REVIEW: Son of Monarchs [2021]

This land belongs to no one. Like the butterflies traveling through the United States from Canada to Mexico, Mendel (Tenoch Huerta) decided to migrate too. He went to pursue his education in biology, finding himself in New York City as a lead scientist working with CRISPR to map the genome of the monarch. Doing so connects him back to Michoacán’s forests of insects looking like the leaves of a tree and spiritual belief that each butterfly was the soul of an ancestor since passed. There was comfort in that thought…

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REVIEW: The Forever Purge [2021]

Follow the roses. There’s one key fact about the fifth and (apparently) final installment in James DeMonaco‘s Purge series that demands mentioning: it was scheduled to debut July 2020. Whereas a COVID delay doesn’t mean much for F9 or Black Widow, it’s crucial to understanding just how prescient these political horror films are. Why? Because much of what occurs in The Forever Purge is an exact parallel to January 6th, 2021. DeMonaco’s mythology leads his fictional America to the brink of insurrection not to comment on what happened five months…

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FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Vuelven [Tigers Are Not Afraid] [2017]

We forget who we are when the things from outside come to get us. You know things are bad when the art coming out of an area reaches a point where “dark, metaphorical fairy tale” becomes a necessary style to wield as intense catharsis. There’s probably better markers to highlight when a community’s abject horror fosters enough self-destruction and futility to reach full exposure and ensure children can no longer be shielded from its truth, but that doesn’t diminish the heartbreaking sorrow this type of artistic choice lays bare. Because…

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REVIEW: The 33 [2015]

“Aim to miss” As if being the international feel-good story of 2010 wasn’t enough, the Copiapó mining accident at the San José copper/gold mine in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile included the type of personal, human melodramatic intrigue ripe for cinematic interpretation. Sourced from Hector Tobar‘s non-fiction novel Deep Down Dark (commissioned with each miner’s help so one couldn’t benefit more than another), Patricia Riggen‘s The 33 could be fiction. Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas) was working his day off, Álex Vega (Mario Casas) was days from fatherhood, and Mario…

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