REVIEW: Sorry We Missed You [2019]

I never thought it would be this difficult. Companies lure you in with the prospect of “being your own boss,” sweeten the pot with the added incentive of “making your own schedule,” and then profit off your labor from the comfort of their office. And you buy-in because the potential is there if you put your head down, work hard, and pray there aren’t any unforeseen setbacks completely outside your control. The capitalist dream is built upon this idea that success happens for those who “earn” it and yet the…

Read More

REVIEW: Never Rarely Sometimes Always [2020]

A positive is always a positive. The title to Eliza Hittman‘s Never Rarely Sometimes Always has a specific meaning in that those are the choices a Planned Parenthood counselor (Kelly Chapman) provides seventeen-year old Autumn (Sidney Flanigan) as answers to a difficult yet crucial line of questioning about her psychological and physical wellbeing. Hittman films the scene as a continuous take with the camera never leaving this teen girl’s face as each query hits home for us to interpret her tears as the unspoken truth of life experiences too many…

Read More

REVIEW: Beach Rats [2017]

I don’t really know what I like. Frankie (Harris Dickinson) has a lot on his mind. His father (Neal Huff‘s Joe) is dying of cancer in his living room. His little sister (Nicole Flyus‘ Carla) just got her first boyfriend. And his mother (Kate Hodge‘s Donna) is struggling to keep everything from falling apart. It’s no wonder that Frankie finds himself stealing a few of his dad’s pain pills each night to get high on the boardwalk with a trio of friends (Frank Hakaj‘s Nick, David Ivanov‘s Alexei, and Anton…

Read More

REVIEW: Papa, sdokhni [Why Don’t You Just Die!] [2019]

It’s surprising how everything evil can be justified. Matvey (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) just wants to take his girlfriend Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde) on a date. At least that’s what he tells her father Andrey (Vitaliy Khaev) when he opens the door. We know it isn’t quite true, though, considering his pulse is racing and his grip on the hammer hidden behind his back is tightening. Because a neighbor is walking to her apartment across the hall to provide way too compelling a witness, he can’t just take a swing and leave. So…

Read More

REVIEW: Saint Frances [2020]

I apologize. The grass is neither greener nor less green on the other side. Not at present. Whether you have money or not, own a house or not, have a family or not—everyone has problems. You might not be able to admit them to yourself yet (or admit they aren’t insurmountable), but they most definitely exist. So when a partygoer begins to tell Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) about a nightmare he had wherein everything he worked towards was gone, we know his smugly callous joke about committing fake suicide in response…

Read More

REVIEW: The Other Lamb [2020]

Do you accept my grace? To be born into a world with set doctrines is to have no choice—often because you don’t realize one exists. That’s the power systemic modes of oppression hold over their victims. We’re told that fighting back makes things worse. Fighting for survival makes those in positions to help facilitate that survival less interested in helping. So we’re asked to remain quiet. Accept our fate and be grateful for what we have and grateful to those who give it with “grace” and not as a salve…

Read More

REVIEW: The Roads Not Taken [2020]

And what are you doing to make things better? Leo (Javier Bardem) is barely coherent thanks to a degenerative disability that demands constant care despite his wishes to remain alone under a façade of self-sufficiency within an apartment whose window is directly beside a public transit train. He alternates between Spanish and English without reason when not grunting unfavorably to let whoever is nearby know he doesn’t want to do what they’re asking of him. The one person he allows to lead him where he needs to go is his…

Read More

REVIEW: The Way Back [2020]

I don’t think I can help you. This isn’t a sports movie. While a lot of similar films (troubled adult is asked to coach a bunch of troubled kids en route to everyone finding an identity and purpose they couldn’t before) do try to distance themselves from that stigma, The Way Back seems intentionally built upon this separation. When all is said and done, there’s barely any basketball on-screen at all besides close-ups showing a full press defense and practices showing player strengths and weaknesses. The bulk of the games…

Read More

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…

Read More

REVIEW: Ordinary Love [2019]

How do you say to someone, ‘Don’t die’? Cancer is so often equated with death that it’s no wonder most films work towards that result when dealing with the subject matter. Not everyone dies, though. Many discover it early enough to have it removed without the need for additional operations. Some are a bit further along and must therefore confront the prospect of chemotherapy as a deterrent from complications. It’s different for everyone and the pain endured will always be there, but cancer stories can also be about life and…

Read More

REVIEW: Greed [2020]

Nod your head and shake my hand. What’s that Greek word? Hubris. The question is asked and answered by people who know all too well what drives Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) because they’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being the target of his ire whenever they’ve done something that might damage his international reputation in the slightest (even if they acted on his command). Do they really care, though? Do they care that being berated by “Greedy” McCreadie is a daily certainty rather than possibility? Not when he’s paying…

Read More