Review: ”Ema”

“Ema” opens with a shot that lingers on a city street at night. The lights from the buildings and street lamps frame what turns an otherwise normal scene extraordinary: a burning traffic light. Fire imagery is repeated throughout the remainder of director Pablo Larraín’s film, both visually and within the story. Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) […]

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Review: “Annette”

Toward the end of Noah Baumbach’s 2019 film “Marriage Story,” Charlie, played by Adam Driver, breaks into an emotional rendition of Sondheim’s “Being Alive” from the musical “Company” while at a restaurant with friends, facing the dissolution of his marriage. It’s a beautiful scene—my favorite in the entire film, actually—and one that made me immediately […]

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Review: “Nine Days”

In “Nine Days”, writer and director Edson Oda ponders the meaning of life. Sounds pretentious, right? But although several scenes feel like they are deliberately engineered to extract an emotional response from the audience, from its unique world-building to its heartfelt performances, “Nine Days” holds up a mirror to all of life’s highs and lows […]

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Review: “John and the Hole”

“John and the Hole” may be billed as a psychological thriller, but it is above all else a fable. The film’s title card isn’t revealed until half an hour into the movie, by which time we’ve met 13-year-old John (Charlie Shotwell) and his family, but have also just been introduced to a unique framing device. […]

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Review: “Settlers”

The western and science fiction genres share several similar themes, particularly when the subject of the latter is exploration into the unknown, essentially transporting the frontier from the American West to the edges of outer space. It can be exciting and fascinating and introspective when done right. Unfortunately, writer and director Wyatt Rockefeller’s film “Settlers” […]

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Review: “Pig”

“Pig” is not quite the movie I—and I think many others—expected it would be. Not that I necessarily had specific expectations for a film with such a bizarre premise: a forager (played by an exceedingly scruffy Nicolas Cage) travels from his isolated woodland existence to the city of Portland on a quest to recover his […]

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Review: “Summertime”

The most memorable part of director Carlos López Estrada’s great 2018 debut film “Blindspotting” is its climax. Facing down the white police officer who he witnessed use lethal force on a Black man, Daveed Diggs’ Collin launches into a freestyle rap, in which he expresses his feelings on the relationship between the police and Black […]

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Review: “Censor”

Censorship has played a role in film almost ever since the medium was invented. It takes different shapes and goes to varying extremes depending on the country and the time period. In Hollywood, for instance, the Production Code established to regulate content after the advent of the talking picture at the end of the 1920s […]

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Review: “Zola”

“Y’all wanna hear a story about why me & this bitch here fell out???????? It’s kind of long but full of suspense.” Those words, attached to four selfies of herself with a white blonde woman, were posted on Twitter by Aziah “Zola” King in October 2015, kicking off a thread of 148 tweets detailing a […]

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Review: “Werewolves Within”

“Werewolves Within” isn’t like any video game adaptation I’ve ever seen. In fact, I wasn’t even aware that it was based on a video game until delving into its production after watching it. The 2016 VR game from Red Storm Entertainment and Ubisoft is set in a medieval town, where the user has to figure […]

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