REVIEW: The Vigil [2021]

It wants your pain. After spending his entire life within the Orthodox Jewish community, Yakov Ronen (Dave Davis) recently decided to leave its insular environment and make his way amongst the freer and more modern society away from its borders. It’s hardly an easy transition, though, when you consider how little he and his fellow defectors know about the world they’re entering. Yakov himself can’t stop marveling about his new smartphone because it has a flashlight let alone access to the internet, so it’s no surprise that he’d fail to…

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REVIEW: Silk Road [2021]

It kind of felt like the future. Ross Ulbricht (Nick Robinson) wanted to change the world. And he did. Whether you believe it was for the better (bringing the Dark Web and Tor into the mainstream via his anonymous marketplace Silk Road) or worse (using that marketplace to profit off illicit, criminal activities once selling designer drugs online quickly turned to hard narcotics, firearms, and even shadier “services”), the infrastructure he utilized coupled with the advantages afforded by Bitcoin ignited a firestorm of possibilities. Because at the center of it…

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REVIEW: Greenland [2020]

Where are the flashes? John Garrity (Gerard Butler) dreads going home at the start of director Ric Roman Waugh and screenwriter Chris Sparling‘s disaster film Greenland, but it’s not because a giant comet from an unknown solar system is flying closer to Earth than expected. He’s not some scientist who’s been studying the trajectory or a military man with the expertise to stop it. He’s a structural engineer pretending his foreman can’t finish up because he’s unsure of what to expect upon opening his front door. The fact Allison (Morena…

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REVIEW: The Little Things [2021]

How’s the trunk space? Joe Deacon (Denzel Washington) never wanted to return to Los Angeles. It didn’t matter that he had a good life there before his divorce and estrangement from his daughters. It didn’t matter that he’s now a Sheriff’s deputy in a small town when he used to be a big city detective with the department’s highest clearance rate. His fall from grace scarred him enough to know that setting foot in the City of Angels again would bring the memories he’s struggled to suppress during sleepless nights…

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REVIEW: آن شب‎ [The Night] [2021]

There’s no way out. While playing a game of “mafia,” Babak (Shahab Hosseini) and Neda (Niousha Noor) are tasked with figuring out who amongst them (it’s an evening with friends rounded out by two more couples) are gangsters and who are citizens. The idea is to therefore lie if you’re the former. Pretend you’re innocent and point your finger elsewhere in hopes that the majority of players choose to “kill” the wrong person. A poker face is king and in this case salvation for those searching for one last victory…

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REVIEW: No Man’s Land [2021]

Cause they’re hungry. There’s a fundamental problem at the center of Conor Allyn‘s No Man’s Land: the tragic event sparking its introspective yet superficially transformative journey isn’t accidental. The fact that every synopsis and description of it uses that word only helps to prove that its story is being told from a privileged and biased perspective. Jackson Greer (Jake Allyn, who also co-wrote with David Barraza) isn’t cleaning his gun when he shoots and kills a Mexican boy trespassing on his father’s property. He didn’t think the gun was unloaded…

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REVIEW: Hunter Hunter [2020]

It’s back. When Joe (Devon Sawa) and his daughter Renee (Summer H. Howell) find a severed critter leg in one of their traps, the latter seems legitimately afraid. That’s not to say a family living off the grid in the woods (enough where the teen might never have interacted with anyone besides her parents for the entirety of her life) shouldn’t fear a wolf stalking around the same areas they do for food and fur. Something in her voice—and later her mother’s (Camille Sullivan‘s Anne)—simply makes it seem like there’s…

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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: 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: Dreamland [2020]

Except I’m the man in the hat. Eugene’s (Finn Cole) father used to say about their Bismarck home, “This place is cursed.” It didn’t matter that it’s where he and his wife Olivia (Kerry Condon) settled with a bunch of other families to begin building their lives. John Baker simply never thought any good could come from staying. So he left. Olivia and Eugene remained. Dust storm after dust storm swept through that land destroying crops, farms, and hope. The banks subsequently arrived with foreclosure after foreclosure. Olivia Baker eventually…

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REVIEW: Let Him Go [2020]

I’m sharing it now. With three generations of Blackledge men at the center of Thomas Bezucha‘s Let Him Go (adapted from Larry Watson‘s novel) come three potential readings for the title. Is Margaret (Diane Lane) letting go of the memory of her late son James? Is she letting go of the hope she has to bring her grandson Jimmy back from the clutches of her widowed daughter-in-law’s (Kayli Carter‘s Lorna) abusive new husband Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain)? Or is she meant to accept the fact that her husband (Kevin Costner‘s…

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