A woman walks through an airport complaining to a friend on the phone about being in the security line for 45 minutes because the woman ahead of her lost her boarding pass. “Who loses their boarding pass between check-in and security?” Then, as she reaches her gate, a handsome man hands her a piece of paper. “You dropped this,” he says as he hands her own boarding pass. This is the meet-cute in Good on Paper, a film which follows standup comedy Amanda (Iliza Shlesinger) as she embarks on a relationship with a man who seems too good to be true.
Written by and starring Shlesinger and directed by Kimmy Gatewood, the films seem primed to tell a story unlike what we’ve seen before, but while the intent is noble, the execution is only fine.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Good On Paper’ is ok in practice”
It’s never fair when a new film is compared to a classic, but that’s what I am going to do with False Positive. While this film cribs from many others, it is perhaps most obviously an homage to Rosemary’s Baby. They’re both films in which a young woman gets pregnant but not all is what it seems, and the array of slightly odd characters surrounding her life are clearly not telling her the whole truth.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘False Positive’ is a suitably creepy thriller with a scene stealing performance from Pierce Brosnan”
Celebrity deaths are strange. Many people feel connected to celebrities for many reasons, and each one affects us differently. Anthony Bourdain affected a great many people. The fast-talking bad boy of the culinary world, the man who spent 200 plus days per year travelling to show us the world we lived in, did not seem the type to take his own life. Yet, he did, and we are left with no answers.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain does not promise you those answers, as they are unknowable. What it does do is examine the life of a man who took everything he did as far as he could take it. A man whose propensity for speaking fast and frankly about his whole life, demons and all, made him an icon.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain’ investigates the life and death of an icon”
The process of writing music can be a difficult one. I can’t relate, but what I can relate to is writers’ block. It can be maddening, whether you’re staring at a blank sheet of paper for hours or doing everything you can to avoid that staring. This is one of the core components of Love Spreads, a film about a band that heads to a remote studio to write and record their sophomore album. Of course, it’s hard to record anything when your lead singer and songwriter doesn’t can’t bring herself to write.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Love Spreads’ is a difficult watch about difficult people, with a couple of great performances”
“You finished first. Why’d you take it twice?”
This simple question asked of –but not answered by– the main character of The Novice might tell you all you need to know about her. In the films opening scenes, she is sitting at a desk, chewed up pencil in hand, finishing a test for the second time because she is cannot let herself be anything other than the best at what she does. Make no mistake, dear reader, this is not a story of admirable ambition but rather a story of obsession, the lengths one will go to because of it, and the effect one might have on those around them.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘The Novice’ is a searing portrait of obsession”
The cinema of the pandemic is taking many forms, and I think the long term effect on media is going to be an interesting one to pay attention to. The pandemic is going to touch every genre and it appears the next entry is the romantic comedy.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘7 Days’ is a sweet, pandemic inspired rom-com”
There are few things more frustrating than getting yourself hyped up for something and then not connecting with it. It’s a perfectly human thing to do; we love the things we love, and when something looks like a thing we might love, it’s natural to get excited about it. This is the case with myself and Werewolves Within, a movie based on a game where you sit in a room with a bunch of people and one of them is a werewolf. This premise, the single location mystery, is exactly my jam.
Now, the opening paragraph of this review might lead you to think that the movie is bad and let me stress right now that it isn’t. It has a lot going for it, including two fun performances and some excellent direction, and a few genuine laughs, but not enough for me to love it. In fact, barely enough for me to like it.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Werewolves Within’ is fine. It’s fine. It’s totally fine, team.”
