Marya E. has written 195 reviews for films during 2021.

  • ASTEL

    ASTEL

    ★★★★

    Amine Berrada’s lush cinematography captures the beauty of both the gorgeous purple dawn and washed out browns of the field, with Fatimata Sow’s vibrant costuming adding pops of color and distinct personality to each of Sy’s carefully crafted characters. Amine Bouhafa’s playful guitar and violin score blends seamlessly with the natural sounds of birds and cows, adding depth and sense of place to this world. “Astel” is an incisive and delicate debut short, and I cannot wait to see what Sy creates next.

    [Full review at RogerEbert.com]

  • The Mad Women's Ball

    The Mad Women's Ball

    ★★★★½

    For generations, women who pushed against their expected roles in life were written off as mad, and in extreme cases, locked away. For equally as long, these women were fodder for art that depicted their madness as evil. In this last century, we’ve seen contemporary women take back their sister’s agency. Like Antoinette Cosway, the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë‘s 1847 novel “Jane Eyre”, given agency by Jean Rhys in her 1966 feminist revisioning “Wide Sargasso Sea.” The…

  • The Starling

    The Starling

    ★★½

    Reuniting with “St. Vincent,” director Theodore Melfi, Melissa McCarthy, and Chris O’Dowd play a married couple on the rocks after the unexpected loss of their baby tears them apart. Calibrated as a crowd-pleaser like their previous collaboration, which had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival where it was runner-up for the audience award, “The Starling” is the kind of cloying, overly sentimental treacle that often gets labeled uplifting, but whose seams show like a mass-produced discount t-shirt.

    [Full review at The Playlist]

  • Lakewood

    Lakewood

    ★★

    Philip Noyce is a natural choice for this kind of film. He’s great with actresses in peril and at keeping tension ramped up to eleven. But using the collective trauma of a generation of parents and children as the backdrop for a real-time thriller, whose lives have proven time and again to matter less than the right to own an AK-47, remains unconscionably distasteful. A post-credits sequence in “Lakewood” — surely a nod to survivors like David Hogg, who have…

  • You Are Not My Mother

    You Are Not My Mother

    ★★★★

    "Having grown up just outside the city, I found that my family were all really superstitious and always told these stories, but we’d be in a housing estate with a lot of houses around us. I wanted to see a story in that setting. So a lot of the locations were places where I used to walk home from school or where my friend’s house was growing up. It was nice to be in such a familiar setting." - Kate Dolan

    [ Full interview with Kate Dolan at Moviefone]

  • Lingui: The Sacred Bonds

    Lingui: The Sacred Bonds

    ★★★★½

    Souleymane's performance is tender and raw, seething under the surface with the anger she carried all these years for the community that exiled her, but also buoyed by the deep love she feels for her daughter. Through Amina and Maria’s journey to reproductive freedom, Haroun both shines a light on the strict patriarchal laws of the country, but also the powerful connections women form to help each other survive within them.

    [Full review at RogerEbert.com]

  • Good Madam

    Good Madam

    ★★½

    Despite the film’s almost entirely Black cast, it’s hard to forget there is a white woman at the helm, attempting to unpack weighty racial themes that do not feel hers to explore.

    [Full review at RogerEbert.com]

  • Neptune Frost

    Neptune Frost

    ★★★★½

    Utilizing a color palette of ultraviolet and neon blues and greens, infused with music and dance, the filmmakers have crafted a world that feels both part of the greater tradition of Afrofuturism, while also feeling uniquely its own.

    [Full review at RogerEbert.com]

  • The One and Only Ivan

    The One and Only Ivan

    ★★

    I'm sorry Angie

  • Dear Evan Hansen

    Dear Evan Hansen

    On paper, an empathetic film depicting teenagers who live with mental health issues finding their way out of their high school years, which can truly be hell, seems like something we might need right now. Unfortunately, Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of the Tony-awarding-winning musical “Dear Evan Hansen” is not that movie. Frankly, the musical, with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and book by Steven Levenson, itself is where the fault lies. There were few redeemable qualities to begin with, and Chbosky’s dreary, washed-out direction adds nothing to its already bleak, vapid existence.

    [Full review at The Playlist]

  • The Night House

    The Night House

    ★★½

    good performance from Rebecca Hall, but mediocre film with some pretty problematic implications about living with someone with mental health issues

  • The Visitor

    The Visitor

    ★★★★½

    just kept screaming DUMP HIM at the screen