REVIEW: Sister [2019]

She was an annoying little baby. Looking back on a life growing up with a sister four years the lead’s junior, Siqi Song‘s animated short Sister starts off with a wonderful comedic streak. She lets the character’s imagination run away with his memories so that the crying baby who stole his toys can become a giant consuming them with a giggle. There’s the more authentically drawn cause and effect of sibling chaos sometimes confusing a parent into punishing the wrong child and the silly adventures undertaken when both are too…

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REVIEW: Brotherhood [2019]

Promise me that you’ll never go there. Terrorism is a complex topic too many gloss over in a desire to pretend it’s simple. We generalize and make blanket declarations against an enemy all while refusing to even attempt to understand where they’re coming from. So we of course would never accept the reality that it’s often our own actions that ultimately ignite theirs. It’s why Zionists in Israel label Palestinians terrorists despite being the ones who stole their land. It’s why Americans adopt xenophobic ideologies that lump good people in…

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REVIEW: Une soeur [A Sister] [2019]

I remember. A woman (Selma Alaoui‘s Alie) is the passenger inside a car heading down a dark road at night. She tells the driver (Guillaume Duhesme‘s Dary) that she must call her sister (who is currently babysitting her daughter) after missing multiple messages. It only makes sense then that she’d be worried about the urgency to connect. What we soon discover, however, is that the woman on the other end of the phone isn’t a relative. Alie has actually called emergency services to covertly make an operator (Veerle Baetens) aware…

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REVIEW: Walk Run Cha-Cha [2019]

Motion creates emotion. By the time the Vietnam War was over, the area was officially communist. Because Chipaul Cao‘s mother was a successful businesswoman at the time, the government came and demanded she relinquish both her factory and home. That’s when the family knew they had to escape. Maybe there was a risk of failure, capture, or death by leaving, but staying put with nothing (and little chance of improvement) was hardly a better option. The only caveat Chipaul had was the reality that he would need to say goodbye…

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REVIEW: Color Out of Space [2020]

A dreamy dream together is reality. **Potential spoilers** Arkham’s citizens colloquially describe the Gardner family’s farm as “blasted heath” at the start of H.P. Lovecraft‘s short story The Colour Out of Space. Their reasoning stems from the deathly gray dust covering the area as though a fire had wiped everything but a stone well away. That they’re mentioning it at all is the result of Lovecraft’s nameless narrator’s appearance as a surveyor discerning whether or not a water reservoir should be installed atop what’s grown into a legend those who…

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REVIEW: The Last Full Measure [2020]

Justice delayed is justice denied. While Todd Robinson‘s The Last Full Measure does center upon the cost of war, it’s neither a pro-war or anti-war film. He instead allows the idea of battle to exist as an imperative within Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr.’s story. Not only did this young man enlist to go to Vietnam, his bravery led him to voluntarily exit his helicopter above the massacre of Operation Abilene in order to help a division of total strangers who just sent their only medic up for evacuation. Pits…

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REVIEW: St. Louis Superman [2019]

I’ll tell you when you’re five. It’s horrible that tragedy is the cause, but seeing and hearing how Bruce Franks Jr. took up the call to government in order to instill the change his community needed to prevent future tragedies is nothing short of inspiring. This is what American government was always supposed to be: citizen leaders fulfilling their civic duty to represent their constituents. It wasn’t about full-time employment or selling off votes to lobbyists. There was supposed to be turnover as each community evolved and grew and therefore…

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REVIEW: Life Overtakes Me [2019]

We hadn’t told them. Directors John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson‘s documentary Life Overtakes Me is a call to action. Where many films revolving around ailments seek to provide answers, this one hopes for recognition and subsequent research necessary to find solutions. The reason is simple: nobody knows the underlying truths behind Resignation syndrome. All we know for certain is that it’s real, occurs at an extremely high rate in Sweden, and is growing internationally. The latter comes as no surprise considering our world has been growing more and more insular…

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REVIEW: Kitbull [2019]

It’s always wild to see a Pixar production that isn’t rendered in three-dimensional computer graphics, but I guess that’s kind of the point of the Disney+ showcase entitled SparkShorts. A collection of work from Pixar artists that feels like a venue for unique voices and experimental aesthetics, it’s no surprise that one would find its way onto the nomination list for an Animated Short Oscar. That it comes from a woman shouldn’t be undersold either since the studio is notorious for being slow on both the gender and race parity…

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REVIEW: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) [2019]

What is courage? Even when the Taliban was driven out of Afghanistan, young girls still weren’t guaranteed an education and those from strict families past the age of thirteen were generally not allowed to leave their homes. The reason: a patriarchal sense of “honor.” Parents can’t risk their daughters being kidnapped on their way to school because of how such an act would ruin their reputation. While sons are at university, someone has to earn a living to keep food on the table. Just because the Taliban wasn’t enforcing a…

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REVIEW: Bad Boys for Life [2020]

Ask the horse. The synopsis started with “two hip detectives” back in 1995 after Bad Boys switched gears from being a Jon Lovitz and Dana Carvey vehicle to the Michael Bay action extravaganza we know it as starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence. It took eight years for “hip” to turn to “loose-cannon narcotics cops” as Bad Boys II brought Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett respectively back to the big screen with even more car chases and shootouts to earn the adjective. Both films were entertainingly mindless fun with the…

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