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: A Rainy Day in New York [2020]

Real life is fine for people who can’t do any better. There’s a scene in Mike Nichols‘ The Birdcage where Robin Williams’ character is helping Nathan Lane’s character be more “manly.” He has him mimicking different masculine figures including John Wayne to which Lane struts around only to catch Williams’ quizzical look and ask, “What? No good?” Williams’ response perfectly encapsulates how things we’ve been conditioned to believe are normal are actually absurd when taken out of context. He says, “Actually, it’s perfect. I just never realized John Wayne walked…

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TIFF18 REVIEW: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

Flesh of each other’s flesh. Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then comes the hard truth of absence—the explanation of his disappearance. Daniel had been in jail two years for a crime he didn’t commit and Fonny feels for his plight. Despite anything he could possibly say…

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REVIEW: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [2016]

“Rebellions are built on hope” George Lucas used to say years ago that the original Star Wars trilogy was but three chapters of an epic nine-part saga. It dealt with the Skywalker family, beginning in the middle to introduce a passing of the “Force” from father to son. Lucas would eventually make the first three chapters as a prequel series used to tell the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s descent towards the Dark Side for exposition into the stunning reveal his becoming Luke and Leia’s formidable foe in A New Hope…

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REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. To say I was intrigued in Jorge R. Gutierrez‘s The Book of Life would therefore be an understatement. The colors, detail, subject matter, and music he infused seemed a perfect coalescence of style and substance…

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REVIEW: Milk [2008]

“We gotta give em hope” I have to admit that I forgot Gus Van Sant knew how to make films with a linear storyline. The man is a visionary with My Own Private Idaho standing as one of my personal favorites and, a little more recently, Elephant being a testament to craft succeeding beyond a need for dialogue. But of course, the film everyone loves is that Damon/Affleck darling Good Will Hunting, and I do too. Mix them all together, add some non-fiction, and you’ll come close to Milk, the…

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