Category: New Releases

+

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things: Searching for an idyllic day

True, unabashed originality in filmmaking continues to be in shorter supply every year it feels like but ensuring that new twists on familiar premises is key to making a movie feel more like homage than shot-for-shot remake. In recent memory, the Groundhog Day effect has emerged more often – characters trapped in an endless time loop – and it feels impossible to live up … Read More The Map of Tiny Perfect Things: Searching for an idyllic day

+

Judas and the Black Messiah: Revolution in the streets

Chicago in the late 1960s was a boiling pot of water bubbling over with racial and political tension on a near daily basis, making it ripe territory for dramatic cinema. Aaron Sorkin took his pen to the task with the Oscar-contending Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix late last year and now a better, transcendent film will hit theaters and HBO Max on … Read More Judas and the Black Messiah: Revolution in the streets

+

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

+

Locked Down: Falling apart, forced together

The world-changing impact of the coronavirus pandemic has infiltrated every part of life from business closures to global politics to personal interactions. Cinema has been forced to retreat online in order to find its sheltering audiences and with it, the eventuality of films directly confronting our shared new way of life has finally materialized. Director Doug Liman – based on a script from Steven … Read More Locked Down: Falling apart, forced together

+

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

+

Soul: Once more, with feeling

Everyone assumes animated films made by Disney – or their Pixar Studios brand – are intended for younger audiences. The colors are bright, the plotlines are largely wonderous in scale, the content is cheerful and easy to follow from start to finish. Soul, the third Pixar feature from Oscar-winning director Pete Docter, isn’t for kids by any stretch of the imagination although it’s not … Read More Soul: Once more, with feeling

Project Power: Action to tide us over

Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi drama odyssey “Tenet” released internationally this past weekend, a film that was supposed to be the big blockbuster feature to reopen movie theaters across the United States. Instead, Warner Brothers is slated to release the film on Labor Day weekend after pushing it back several times throughout the summer, leaving a gaping hole in the action-adventure genre that usually dominates June, … Read More Project Power: Action to tide us over

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

An American Pickle: No hysterics, just heart and soul

It’s hard not to pigeonhole Seth Rogen as a typecast comedic actor, especially when he’s made countless movies and millions of dollars playing a series of aloof stoner bros on screen. Thick with phlegm and inhaled smoke, his iconic chuckle almost plays as a refrain in arguments defining his limitations as a performer. Posters with his chubby smile slapped across the front signal raunchy … Read More An American Pickle: No hysterics, just heart and soul

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