REVIEW: The Woman in the Window [2021]

It’s not really therapy if there’s a knife at your back. No one seems to have been under any illusion that what they were making was in any way original. Director Joe Wright wouldn’t have his old movie lover lead character watching Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rear Window in the opening scene if he did. Much like Disturbia, however, comparing one work to another because of similar basic premises is usually just a way of proving your inability to realize all art is pretty much an amalgam of references anyway. We champion…

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REVIEW: Infinite [2021]

No one’s got time for destiny. The background of how Infinite was optioned is a fun, anecdotal tale steeped in what some might construe as fate while others simply dismiss it as dumb luck. Former software developer D. Eric Maikranz self-published his debut novel The Reincarnationist Papers in 2009—the fictional memoirs of a man with memories of past lives who seeks to join a secret society of others like him—with the promise (printed on the front page) to give anyone able to put a copy into the pipeline at a…

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REVIEW: La Dosis [The Dose] [2020]

Important decisions are never easy to make. Despite being a film about euthanatizing ICU nurses at a provincial hospital in Argentina, Martín Kraut‘s directorial debut La Dosis [The Dose] actually begins with a miraculous attempt to bring a patient back to life after doctors had already declared her dead. That’s the kind of man Marcos (Carlos Portaluppi) is, though. On the job for two decades and counting, he knows when someone is beyond help and when their time has yet to arrive. He therefore grabs the paddles, shocks her two…

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IFFR21 REVIEW: Death on the Streets [2021]

You know we’re here. There’s a question looming above the entirety of European Johan Carlsen‘s film about a self-destroyed American man entitled Death on the Streets: Is Kurt (Zack Mulligan, one of three subjects from Bing Liu‘s Minding the Gap delivering his acting debut) a failure? To anyone who sees his life with wife Sarah (Katie Folger), two young sons, and an expansive (albeit intrusive) support system, the answer is a resounding “No.” To Kurt himself, however, there’s zero wiggle room when it comes to believing the opposite. He’s allowed…

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REVIEW: All Light, Everywhere [2021]

The act of observation obscures the observation. The concept at the back of Theo Anthony‘s documentary All Light, Everywhere shouldn’t be lost on anyone who understands the concept of art itself and the notion that its impact on the viewer is inherently subjective regardless of the artist’s intent. It harkens back to the old joke social studies teachers in middle school use about history being “his story” with historical truth formed by the victors’ eyes. That Anthony draws the through-line straight through our own ability to see as a mechanical…

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REVIEW: Woman in Motion [2021]

She changed the space program forever. It’s inspiring to hear Nichelle Nichols speak about the moment she realized things weren’t as they were supposed to be because she realized it within a moment of awe. Comprehending how something too crucially important to be missing from the magic of what she was shown isn’t an easy feat because we too often get caught up in excitement to think through the next steps or look beyond the superficial veils of marketing by acknowledging the deficiencies that manufactured sheen was meant to cover…

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REVIEW: Port Authority [2021]

Players don’t tell the truth. When Paul (Fionn Whitehead) left Pittsburgh for New York City, he believed he had family ready to welcome him with open arms. His half-sister Sara (Louisa Krause) wasn’t at the station when he arrived, though, and Aunt Mary didn’t give him a phone number or address with which to contact her. So he went on a train to sleep the night only to get accosted by two men and saved by another. Lee (McCaul Lombardi) was a stranger, but he lent a helping hand and…

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REVIEW: Plan B [2021]

There are no ‘smart‘ mistakes. It was about halfway through Natalie Morales‘ Plan B (her directorial debut if you go by theatrical release date considering her festival title Language Lessons from earlier this year has yet to secure one) that Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg‘s producer credits came into focus because it was there that the parallels to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle became undeniable. If actor-turned-director Olivia Wilde‘s Booksmart was created in the Superbad vein, Joshua Levy and Prathiksha Srinivasan‘s script was certainly drawn from that of…

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REVIEW: Cruella [2021]

There’s lots more bad things coming. I promise. First thing’s first when making a prequel to Dodie Smith‘s One Hundred and One Dalmatians that focuses villain Cruella de Vil as its antihero: ensure that audiences know she doesn’t hate dogs. Better yet, screenwriters Dana Fox and Tony McNamara go one further by making Estella (Emma Stone‘s proto-Cruella’s schizophrenic “good” persona) a lover of dogs. She saves one from the streets (Buddy) and adopts it as her best friend. She subsequently enlists another dog’s services (Wink) upon teaming up with the…

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REVIEW: Dream Horse [2021]

The pigeons keep coming back. A film about a Welsh horse named Dream Alliance doesn’t get made unless the ending holds a cup, but a horse like Dream Alliance doesn’t get the chance to win if not for the loveable band of small-town eccentrics who decided to set ten quid aside each week. For Jan Vokes (Toni Collette), Daisy Vokes (Owen Teale), and Howard Davies (Damian Lewis)—who had the idea, the breeding experience, and knew the racing world respectively—this was more than some hairbrained scheme to make money. They were…

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REVIEW: Caveat [2021]

There’s got to be more to it than that. Isaac (Jonathan French) doesn’t remember Barret (Ben Caplan), but Barret assures him they are friends. He even visited him at the hospital only to discover Isaac had no recollection of ever having met him before. I guess you have two choices when suffering from partial memory loss: you either decide to trust nobody or accept the help of strangers who say they aren’t strangers at all. Isaac is the latter … albeit skeptical. Whether that skepticism is towards Barret himself or…

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