• Sword of Trust

    Sword of Trust

    ★★★

    I think I avoided watching this film for awhile just so I would have a new Lynn Shelton film to anticipate for longer. 

    Seeing her on screen in such a vulnerable character playing opposite Maron was overwhelming on a meta level. Her love and appreciation for Maron is so apparent in her casting. Large aspects of his natural POV are featured with great knowing.

    The improv in the final office scene falters and other flaws abound throughout, but I don't care. I love what she does and I will miss her voice in the world.

  • Zola

    Zola

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    John-Waters-style trash for the Too Online era. 

    I was bored often. Except when Colman Domingo and Jason Mitchell were around.

    Taylour Paige's pole-dancing was seriously graceful, which felt out-of-place. 

    It was a depressing movie to see in the theater, actually. Most of the laughter and "enjoyment" came from a detached, judgmental place - a communal experience akin to rubber-necking some terrible accident being filmed as a contender for the Darwin award. 

    Good sound design.

  • Jennifer's Body

    Jennifer's Body

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The closing credit sequence with it's morphing from pop-star glamour to a crime scene aesthetic was my favorite part.


    Is it all clever enough to actually undermine what it is (ironically) exploiting? Prolly not. 

    I appreciate the formula-disruption of the boyfriend dying.

  • Education

    Education

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The linger on the "processing" in the bathtub is rhythmically perfect. There is a tension in the limbo between the "womb" he seeks and just drowning. Hearing the door jolts Kingsley back to the unfurling hell of his new life. Mom unloads on him out of exhaustion. She doesn't even notice this is his darkest hour. The bottomless crying in bed as his mom exclaims down the hall what a bother he is. What an emotionally vivid nightmare! To know…

  • What Killed Michael Brown?

    What Killed Michael Brown?

    ★★★

    The film is an effective recalibration on many fronts. It features an array of voices that live and labor far from the interests of mainstream news narratives. 

    A compelling case is made that much of the progressive agenda on race is the most insidious present-day expression of white supremacy. The stripping of agency, decimation of organic community structures, and power-narratives that eclipse the actual community needs are the net effect of a self-righteous, bad faith approach to critical policy changes.…

  • Alex Wheatle

    Alex Wheatle

    ★★★½

    That slow push in, hold, and pull out on Alex with the thousand-mile stare on the floor tunes the audience to the compartmentalization of his rage. These are the moments that make McQueen's storytelling so uniquely engaging.

    Dread: EDUCATION!

  • A Quiet Place Part II

    A Quiet Place Part II

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Excellent scene between Cillian and Millicent in the train station. Her acting has grown significantly. 

    The dive sequence on the docks was a high point. Or maybe I was just excited by the presence of Scoot McNairy.

    Competently-crafted and well-acted, but with the aliens being a known quantity in the sequel, they were forced to show them more than any movie can really sustain.

  • Smooth Talk

    Smooth Talk

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The territory of this film could easily slip into After-School Special reductions and judgments, but Chopra is fascinated by the full dynamic range of Connie's coming-of-age. We are allowed in on the intoxicating power that Connie is discovering in the world. Our fears grow for her, but we never lose access to the oppressive way Connie experiences any restrictions. We experience her emotional necessity for deception while bracing for the consequences of her growing disconnects. 

    Mary Kay Place and Elizabeth…

  • Shiva Baby

    Shiva Baby

    ★★★½

    Exquisitely excruciating. 

    Horror is being confronted by family and your own choices in tight spaces.

    Love the score.

    Sweet landing.

  • Red, White and Blue

    Red, White and Blue

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Thus far, this series feels like a storytelling masterclass. 

    Boyega's embodiment of the core heartbeat of the (high trait conscientiousness) called-to-serve type is deeply compelling. You can't help but admire and wish for more of him in the world.

    Toussaint manages to have his spirit completely broken outside the courtroom, yet it never diminishes. It rumbles below, searching for the path back.  

    A few standout moments:

    Running and shouting "Come on then!" when there is no place else for…

  • One Night in Miami...

    One Night in Miami...

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The slow stranglehold on Malcolm in this narrative is palpable and compelling. King and Ben-Adir (and the ensemble) translate this pressure to the audience in a completely emotionally-integrated way. 

    I appreciate when women tell stories of the relationships of men. There is often an access to a greater dynamic range offered and an eye for the vulnerability in the shadow-side of the masculine mask.

    This film is worth the Ben-Adir & Hodge scene alone. Steel sharpening steel. I need more of…

  • A New Leaf

    A New Leaf

    ★★★★

    I love how long and idiosyncratic the bits are in this film. The Grecian dress scene is many things at once. Graham's seething frustration starts looking like patience. The physical clown logic of her every move becomes hopelessly endearing, and a little sexy. They are finding a couple-rhythm. What a great recipe for making his curmudgeonly default even more enjoyable in the final act!

    Love the crumbs on the lap reveal!

    Love the butler dress down scene. They made something very difficult look so easy.