Film & TV

‘Alice’ Promises Themes of Revenge and Justice, but Fails to Deliver

Ben Friedman

Keke Palmer is a talented actress who makes the most of her screen time. Unfortunately, the script is not up to par with Palmer’s dynamic and elegant performance. The character of Alice is severely underutilized. Half of the film’s runtime is devoted to life on the plantation, thus Alice’s escape and subsequent discovery that she is in the year 1973 never gets a moment to breathe. Despite Alice finding herself in a new century, the news never seems to shock Alice.

‘The Automat’ Tells the Story of the Little Restaurant That Could

Ulises Duenas

There’s a certain magic about our favorite restaurants. They’re places where we’ve made memories with friends and family and might serve as a source of comfort. While many restaurants have been long forgotten by now, there’s one chain that resonated with many important people that is, unfortunately, no longer around: The Automat. The story and impressions this unique establishment left behind are told in the new documentary The Automat by Lisa Hurwitz.

Oscars Brouhaha: Will Smith Crossed the Line

Forrest Hartman

One can endlessly debate whether Rock went too far or if Smith’s actions seem like that of an unhinged lunatic or a protective husband. What I haven’t seen is much talk about how the conversation might differ if the demographics of those involved in the altercation were changed. I believe that discussion is fundamental in an era defined by the #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter movements.

And the Oscar for Best Actor Goes To....

Forrest Hartman

In a new video, Highbrow Magazine Chief Film Critic Forrest Hartman discusses the 2022 Oscars race, and which actor/actress and supporting actor/actress deserve to win the gold. It's a tight race this year, given a number of noteworthy performances: from Andrew Garfield in Tick, tick...Boom! to Jessica Chastain's riveting turn as Tammy Faye Baker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. The Academy Awards ceremony airs on March 27 on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5p.m. PT.

Oscars 2022: Which Film Will Win Best Picture?

Forrest Hartman

In a new video, Highbrow Magazine Chief Film Critic Forrest Hartman discusses this year's Oscars contenders for Best Picture -- from Belfast to King Richard to Power of the Dog -- and selects his pick for the golden statue. Hartman will also feature another Oscars video next week, in which he will talk about the nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and other categories.

After years of Trying, DC Finally Gets the Caped Crusader Right With ‘The Batman’

Ulises Duenas

Robert Pattinson delivers a unique take on a Bruce Wayne/Batman that is consumed by his emotional trauma and is portrayed as an awkward and unstable man struggling to do his best against all odds. He’s obsessive, self-destructive, and looks like he never gets an ounce of sleep, but it all gives the character a realistic feel. The mystery at the core of the plot is very well done with the main villain, the Riddler, doing a great job of being a menacing enigma who taunts Batman at every turn.

‘Ted K’ Searches for the Disturbing Core of the Unabomber

D.M. Palmer

The film plays out like a twisted take on Walden, throwing Thoreau into the horror grinder. Tom Obzud’s sound design brings a visceral quality to Kaczynski’s activities – from the preparation of food to the construction of explosive devices, every action is imbued with a pungency that almost rises from the screen. Kaczynski is another of God’s lonely men, looking for solutions to his isolation in disturbing action, but there is no attempt to either valorize or condemn his choices.

Hulu’s ‘The Dropout’ Tells a Story of Lies, Blood, and Ambition

Ulises Duenas

The show takes a while to build up steam, but once it does, you can sense the tension in certain scenes -- thanks to the directing. Shots where the camera is following a character power-walking down a hallway or frantically looking for something capture the feeling of stress that comes from constantly flying around by the seat of your pants when the stakes are high. Holmes was like the blind leading the blind, and from the first episode, the show hints that it all comes crashing down  -- like watching a train accident in slow motion.

Conspiracies and Trauma Take Flight in 'Cosmic Dawn'

D.M. Palmer

The film’s fractured narrative structure increases a feeling of disorientation; past and present selves run parallel to underscore that these planes of existence are inextricable; this has all been preordained; the story has already been told, and Aurora is merely moving toward her fate. Dialogue is delivered with a consciously unnatural cadence, which brings tension to every exchange, as if there is a subtext to every word which has to be deciphered.

Adam Driver: A Force to Be Reckoned With

Ben Friedman

Driver’s success is predicated on his ability and willingness to portray emotionally vulnerable men. His career choices indicate his enjoyment of exploring the psychosis of flawed individuals. Take, for example, his Oscar-nominated performances in BlackkKlansman and Marriage Story. Spike Lee’s BlackkKlansman showcased Driver’s deadpan comedic timing, as well as his ability to subtly bring to life the character’s internal conflicts about racism. His character’s body language shifts from that of indifference to that of frustration as he witnesses racism and injustice.

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