Film & TV

‘Babylon’ Shows the Ultimate Depravity of 1920s Hollywood

Ulises Duenas

The absurdity of the scenes is often complemented by the portrayal of the characters who are deeply flawed human beings, and only have showbusiness as an outlet. Each character’s arc shows how someone’s humanity will clash with the hungry beast that is Hollywood, and Manny’s transformation in particular illustrates this. He becomes Americanized and swallowed by the system as he falls in love with Hollywood and adopts its shallow norms, while his cultural identity is slowly eroded away. 

‘Rickshaw Girl’ Tells an Interesting Coming-of-Age Story of a Bangladeshi Youth

Ulises Duenas

Naima’s family struggles to make ends meet and when her father becomes too sick to pull his rickshaw, Naima decides that the only way she can help bring in money is to find work in the big city of Dhaka. One of the film’s most interesting aspects is the authentic portrayal of life in Bangladesh -- from the bustling outdoor markets in the village to the frantic, crowded streets of the city.

From ‘White Christmas’ to ‘ Love Actually': Best Holiday Movies to Binge-Watch

Forrest Hartman

Next to warm eggnog and dazzling Christmas lights, few things can get one in the holiday spirit faster than a movie celebrating the season. That is, after all, why Hallmark has carved out a niche based entirely on the Christmas-movie genre. With this in mind, I’ve compiled some holiday favorites that look beyond Hallmark’s more-is-better approach. In short, all the following are great movies any time of year, but they play especially well in late December.

Adult Swim’s Weird, Wonderful Christmas Movie Is a Trip of the Senses

Ben Friedman

Adult Swim released its version of a Christmas movie, and it is as weird as one would suspect from the channel that airs Rick and Morty, The Eric Andre Show, and Smiling Friends.  Directed by Casper Kelly, Adult Swim Yule Log (aka The Fireplace) follows a couple who travels to an Airbnb for the holidays, only to discover their cabin has been double-booked by a group of stoner friends. Forced to board together, the two parties uncover a dark and mysterious presence that abides within the cabin.

‘Dragon Eats Eagle’ Waxes Poetic With a Preachy Message

Ulises Duenas

As the story moves along, Doug and Ralph become unwitting agents in the breakout of the coronavirus, which was orchestrated by fake Hillary to get rid of fake Trump after the 2016 election. It’s hard to tell what purpose Tucker and Ralph serve in the plot, since apparently, they don’t have any sway in the government despite being immortal and witnessing all the major events of American history. Since they have both been around for centuries, this is just an excuse for them to rant about the erosion of American values.

‘2nd Chance’ Documents Richard Davis’s Story of Bullets, Betrayal, and Consequences

Ulises Duenas

Bahrani’s skill as a storyteller comes through because in the first third of the movie, Davis comes off as a likable guy who wants to save lives and keep families together, but some dark truths are foreshadowed as the story develops. Davis’s character as depicted here slowly deteriorates, as interviews and events make him seem like he’s desperate to maintain his image as a savior.

‘Creatures of Necessity’: How Not to Write a Movie

Ulises Duenas

While the performances in the movie range from average to bad, the real issue is the script. The writer clearly wants to include their social commentary on top of what is a bargain-bin-level idea and at this point, I think the general audience is past the point of needing bad movies that try to make statements on race and gender roles. Isabella is meant to be an empowered character by the end, but the execution is just confusing and sloppy.

‘Bros’ and the Legacy of Gay Cowboy Movies

Angelo Franco

Yes, Parting Glances dealt with AIDS and that can be a downer (another AIDS movie!?). But Parting Glances had the incredible bravery of existing in the mid-80s, having a frank depiction of AIDS and its effect at the height of the pandemic and in the face of the Reagan administration’s inaction: only five months prior to its release, Reagan finally said the acronym AIDS. It’s a bittersweet rom-com gorgeously written and directed by Bill Sherwood, a gay man himself who would die of AIDS before he could make another film.

‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ Is One of the Best Films of the Year

Ulises Duenas

What really makes this movie stand out is the brilliant writing and directing of Martin McDonagh, combined with the stellar performances from Colin Farrell as Padraic and Brendan Gleeson as Colm. Padraic goes through his own stages of grief since not only did he lose a friend in Colm, but others on the island have died, making it feel like Padraic’s world is shrinking. This all happens against the backdrop of the civil war.

‘Missing’ Is a Brilliant, Dark Story About Mystery and Death

Ulises Duenas

Santoshi is a newly widowed father going through depression and dealing with debt as he tries to keep his daughter Kaede happy and in school. After telling his daughter that he plans to track down a serial killer for the reward money, Santoshi vanishes, leaving Kaede to investigate what happened to him. The first quarter of the movie has an almost lighthearted tone as Kaede does her best to find leads on her father’s whereabouts, but things get dark quickly after she has a confrontation with the serial killer.

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