REVIEW: The Duke [2022]

You’d like this one, love. It’s a wild story of a British “Robin Hood” stealing from the government in 1961 to hopefully (and earnestly) payback taxpayers who better deserved the funds set aside to stop a hostile takeover of ownership of Francisco Goya’s Portrait of the Duke of Wellington. Kempton Bunton (Jim Broadbent) had already gone on-record (and served jailtime) for his efforts to end the BBC license fee being charged poor pensioners who simply wanted a television to connect with the fast-growing world outside their doors. With no one…

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REVIEW:Dear Mr. Brody [2022]

It was a pretty intense ten days. Fifty years is a long time, so you must forgive those who’ve forgotten they wrote to Michael Brody Jr. in the first place. A lot of people did, though. Why wouldn’t they upon hearing how the twenty-one-year-old heir to a margarine fortune was publicly giving it away in a bid for world peace? Brody and his wife Renee‘s faces were plastered on magazine covers, newspapers, and TV thanks to Ed Sullivan. Americans from coast to coast were clamoring to get them on the…

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REVIEW: Against the Ice [2022]

They say there’s truth in every dream. I must say that I was excited coming into Against the Ice. It has a captivating premise centered around an Arctic expedition at the northern end of Greenland circa 1909, is based on the autobiographical account of Captain Ejnar Mikkelsen, and deals with an almost three-year survival opposite extreme weather conditions, isolation, and polar bears. Director Peter Flinth ratcheted up my anticipation even higher during the opening scene, dropping us into the action as Mikkelsen (played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who also co-adapted the…

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REVIEW: Bestia [Beast] [2021]

Her name was Íngrid Olderöck, otherwise known as “The Woman with the Dogs.” A Carabineros de Chile officer turned National Intelligence Directorate (DINA) agent under Augusto Pinochet, she received the nickname due to having trained a German Shepherd to sexually abuse and rape political prisoners of the regime in a middle-class neighborhood home coined the “Sexy Bandage.” She would later desert and fall victim to an assassination attempt led by the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR) despite always assuming the hit was orchestrated by the Carabineros itself. She’d survive,…

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REVIEW: The Queen of Basketball [2021]

Long and tall and that’s not all. What better way to hear about Lusia Harris than from the woman herself? Ben Proudfoot‘s documentary short The Queen of Basketball sees the charismatic former three-time national champion and Olympic silver medal-winning player going through her scrapbook of memories following a rise from daughter of Mississippi sharecroppers to the first woman drafted by the NBA. Did she pursue what was most likely a publicity stunt? No. She also doesn’t regret the decision when looking back and seeing who her children have become through…

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REVIEW: Benedetta [2021]

We’re all entitled to a sin. Even as a child, Benedetta Carlini (Elena Plonka) believed herself protected by Jesus. As director Paul Verhoeven and co-writer David Birke portray it, her arrival to the convent in Pescia was one dripping in entitlement. She belonged there. It was her destiny. And we believe it because her conviction is immovable thanks to a steady stream of miracles occurring whenever anyone doubts her bond with God. Where did that confidence come from? Was this desire to be Jesus’ bride her own? Was it something…

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REVIEW: The Sparks Brothers [2021]

They’re the best British band to ever come out of America. I played a game in my head while watching Edgar Wright‘s equally informative and entertaining deep dive into the joined career of Ron and Russell Mael, The Sparks Brothers. It was called: what decade did I first experience the band my brain has no recollection of ever knowing? Let’s face it. No one who has followed music, movies, pop culture, etc. for the past three-to-four decades can legitimately say they never heard of a group as prolific and groundbreaking…

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REVIEW: Spencer [2021]

Where am I? The magic has long since disappeared where it comes to Prince Charles (Jack Farthing) and Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) at the time director Pablo Larraín and screenwriter Steven Knight have set their “fable inspired by a true tragedy” entitled Spencer. It’s Christmas weekend and everyone already knows an end of some sort is near. Will there be a divorce? Will there be a scandal? Will there simply be scowling faces resigned to the fact that there will never be an escape from this joyless union that cannot…

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REVIEW: The Eyes of Tammy Faye [2021]

God loves you. He really, really does. Director Michael Showalter‘s The Eyes of Tammy Faye is not about Tammy Faye Bakker. I wish it was. She’s quite the figure with a heart of gold only challenged in size by a wealth of naivete and trust. A televangelist alongside her husband Jim on a television network they built into the fourth most-watched channel in America, she seems to have truly wanted to shower every single soul put on this earth with her love. And success was her way to do it.…

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REVIEW: Being the Ricardos [2021]

It was a scary goddamn week. The tabloids were running an article about Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem) having an extramarital affair. The radio was insinuating Lucille Ball (Nicole Kidman) was a communist. And the two of them had planned to go into the studio the next morning to let everyone know they were having another baby. Whether all that happened on the same night or not—Aaron Sorkin has never been shy with bending the truth or timelines for additional drama—you cannot deny it’s a lethal combination for a rousing behind-the-scenes…

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REVIEW: King Richard [2021]

We need to make two more kids. You couldn’t watch tennis in the mid-90s without hearing an opinion about Richard Williams lurking behind his camera in the stands while his daughters Venus and Serena took the American program and the sport itself by storm. Every commentator had something to say to simultaneously champion his efforts putting them on the road to superstardom and vilify his off-court persona via his parenting technique, self-promotion, and hijinks. At times he became the bigger story and thus a big distraction to what the Williams…

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