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: 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: 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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DOCNYC20 REVIEW: Colectiv [Collective] [2020]

We’re no longer human beings. We’re of an era when everything good instills mixed feelings thanks to how far our species has fallen where the realm of empathy is concerned. It’s so demoralizing that we’ve been forced to hail those willing to do the bare minimum as heroes simply because they haven’t caved to the power of money’s so-called “great equalizer” … yet. How much buys your silence? How much for your complicity? How about your active participation? The old adage says everyone has a price because it’s very often…

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REVIEW: I’m Thinking of Ending Things [2020]

You can’t fake a thought. Rather than listen to what Lucy (Jessie Buckley) says when using the word “assertation,” Jake (Jesse Plemons) can’t help but wonder if she got that small detail wrong. He says, “I think it’s assertion” to which she replies, “Both are words. Look it up.” Or did he say “assertation” before she thought “assertion” in order for him to say, “Look it up?” Does it even matter? This is the last night they’ll ever see each other anyway if we’re to believe Lucy’s inner monologue’s wrestling…

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REVIEW: Time [2020]

Life’s Only Valid Expression. Her mother raised her to believe in the American Dream: success comes to those who try. So of course Fox Rich believed she was on the top of the world over two decades ago. She was young, ambitious, and in love with her high school sweetheart Rob. They were happily married, raising a family of sons with two more on the way, and pouring their hopes and energy into a clothing business they opened together as a means to support their future. But the store began…

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REVIEW: Rebecca [1940]

They say he simply adored her. Director Alfred Hitchcock winds the camera down the overgrowth to a once beautiful estate known as Manderley—now a shell of its former splendor and shrouded in shadows. He’s foreshadowing the forthcoming darkness so we don’t meet the bright eyed and innocent young “companion” of Mrs. Van Hopper (Florence Bates) and believe we’re about to receive a whirlwind romance of love and life rather than pain and sorrow. No, the latter are firmly entrenched from frame one straight through the end despite subsequent appearances to…

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HEARTLAND20 REVIEW: Minari [2020]

Because of the dirt color? One of the first things Soonja (Yuh-Jung Youn) wants to do upon arriving in America to live on her daughter’s family’s new Arkansas farm and help with her grandkids is find a place to grow the minari she’s brought over from Korea. She mentions it out loud at dinner after picking a spot only to hear her son-in-law Jacob (Steven Yeun) say he’ll think about it. He’s too busy plowing the land he bought to grow Korean vegetables to worry about additions, but Soonja wasn’t…

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NIGHTSTREAM20 REVIEW: Rose Plays Julie [2020]

Do you ever think about me? Get ready for a tense ride because writers/directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor‘s Rose Plays Julie never relinquishes its sense of brooding until the very last frame’s welcome exhale of relief. Why should they considering the subject matter? This is a dark story dealing with a reality too many women have experienced without the means for guaranteed justice. So while it might be a spoiler to say, I’m not sure it’s possible to speak about the film without mentioning how everything we witness is…

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TIFF20 REVIEW: Nuevo orden [New Order] [2020]

Then don’t tell them. Seemingly taking a cue from television, writer/director Michel Franco provides us glimpses of the carnage to come at the opening of his latest incendiary drama Nuevo orden [New Order]. There’s a naked woman with blood dripping down her body in the rain. There’s paint splashed upon a window behind a bride trying on a white lace dress, a giant oil canvas adorning the wall of an affluent family’s home, and fire burning in the distance after thrown furniture shatters into a hundred pieces on the ground.…

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