Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Werewolves Within’ is fine. It’s fine. It’s totally fine, team.

Werewolves Within

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.

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Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘No Running’ aims high but misses the mark

No Running

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.

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Review: ‘Luca’ is all about the power of friendship

Luca

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.

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Review: ‘Fatherhood’ has a heartfelt performance from Kevin Hart

Fatherhood

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.

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Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Mark, Mary & Some Other People’ is all about sharing and caring

Mark Mary & Some Other People

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.

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Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Wolfgang’ chronicles the life of the first celebrity chef

Wolfgang

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.

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Review: ‘Chained’ establishes Marlon Kazadi as one to watch

Chained

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.

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Review: ‘Akilla’s Escape’ examines cycles of crime

Akilla's Escape

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.

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Tribeca 2021 Review: ‘Poser’ is a captivating thriller that investigates the art of copying

Poser

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.

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Review: ‘Awake’ is a technical stunner searching for a movie

Awake

I love long takes. I think they are an excellent way to highlight scene geography and build narrative tension in a film. I know they are complex endeavours that require every person involved to operate in unison. I find them thrilling.

Awake is full of long takes and other interesting camera work. It has fight scenes inside cars, long walks through buildings, and car crashes from the passengers perspective. Unfortunately, what it doesn’t have is a good story to tell, which is a shame because technically, the film is a stunner.

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Review: ‘The Dry’ is a well-executed mystery with a strong central performance from Eric Bana

Small towns have a certain appeal. The pace is slower, and the community can be close-knit. When things are good, small-town living is the sweet life, but life can turn sour when things aren’t so good and never recover. Kiewarra is this type of town, one that was shattered by the murder of a young woman, Ellie Deacon, some twenty years ago and never quite recovered, and now that three people are dead, things might only get worse.

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Review: ‘Little Fish’ is a new twist on a familiar heartbreak

Little Fish

Imagine that you have met the love of your life. You have an adorable meet-cute, you share a magical first date, and you connect on a profoundly deep level. Now, imagine that your memories of this relationship are slowly dripping away. This is the story of Little Fish, a love story set in the midst of a global pandemic that causes memory loss and one that will break and fill your heart in equal measure.

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Review: ‘Edge of the World’ is a beautiful –but kinda boring– adventure

Edge of the World

Edge of the World is based on the life of James Brooke, the man who inspired –in whole or in part– novels by Conrad and Kipling. Brooke, a veteran of the Bengal Army, sailed to Borneo in the late 1830s and, after helping the Sultan of Brunei put down a rebellion, was gifted rule of Sarawak, a large swath of land on the northeast side of the island. He ruled for decades, and his descendants ruled all the way into the mid 20th century.

There is, as they say, a lot of story to tell here. This movie doesn’t quite tell it, though.

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Review: ‘Riders of Justice’ is dark, funny, and affecting

Riders of Justice

Everyone processes grief differently. Some people turn inward, looking for answers to complex equations that only prove that everything happens by chance. Others direct their rage outward to avoid confronting any other feelings. Sometimes, these two people team up and go on a revenge spree. You know, as you do.

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Review: ’Cruella’ is stylish, funny, fun, and one of the best Disney live-action updates to date

Cruella

Disney’s recent series of live-action remakes and updates of their library of classic animated films have been, to be generous, let’s say, a mixed bag. That’s not to say that they are unpopular, but most of them feel to me like they are unnecessary. This is especially true with the direct remakes, such as The Lion King or Dumbo.

Cruella takes a page from Maleficent‘s book. Rather than being a simple update of a film we already know and love (and already have a remake of), and tells the origin story of Cruella De Vil, the dog murdering villain from 101 Dalmations. This gives it more freedom to be its own thing, and the results are that it manages to capture the spirit of an animated film while adding the production value of a live-action film starring two Oscar winners.

In short, it’s one of the best of these movies so far.

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