Film & TV

‘In the Heights’ Is the First Great Film of 2021

Forrest Hartman

It also helps that the picture is a musical. When Chu isn’t moving his cast from one beautifully dressed location to another, he is guiding it through some of the most eyepopping musical numbers to hit the screen in years. The splashy (literally) presentation of the tune “96,000” uses Highbridge Pool to great creative effect, with water becoming part of the choreography. This number is so intense that one might draw comparisons to the beautiful traffic jam dance sequence in La La Land

‘Dark Divide’ Tells the Compelling Story of a Researcher in Search of Inner Peace

Ulises Duenas

Overall, the pacing of the movie is pretty slow. However, there are scenes in the last part of the movie that make whole experience worth it. It’s those scenes that show Cross’s range as an actor and drive home the meaning of the film. The story is even more interesting when you consider that it all actually happened to the real-life Robert Pyle. Even though it’s a slow burn, I would still recommend The Dark Divide.

Disney Plus Delivers a Hit With ‘Loki’

Garrett Hartman

Wilson’s performance is particularly great as a foil and supporting character to Hiddleston’s Loki, serving as a good comic comparison between his bureaucratic detective Mobius and the egotistical God-turned-prisoner Loki. However, his performance also shows Mobius as his own complex character. Mobius isn’t simply a narrative prop to highlight Loki, but a sharp-witted detective with his own complex motivations and ideology.

African Diaspora Filmmakers Break the Cinematic Glass Ceiling

Sandra Bertrand

It’s worth mentioning some of the historical accounts given, which comprise the heartbeat of the film.  There was no doubt that early oppression from 1501 to 1865 was by design, with slaves reduced to generational property and 4-year-old children working alongside their elders in the fields. The figures are staggering with slave labor worth 3.5 billion, more than railroad and manufacturing profits combined.

‘Cruella’ Doesn’t Deliver the Evil Villain We Have Come to Hate

Forrest Hartman

Stone and Thompson are great talents when they have solid material to work with, but Cruella never finds sound footing. The allure of a classic-villain backstory is – presumably – to show fans how the person they’ve despised for all these years became so despicable. Questions abound. Were they born the epitome of evil, like Damien in The Omen, or were they overcome by all-consuming power, like young Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars franchise? The answers to such questions are often ridiculously satisfying. The problem, of course, is that they can also be frustrating, especially when -- as happens in Cruella -- the filmmakers don’t pay proper homage to story canon.  

Viggo Mortensen Debuts ‘Falling,’ a Strange but Powerful Film About a Dysfunctional Family

Christopher Karr

The movie splashes memories into the present to illustrate the stickiness of the past. The technique of intercutting past and present is risky, and it can easily feel contrived and ham-fisted. But here, thanks in part to the stellar editing of Ronald Sanders (David Cronenberg’s editor), the technique enhances the story Mortensen’s getting at. (Cronenberg, a friend and past collaborator of Mortensen’s, has a welcome, winking cameo as a proctologist.) 

Ed Helms Tackles Fatherhood and Surrogacy in ‘Together Together’

Adam Gravano

Helms portrays a man we can't help but cringe at as he bumbles toasts, telling his family about his plans, or being a supportive partner. He also invests seemingly trivial decisions, like the color of the nursery, with outsize importance. Much like another alumnus of The Office, Steve Carell in The Big Short or Foxcatcher, Helms provides evidence that he's ready for roles that are more than just cheap laughs.

‘Mortal Kombat’ Offers Blood, Guts, and Not Much Else

Ulises Duenas

The silver lining is that if you’re a Mortal Kombat fan and you want blood and gore, that’s exactly what you get. While the fight choreography is subpar, the amount of violence in the movie is through the roof. While it is gratuitous and sometimes comical, it was still fun to see and it wouldn’t have been a bona fide Mortal Kombat movie without it. It’s clear that the writer and director had a passion for the games and knowledge of their history.

‘Uprooting Addiction’ Shows the Face of the Opioid Epidemic

Ulises Duenas

The film’s title, “Uprooting Addiction,” refers to one of the support tools used by a social worker named Hope Payson who has helped hundreds of people with their addiction. The tool is a tree made of paper up on a board that embodies the roots of someone’s addiction and how they managed to heal from past traumas and deal with their vices. The tree shows that the most common cause of addiction is some type of childhood trauma.

Actor Kristoffer Polaha’s Journey to Stardom

Forrest Hartman

Rather than follow “America’s Prince” with increasingly important TV and movie roles, Polaha landed a string of starring appearances in television shows that seemed promising, launched … and then stalled … time and again. From 2004 to 2012, Polaha had key roles in the nighttime soap “North Shore,” the sitcom “Miss Guided,” the romantic comedy “Valentine,” the relationship drama “Life Unexpected” and the Sarah Michelle Gellar thriller “Ringer.”

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