Nacio Herb Brown) – including “Broadway Melody,” “You Are My Lucky Star” and the title song – with the simple request to weave a story around the numbers.

What emerged was a sublime marriage of song and dance, innocence and nostalgia, heart-tugging romance and surreal comedy (especially in co-star Donald O’Connor’s show-stopping “Make ’Em Laugh” routine). Co-director Gene Kelly shines as silent-movie idol Don Lockwood, whose career (and leading lady, hilariously played by Jean Hagen) is imperiled by the coming of sound – until he hooks up with lovely ingenue Debbie Reynolds. The brilliant supporting cast includes Millard Mitchell, Douglas Fowley and the great Cyd Charisse, whose long-legged “Broadway Melody” ballet with Kelly nearly steals the show!

Tickets are $15 per person at:

For more information, call 631-423-7610.

Photo courtesy of Fathom Events
Photo courtesy of Fathom Events

In honor of its 60th anniversary, To Kill a Mockingbird returns to select theaters on Nov. 13 and Nov. 16, courtesy of Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies. The film, based on Harper Lee’s 1960 Pulitzer-winning novel of the same title, stars Gregory Peck as courageous Southern lawyer Atticus Finch and is told through the eyes of his young daughter, Scout (Mary Badham). Nominated for eight Academy Awards, To Kill a Mockingbird won three, including best actor (Peck) and best adapted screenplay.

Viewers will also be treated to exclusive behind-the-scenes insights and background information about the making of the movie from Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz.

Locally, the film will be screened at Island 16 Cinema De Lux, 185 Morris Ave., Holtsville on Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.; AMC Stony Brook 17, 2196 Nesconset Highway, Stony Brook on Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and  Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.; and Farmingdale Multiplex Cinemas, 1001 Broadhollow Road, Farmingdale on Nov. 13 at 1 p.m. and Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at

See video trailer here.

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Jalyn Hall and Danielle Deadwyler in a scene from 'Till' Photo by Lynsey Weatherspoon/Orion Pictures

Reviewed by Jeffrey Sanzel

On August 28, 1955, while visiting family in Money, Mississippi, Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African American, was lynched for allegedly flirting with a white woman four days earlier. His assailants—the white woman’s husband and his brother—made Emmett carry a seventy-five-pound cotton gin fan to the bank of the Tallahatchie River and ordered him to take off his clothes. The two men beat him nearly to death, gouged out his eye, shot him in the head, and then threw his body, tied to the cotton gin fan with barbed wire, into the river.

The brutal and brilliant Till tells the aftermath of this horrific, racially motivated murder. Under Chinonye Chukwu’s flawless direction (from a taut screenplay by Chukwu, Keith Beauchamp, and Michael Reilly), the film’s relentless two hours tell the harrowing story with unflinching rawness.

Till follows Emmett’s mother, Mamie (Danielle Deadwyler, delivering the year’s best performance), as she struggles with the inconceivable death of her son, Emmett (beautiful Jalyn Hall), and her attempt to find justice in a system stacked against her.

Till opens in Chicago to the strains of “Sincerely.” Mamie, tense but hopeful, drives Emmett to a department store, preparing him for a visit to his cousins in Mississippi. There she encounters the subtler racism of the North, a harbinger, but in no way fully a reflection, of what is to follow. Excited for the next day’s journey, the normally stuttering Emmett—endearingly called Bobo by his family—sings along with a Bosco commercial, showing how he has overcome the stammer. The simple, exquisite moment reflects a boy who has been raised with love and support by his war-widowed mother. Emmett is goofy, wide-eyed, and innocent — in short, a child trusting the world to be a good place.

Concerned by what he might encounter, Mamie warns Emmett “to be small down there.” The next day, the Black passengers move to the back cars when the train crosses into Mississippi. The next time we see Emmett, whimsical and outgoing, he is picking cotton with his cousins. They, like his mother, warn him that he should be careful. While in a general store that caters to the Black community, Emmett compliments the clerk, Carolyn Bryant (Haley Bennett), telling her that she looks like a movie star. Delighted, he shows her the picture that came with his new wallet. Bryant follows him out of the shop, where he naively whistles at her with a sweet smile. Bryant chases him and his cousins away at gunpoint. 

Three nights later, her husband and brother show up at the cousins’ house and drag Emmett out, also at gunpoint. Chukwu chooses not to show the torture and murder. Instead, a lit shed and Emmett’s cries are seen and heard from a distance. The choice amplifies what must have been the child’s fears in his final hours.

Mamie receives news of his kidnapping, but it is several days before his body is found and his fate is revealed. Eventually, in a slow and heart-rending process, Mamie shifts from mother-in-mourning to activist. Her first fight is to have her son brought home for burial. After seeing his mutilated body, she decides that the strongest action is to have a public viewing. When told that Emmet is in no condition to be seen, she counters that he is in just the right shape and that the whole world must see. She leans over the open casket and whispers: “You’re not just my boy anymore.” 

Following this, supported by her estranged father (gentle Frankie Faison), she bravely goes South for the trial: her purpose is to confirm the body’s identity so that the defense cannot claim it was not him. Knowing the danger in testifying—that she will also be on trial—does not deter Mamie’s desire for even a modicum of justice.

In the South, as in Chicago, she encounters members of the NAACP with whom she eventually connects, most notably the Civil Rights activists and voting rights champions Medgar and Myrlie Evers (Tosin Cole and Jayme Lawson, both strong). In 1963, Medgar was assassinated in front of his wife and children.

In Till, Chukwu tells Mamie’s story through her eyes. For most of the film, she shows Deadwyler alone or singly framed, highlighting Deadwyler’s extraordinary portrayal and Mamie’s isolation. Mamie’s all-encompassing love and bottomless pain are present in the brittle silences and the primal screams. Whether sharing a moment of anguish with her fearful and guilt-ridden mother (outstanding, understated Whoopie Goldberg), confronting her cousin, Moses (conflicted and dimensional John Douglas Thompson), or silently watching Bryant hold her son during the trial, Deadwyler’s work is haunting and indelible. Watching her see the crate with Emmett’s casket taken from the train or holding his last, unfinished letter are searing moments of terrible power.

From Mamie’s entrance to the courthouse—callously patted down by a smirking guard—to the prosecuting attorney refusing to shake her hand—to Bryant’s outright perjury, the trial is a forgone conclusion. How can there be an honest application of the law when the entire jury look like the perpetrators? Or when the sheriff states it is a hoax perpetrated by the NAACP, and Emmett is in hiding? The vicious, virulent, and even casual racism looms throughout. Yet, the hate and ugliness are matched by the dignity, sensitivity, and desire for change of those surrounding and supporting Mamie. 

Till is not a movie of the week, a procedural drama, or a John Grisham novel. Till is not about just one wrong verdict but thousands over years of oppression and bigotry. Any attempt to fully describe this film is difficult and feels somehow disrespectful. However, silence is never an option. It is easy to bandy the word “important” to the point where it loses weight and meaning. But Till is important—an exceptional film that must be seen.

Coda. The Emmett Till Antilynching Act makes lynching a federal hate crime. It was signed into law on March 29, 2022 … sixty-seven years after the murder of Emmett Till. 

Rated PG-13, the film is now playing in local theaters.