Crying for Justice: Jayro Bustamante on La Llorona

Popular across the Americas, the centuries-old myth of a jilted woman’s weeping spirit has been repurposed with sociopolitical stakes in the stunning, genre-bending Guatemalan film “La Llorona.” For his third feature (following “Ixcanul” and “Temblores”), acclaimed auteur Jayro Bustamante uses the feared apparition to grapple with the genocide committed against indigenous people in his country, …

Continue reading

Star Trek Universe Expands with the Slight Lower Decks

CBS All Access’ commitment to the world of “Star Trek” continues with “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” the first animated series affiliated with Gene Roddenberry’s IP since the short-lived “Star Trek: The Animated Series” in the 1970s. Less narratively ambitious than either “Star Trek: Discovery” or “Star Trek: Picard,” “Lower Decks” most often exudes the energy …

Continue reading

Home Entertainment Guide: August 6, 2020

10 NEW TO NETFLIX “The Addams Family””Being John Malkovich””An Education””Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind””Jurassic Park””A Knight’s Tale””Mad Max””The Neverending Story””Ocean’s Twelve””Seabiscuit” 3 NEW TO BLU-RAY/DVD “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum” (Criterion) Roger Ebert criticized the final act of Volker Schlondorff and Margarethe von Trotta’s searing drama in his 2.5-star review, writing “It’s as …

Continue reading

La Llorona

A woman’s cries echo inside a mansion, cutting through the night’s peace. General Enrique Monteverde (Julio Diaz) wakes expecting it to be his wife, but no, she is sleeping quietly beside him. He gets up, stopping by his closet full of guns for a revolver, and makes his way to the bathroom. Turning off the …

Continue reading

Producer’s Corner: Ellis Goodman’s Louder Than a Bomb, Mulberry Child and Art Paul of Playboy: The Man Behind the Bunny Now Available on Prime Video

With so many enticing streaming options at our disposal, we asked critics and producers which are some of their favorites. Three documentaries produced by Ellis Goodman were at the top of his own list and they are all currently available on (Amazon) Prime Video. They are: “Louder Than a Bomb,” “Mulberry Child” and “Art Paul of …

Continue reading

Cinema Femme’s Black Female Filmmaker Renaissance Panel to Stream Live on August 8th

Cinema Femme, the online publication devoted to elevating the voice of the female film experience, is hosting its inaugural Short Film Festival from Thursday, August 6th, through Sunday, August 9th, via the Seed&Spark platform. Among its line-up of virtual Q&As and events (which you can find here) is a special panel entitled the Black Female …

Continue reading

NBC Peacock’s Hitmen is a Dark Comedy for Light Viewing

The latest sitcom series that NBC’s Peacock has taken from overseas (after “Intelligence” from last month) is “Hitmen,” a comedy that mixes pitch-black humor with rapid, dry banter between the all-star duo of Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins. Americans might recognize the two as the original hosts for “The Great British Baking Show” (one of …

Continue reading

An American Pickle

I can’t remember the last time I saw a mainstream film as afraid of its own best self as “An American Pickle.”  Adapted by Simon Rich from his four-part serialized New Yorker story “Sell Out,” directed by cinematographer Brandon Trost, and anchored by Seth Rogen’s performance in two roles, the movie follows a time-traveling Jewish immigrant as he meets …

Continue reading

The CW’s Coroner Lacks Edge of Something New

When it comes to television procedurals, some basic tendencies must be accepted. The biggest being: a medical or science professional usually acts beyond the scope of their job. The CW’s newest series, “Coroner,” takes the habit to the extreme. Jenny Cooper (Serinda Swan), a former emergency room doctor turned coroner, teams with Toronto detectives to …

Continue reading

Owning Your Faults: Kris Rey and Gillian Jacobs on I Used to Go Here

There are few places better suited for unintentional comedy than Zoom. At the end of my chat last week with writer/director Kris Rey and actor Gillian Jacobs about their wonderful new movie, “I Used to Go Here,” I thanked them for their time and patiently waited for the publicist to end our call. Several seconds …

Continue reading

Short Films in Focus: Summer Hit

Berthold Wahjudi’s intimate and humorous “Summer Hit” takes us back to a time when it wasn’t unusual to come home to an apartment full of dudes, some of whom sleep on the floor at random times during the day while others get high in the kitchen. Only in your early-to-mid 20s is this socially acceptable. …

Continue reading

Red Penguins

Here’s a film I guarantee won’t be streaming on Disney+ anytime soon. The company’s former CEO Michael Eisner denies that many of the events recounted in “Red Penguins,” the fourth feature directed by Gabe Polsky, actually took place, and to be fair, it’s difficult to believe in a good deal of the information being fed …

Continue reading

#386 August 4, 2020

Matt writes: The extraordinary century-long life of Hollywood icon Olivia de Havilland came to an end last month when she passed away at age 104. Not only was she a two-time Oscar-winner who delivered brilliant work in such classics as “Gone With the Wind,” “The Heiress,” “To Each His Own,” “The Adventures of Robin Hood,” …

Continue reading

The Unloved, Part 80: The Eternal

Just in time for Michael Almereyda’s “Tesla,” the best American film of the year, to be released quietly on VOD (Almereyda seems to only get quiet releases), here’s a look back at one of the soulful magician’s earlier experiments: the mummy movie that wasn’t.  “The Eternal” (aka “Trance”) was supposed to be what pushed Almereyda from …

Continue reading

Immigration Nation

“It is the strategy to tear families apart, which to me is unconscionable, and bring them maximum pain, and to use that as a deterrent.” – John Amaya, Former Deputy Chief, ICE Donald J. Trump does not want you to see “Immigration Nation.” His administration pressured the filmmakers to delete scenes and even to delay …

Continue reading

Celebrating Living Legend Norman Lear on His 98th Birthday

“Where can I go out and dig a mine deep enough for the gratitude that I feel? How high can I fly to reach a place that meets the depth of gratitude that I feel? […] My morning thought is that each man is my superior, each woman also my superior, in that I may learn …

Continue reading

Wilford Brimley: 1934-2020

A notable character actor throughout his career, Wilford Brimley was too often reduced to fuel for punchlines about how old he looked at a young age, Quaker Oats, or even his Diabetes PSAs. His passing this weekend will hopefully lead people back to a career that was more than just social media talking points. Brimley …

Continue reading

The Secret: Dare to Dream

We could all use a little hope these days. More than a little, actually. But you won’t derive much inspiration from “The Secret: Dare to Dream” besides some unintentional laughter to briefly brighten your day. Based on the 2006 self-help book from Rhonda Byrne, which has sold tens of millions of copies with the help …

Continue reading

Black Is King

To be quite honest, I do not know why you are even here. Nothing I say, pro or con, is going to alter your desire to see “Black is King,” especially if you are a fan of its star and creative force, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Even if you are not, it’s been hyped six ways until …

Continue reading

Alan Parker: 1944-2020

When looking at the filmography of Alan Parker, the celebrated British director who passed away today at  76, the word “eclectic” seems inadequate. Films as different as “Bugsy Malone” (1976), “Midnight Express” (1978), “Fame” (1980), “Pink Floyd: The Wall” (1982), “Angel Heart” (1987), “Mississippi Burning” (1988), “The Commitments” (1991) and “Evita” (1996) hardly seem to belong …

Continue reading