Film & TV

Fiction Parallels Reality in Hulu’s Latest ‘Into the Dark’ Episode

Ulises Duenas

The editing and story are reminiscent of the movie Jacob’s Ladder in that the main character and viewer are lost in reality and unsure of what’s really going on. It becomes clear early on that some or all of what we see regarding the “president” is a fabricated reality created to protect his mind from some awful truth. As he talks to the other patients to unravel the mystery, he’s subjected to abuse from the doctors and orderlies

‘No Small Matter’ Deftly Explores the Science and History of Childhood Education

Christopher Karr

In terms of exploring a relatively underreported concern, the documentary is well worth watching. It’s probably even essential viewing for any prospective or new parent who wants to be informed about the struggles ahead. As a new father, I was alarmed enough by the exploration to think twice before sharing the content of the film with the mother of my newborn. Nevertheless, it’s healthier to encounter harsh realities than to ignore their existence. Therefore, I appreciate the diligence and attention to detail the filmmakers bring to the table. 

Tom Hanks Offers Gripping Return to World War II With ‘Greyhound’

Forrest Hartman

The movie is simple but well-crafted, with most of the time spent establishing the unpredictable and frightening nature of high-seas combat. Hanks plays Ernest Krause, a first-time destroyer captain charged with protecting a merchant ship convoy during a dangerous Atlantic crossing. Set during the Battle of the Atlantic, the movie pits Krause against a group stealthy U-boats determined to destroy as much of the convoy as possible.

Music Movie ‘Mighty Oak’ Collapses Under Its Own Weight

Forrest Hartman

Ragen, Parrish, PenaVega and the rest of the cast are charming enough, but some elements of the story are underdeveloped, while others batter the audience like a sledgehammer. One doesn’t watch Mighty Oak so much as he/she is manipulated by it. Some filmmakers – Steven Spielberg chief among them – can get away with this type of manipulation. But Spielberg is nuanced. With Mighty Oak, one can feel McNamara and Allen tugging at the heartstrings, and it’s more uncomfortable than effective.

Spike Lee Explores Themes of Racism, War, and Redemption in ‘Da 5 Bloods’

Ulises Duenas

It shouldn’t be surprising that a movie by Spike Lee explores themes of race and racism in a thought-provoking way. Da 5 Bloods opens with war footage and speakers remarking on the historical use of Black soldiers as frontline infantry. The entire plotline about the buried gold is centered around the idea of taking the gold as a way to “stick it to the man” and support their people. Several characters remark about the injustice of Black people not having the same rights as others despite spilling their blood on the battlefield in large numbers through various wars.

‘Hamilton’ World Domination Continues With Disney Plus Movie

Forrest Hartman

Hamilton uses what some might call colorblind casting, but it goes beyond colorblind. The show is intentionally diverse, meaning white historical figures are often portrayed by minority actors as a point of course. This is particularly poignant in the wake of the George Floyd protests. One might be able to overlook the fact that a Black man is playing Thomas Jefferson, were it not for that fact that Jefferson ran a plantation and owned slaves. That juxtaposition is jolting.

‘7500’ Is a Suspenseful, Must-Watch Thriller

Forrest Hartman

Vollrath makes the most of the confined setting -- something that could hurt a weaker filmmaker. In some respects, 7500 must have been easy to produce. A single location, small cast, and minimal set dressing all speed the shooting process, but these things come with restraints. When all the action is set in an airplane cockpit, there are no astonishing backdrops or special effects to use as a crutch. The weight of the storytelling is relegated to the script and its handful of actors.

‘Artemis Fowl’ Is a Streaming Mess

Forrest Hartman

Viewers are legitimately transported to a land where fairies and goblins are real, and it’s all very dazzling and Harry Potter-like. Artemis Fowl would seem, then, to be a perfect film for fans of that series. Alas, the Harry Potter features are painstakingly mapped out so viewers understand the rules of the magical world they enter. This is not the case with Artemis Fowl, which teases viewers without elaborating and leads to a long string of questions that are never adequately answered.

Exploring the Symbolism of Hats in the Cinematic Masterpiece, ‘Bicycle Thieves’

Eva Berezovsky

Italian director Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves follows Antonio Ricci’s quest for his stolen bicycle, his portal to employment, and consequent riches. Through documenting Antonio’s progress in hunting down the guilty Alfredo Catelli, De Sica also traces the evolution of Antonio’s hats. De Sica implants three different styles––worn by Antonio as well as other characters––that work together to manifest a hierarchy where each style symbolizes a different level of authority.

Arde Madrid! (Burn Madrid Burn!) -- With Help From Ava Gardner

Sandra Bertrand

There are enough allusions to the star’s life in this tale for a younger audience to be intrigued.  References to her great affection for “Papa” Hemingway are well founded.  Ava made three films based on his stories: The Killers with Burt Lancaster, The Snows of Kilmanjairo with Gregory Peck, and The Sun Also Rises with Humphrey Bogart, forming a fast friendship with the author.  Mazar’s free-wheeling character defends her “Papa’s” philosophy that “it’s the castration of desire that is indecent.”

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