News of the World Arrives on Home Video

The Oscar-nominated News of the World, directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks, makes its arrival on home video. It may be hard to believe but News of the World marks the first time in his career in which actor Tom Hanks stars in a Western. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) travels around to read people the news.  One could also look at this as being old-school podcasting before podcasting was ever a…

"News of the World Arrives on Home Video"

Sundance 2021: Passing

Actress Rebecca Hall marks her directorial debut with Passing as she beautifully adapts Nella Larsen’s Harlem-set novella for the screen. When I found out that Rebecca Hall was making this film her directorial debut, I thought how is she qualified to tell a story about two Black women.  I never looked up Hall’s background before.  I would subsequently learn that her mother is opera singer Marie Ewing.  Ewing happens to be of a mixed racial…

"Sundance 2021: Passing"

News of the World: A New Classic Western

It may be hard to believe but News of the World marks the first time in his career in which actor Tom Hanks stars in a Western. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (Tom Hanks) travels around to read people the news.  One could also look at this as being old-school podcasting before podcasting was ever a thing.  To be fair, I think Tom Hanks made this reference when appearing on the late night circuit.  Perhaps it…

"News of the World: A New Classic Western"

Dark Waters: A Warning For All Americans

Dark Waters is a warning for All Americans and shows what happens when the federal government allows corporate regulation to go unchecked. A corporate environmental defense attorney from Taft Stettinius & Hollister is probably the last person to take on Big Chem.  Yet this is exactly what Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) did.  While he was originally doing something as a favor to an acquaintance of his grandmother’s it became bigger than anyone could ever have…

"Dark Waters: A Warning For All Americans"

Toronto 2019: Joker

Joker presents a new retelling of the character’s origins as a villain but the film fails so horribly on just about every single level. SPOILER ALERT: I apologize in advance for any spoilers but when it comes to reviews, please read at your own risk. There are so many problems with this film.  First of all, the Joker is a straight-out villain in the comics.  In prior movies, he has never once been presented in…

"Toronto 2019: Joker"

The Kitchen Isn’t The Feminist Thriller We Need

The Kitchen is about a trio of wives who take over protecting the neighborhood while their husbands are serving time in jail. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Andrea Berloff adapts Ollie Masters and Ming Doyle’s comic book series for the big screen.  I really wish that I could say that The Kitchen is a good film but it fails along the way.  The whole women-take-revenge plot was done so much better in Steve McQueen’s criminally underrated Widows.  Where…

"The Kitchen Isn’t The Feminist Thriller We Need"

Skin: Learning to Unlearn the Hate

Skin, based on a true story, isn’t an easy subject to tackle during an era that takes place following the horrible tragedy in Charlottesville. Filmmaker Guy Nattiv is the descendant of Holocaust survivors.  He grew up listening to his grandparents’ stories.  It is because of this that Bryon Widner’s (Jamie Bell, who met Widner on the day of the Charlottesville rally) story caught his interest.  How often do we learn of neo-Nazi’s learning to undo…

"Skin: Learning to Unlearn the Hate"

Native Son: Compelling, falls short

Native Son is a compelling film with strong performances but I can’t help but feel that something is lost in updating the story for present day. Like the novel its based on, Native Son is set in Chicago.  Instead of the 1930s, Suzan-Lori Parks updates the story for a contemporary telling.  Is this a good idea?  I don’t know.  I haven’t read the novel written by Richard Wright so I’m not in a position to compare the…

"Native Son: Compelling, falls short"

Wildlife: A Career-Best for Carey Mulligan

With first-time director Paul Dano at the helm, Wildlife benefits from a stand-out performance from actress Carey Mulligan. Based on Richard Ford’s book of the same name, we view the events through the eyes of teenager Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould) in Great Falls, Montana.  As his parents struggle financially, Joe decides to quit the football team to work for a photographer. Meanwhile, Joe’s dad, Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), decides to run out of town to fight fires some…

"Wildlife: A Career-Best for Carey Mulligan"

TIFF 2018: The Land of Steady Habits

Based on the book of the same name, The Land of Steady Habits is more comedy than drama in this newest film from Nicole Holofcener. When we first meet Anders Hill (Ben Mendelsohn), he has retired from working in finance and is sleeping with other women after divrcing his ex-wife, Helene (Edie Falco).  Okay–so he’s a womanizer.  At first, a totally unlikable character, we’re finding ourselves gravitated towards rooting for him.  It makes so sense–I know–but this…

"TIFF 2018: The Land of Steady Habits"