Science Fiction is the perfect conduit for social commentary. From Star Trek to Get Out, placing a theme within heightened circumstances is a good way to make it more relatable and universal and easier to reach a wider audience. No Running, the directorial debut from Delmar Washington, sets its sights on this goal. While its aim is high, it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘No Running’ aims high but misses the mark”
Fatherhood starts with an unimaginable loss. Matt (Kevin Hart) and Liz (Deborah Ayorinde) are in the hospital to give birth to their first child. The birth goes well, but soon after, Liz suddenly dies from a pulmonary embolism, a blood clot in her lungs, that leaves Matt devastated and alone to raise his newborn daughter Maddy. Combined with pressure from his mother in law, everything about life looks difficult and bleak, but Matt resolves to raise his child the way that Liz would have wanted.
The opening scenes, cutting back and forth from Maddie’s birth to Liz’s funerals, let you know exactly what kind of film this will be and that Kevin Hart –a man known for being funny– has some dramatic chops, too.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Fatherhood’ has a heartfelt performance from Kevin Hart”
Disney and Pixar have a long track record of making movies about fish out of water characters. You know the story, a shy or sheltered child who longs to explore meets another child who is out in the world and shows them things they could never imagine until they have a falling out, only to reconcile and have a happy ending.
Luca, the latest film from Pixar, is very much a film that, in the broad strokes, you’ve seen before. In the details though, you are going to find that Pixar warmth, charm, and heart.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Luca’ is all about the power of friendship”
Two young people in a convenience store. He asks Siri about the caloric difference between two snacks. She chimes in that he could just read the bags. Realizing that they’ve met before, he asks her out, but she won’t say yes until after the results of the pregnancy test she’s buying. This is the meet-cute in Mark, Mary, & Some Other People, and it’s adorable in its own way.
A year later, madly in love and married, one of them brings up the idea of trying ethical non-monogamy. Hilarity and headache ensue. Needless to say, this isn’t exactly your traditional romantic comedy, but it is a (mostly) fun one.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Mark, Mary & Some Other People’ is all about sharing and caring”
We live in a world of celebrity chefs. A world in which there are entire television channels and a subgenre of documentary dedicated to chefs and food. There were chefs on TV before all this began, but one chef incited the world of food celebrity: Wolfgang Puck.
If you’re a fan of food television, there isn’t a name more synonymous with it than Puck. If you’re going to make a documentary about the first real celebrity chef, then you definitely want the team who made Jiro Dreams of Sushi and Chef’s Table to make it.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Wolfgang’ chronicles the life of the first celebrity chef”
Abuse comes in cycles and is often passed from one generation to the next. Thus it is in Chained, which sees a boy with an abusive father hold another man captive. Yes, that’s the whole movie. It’s pretty good, too.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Chained’ establishes Marlon Kazadi as one to watch”
Crime doesn’t pay, unless you’re really good at it. Akilla is really good at it. He has a marijuana farm, distribution network, men in his employ, and a friendly relationship with the local crime lord, The Greek. Weed has been made legal though, and rather than continue the cycles of his life Akilla wants out.
After putting all his affairs in order, he goes to inform The Greek, but when he arrives, he’s greeted by the barrel of a gun. That gun is in the hands of 15-year-old Sheppard, who is in the middle of robbing the crime lord with some friends. The friends escape, but Akilla subdues Sheppard and is now faced with a choice: turn him over to The Greek or disrupt the same cycle of crime he got caught in some 20 years before.
Continue reading “Review: ‘Akilla’s Escape’ examines cycles of crime”
There is a scene early on in Poser in which Lennon (Sylvie Mix) and Bobbi (Bobbi Kitten) play the mirror game. As Bobbi moves, Lennon mirrors that movement until after a few minutes, Bobbi explains, Lennon’s movements will begin to inform her own. Then, after a few moments more, they won’t be able to tell who is mirroring who.
This scene is a condensed version of Poser, a story in which a young woman with difficulties interacting with others ingratiates herself in the Columbus, Ohio indie music scene by emulating the people she meets. If you’re picking up Single White Female vibes you’re not exactly on the wrong track.
Continue reading “Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Poser’ is a captivating thriller that investigates the art of copying”