Category: Independent Film

Jojo Rabbit: A funny thing about Adolf Hitler

Comedy is the ultimate playground for escapism, for letting the worries and cares of daily life fade away in order to decompress and unwind. The best comedies, though, usually have unexpectedly a little bit more to say on their minds than first glance might suggest. There’s a hysterical new comedy hitting theaters this fall that combines a stellar, side-splitting screenplay and award-worthy performances. It’s … Read More Jojo Rabbit: A funny thing about Adolf Hitler

The Peanut Butter Falcon: Two bandits on the run

Anyone can tell a story. How you tell it is often as important, if not more important, than the story itself. When we talk about feel-good stories – tales that warm your heart and ease your mind – there’s a tendency for certain storytellers to emotionally manipulate their audience with a piece of dialogue, burst of somber music or a plethora of other ways. … Read More The Peanut Butter Falcon: Two bandits on the run

American Factory: The price of globalization

There have been a number of exceptional documentaries released in 2019 covering a range of political, historical and pop culture topics. Perhaps none sits quite on the threshold of where the United States stands currently in an everchanging global economy than the latest Netflix release, “American Factory.” A top non-fiction film and award winner to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this … Read More American Factory: The price of globalization

The Souvenir: Love and other drugs

Joanna Hogg doesn’t make life easy on her audience. Subtlety and layers of hidden context abound in her latest feature, “The Souvenir,” a semi-autobiographical drama she wrote and directed about a young film student’s destructive love affair with an older man set in the 1980s. Audiences are shown bits of Julie and Anthony’s time together in a piecemeal, fragmented way that’s part slice of … Read More The Souvenir: Love and other drugs

The Farewell: The value of a good lie

Many of the best films are personal, whether they be exact recreations of past events in the lives of those making them or simple adaptations of real life. Writer/director Lulu Wang took a unique cultural moment from her own life for her second feature film, “The Farewell.” “Based on an actual lie” as the film’s title card states, “The Farewell” fictionalizes a pivotal moment … Read More The Farewell: The value of a good lie

Be Natural: Uncovering a film legend

Before there was Charlie Chaplin, there was Alice Guy-Blaché. Odds are, if you know even just a cursory amount of movie history, the silent film star is one of the first people rattled off the top of the list. The industry’s first female filmmaker – involved in almost 1,000 films as some combination of director, writer and producer – rarely comes to mind, if … Read More Be Natural: Uncovering a film legend

The Last Black Man in San Francisco: Relentless vision

Two men share one skateboard as they glide down winding hills in the Bay Area. It’s a beautiful picture wrapped in early morning light, but what’s most striking is how instantly personal the relationship is. Joe Talbot’s Sundance award winning film follows these two men across a changing city in a simple tale that evokes much more than it ever says. A story of … Read More The Last Black Man in San Francisco: Relentless vision

Booksmart: Fresh perspective

Once or twice a year, a comedy will come out that has something more on its mind beyond just a quest for cheap laughs. In 2019, that film is “Booksmart,” a nuanced and insightful feature that elevates high school movie tropes to new heights. Written by four women and helmed by veteran actress turned first time director Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart” doesn’t seek to revolutionize … Read More Booksmart: Fresh perspective

The River and The Wall: Politics in perspective

Why build a physical wall when nature provides a beautiful, scenic barrier already? It’s one of many questions raised by director Ben Masters’ new documentary, “The River and The Wall,” an up-close, intoxicating feature about border security along the Rio Grande river in south Texas. Winner of the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award at the 2019 South by Southwest Film Festival and Best Documentary … Read More The River and The Wall: Politics in perspective

Thunder Road: Fortune favors the bold

A static camera slowly presses in. It never moves – only zooms deliberately – for what feels like an eternity but is only six or seven minutes as the protagonist mourns the loss of his mother during a chaotic, frantic eulogy at her funeral. Over the course of a brisk hour-and-a-half, writer/director/star Jim Cummings delivers a film equally as manic as the character he … Read More Thunder Road: Fortune favors the bold