From Cinequest 2024: Four Films About Successfully Beating the Odds

Ben Friedman

In curating this lineup, I selected four films that all share one specific point of commonality: flawed people trying to make it through their day despite the odds being stacked against them. Some stories are more successful than others, yet these four films demonstrate a unique perspective in their search to make sense of our current American lifestyles.

‘Under the Bridge’ Adapts a Lesser-Known True Crime Story Into a Great Drama

Ulises Duenas

Godfrey was returning to the area at the time to find inspiration for a book about the lives of the girls who live in a group home since they have nowhere else to go. There, she meets Josephine Bell, the de facto leader of the girls. Godfrey quickly learns of their harsh lifestyle and the fact that the city sees them as disposable.

Navigating Grief and Solace in the Cycles of Life

Eric Green

After I regained composure and equilibrium, I was left in further disbelief when I discovered two eggs in that pot. I realized I had rudely interrupted the nesting of this bird. I imagine it regarded my sudden appearance as a grave threat to the livelihood of its still-to-be-hatched chicks and wasn’t about to let me interfere.

Sounding the Alarm on Our Global Food System in ‘Food, Inc. 2’

Forrest Hartman

One of the primary messages of Food, Inc. was the fact that an extremely limited number of companies control the global food system, and that money is often the driver behind policy that would be better set based on factors like health, safety, and long-term sustainability.

Everything You Need to Know About Traveling in Summer 2024

Christopher Elliot

Pretty much every barometer of travel intent is up for the summer travel season. Inflation and unemployment are low, and consumer sentiment and curiosity are high, fueling an unprecedented interest in travel during the summer of 2024.

More Soap Opera Than Feature Film, Melodramatic ‘Strictly Confidential’ Disappoints

Forrest Hartman

The new film, the feature debut of Damian Hurley (son of star Elizabeth Hurley), is melodrama at its most melodramatic. In fact, there are times when the tone verges on parody, but the swelling music and cast’s deadpan delivery argue that audiences are to take all this excess seriously.  

'Godzilla X Kong' Brings More Great Action but Lackluster Characters

Ulises Duenas

Of course, anyone who’s coming to this movie is doing so to watch the Titans fight, and it delivers great battles. Kong and Godzilla have their fights in the first half but eventually team up to fight the new big, bad villain: the Scar King -- a giant ape that lives in exile within Hollow Earth with other apes he’s enslaved.

As Human Rights Continue to Deteriorate in Iran, Regional Tensions Escalate

Antonio Graceffo

Human rights groups have documented an alarming increase in cases of torture, ill treatment, and unfair trials targeting activists, journalists, and minorities. Numerous individuals are detained merely for expressing dissenting opinions.

The Story of a Country’s Descent Into Dictatorship in Paul Lynch’s ‘Prophet Song’

Lee Polevoi

For many readers, the story of a democratic country's descent into dictatorship requires no great leap of imagination. Lynch makes no reference to how this situation came to pass, but the novel’s premise seems altogether plausible.

Myanmar’s Ethnic Minorities Are Forced to Fight, Resist, or Flee

Antonio Graceffo

The strict enforcement of the law, with its harsh measures, like scooping young people up off the street and forcing them into the army, not only worsens the refugee crisis in Thailand but also backfires on the junta. Instead of obeying, young individuals are choosing to risk their lives by leaving the country or joining the resistance.

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