• Miss Juneteenth

    Miss Juneteenth

    ★★★½

    Charming film that lags at times. Nicole Beharie is stellar as a mother engaging her daughter in the same local pageant that almost marked her ascension. It’s much more nuanced in the presentation expected intergenerationally and historically for the mother, daughter and community. It is nice to see parents striving and growing with their children. More of that.

  • MLK/FBI

    MLK/FBI

    ★★★½

    Thoroughly investigated glimpse at the extent the FBI targeted Martin Luther King Jr, including those events that led from the creation of the agency to battle the clan to the smear campaigns of black leaders decades later.

  • Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

    Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

    ★★½

    This was a pleasant, goofy movie about an international event with which I'm only familiar through YouTube clips. A riff on Eurovision's cross cultural nationalism with a funky beat, Will Ferrell is surprisingly subdued in such a light comedy. Starring as an Icelandic aspiring songwriter chasing his only goal of winning the competition, he steps all over his collaborator in Rachel McAdams who is bafflingly obsessed with him. The character development and music video camp make me roll my eyes,…

  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★★

    Chloe Zhao’s generous, gentle exploration of Americans who have taken to living on the road--modern day nomads--takes no stance of the lifestyle, and I encourage every viewer to enter the film with this in mind. A loose adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s nonfiction take on the economic strife and getting off the rental grid (good read, particularly after the movie!), Zhao focuses on Fern (Frances McDormand), a new convert to living out of her renovated van, as she experiences the community,…

  • Palm Springs

    Palm Springs

    ★★★★

    I won't say too much as it's a spoiler-prone movie. The direction an writing are stellar, taking inspiration from similar sci-fi-esque films. Andy Samberg provides his best performances; cocky and relatable and surprisingly likeable. Cristin Milioti is a fantastic breakout, taking control of responsibility and solution unlike most women are given the opportunity in genre films. This one is on Hulu and is an absolute delight.

  • The Trial of the Chicago 7

    The Trial of the Chicago 7

    ★★★½

    I must say that I’ve seen the movie twice, have had wildely ranging feelings about it since the first watch in late summer, and though I identify it as a well made film, my views on it are touched by the state of protest in 2020. Aaron Sorkin wrote and directed a very Sorkin movie, and its tone is a bit hard to swallow. Covering the story of eight men drawn into court following a protest during the 1968 Democratic…

  • Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

    Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution

    ★★★★

    Fantastic ode to the pioneers of the disabled community’s right for equality. Exposing minorities to others in their community will expose the injustice faced across the population. Crip Camp highlights the humanity, sexuality, intellect, bravery and grit needed to be treated like a human.  On Netflix and produced by the Obamas.

  • Monsoon

    Monsoon

    ★★½

    I forget I watched this movie until I see the poster again. Though far from the worst straight-playing-gay romantic dramas, Monsoon reminds me of every naturalistic feature since Andrew Haigh’s Weekend. Henry Golding is delicious, and yes, I would love to hook up with him in a foreign country, but the hookup scenes are so forced (not as rough as Ammonite, but dude wasn’t into it). Parker Sawyers (Southside with You) hardly fairs better but benefits from being less recognizable.…

  • The Wise Kids

    The Wise Kids

    ★★★½

    A surprisingly cohesive and touching story of faith and sexual orientation, Stephen Cone’s first of three coming of age features (Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and Princess Cyd are pretty damn good queer cinema: all of these are on Prime currently) avoids much of the melodrama baked into religious/gay storylines. The South Carolina Southern church community will be familiar to anyone who grew up in the environment (like my partner and I to varying fondness). Church plays, ambitious artistry “in his…

  • Blow the Man Down

    Blow the Man Down

    ★★★½

    An enjoyable, sea shanty punctuated, slightly slow crime film with June Squibb, Margo Martindale, and Cathy Geiss! Of course I’m interested. This lady mobster pseudo-comedy is a tidier cousin to the Coen Brothers. Enough twists and turns and a clear desire for a series of unfortunate, nefarious events worthy of a weekend watch. On Amazon Prime

  • My Octopus Teacher

    My Octopus Teacher

    ★★★★

    The narration and accompanying score gave this story a saccharine layer I wish I could’ve ignored more, but this oceanic story is part zoological research and part therapy.  The commitment alone deserves a watch of this Netflix documentary. The story explores a full life cycle for the oceans most adaptable marvel.

  • Mangrove

    Mangrove

    ★★★★½

    Steve McQueen's Small Axe: Mangrove is a tense legal drama about protest and police brutality more attune to the modern world than its contemporary Netflix competitor The Trial of the Chicago 7. The Mangrove Nine, accused of inciting a riot while protesting police brutality in 1970 Notting Hill, London. McQueen handles the matter with reverence, humor and realism; he avoids creating saints of the accused. A powerful start to the series