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…

Read More

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…

Read More

REVIEW: 魔女の宅急便 [Majo no takkyûbin] [Kiki’s Delivery Service] [1989]

Just follow your heart and keep smiling. Every witch upon her thirteenth birthday must leave home for a year abroad to hone her witchcraft skills. She must find a community without witches and establish herself within it via a career based in the magic she provides—through whatever form is unique to her. It’s a time for excitement and trepidation as she’s forced to advance towards adulthood extremely early with no support system but the one she hopes to uncover wherever she lands. While some surely feel a bit of both…

Read More

REVIEW: Wonder Woman 1984 [2020]

No true heroes are born from lies. **Spoilers** You may remember the first Wonder Woman ending with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) flying after her full powers were finally realized during a climactic battle with Ares, the God of War. If so, you’re wrong. You’re so wrong that director Patty Jenkins and co-writers Geoff Johns and Dave Callaham decided to give you a two-and-a-half hour sequel wherein she does learn (“you just need to be one with the air”) so there can be no confusion whatsoever in the future. I kid…

Read More

REVIEW: Tenet [2020]

Ignorance is our ammunition. We’re each the protagonist of our own stories. Whether we are the villain in another’s, a sidekick, or a complete afterthought, we push forward regardless onto the path we believe is righteous. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should blindly sympathize with an antagonist because they don’t know better. They often do. Antihero status isn’t therefore necessary to understand complexity beyond ego or hubris. We can hate someone trying to destroy the world without wondering about his/her motivations or the fact he/she wasn’t loved enough in…

Read More

REVIEW: Over the Moon [2020]

Cherish life and everything you love. As an Auntie jokes during dinner on the night of the Chinese Moon Festival, the myth concerning Moon Goddess Chang’e isn’t always one about love. Some versions have it that she stole the immortality elixir from her love Hou Yi—taking it from his hiding place all for herself shortly after he decided forget it in order to remain on Earth with her. Screenwriter Audrey Wells changes things for Over the Moon from liquid to pills with Chang’e hiding two in her mouth before accidentally…

Read More

REVIEW: The Croods: A New Age [2020]

The pack stays together. There’s a montage during 2013’s The Croods wherein a comparison is being made between caveman Grug (Nicolas Cage) and Neanderthal Guy (Ryan Reynolds) concerning intelligence and thought. The point is that the former uses his fists without contemplating a better way while the latter problem solves to find success with the least amount of risk. One of the examples comes during a confrontation with the so-called “punch-monkeys” as Grug readies to fight his way through them before Guy swoops in with a bushel of bananas to…

Read More

REVIEW: Archenemy [2020]

A man alone in a dream that never ends. Give Max Fist (Joe Manganiello) a fifth of whiskey and he’ll tell you about the alternate dimension that holds his home city of Chromium. He was a hero there: indestructible, revered, and fearless when confronted by the evil Cleo (Amy Seimetz) and her apocalyptic weapons. It was her “void machine” that ultimately banished him to our version of Earth after he ripped a hole in space-time to detonate it between realities and save mankind. His “reward” was an eternity in purgatory…

Read More

REVIEW: News of the World [2020]

I guess we both have demons to face going down this road. The year is 1870. The Civil War has ended and southern America is in turmoil—the seeds for our current resurgence of white supremacy being sown as ex-Confederate soldiers begin to think their country is being “stolen” by freed slaves, Native Americans, and Mexicans. Every city throughout Texas is thus wrapped within its own echo chamber as word travels slow and the time to read and/or hear it wears thin. It’s why San Antonio native Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd…

Read More

REVIEW: Soul [2020]

I was born to play. So which is it? Do you live in water or the ocean? Do you wake up everyday content with who you are and what you’re doing? Or do you yearn for more because you’re too intent on achieving something you think needs to be achieved despite already finding everything right where you are? That’s life. You either live it or live it. You embrace what you have or you take it for granted. It doesn’t mean you have to make a choice between settling and…

Read More

REVIEW: ハウルの動く城 [Hauru no ugoku shiro] [Howl’s Moving Castle] [2004]

He’s just throwing a tantrum. At one point during Hayao Miyazaki‘s Hauru no Ugoku Shiro [Howl’s Moving Castle], as adapted from Diana Wynne Jones‘ 1986 novel, Sophie (Emily Mortimer in youth; Jean Simmons in cursed old age) asks Howl (Christian Bale) if the large warship in the sky above their serene field of flowers is “on their side or ours.” His resigned response, “What difference does it make?” In his mind no side of this or any war has a righteous claim when the result is an indiscriminate amount of…

Read More