DOCNYC20 REVIEW: 76 Days [2020]

I want to say goodbye for the last time. Despite all the conjecture about Wuhan being some backwoods Chinese town where people eat bats, reality reveals that it’s the capital and largest city of the Hubei Province. More than that, it’s also the ninth most populated city in the entire nation. Shutting it down on January 23, 2020 wasn’t therefore easily done, but it was an absolute necessity to try and combat the COVID-19 outbreak that was well on its way to becoming uncontrollable. People were dying. Hospitals were being…

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DOCNYC20 REVIEW: Five Years North [2020]

The laws have to change. The American immigration system is broken. We can argue about how and where all we want, but that simple fact should be something for which both sides of the political aisle can agree. Have things gotten worse since Republicans took over the Senate in 2015? You bet. That should be a universal truth too once you look into policy changes that have spiraled towards crimes against humanity status ever since Donald Trump entered the White House. Suddenly a nation that opened its arms to refugees…

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ANOMALY20 REVIEW: The Last Blockbuster [2020]

I miss it like crazy. We were a Blockbuster family. I don’t mean that because we had the gold membership card allowing us to rent any old DVD for free with the purchase of a new release or that we’d go at least once a week while working a drop-box drive-by into our regular schedule. No, that label was earned back when VHS was king and the best way to not have to constantly buy new VCRs was acquiring a rewinding machine instead. We’d watch our rentals, pop them in…

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ANOMALY20 REVIEW: Gremlins: A Puppet Story [2020]

Ha! Forgetting about the man-hours that go into a film production before the cameras start rolling is something many of us do. People do so where it concerns art and labor in most fields because it’s easier to reduce finished products to the “genius” or “talent” of a creator than fathom the work that actually goes into making those indelible traits possible. So watching an Oscar-winning make-up/special effects artist like Chris Walas go through the process of advancing from reading a script that seemed impossible to bring to fruition to…

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ANOMALY20 REVIEW: Schlaf [Sleep] [2020]

Am I awake? The nightmares are never-ending for Marlene (Sandra Hüller). One second she’s watching television with her daughter Mona (Gro Swantje Kohlhof) and the next finds her screaming in the dark, desperate to grab hold of a bedside journal with which to draw what she’s seen. It’s a house she can’t recall visiting. It’s a suicide by hanging, a suicide by rifle, and a suicide by blade. Over and over the images flicker upon her eyelids because the drugs offer little reprieve. If not for leafing through an on-board…

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ANOMALY20 REVIEW: De kuthoer [The Columnist] [2019]

Here’s to life. Never read the comments—a universal rule for all writers who publish, share, or create on the internet. No matter what you say or how you say it, there will always be a troll ready to disparage your work or you personally. They don’t need a reason beyond their ability to do so. They don’t need a salient point either. And it’s precisely because they possess neither that they ultimately live rent-free inside the minds of everyone they attack with artificial anonymity. One doesn’t even have to read…

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ANOMALY20 REVIEW: The Legend of Baron To’a [2020]

Welcome to the ‘sac. More than just a wrestling hero for young Polynesians the world over, Baron To’a (John Tui) was a bona fide hero in his neighborhood. He always had time for the kids. He made sure the streets were clean. And he wasn’t afraid to take off a sandal to hit someone risking the community’s wellbeing over the head … sometimes after beating them senseless first. Did Baron want to fight? No. He sought peace through words. It was only when they failed that he was left no…

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DOCNYC20 REVIEW: Colectiv [Collective] [2020]

We’re no longer human beings. We’re of an era when everything good instills mixed feelings thanks to how far our species has fallen where the realm of empathy is concerned. It’s so demoralizing that we’ve been forced to hail those willing to do the bare minimum as heroes simply because they haven’t caved to the power of money’s so-called “great equalizer” … yet. How much buys your silence? How much for your complicity? How about your active participation? The old adage says everyone has a price because it’s very often…

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DOCNYC20 REVIEW: Landfall [2020]

Days went by and we knew nothing Puerto Rico is the oldest colony in the world. Think about that. The United States retains the island as an “unincorporated possession” without any national representation beyond a non-voting member of Congress. Inhabitants are therefore citizens without a voice. They have no say in who is elected President despite having a population larger than twenty Electoral College states. They are essentially slaves to a system that doesn’t care about them, helpless to prevent the federal government from coming ashore to wreak havoc whenever…

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DOCNYC20 REVIEW: Zappa [2020]

Waiting to be disposed of. The thing about artists is that their life’s work is objective. It remains once they’re gone. Few other career paths can claim that since money doesn’t count. You don’t make money. Some earn it. Some steal it. Some do everything in their power to avoid its hold on their lives beyond the basic need for survival. And by all accounts, Frank Zappa was keenly aware of that distinction. He knew what was necessary to help raise a family and what was necessary to feed his…

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DOCNYC20 REVIEW: The Mystery of D.B. Cooper [2020]

On a 727, there’s no place to run. The FBI officially closed the D.B. Cooper case in 2016, forty-five years after he hijacked a plane, extorted $200,000, and jumped somewhere between Seattle and Reno. It’s the only unsolved case of air piracy in the United States and the fact it remained open for so long was reason enough for the bureau to cut its losses and put resources dedicated to its numerous dead-ends elsewhere. Cooper would be in his eighties or nineties at this point anyway, if he’s even still…

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