REVIEW: Acasa, My Home [2021]

I’m free here. The land where Gica Enache raised his family for eighteen years has become a target of the Romanian government for national park status. A birds’ eye view shows just how close their island refuge is to Bucharest—the green marshland and gray concrete separated by mere feet. But geography isn’t the only thing at play here. There’s the culture clash between living independently off the delta’s natural resources (fishing, hunting, etc.) and becoming part of a community mired by rules that guarantee jail time for those same actions.…

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REVIEW: The Reason I Jump [2021]

Have a nice trip through our world. There’s no better advocate for you than you. You grasp what you’re going through. You comprehend your needs and desires. You feel the animosity and fear radiating off of those surrounding you because of their ingrained ignorance rather than your potential danger. The tragedy, however, is that we aren’t all equipped to serve that role for ourselves. We often need others to beat the drum on our behalf and work towards finding our truth. But as we’ve seen through the autistic community this…

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REVIEW: Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets [2020]

This place sucked anyways. If ever there’s a case to stop singling documentaries out as a different entity when compared to fictional narratives, Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross‘ Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets is a prime contender. Despite categorization that started at Sundance (much to the filmmakers’ own surprise), plenty of viewers have been quick to refute its place under the “documentary” banner because it doesn’t uphold their idea of journalistic (investigative, editorialized, or vérité) documentation. They’re correct. But just as many are throwing their weight to uphold the designation…

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REVIEW: Boys State [2020]

You play to win. Directors Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss couldn’t have asked for a better result when they decided to film the 2018 Texas Boys State event in Austin. With the randomly selected Nationalists party voting René Otero (a POC liberal hoping to engage with the conservative majority by holding true to fairness and debate) as their State Party Chairman and the Federalists electing Ben Feinstein (a double-amputee and self-proclaimed “hype man” willing to fight dirty in order to win) as theirs, we’re more or less given a reductive…

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REVIEW: Dick Johnson is Dead [2020]

I’ve always wanted to be in the movies. A steady stream of phone calls about Dick Johnson‘s growing forgetfulness eventually forced his daughter to admit a sad truth: it wasn’t safe for him to continue living alone. Anyone who’s seen Kirsten Johnson‘s previous documentary Cameraperson knows this reality will hit even harder considering she’s gone through similar circumstances before. It’s only been seven years since her mother Katie Jo passed away after a long bout with Alzheimer’s, so to turn around and have to watch her father suffer from dementia…

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REVIEW: The Dissident [2020]

Say your word and walk away. Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a known commodity in the world of international news so it was no surprise when word of his disappearance, presumed death, and confirmed assassination grabbed universal attention. So many questions swirled around the incident from its setting (his country’s consulate in Turkey), involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman himself, and a seemingly global indifference towards achieving actual justice in lieu of kowtowing to the economic importance of a nation with seventeen percent of the Earth’s petroleum reserves.…

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REVIEW: Mayor [2020]

We must make room for joy until we get freedom and independence. After staring out his city hall office window, Ramallah mayor Musa Hadid turns to the camera to ask director David Osit whether people know or see what’s really happening in the West Bank. It’s a question without good answers. Either the world acknowledges the Israeli occupation of Palestine and doesn’t care or they’re completely oblivious to it because they rely solely on what Israel tells them. Hadid is therefore left fending for himself as both the leader of…

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REVIEW: The Walrus and the Whistleblower [2020]

The excuses are gone. Every activist has a breaking point. They need one to willingly fight for the issues they do since these types of battles only exist if the side doing damage is held as “the norm.” You don’t see groups of people picketing the ocean to advocate for more marine life captivity just like you don’t see pro-choice protestors going to random people’s houses to picket their newborn babies because they think we need more abortions. That’s why whistleblowers prove crucial to getting any sort of change for…

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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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REVIEW: Belushi [2020]

I don’t think he’ll survive this. Because I enjoyed John Candy and Chris Farley‘s work growing up, their deaths didn’t automatically become their identity. I’ve never been one to be affected by the death of anyone I didn’t personally know, so my sense of loss focused upon the art instead of the person. I can therefore remember their larger-than-life personas and the smiles they coaxed in real-time throughout my adolescence during the 1980s and 1990s. It’s something I don’t possess when it comes to John Belushi since he passed away…

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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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