A key moment in the fact-based JOE BELL comes early one as the titular character (Mark Wahlberg), a working-class man from a small town in Oregon, is told by his adolescent son, Jadin (Reid Miller) that he is being bullied at school for being gay. It’s two revelations, and Joe doesn’t miss a beat telling… Read More »
Husband and wife writing team Inon Shampanier and Natalie Shampanier wrote PAPER SPIDERS from personal experience, which gives it that extra gloss of authenticity. While it does not reflect the factual truth of the struggles they had with Natalie’s mother and her diagnosis of persecutory delusional disorder, it does convey the emotional truth of seeing… Read More »
As some of us still ponder the results of the presidential election of 2016, and view the approach of the 2020 election with trepidation, there is no more timely nor illuminating film than Amanda McBaine and Jesse Moss’ cinema verité documentary, BOY’S STATE.
LUCE is less a film than a political dialectic on race and class in these United States, and a brilliant, exquisitely performed one at that. Told with a deliberate, sometimes maddening ambiguity, it challenges the audience at every turn about where the truth lies, and the limits of familial loyalty. By the end, not every… Read More »
We learn many things in SPIDERMAN FAR FROM HOME. We learn that not only are the Dutch polyglots, but also that they are the nicest people on earth, even when a private jet is making hash of their iconic tulip fields. We learn that saving the planet is just as important as getting that first… Read More »
GIANT LITTLE ONES is a perceptive, intelligent examination of what happens when unexpected feelings and actions don’t have neat labels. In a time when acceptance of teenage sexuality, at least straight sexuality, has become the norm for most concerned, both parents and their sexually active kids, the question of sexual fluidity can still flummox.
Mile Joris-Peyrafitte was only 23 when he made AS YOU ARE, and that was the first thing I brought up when we spoke by phone on February 22, 2017. This deeply affecting story, about three high school friends, two young men and a young woman, confronting volatile and confusing situations has a visual assurance and… Read More »
LAZER TEAM is a cheerfully cheesy homage to great and not-so-great sci-fi movies of days gone by. With a goofy sense of humor, a droll use of irony, and whipsmart comedic instincts, it tells the time-honored tale of misfits finding the greatness within themselves, while also saving the earth from evil alien invaders. It takes as… Read More »
Where do dreams go to die? That’s the question posed at the beginning of HAMLET 2, a comedy about the triumph of enthusiasm over talent. The answer to that question is Tucson, Arizona, at least for Dana Marschz, a spectacularly untalented actor turned equally untalented drama teacher at a high school there. Driven from a… Read More »
There are, to be sure, the usual tropes of high school angst and triumph to be found in THE DUFF, based on the book by Kody Keplinger, but this is a film distinguished by sprightly, intelligent writing, and outstanding performances that are not just funny, but also perceptive and nuanced. Except for the high school… Read More »