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Reviews

Language Lessons Review | SXSW2021

Language Lessons Review | SXSW2021

Clever and emotional, Language Lessons finds a way to make the video-chat-narrative work with a thoughtful, funny, and relatable story that feels natural rather than forced. Never did I feel like I was watching a gimmick but instead like I was watching something private and special. Language Lessons Cariño, a teacher living in Costa Rica, is hired to give Adam, a well to-do man in California, a refresher on Spanish, a language he spoke as a child but has since fallen out of practice with it. Over the course of their sessions these two strangers will go through some of…
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Raya and the Last Dragon Review | Great Potential, Lousy Tropes

Raya and the Last Dragon Review | Great Potential, Lousy Tropes

Raya and the Last Dragon is the beautifully animated latest addition to the Walt Disney Animation Studios collection! An inspiring narrative tackling themes of teamwork, trust, and the power of people coming together to tackle a common threat. However, the film suffers from the same trope so many Disney films suffer from. Absurd, yet, adorable characters that serve to draw cheap laughs from its audiences and, ultimately, sell merchandise. Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon Raya is the princess of Heart, one of the tribes that make up the fractured lands of what was once the kingdom of Kumandra. She…
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The United States vs. Billie Holiday Review | A Great Story Lacking Focus

The United States vs. Billie Holiday Review | A Great Story Lacking Focus

This review will be different… The United States vs. Billie Holiday is powerful and triggering. Lee Daniels takes the story of a legend and composes a visual narrative that mentions and, on occasion, sheds light on that which the opening and closing texts would have you believe is the focus of the film. Lynching… an abysmal act that, to my surprise, has yet to be outlawed in our “great” nation due to semantics, and which inspired the “song of the century” “Strange Fruit”. Daniels chooses instead to focus on heroin, on how the FBI used it to strike fear in…
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Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar | Review | A Silly Delightful Escape That Most of Us Need

Barb & Star Go To Vista Del Mar | Review | A Silly Delightful Escape That Most of Us Need

"Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar" is a film that I never imagined we needed. Annie Mumolo as Barb and Kristen Wiig as Star in Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar. The movie, directed by Josh Greenbaum, starring Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo - who both co-wrote the script- delivered its message and won my heart after filling it with joy and giggles. A story about lifelong friends Barb and Star embark on the adventure of a lifetime when they decide to leave their small Midwestern town for the first time…ever. The absurdity and silliness were the key successes for…
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Ma Belle, My Beauty Review | Sundance 2021

Ma Belle, My Beauty Review | Sundance 2021

Ma Belle, My Beauty is a raw moving picture that delves into a relationship molded by years of complicated love and into how it can be shattered in an instant by selfishness and abandonment. A quiet patient story that explores so much more than emotion and touches on a side of togetherness few have experienced but most understand. The feeling of loving someone with everything you have but knowing they can’t help but bring pain and never seem to take it with them when they leave. Idella Johnson and Hannah Pepper appear in Ma Belle, My Beauty by Marion Hill,…
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Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It Review | Sundance 2021

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It Review | Sundance 2021

Rita Moreno is an icon in the Hispanic community. An inspiration to people of color, particularly women, in feeling that their dreams are possible regardless of the obstacles in their way. This documentary captures her story and puts it on display for the world to see. Depicting her as so much more than just a singer, an actress, a dancer, a sex icon, a social activist, a wife, a mother, etc. But she is… A still from Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It by Mariem Pérez Riera, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition…
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Son of Monarchs Review | Sundance 2021

Son of Monarchs Review | Sundance 2021

Son of Monarchs is an intriguingly captivating film out of Mexico that introduces many of its audience members to a world few knew existed… the world of biologists trying to figure out how to genetically change the color of butterfly wings! That’s a real job. Watch this movie and see for yourself! Tenoch Huerta Mejía appears in Son of Monarchs by Alexis Gambis, an official selection of the NEXT section at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. After the death of his grandmother, Mendel, a Mexican biologist living in New York, returns to his hometown nestled in the majestic monarch butterfly…
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Human Factors Review | Sundance 2021

Human Factors Review | Sundance 2021

Human Factors is, as the title would suggest, a human story about the different ways people deal and of the fallibility of those we trust the most. A family drama that plays with the idea of perspectives, which is a tool often used to increase tension and bring clarity, but here they miss the mark making the narrative drag and leaving you more confused at the end than you were when the journey began. Wanja Valentin Kube, Mark Waschke, and Jule Hermann appear in Human Factors by Ronny Trocker, an official selection of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the…
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Servant Season 2 Non-Spoiler Review | Shyamalan Back At His Very Best

Servant Season 2 Non-Spoiler Review | Shyamalan Back At His Very Best

Servant is undoubtedly one of the strangest and utterly mesmerizing series you’ll ever watch and season two finally begins shedding light on so many of the questions haunting us from the first. Thanks for listening to our pleas, AppleTV+! Unrelenting from the first episode to the last. There is no other show like this anywhere. Toby Kebbel in Servant The most perplexing family is back and just when you think they’re starting to move towards healthy reality, delusion and ignorance pull them right back into a world of heightened emotions and pain. This time, however, they inflict it, constantly pushing…
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Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Review | A Network Musical Sitcom Worth The Wait

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist Season 2 Review | A Network Musical Sitcom Worth The Wait

Much like the first, the second season of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist is infectious from the very start. It has been while since I’ve been able to turn off my brain and just enjoy a network TV show but this one makes it easy, especially if you have any affinity at all for musicals. Pictured: (l-r) John Clarence Stewart as Simon, Jane Levy as Zoey Clarke, Skylar Astin as Max Zoey is a young woman who discovers one day that she has the ability to hear people’s inner most thoughts as full musical compositions of multi-generational popular songs. In season two,…
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