REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe [2019]

“Kale can’t hold on forever” The premise is familiar. Two childhood best friends of the opposite sex lose touch after growing up only to find themselves in close proximity again almost two decades later. One became a huge success elsewhere while the other remained home and thus without much opportunity for escaping that neighborhood’s limited […]

REVIEW: Doubles vies [Non-Fiction] [2019]

“An infinite minority” You know when you go to a get-together and the conversation inevitably turns to current affairs for which everyone has a fringe understanding? So rather than provide true opinions, they simply start regurgitating what they’ve read on the subject. Most times their content doesn’t even come from a primary source because we’ve […]

REVIEW: The Wedding Planner [2001]

“Dark tower demolished” I shouldn’t be surprised that my nineteen-year old self wasn’t a fan of The Wedding Planner when it came out. Romantic comedies weren’t my genre of choice and I surely didn’t pick it upon going to the theater with friends. So I probably watched with an immovable bias, honed in on its […]

REVIEW: 江湖儿女 [Jiang hu er nü] [Ash Is Purest White] [2018]

“Armed men tend to die first” The genesis of Zhangke Jia‘s Jiang hu er nü [Ash is Purest White] is intriguing. After thinking about cut scenes from two of his earlier films starring now wife Tao Zhao (Unknown Pleasures and Still Life), he found himself merging her characters into one. He saw this woman having […]

REVIEW: Rafiki [2018]

“We’re going to be something real” Some will dismiss Wanuri Kahiu‘s Rafiki as derivative simply because they refuse to see what makes it so special. They’ll mention its Romeo and Juliet parallel as far as having the children of opposing political candidates fall in love. They’ll compare it to generic love stories—and generic gay love […]

REVIEW: Aladdin [1992]

“We’ve all got swords” I forgot how refreshingly simple Aladdin is. Disney and Pixar utilize such elaborate narrative set-ups today that their films don’t rely on charm and fun alone anymore. That’s not to say this one does since its ability to put its hero and heroine on equal footing rather than blindly relegating the […]

REVIEW: Long Shot [2019]

“Olive oil and mayonnaise” I hate to use the word “refreshing” to describe a film lambasting the twenty-first century hellhole that is American politics, but it’s what comes to mind after watching Jonathan Levine‘s Long Shot. I’m not talking refreshing as far as its humor or rom-com machinations since both are blatant retreads. No, I […]

REVIEW: Gloria Bell [2019]

“We could all die tomorrow” I hate the argument that remakes of foreign films allow English-speakers to invest more in the story and performance because they aren’t dividing attention between dialogue and imagery, but I can’t deny some validity to the thought. There’s more to it than just what you hear, though, because a new […]

REVIEW: Gloria [2013]

“Are you always this happy?” While sitting next to her ex-husband (Alejandro Goic‘s Gabriel) at their adult son’s birthday party, Gloria (Paulina García) peers at old wedding photos and comments about how naïve they were. He of course tries shifting those sentiments by exclaiming they were in love, but she just smiles and repeats “naïve” […]

REVIEW: Van Wilder [2002]

“Write that down” Twenty-four years after Tim Matheson‘s Eric “Otter” Stratton fast-talked his way towards saving a fraternity in National Lampoon’s Animal House, the torch was passed onto former “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” star Ryan Reynolds. The timing isn’t surprising since American Pie and its sequel earned box office success while […]

REVIEW: Finding Steve McQueen [2019]

“It’s like an alphabet soup enema” The Dinsio Brothers and their accomplices stole around nine million dollars from four hundred-plus safety deposit boxes inside the United California Bank of Laguna Niguel. To read Amil Dinsio’s website is to learn of his self-proclaimed “master” exploits and how the FBI sought to frame him for the job […]