High Flying Bird: A Sports Film Without Sports

High Flying Bird shows that director Steven Soderbergh isn’t afraid of being an innovative filmmaker even if his retirement was premature. Soderbergh’s new film takes place during a pro basketball lockout.  More on the lockout later.  This is where we find sports agent Ray Burke (André Holland) in quite the pickle.  If the game isn’t in session, he can’t quite bring in the money to fund his career.  So he does the next best thing with…

"High Flying Bird: A Sports Film Without Sports"

After Party: Power Dynamics At Play

Parties aren’t all that they seem for a photographer in After Party, a film that isn’t without commentary when it comes to the power dynamics. Lana (Laura Dreyfuss), a photographer, has a chance encounter with Hollis (Sean Kleier) under the worst of circumstances.  She opens the door of her cab onto his bike.  A comedy of errors ensues as it should.  Meanwhile, she’s headed to the loft of her friend Charlie (Rachel Nichols) for a…

"After Party: Power Dynamics At Play"

Isn’t It Romantic? – A Romantic Comedy Satire

Isn’t It Romantic? makes sure to hit all the romantic comedy cliches in an entertaining way complete with not one but two song-and-dance numbers. Being trapped in a romantic comedy is sure to be anybody’s worst fear.  You know that the person you fall in love with is always going to be your best friend.  It’s never going to be the deliciously attractive hunk of guy.  I wrote down early on in my notes who…

"Isn’t It Romantic? – A Romantic Comedy Satire"

To Dust: Chasidic Jew Has Existential Questions

To Dust seeks to ask some existential questions about death by way of an absurdist comedy about a grieving Chasidic cantor and a divorced biology teacher. The film starts out with a series of quotes including from Kohelet 12:7:  “Then the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to G-d who gave it.”  The film takes a literal approach to these words rather than Rashi’s interpretation.  The debate over…

"To Dust: Chasidic Jew Has Existential Questions"

Under the Eiffel Tower is charming due to Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh, a UCB co-founder and co-star on Veep, delivers a charming but long-overdue leading performance in Archie Borders’ Under the Eiffel Tower. Stuart (Matt Walsh) had been working for a company that specializes in Kentucky Bourbon among iothers.  Unfortunately, he loses his job right as the film begins.  When his friends, Frank (David Wain) and Tillie (Michaela Watkins) invite him to join them on their Paris vacation, he doesn’t miss the opportunity to say…

"Under the Eiffel Tower is charming due to Matt Walsh"

The Unicorn: Get Your Threesome On

The Unicorn puts threesomes into a new perspective while also managing to expose the problems within one couple’s relationship at the same time. Malory (Lauren Lapkus) and Caleb (Nick Rutherford) have found themselves in Palm Springs.  Neither of them have a choice in the matter.  This is because Malory’s mother and step-father are renewing their wedding vows for their 25th anniversary.  This would be fun and all if not for the fact that they do…

"The Unicorn: Get Your Threesome On"

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"