Category: Independent Film

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All These Sons: Tribeca At Home review

Gun violence is senseless. Nowhere in the United States is it more prevalent than Chicago, where more people are shot and killed than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. For filmmakers Joshua Altman and Bing Liu’s latest documentary All These Sons, approaching the sensitive subject meant dealing with the trauma and emotional scars that linger long after bullet wounds have healed. Their … Read More All These Sons: Tribeca At Home review

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Minari: Struggling toward the American dream

There’s something simple, yet elegant about director Lee Isaac Chung’s latest feature, a semi-autobiographical tale base on his childhood growing up in America’s heartland. The story is ordinary – and the cinema understated in large part – but there’s an ethereal quality to his film that opens with a young boy running in an empty field of green and never truly stops flowing in … Read More Minari: Struggling toward the American dream

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Nomadland: Perspectives from the road

Few casual moviegoers will find Chloé Zhao’s latest directorial effort to be their absolute favorite film of the year, but even fewer can reasonably argue that it may be among the very best. A haunting yet powerful portrait of a hidden life across the heartland, Nomadland finds some of the best of America wandering across the country in search of boundless freedom and of … Read More Nomadland: Perspectives from the road

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Land: Beautiful emptiness out there

Grief and tragedy have long been an overarching theme of independent dramas, especially those that find their way across major film festivals in search of studio buyers. But they’re also a fantastic way for first-time directors to plant their flag in the sand as an emerging filmmaker or actors to announce their arrival as a behind-the-scenes star. Golden Globe-winning actress Robin Wright – who … Read More Land: Beautiful emptiness out there

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Promising Young Woman: The sweetest revenge

Once a year, a film comes along that cuts so deeply against the grain that its ingenuity and craftsmanship push movies forward for years to come. Amidst the backdrop of pandemic-led movie shortages, the stark contrast between the relatively mundane films of 2020 and writer/director Emerald Fennell’s debut feature, an instant hit when it debuted at last year’s Sundance Film Festival on its way … Read More Promising Young Woman: The sweetest revenge

Boys State: For the people, by the people

Over 1,200 high school boys gather annually in Austin to participate in a seven-day democratic experiment designed to test their mettle. A mock government program put on nationwide by the American Legion, Boys State challenges these young men to form their own political parties, hold primaries and eventually a statewide race for a variety of offices culminating in a gubernatorial election. Each iteration of … Read More Boys State: For the people, by the people

Tread: Mayhem in a small town

Granby, Colorado feels like the sort of small town you’d find in every state across America. Industrious, hardworking, the kind of place where neighbors know all the scuttlebutt within a few hours and there’s hardly a stranger because everyone is on a first name basis. The fact that the events depicted in director Paul Solet’s gripping documentary “Tread” could plausibly happen in any small … Read More Tread: Mayhem in a small town

Radioactive: Experimentation in biopic film

It’s unclear exactly why an avant-garde, cinematic biopic of the adult life of famed scientist Marie Curie was needed, but such is the world of film in 2020. Opting not for the sidesplitting, yet emotional dramedy that powered 2016’s “Hidden Figures,” the demure albeit strange film “Radioactive” from director Marjane Satrapi presents Curie in a traditional light before mixing her journey to multiple Nobel … Read More Radioactive: Experimentation in biopic film

Palm Springs: Hot film at the right time

It’s often said that a movie can feel of the moment, that it came out at exactly the right place and time for audiences to identify with and feel heard. “Palm Springs,” a small romantic comedy that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival when things were normal, has a very “of the moment” vibe that no one – not even first-time director Max … Read More Palm Springs: Hot film at the right time

Shirley: The horror of everyday life

Movie goers are often frightened by things that aren’t real – clowns with red balloons living in the sewers, killers that strike in dreams with a bladed claw, vampires, mummies and witches. But in a simpler, yet somehow more complex way, it’s the things that are plausibly realistic and feel authentic to our own lives that prove to be the greater terror. While major … Read More Shirley: The horror of everyday life

The Half of It: Dig deeper into Netflix’s vault

Two out of every three Netflix Original films aren’t worth the price of admission. They’re the bargain bin, direct-to-DVD level fodder usually starring David Spade or that one girl who used to be on that one television show back in the day. You don’t remember her name, but it doesn’t really matter. With the coronavirus pandemic keeping movie theaters closed, it’s prime ground for … Read More The Half of It: Dig deeper into Netflix’s vault

Emma: Comedic matters of the heart

Smaller films – like independent features or period dramas – usually require word of mouth to jump start their box office success and get in front of as many eyes as possible. Autumn de Wilde made her feature directorial debut in February with a modest period comedy that was about to take off commercially after early critical success. Then the novel coronavirus pandemic forced … Read More Emma: Comedic matters of the heart