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…

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REVIEW: The Midnight Sky [2020]

As good a place as any. We’re three weeks past “the incident.” What that means is vague when talking about specifics, but the fact that Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney) is saying goodbye to people as they board multiple helicopters during an evacuation that leaves him as the last human in residence of a high-tech command station in the Arctic says all we need to know. Earth is on its last legs—if any still remain. Those people are hoping to build new lives on a lunar colony orbiting Jupiter and he’s…

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REVIEW: Wild Mountain Thyme [2020]

Who’s going to kill the crows? Ireland is full of history. Take that statement in a literal sense with centuries of rolling hills, struggles, and people or a figurative one leaning more towards the realm of memories and ghosts. As Tony (Christopher Walken)—our sporadic narrator through an obtuse framing device that sets most of John Patrick Shanley‘s Wild Mountain Thyme (adapted from his own play “Outside Mullingar”) as flashback despite portraying it as present-day—says, “If an Irishman dies in the middle of telling a story, he just might come back.”…

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REVIEW: Safety [2020]

I am a winner. Anyone who’s played organized sports is familiar with their clichés. Whether “fighting in the trenches” as though a game is akin to war or loyalty and love transforming your teammates and coaches into a second family (the same rhetoric employers use as a means to get you to willingly sacrifice more than your compensation contractually demands), these platitudes are used to confirm that “we” is stronger than “I.” The result is two-fold: we do make priceless relationships from those experiences, but also sometimes find ourselves stripped…

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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…

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REVIEW: Promising Young Woman [2020]

You didn’t think this was the end, did you? Has anyone created a drinking game for Emerald Fennell‘s audacious feature directorial debut Promising Young Woman yet? If not, I’m going to pitch that it surround the universal facial tic Cassandra Thomas’ (Carey Mulligan) prey deliver upon saying something they mean before floundering in an attempt to backtrack because that thing shouldn’t be said aloud. It’s usually accompanied by an extended “Uhhh” or “Wait a second” or “What I mean is”—the hamster wheel inside their brains working overtime to salvage the…

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REVIEW: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom [2020]

I got my time comin’ to me. It’s all there in the opening scene. Ma Rainey (Viola Davis) belts “Deep Moaning Blues” to a full house in Georgia as her band accompanies from the back of the stage. Toledo (Glynn Turman) and Slow Drag (Michael Potts) hit their notes with feeling, keenly watching the subtle yet damning chaos about to unfold. Not only is trumpeter Levee (Chadwick Boseman) angled to serenade young Dussie Mae (Taylour Paige)—Ma’s “girl”—while Cutler (Colman Domingo) shoots a disparaging, fatherly look of judgment, he also dares…

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REVIEW: Wander Darkly [2020]

And one for tomorrow. The thing about living for the future is that it often neglects the past. While a necessary coping mechanism to move forward after traumatic loss, forgetting also risks our ability to heal through the memories of what came before. It’s why we’re nothing without where we’ve been for better and worse. Those experiences shape our identity and strength as each struggle pushes us on a path towards something greater than their devastating parts. So when Adrienne (Sienna Miller) awakens to find her body lying motionless on…

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REVIEW: Hillbilly Elegy [2020]

We don’t really use that term. If you’re able to get past J.D. Vance‘s unwavering desire to clarify everything he writes as being about the plight of the “white working class” as though the hardships his demographic face aren’t the same as those of minority populations (or that he’d have us believe they’re worse), Hillbilly Elegy the memoir can prove to be a rather damning treatise on America’s consistent ability to let its most desperate citizens down. You can’t blame people for thinking that “if” is too big, however, once…

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REVIEW: Minor Premise [2020]

We have to protect the work. The most important memory for audiences to remember is the one Ethan (Sathya Sridharan) specifically tried to forget. His father (Nikolas Kontomanolis) is sitting at a desk telling him how things work in academia. Any idea, theory, or experiment that occurs in pursuit of a university-driven project belongs to said university. And since Paul is the head of the department, it all belongs to him. That’s not to say Ethan won’t get credit—scientific papers often have multiple authors and names listed below the person…

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REVIEW: Ammonite [2020]

Fashion moved on. Did it not? By all accounts a woman long disregarded for her invaluable role in the scientific field of paleontology, Mary Anning deserves substantial recognition. Her first major discovery occurred around age eleven after her brother found an ichthyosaur skull for which she then collected the entirety of its completed skeleton. Because their father died that same year and left the family in dire financial straits, they sold the piece to find its way into London’s British Museum eight years later. Mary then continued her winter expeditions…

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