REVIEW: Crown Heights [2017]

“Please don’t let it be a cell” It’s a horror story. Eighteen year-old black immigrant from Trinidad—not averse to such crimes as boosting cars for extra cash—is picked up on the street, handcuffed, and taken into custody for the murder of someone he’s never even heard of let alone seen to put a bullet in […]

REVIEW: មុនដំបូងខ្មែរក្រហមសម្លាប់ប៉ារបស់ខ្ញុំ [First They Killed My Father] [2017]

“We no longer speak of rich or poor” As the Vietnam War raged, the neutral country of Cambodia was thrown into chaos. The United States was bombing the countryside to destroy as many Viet Cong-backed forces (Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge) possible while the military dictatorship they backed (Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic) ruled after a 1970 […]

REVIEW: I, Tonya [2017]

“I mean those bitches didn’t know what hit ’em” You don’t get more American than 1994, a year when O.J. Simpson was arrested in conjunction with the brutal murder of his ex-wife and her friend just five months after Nancy Kerrigan made a stunning recovery to win silver at the Winter Olympics despite having her […]

REVIEW: The Work [2017]

“Go inside to go outside” It’s one thing for a maximum-security prison full of violent offenders like Folsom to offer the type of in-depth therapy sessions it does, but it’s another to see the number of inmates with the courage and desire to attend. To be willing to leave your gang affiliations at the door […]

REVIEW: Their Finest [2017]

“Authenticity, optimism, and a dog” As the Blitz raged and British soldiers continued to pour into Europe to try and push the Germans back, those left at home to take cover during air raids and do their part in factories still needed something to keep morale high when it all looked so futile. One such […]

REVIEW: Unrest [2017]

“I just thought I would have more time” You can tell a lot about someone with the question: “What are your thoughts on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?” The answer is “Yes” or “No” and yet the latter has the potential of holding an infinite number of biases stemming from the likes […]

REVIEW: Jane [2017]

“I wanted to do things men did and women didn’t” It was 1960 when Louis Leakey enlisted his animal-loving secretary Jane Goodall to spearhead a one-person study of the Kasakela chimpanzees in Gombe, Tanzania. She had no formal training or experience with the task, but that was part of her appeal. Leakey didn’t want preconceptions […]

REVIEW: Schlafkrankheit [Sleeping Sickness] [2011]

“My fate is in your hands” Is colonialism dead? It’s a question for which you would instantly answer “No” and yet still wonder if perhaps such a binary response is too simplistic. You would have to define colonialism and whether or not actual, recognized control of a land is the same as a more insidious […]

REVIEW: Coco [2017]

“Seize your moment” Disney and Pixar have lately begun to tell more stories that aren’t intrinsically linked to their white male sensibilities (even if they have a tendency to push out voices that should be talking for their characters like Brenda Chapman on Brave). It’s definitely an evolutionary process—one that might actually be helped with […]

REVIEW: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure [2017]

“Tell us yours and we’ll tell you if it’s special enough” A short film like Olaf’s Frozen Adventure epitomizes the law of diminishing returns: for audiences, not Disney. The studio is surely making a ton of merchandise money with little work involved considering the characters are already at their disposal. We’re talking a couple directors, […]

REVIEW: The Shape of Water [2017]

“We’re all alone” Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to create an adult fantasy in the vein of Beauty and the Beast wherein there is no “beauty,” only the “other.” It’s one thing to read or watch a tale of overcoming the odds as a child with a specimen of perfection finding it in his/her […]