REVIEW: Resistance [2020]

Courage is no more than fear holding on a minute longer. Marcel Marceau’s first public performance was in front of three thousand troops after Paris was liberated during World War II. It wasn’t some USO stunt, though. General Patton didn’t hire the Strasbourg native to give a show because his men needed a laugh. If anything he gave the stage to the as yet unknown “Bip the Clown” as a reward for everything he did as a member of the French resistance and a liberator himself by taking hundreds of…

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SLAM20 REVIEW: Film About a Father Who [2020]

He doesn’t lie. He just doesn’t tell you what’s going on. While director Lynne Sachs admits her latest documentary Film About a Father Who could be superficially construed as a portrait (the title alludes to and the content revolves around her father Ira), she labels it a reckoning instead. With thirty-five years of footage shot across varied formats and devices to cull through and piece together, the result becomes less about providing a clear picture of who this man is and more about understanding the cost of his actions. Whether…

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REVIEW: Love, Antosha [2019]

I never eat the boogers. In an attempt to comfort after the death of their son, Viktor Yelchin suggested to his wife Irina Korina that they should just pretend he’s off on a very long movie shoot. That’s what Anton Yelchin often did anyway with sixty-plus film and television credits to his name by the age of twenty-seven, but things aren’t so simple when it comes to someone as caring as their child. Because even when he was thousands of miles away, Anton would inevitably call, email, or write his…

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REVIEW: Bombshell [2019]

Praise all tangled up in an insult. The downfall of Roger Ailes is a captivating tale because it shows what can be done without glossing over the difficulty of achieving it. The women at Fox News who came forward to put his decades-long pattern of sexual harassment into the public forum had to weigh the truth and their duty to future generations forced into similar positions against the very real fact that doing so could mean career suicide. They had to search within and find the balance between what they…

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REVIEW: Richard Jewell [2019]

I’m me. There’s a major difference between fact (Richard Jewell is currently being investigated as a potential suspect) and editorial conjecture meant to carry your byline and publication into the national spotlight (Richard Jewell epitomizes the lone bomber profile and the FBI are nearing an arrest). Some journalists can’t unfortunately spot the difference. Why? Because sensationalized speculation sells. Once the 24-hour news cycle generated for-profit entities more worried about ratings than transparently calling a spade a spade, our ability to discern truth from opinion became eroded to the point where…

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REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

We lived above the clouds. With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments (including partisan blindness in the United States), a rarely told story like that of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter becomes more important than ever. While it might have been lost in 2016’s shuffle, seeing it now…

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REVIEW: Dark Waters [2019]

You think they’re gonna show me?! It’s crazy how our country protects for-profit businesses in ways that allow them to accrue astronomical profits with little to no oversight. There’s this notion that what they provide our economy outweighs the damage they inflict on our society. But who reaps that financial benefit? Rather than collect millions of dollars in taxes that could fund programs the poor need to survive, we line the pockets of the already rich and watch their trickle down faucets divert someplace else to line them thicker still.…

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REVIEW: The Two Popes [2019]

We need someone to blow the ash away. I’m a lapsed Catholic who cynically wonders why the Pope isn’t considered a false idol—a direct result of my loathing of the church as a corrupt and hypocritical institution. I adopted this position years ago for the same reasons many others have. Catholicism has constantly proven itself to be nothing but alienating to those who would rather see with their own eyes than ignore moral truths by wielding scripture as an excuse for hate. It’s unyielding on certain human rights issues, refuses…

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REVIEW: The Aeronauts [2019]

Doubt is there to be listened to. When Jack Thorne decided to craft a screenplay that was able to embody the insanity of what Richard Holmes described in his book about early aeronautic pioneers, Falling Upwards: How We Took to the Air, he recognized that cherry picking the best bits and smushing them together through fiction proved the simplest way to represent the era’s spirit if not each of the participants themselves. There was dramatic intrigue to meteorologist James Glaisher breaking the world record for flight altitude alongside pilot Henry…

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REVIEW: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood [2019]

Anything mentionable is manageable. Anyone who grew up watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” has a friend. Their parents might have smiled at what they inaccurately presumed was a performance, but the children smiled because the connection felt was real. Here was a man who looked them in the eyes and spoke truths with as much compassion and vulnerability as they possessed while watching. He was someone who listened even though the act itself was impossible through television. Fred Rogers cared—sometimes when it seemed like no one else did—because he understood what…

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REVIEW: The Irishman [2019]

It’s what it is. Aging lead Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is approached by two detectives towards the end of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (the cinematic adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s I Heard You Paint Houses as scripted by Steve Zaillian) who let him know he’s the only one left. All the other big-time mafiosos from the Bufalino family and elsewhere had met their demise either from bullet, garrote, or disease (with the rare case of natural causes thrown into the mix). The tactic was to let Frank know that there…

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