REVIEW: Cow [2022]

You’re free, babies. There are some real rocket surgeons working on the cattle farm in Andrea Arnold‘s Cow. After we watch #29 give birth for the second time, a farmer feeds her calf with a bottle of milk while she starts getting aggressively protective. We hear another voice ask whether she’s always been “that bad.” The feeder replies, “She never used to be. Old age.” Is it, though? Is it truly that difficult to fathom how maybe she’s grown protective because you’ve already separated her from five calves? Why wouldn’t…

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REVIEW: Writing with Fire [2021]

We don’t trust anyone but you. It’s sometimes easy to forget white supremacy is deeply rooted in religion due to race being such a major component of its rise in America. Watching a film that depicts the growing Hindu nationalist movement in India, however, really shines a light on that piece of the puzzle considering how similar their tactics are to what’s been happening here at home. While Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas‘ documentary Writing with Fire isn’t specifically about this development, one cannot easily separate it from their actual…

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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: When We Were Bullies [2021]

And I participated. It couldn’t have played out better that the person to give writer/director Jay Rosenblatt the crucial perspective that he remembers the bullying incident at the center of his short documentary When We Were Bullies because of his complicity rather than the incident’s severity was his now ninety-two-year-old fifth grade teacher. How perfect is that? While you could place partial blame on her shoulders for punishing the whole class because of one student’s actions and naming him as the reason, her labeling them “animals” during their next class…

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REVIEW: Three Songs for Benazir [2021]

We will either be bombed by the foreigners or killed by the Taliban. Shaista wants to make his family-in-the-making proud, but options are limited considering he’s uneducated and locked in a war-time displacement camp in Afghanistan. Forming bricks to sell to his neighbors isn’t enough and working in the opium fields leaves too much to chance. So, his desire is to join the National Army and prove himself worthy of a well-paying job despite his hardships. While we never hear what his pregnant wife Benazir thinks on the subject—she’s relegated…

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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: Lead Me Home [2021]

You gradually get into an extreme situation. It doesn’t seem extreme. With a statistic like the one that ends Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk‘s documentary short Lead Me Home stating how over half a million Americans experience homelessness on any given night, the need to narrow focus and ensure audiences aren’t lost in the futility of numbers rears its head. Because that’s a major issue when it comes to topics such as this. Those who can help simply by lending their compassion to a governmental vote balk at that expansive…

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REVIEW: Audible [2021]

This loss will not define us as a team. A forty-two-game winning streak is tough to fathom, but that’s what the Maryland School for the Deaf varsity football team was riding as they entered the game that begins Matthew Ogens‘ documentary short Audible. It wasn’t just against other deaf schools either. The program had grown into a football powerhouse with a championship pedigree that allowed its athletes a chance to grow together as a community on and off the field. And these kids need that considering everything they face on…

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BERLINALE22 REVIEW: Geographies of Solitude [2022]

It’s been a process of discovery. Considering the Wikipedia page for Sable Island states a population of zero (minus the six-to-twenty-five rotating personnel team from the Meteorological Service of Canada), the text labeling Zoe Lucas as a “full-time inhabitant” at the end of Jacquelyn Mills‘ Geographies of Solitude seems to confirm what we presume throughout its duration: this twenty-five-mile-long and one-mile-wide crescent sand dune off the coast of Nova Scotia is a world of one. It’s been that way for forty years, ever since Lucas returned following a brief stint…

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BERLINALE22 REVIEW: Mis dos voces [My Two Voices] [2022]

We’re doing great. The title to Lina Rodriguez‘s documentary Mis dos voces [My Two Voices] says it all. Her three subjects (as well as her) are Latin American immigrants living in Canada with similar journeys full of insight, experience, and perseverance that are important for those about to follow in their footsteps and those lucky enough to never have to do the same. The idea of two voices is steeped in the idea of past versus present, but also identity considering the challenge of that shift. They want to hold…

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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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