REVIEW: Moffie [2020]

You are no longer someone. There’s no better propaganda machine than the military. But while that institution generally wields its power upon those who willingly embrace its messaging, not every country relies on volunteers to fill their ranks. For countries like South Africa during Apartheid, conscription became a way to retain white minority control. Why? Because it ensured that every able white male would receive a steady dose of its racist and bigoted rhetoric for at least two years. Rather than preach to the choir, the Afrikaners could brainwash every…

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REVIEW: The Mosquito Coast [1986]

Ice is civilization. Anyone who has lived through the COVID pandemic with a MAGA-touting Trump lover in the family knows Allie Fox (Harrison Ford): a man so crippled by inadequacy and fear that he’ll twist himself into a pretzel to feign righteousness. It’s therefore interesting that this character is both anti-capitalism and anti-God since those are usually the means that facilitate that twist. But you listen to Allie’s opening rant (to his son Charlie, as played by River Phoenix, and ultimately to anyone in earshot of his intentionally sanctimonious shouting)…

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REVIEW: Sugar Daddy [2021]

I have no idea what you do. It’s Darren’s (Kelly McCormack) second foray into the “paid dating” scene and her experience is already drastically different than the first. That one had her going dress shopping with an older gentleman treating her to the clothes for her trouble. This one is at a fancy restaurant with a man (Colm Feore‘s Gordon) who seems to know someone at every table on the way to hers. Where the first came with an inherent awkwardness from both parties, Gordon is nothing but confident in…

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REVIEW: Funny Face [2021]

Maybe I have to do more. One person’s garbage is another’s treasure … or something like that. And if Tim Sutton‘s Funny Face is any indication, there’s no place in the world who understands those sentiments more than Brooklyn, New York. Whether we’re talking about rundown homes where impoverished families survive being torn down for a shiny new parking lot or a once great basketball team making you wonder if the owners are lifelong fans of its greatest rivals desperately trying to ensure they never make the playoffs again or…

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REVIEW: Opera [2021]

With a triangular structure composed of about one hundred different individual compartments that all connect via a religiously, bureaucratically, and militarily closed-loop ecosystem, it is impossible to fully comprehend everything that’s going on in one go. Erick Oh‘s Opera therefore becomes more a treatise on society’s ills, aspirations, failings, and successes than a narrative with A to B propulsion as a result, its infinite cycle of night and day (as dictated by an hourglass turn) becoming a nightmarish depiction of the nine circles of Hell as much as the faith-based…

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REVIEW: If Anything Happens I Love You [2020]

It’s never easy to overcome immense tragedy—especially when it involves a child. We feel the obvious absence at the start of Michael Govier and Will McCormack‘s If Anything Happens I Love You through its leads’ inability to look each other in the eyes and the anger their shadowy counterparts (embodiments of their emotions) exude behind them. We receive glimpses of joy met with isolation as every attempt to remember what was fades in the second it takes to realize there’s no going back. A paint splotch on the garage and…

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REVIEW: Feeling Through [2021]

U OK? If writer/director Doug Roland isn’t careful, his short film Feeling Through might find itself diminishing the plight of the homeless simply by comparing someone living that experience with someone who is “worse off.” That’s the inherent danger of sentences like “Someone always has it worse.” While meant to be emboldening, these sentiments sometimes forget how your suffering is also real. So rather than focus on the differences separating a man who’s desperate to find a couch to crash on for the night like Tereek (Steven Prescod) and a…

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REVIEW: White Eye [2021]

I’m telling you it’s my bike. It’s one thing to create a morality play that teaches its lesson while leaving everyone better people by the end, but it’s another to create one that actually maintains authenticity. Because let’s face it: lessons often come at a price. And when said lesson involves the police, that price can be a lot steeper than you may have assumed. We therefore know things will most likely devolve the moment Omer (Daniel Gad) calls them to deal with his situation on the record because their…

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REVIEW:The Present [2021]

I have my daughter with me. It’s easy for oppressive regimes to call their opposition terrorists when they have all the control. Wherever you may reside (look at the difference in rhetoric between how the American GOP described BLM protestors during the summer and white insurrectionists during the winter), power always breeds injustice. And it isn’t simply through action either. Some of the worst cases of exploitation and discrimination occur through inaction thanks to rules and regulations that allow humanity to be removed from the equation altogether. That’s why their…

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REVIEW: Shoplifters of the World [2021]

No one can ever take it away from us. The Smiths are dead. That’s the news Cleo (Helena Howard) punctuates with a scream loud enough to wake everyone in Denver, Colorado but her own passed out drunk mother on the couch. So she drives to the one place she knows she’ll find a kindred spirit: the record store. Dean (Ellar Coltrane) is reading the news behind the counter as she walks in, the obvious air of depression looming above him before his boss (Thomas Lennon) stomps in to say that…

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REVIEW: Two Distant Strangers [2020]

I think I just had the craziest, realist dream. You can’t read the synopsis for Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe‘s short film Two Distant Strangers and not think about The Obituary of Tunde Johnson—if you’ve seen it. Both utilize a time-loop scenario wherein their lead Black character is stuck in a never-ending cycle of police brutality always ending up with him shot dead. The difference between the two ends up being the fact that Free and Roe have less time to work with and thus less room to let…

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