REVIEW: PG: Psycho Goreman [2021]

That is a tale bathed in the blood of a million dead memories. It opens with a gladiator-level war of attrition between two middle school-aged siblings in their backyard. The game is called “crazy ball” and the loser gets buried alive. Mimi (Nita-Josee Hanna) and Luke (Owen Myre) pick-up their respective dodgeballs, throw them as far behind themselves as possible, and run after the other as fast as they can to try and take advantage of the five-point bonus “butt shot” rule. Writer/director Steven Kostanski shoots it like battle with…

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REVIEW: No Man’s Land [2021]

Cause they’re hungry. There’s a fundamental problem at the center of Conor Allyn‘s No Man’s Land: the tragic event sparking its introspective yet superficially transformative journey isn’t accidental. The fact that every synopsis and description of it uses that word only helps to prove that its story is being told from a privileged and biased perspective. Jackson Greer (Jake Allyn, who also co-wrote with David Barraza) isn’t cleaning his gun when he shoots and kills a Mexican boy trespassing on his father’s property. He didn’t think the gun was unloaded…

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REVIEW: Acasa, My Home [2021]

I’m free here. The land where Gica Enache raised his family for eighteen years has become a target of the Romanian government for national park status. A birds’ eye view shows just how close their island refuge is to Bucharest—the green marshland and gray concrete separated by mere feet. But geography isn’t the only thing at play here. There’s the culture clash between living independently off the delta’s natural resources (fishing, hunting, etc.) and becoming part of a community mired by rules that guarantee jail time for those same actions.…

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REVIEW: Ten Minutes to Midnight [2020]

Just get through the night. It’s pretty straightforward initially. A storm brews outside as Amy Marlowe (Caroline Williams) heads into the studio for the late-night radio show she’s hosted for three decades. She’s cutting it close, though, as the chaotic weather knocked down a utility pole and forced her to walk the rest of the way. While that wouldn’t normally be a problem, “normal” is thrown out the window once something swoops down to bite her on the neck. Now she’s bleeding. Station security guard Ernie (Nicholas Tucci) is talking…

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REVIEW: The Reason I Jump [2021]

Have a nice trip through our world. There’s no better advocate for you than you. You grasp what you’re going through. You comprehend your needs and desires. You feel the animosity and fear radiating off of those surrounding you because of their ingrained ignorance rather than your potential danger. The tragedy, however, is that we aren’t all equipped to serve that role for ourselves. We often need others to beat the drum on our behalf and work towards finding our truth. But as we’ve seen through the autistic community this…

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REVIEW: Echo Boomers [2020]

You can help me bridge that gap. I’d never heard the term Echo Boomers until Seth Savoy‘s film (co-written by him, Jason Miller, and Kevin Bernhardt). As a synonym for Millennials, however, it’s pretty apt. Baby Boomers screamed into the void and Millennials bounced back. We (I’m borderline with Boomers saying my 1982 birthdate makes me a Millennial and Millennials saying I’m Gen-X) are mirrors they hate because of how much we remind them of themselves. They call us the “Me Generation” because they believe we’re over-confident and entitled without…

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REVIEW: The White Tiger [2021]

I was trapped in the rooster coop. You know that young Balram Halwai’s (Adarsh Gourav) ascent from servant to entrepreneur within Ramin Bahrani‘s The White Tiger won’t be quite what we’re used to thanks to two moments. One comes via a quip at Slumdog Millionaire‘s expense explaining how there are no game shows in India that could make someone from Balram’s sweet-maker caste rich. The other is when we discover the so-called “Great Socialist” (Swaroop Sampat)—the nation’s leader and a woman who herself rose from “country mouse” to powerful politician—isn’t…

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REVIEW: On the Rocks [2020]

It was heartbreaking … for everyone. Before the first image of Sofia Coppola‘s On the Rocks arrives on-screen, we hear Felix’s (Bill Murray) voice to a teenaged Laura: “You’re mine until you get married. Then you’re still mine.” It’s the type of goofy sentiments Dads tell their daughters and we dismiss it as such when she replies with a sarcastic, “Okay.” The choice is a correct one too once we meet them in the present. Felix is an aging art dealer lothario for whom Laura (Rashida Jones) is his sole…

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REVIEW: Hunter Hunter [2020]

It’s back. When Joe (Devon Sawa) and his daughter Renee (Summer H. Howell) find a severed critter leg in one of their traps, the latter seems legitimately afraid. That’s not to say a family living off the grid in the woods (enough where the teen might never have interacted with anyone besides her parents for the entirety of her life) shouldn’t fear a wolf stalking around the same areas they do for food and fur. Something in her voice—and later her mother’s (Camille Sullivan‘s Anne)—simply makes it seem like there’s…

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REVIEW: Lingua Franca [2020]

Always a bridesmaid. There are few things worse in this life than to be refused one’s humanity. Whether the result of bigotry via the lens of race, gender, sexuality, and age or mistrust via a desire to underestimate, reduce people to their biggest regrets, or dismiss sight unseen, our capacity to treat others as “less than” ourselves is growing at an exponential rate. And for what? A laugh? A false sense of superiority deflecting from one’s own shortcomings? So much about how we as Americans act boils down to our…

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REVIEW: World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime [2020]

Will you be the one to discover my dead body? After two introspective science fiction gems that took us on journeys of self-discovery within the subconscious, filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt decides to take World of Tomorrow Episode Three: The Absent Destinations of David Prime in a different direction. That’s not to say the third part of this series isn’t deep, though, as there’s a lot to be said about love and longing and jealousy. Rather than lean on dialogue via a brilliant back and forth between a child’s endearing innocence and…

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