Category: A-

Judas and the Black Messiah

What I have had to relearn about the 1960s as a decade in American politics has been infinite. I was taught the usual schtick in elementary school – Dr. King good, violence bad. In high school I remember reading Malcolm X’s essay “Learning to Read.” Thinking about it all these years later I should have…

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Possessor

Invoking the name Cronenberg is an immediate, unfailing method to conjure up mental images of grotesque body horror occurring at the intersection of sex, violence and technology. In this respect, Brandon Cronenberg was always going to find it difficult to escape the shade cast by his father’s long shadow. If Possessor is any indication, however,…

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Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

Fourteen years after his last appearance and Sacha Baron Cohen’s announcement that the character would be retired, Borat Sagdiyev, Kazakhstan’s most famous resident, has returned in Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. We already knew from the first film that Borat couldn’t understand the meaning of the word “retired” so perhaps it should come as no shock that…

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Tove

Biopics, biopics, biopics… always present, but rarely experimenting with a tried-and-true form, the genre tends to fall into dry tropes, and a desire to encompass the entire life of a noble (or on occasions, not so noble) figure. Zaida Bergroth’s Tove is just as much a delight as its namesake’s cartoons, and breaks the mold…

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Fugitive Dreams

Fugitive Dreams is less about running from the law, as at a certain point the law no longer cares when it doesn’t touch the societal ideal it tries to enforce. Drifters run from pasts that haunt them, dreams coming in the day just as clear as in the night. Shot like a prestige European war…

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Shirley (2020)

Shirley strays nearly completely from its source material and perhaps that is its strength as the film takes an alternative look at domestic dynamics. Shirley surrounds the lives of the famed writer Shirley Jackson (Elizabeth Moss) and her husband Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg), who is a renowned and established folklore professor, as they take in…

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Blow the Man Down

Small-town thrillers are mostly dominated by strong and complicated male characters. Even when there are female leads, the male characters will always remain integral to the story. But in the talented hands of the first-time writers/directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, that is not the case. They brilliantly reinvent the genre by telling the…

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Swallow

To discuss Swallow is to begin with Safe. Todd Haynes‘s 80s-set melodrama is perhaps the foremost depiction of suburban trauma, the idea that the mundanity of housewivery is a sickness. Julianne Moore plays a woman who goes to her jazzercise classes, dinner parties, and cookie cutter home, but does not connect. She grows unhappy with…

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