Sundance 2019: Clemency

Led by a riveting performance from Alfre Woodard, Clemency took home the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Life for prison warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) isn’t getting easy.  She appears to be married to her job more so than to husband Jonathan Williams (Wendell Pierce).  It isn’t just any ordinary job.  She’s the one who is in the room when prisoners get executed by way of lethal injection.  We first meet…

"Sundance 2019: Clemency"

Sundance 2019: One Child Nation

If Three Identical Strangers didn’t leave you with feelings of anger, One Child Nation should certainly leave viewers feeling angry about Chinese policy. China’s One Child Policy came to an end following a period of 35 years in 2015.  This doesn’t stop a pair of documentary filmmakers from examining the devastating effects.  If families had a daughter rather than a son, they would be increasingly likely to give them up for adoption.  Or worse:  leave…

"Sundance 2019: One Child Nation"

Sundance 2019: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile manages to glorify subject Ted Bundy in a manner that does not even show his violent ways at all. Theodore Robert “Ted Bundy (Zac Efron) killed over 30 women in under five years.  Even though law enforcement officials had a number on his back, he continually denied these actions through the Florida trial.  It’s this particular trial that plays the biggest part of the film.  Yes, there’s the home…

"Sundance 2019: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile"

Sundance 2019: Luce

Luce is one of those films that comes along at just the right point in time in which the country needs it in order to spark an important conversation. From the outside looking in, Luce (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.) is the smartest person in the school.  He has it going for him in every which direction.  When he’s not in class, he’ll be doing his duties as either the debate-team captain or participating in track.  In other words,…

"Sundance 2019: Luce"

Sundance 2019: Troop Zero

A young Georgia girl aims for the stars in the funny and poignant Troop Zero despite the odds being set against her every single step along the way. Christmas Flint (Mckenna Grace)–daughter of attorney Ramsey Flint (Jim Gaffigan)–has big dreams that lead to outer space.  We see this in the way that she looks up to the stars at night in 1977.  For now, she has to settle for just being a small town girl…

"Sundance 2019: Troop Zero"

Sundance 2019: Blinded by the Light

Aided by the sounds of singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen, Gurinder Chadha’s crowd-pleasing Blinded by the Light is rocking good time. Javed (Viveik Kalra) stands in for real-life journlist Sarfraz Manzoor in telling the story of a Pakistani Brit in Luton who became a Bruce Springsteen super fan in 1987.  Springsteen’s music played a tremendous role in helping the writer to find his voice.  He was someone who exercised his creativity by way of poetry without his…

"Sundance 2019: Blinded by the Light"

Sundance 2019: The Report

With some very strong acting performances, The Report follows a Senate staffer’s thorough investigation into the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. Even though the film starts with the beginning of the investigation in 2009, the flashbacks date back to 2001.  Daniel J. Jones (Adam Driver) was tasked with researching the CIA while working as a staffer for U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  This followed a 14-1 vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee.  As an…

"Sundance 2019: The Report"

Sundance 2019: Imaginary Order

With a career-best performance by Wendi McLendon-Covey, Debra Eisenstadt’s Imaginary Order is a classic indie in every sense of the word. Cathy’s (Wendi McLendon-Covey) home life is not what it used to be once upon a time.  Her relationship with her daughter, Tara (Kate Alberts), is falling apart. This is in spite of quitting her job so as to become a full-time mother to Tara.  All the while, Cathy’s husband, Matthew (Steve Little), may very…

"Sundance 2019: Imaginary Order"

Sundance 2019: The Mustang

The Mustang shines a light on the ways that the government controls the wild mustang populations by way of prisoner rehabilitation programs. Following a quick prologue about the history of the wild mustangs in America, we meet meet Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center.  As a part of his prison duties, a prison psychologist (Connie Britton) assigns Roman to the Outside Maintenance program.  Roman goes outside of his boundaries by investigating a loud…

"Sundance 2019: The Mustang"

Sundance 2019: Honey Boy

Premiering at Sundance, Honey Boy is an extremely personal film for actor-screenwriter Shia LaBeouf in telling a fictionalized version of his life story. Noah Jupe and Lucas Hedges portray Otis Lort a decade apart at 12 and 22 years old, respectively.  This leads to back and forth storytelling that takes place in 1995 and 2005.  When we first meet Otis, he’s doing stunt work on a film that is likely a stand-in for the first Transformers film. …

"Sundance 2019: Honey Boy"