REVIEW: The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 [2021]

What we can hear is often more powerful than what we can see. With an “it’s the friends we met along the way” type of mantra, documentarian Joshua Zeman uses his latest film The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 to take audiences on a quest towards the unknown … or, at least, the misunderstood. He knows his endeavor is a fool’s errand. Everyone he asks to estimate the feasibility of finding a whale nobody has ever seen before and that hasn’t even been tracked in a decade to know…

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REVIEW: Cousins [2021]

She had us. They only spent one summer together as children, but the connection they share via blood and heritage ultimately lasts them a lifetime whether they know it could or not. Makareta (Mihi Te Rauhi Daniels) promised young Mata (Te Raukura Gray) that she’d never give up looking for her—because even though they were together now, British laws had intervened to ensure that moment remained brief. It didn’t matter that Makareta, Missy (Keyahne Patrick Williams), and the rest of their Māori family wanted to keep her in their arms…

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REVIEW: Zola [2021]

Clean your butt! Twitter user A’Ziah King had the platform eating out of her palm for 148-tweets back in 2015. Everyone wanted to “hear a story about why [she] & this bitch here fell out” and waited patiently for each new mini chapter before the entire opus got screenshot, shared on every social media site, and inevitably crossed the radar of Rolling Stone‘s David Kushner to document what “really” happened for the magazine later that year. And since you can’t go viral to that extent without earning some attention from…

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REVIEW: Great White [2021]

We’ll get you there. There’s a legend of sorts about a shipwreck on the island locale most tourists ask Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko) and Kaz (Katrina Bowden) to take them off the Australian coast. Only one man survived the ordeal and natives, like the Captain’s cook (Te Kohe Tuhaka‘s Benny), have never forgotten his name. It therefore means something when the trio’s latest fares (Kimie Tsukakoshi‘s Michelle and Tim Kano‘s Joji) take out an urn of ashes and a photograph of that very same man. He was her grandfather and always…

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REVIEW: Die in a Gunfight [2021]

We’re gonna piss a lot of people off. From the 2010 edition of the Blacklist to Zac Efron‘s schedule, Andrew Barrer and Gabriel Ferrari‘s screenplay for Die in a Gunfight seemed to be getting the fast-track into theaters before seven years of development saw a revolving door of actors and directors changing. It would take almost a decade before cameras started rolling and the person sitting prettiest after the whole ordeal became Collin Schiffli. After two indie films written by frequent collaborator David Dastmalchian, he’s finally got his hands in…

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REVIEW: River [2021]

Live first. Her mother (Becki Hayes‘ Lois) has lived in this town her whole life and River Allen (Mary Cameron Rogers) knows she’d willing suffer the same fate unless she forces herself to leave right now. It wouldn’t necessarily be a bad fate—regrets or not, Lois seems to enjoy the life she’s carved out over the years as a single mother amongst friends that care about her—but how would River ever know if something better was out there if she simply accepted it without at least trying? So she tells…

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REVIEW: Pig [2021]

Marge died ten years ago. Rob (Nicolas Cage) wants for nothing from his woodland lifestyle in the middle of Nowhere, Oregon. He has his cabin and his truffle hog: the former providing shelter, the latter companionship. With a whistle she comes trotting over, ready for another hunt. Sometimes it appears she’s the one finding culinary gold under the dirt and others it appears as though it’s him, troweling up some earth to taste. The duo knows what they’re doing and provide their buyer (Alex Wolff‘s Amir) a superior enough product…

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CANNES21 REVIEW: Retour A Reims [Fragments] [2021]

A war is waged on the dominated. The MIT Press describes Didier Eribon‘s book Returning to Reims as “A memoir and meditation on individual and class identity, and the forces that keep us locked in political closets.” The author never went back home upon leaving until after his father was moved to a nursing home for those afflicted by Alzheimer’s and it was only upon his return that he began to recognize the underlying factors that made its community what it became despite what it originally rose from. By looking…

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CANNES21 REVIEW: Aya [2021]

We can’t leave our sand behind. Living on the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean would be a dream to many people. Not only is the view beautiful, but one’s ability to live a simple life can often be a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle of a city and its potential for disaster through culture shock and excess. The unfortunate truth of the world in which we currently live, however, is that nothing is simple anymore. Climate change has rendered coastal towns like the one in which Aya (Marie-Josée…

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REVIEW: Sayyedat al-Bahr [Scales] [2021]

Maybe there was another choice. To be expendable is to be replaced because those in power of the situation deem you easier to discard than protect. It’s the driving force of bigotry throughout the world on religious, racial, and gender lines because it’s predicated on the idea that one group is superior to another. And that group is allowed to dictate those terms simply because they are in control. It doesn’t matter what reasons they had for drawing the line either since the moment it appears is the moment when…

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CANNES21 REVIEW: H6 [2021]

Laughter is a good remedy. Some hospitals are better suited for your needs than others no matter where you reside. Maybe you’re lucky and the best is local in case of emergency. Maybe you need to take the night train just to reach it for the opportunity to find a bed days later. And depending on insurance, you’re always forced to weigh your options with family before even beginning to think about attempting the services they offer. To therefore set a camera inside one of the busiest medical establishments within…

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