Category: Uncategorized

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, 25 Prospect Street Among Highlights at the 12th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival

Of all the statements I’ve read regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, few have moved me as deeply as the anonymous one recently paraphrased by West Belfast community worker Tommy Holland in a video from Ireland’s Upper Springfield community response team. He said that we shouldn’t view the empty streets out our windows as a sign of the …

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This Incredible, Unusual, Really Unique Sort of Hook; Writer/Director George Nolfi on The Banker

“The Banker” sounded like it was going to be 2020’s “Hidden Figures.” Two “Avengers” stars played real-life black men who became wealthy real estate investors with vast properties by telling their white construction worker what to say so that he could pretend to be the president of their company.  But controversy unrelated to the quality of …

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It Just Takes Common Sense: Dr. Marty Goldstein on The Dog Doc

It’s been nearly a decade since director Cindy Meehl made her debut feature “Buck,” a stirring documentary on the real-life horse whisperer Buck Brannaman and his unconventional way of training horses with respect and compassion. Now with the equally emotional “The Dog Doc,” currently available to rent on Amazon Video, she turns her intimate lens …

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Krzystof Penderecki: 1933-2020

Dębica, Poland sits only a few hours from the Ukrainian border, which meant it was in a precarious position in the early 1930s. When the Germans invaded, some of the sizable Jewish population fled for the Soviet controlled territories rather than wait for the Nazi rule to reshape the town. Many stayed behind and had …

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Netflix’s Unorthodox Depicts a Melancholic Escape from Faith

Based on the memoir by Deborah Feldman, Netflix’s “Unorthodox” presents viewers with a rare women’s perspective from inside a Hasidic community in Williamsburg, an aspect that’s a large part of this miniseries’ intrigue. While it features a lot of specific Hasidic rituals and parts of lifestyle, its attitude takes after great deal from the book’s subtitle: The …

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Resistance

Everybody hates mimes, we have been led to believe. But this is not true, or at least, not quite true. In the training of actors, mime is an important learned skill. And I am told that every young actor, after a period of thorough training, will long carry with them a secret yearning to be …

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The Scheme

There may be no March Madness this year but there’s something truly insane related to college basketball this Tuesday. Airing on HBO after its canceled SXSW premiere, “The Scheme” tells the story of Christian Dawkins, a man whose ambition and business savvy became the focus of a major federal operation to bring down corruption in …

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Vivarium

There’s more hand-me-down genre movie tropes than recognizable human behavior in the new sci-fi/horror hybrid “Vivarium,” about a young couple (Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) who is abducted and forced to raise a creepy pod person child. Which wouldn’t be so bad if “Vivarium” wasn’t about the suffocating nature of marriage and parenting in the …

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Banana Split

There’s something about the summer in between high school and college. Friendships break up or become super clingy, due to all that impending separation anxiety. Romances break up. People get way too drunk and hug it out. Tears are shed. Things get a little … intense. “Banana Split” takes place during such a summer, complete …

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Uncorked

Whether it’s a major character like in “Book Club” or a passion to be followed like in “Good Year” or “Sideways,” wine isn’t often portrayed in American cinema as an integral part of the black experience. In his good-natured feature debut “Uncorked,” writer/director Prentice Penny (“Insecure,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”) sets out to challenge and change these …

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There’s Something in the Water

The celebrity-driven documentary is a tricky one. It’s obvious that these famous faces want to talk about something they’re passionate about—they may even have talked about their cause célèbre on a talk show or shared countless links on social media. But when they take the extra step of making a movie about this issue, the …

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Fascinated by Temporary Love: Writer/Actress Hannah Marks on Banana Split

We expect friends to have a common interest, but it’s unusual when that common interest is a boy who is one girl’s ex, and the other’s current boyfriend. In “Banana Split,” co-writer Hannah Marks stars as April, who broke up with her boyfriend Nick (Dylan Sprouse) and then gets jealous when he almost-immediately starts dating the …

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Early Shorts by Great Filmmakers Pt 2: Jenkins, Wang, Waititi, Diop

After previously discussing the short films of Bong Joon-Ho, Alma Har’el, Céline Sciamma, and the Safdies, this new batch of early shorts comes from the minds of new Oscar winners and should-be nominees. These directors have burst onto the scene in the last five years with feature debuts or follow-ups that were adored audiences and critics alike. …

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All the Major Titles Dropping Early on VOD Because of COVID-19

With the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering theaters across the country, studios have had to get creative, releasing films that were just playing at the local multiplex much earlier than they were initially planning. Disney, Universal, Sony, Warner Bros., and others have dropped titles on VOD for rental or purchase, hoping to make back a portion of the …

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Tape

There are few modes of healing as cathartic as sharing one’s truth through the prism of art. It was the world of avant-garde theatre in New York that first enabled filmmaker Deborah Kampmeier to explore the abuse she endured while growing up in the South. Her first three movies center on heroines who share the …

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Stuart Gordon: 1947-2020

Most of the obituaries for Stuart Gordon, who passed away yesterday at the age of 72 from multiple organ failure, will no doubt describe him as a “Master of Horror” and not just because of his contributions to the television anthology series of the same name. He pretty much owned that particular designation from the …

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Cloud Atlas in the Time of Coronavirus

Released in October 2012, “Cloud Atlas” was a box office bomb that was derided by critics—Newsday wrote that “the quasi-profound message of cosmic connectedness isn’t worth all the trouble,” while the New Yorker questioned, “Even as we applaud the dramatic machinery, are we being kept emotionally at bay?” But the timeline fusion epic, directed by Lana and …

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Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

“This camp changed the world, and nobody knows this story.” Produced by Michelle and Barack Obama, “Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution” is not your typical inspirational documentary. In my years in this business, I’ve seen a lot of manipulative documentaries that pull at the heartstrings—so many that I’ve grown a little immune to them and …

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One Day at a Time Moves to Pop

Never let it be said that March 2020 brought only bad news. Yes, pretty much everything is terrifying—not that it isn’t always in some way—but the resurrected “One Day at a Time” has returned to television and that is nothing but good. The network is new (and Netflix, which canceled this gem after three wonderful …

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Where to Find Roger Ebert’s Great Movies Streaming

We’re all stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we’re all looking for something to watch. There are new movies that were just in now-closed theaters already hitting VOD. There are literally thousands of options vying for your quarantined time. Why not dig a little deeper than the recent hits and find a truly …

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