new films

‘Ghostlight’ Executes a Grounded Story of Family, Tragedy, and Levity

Ulises Duenas

The performances of the cast keep things interesting, and the writer does a good job of mixing in some humor, so that the film doesn’t feel overly dramatic. It all pays off with some very emotional and even cathartic moments by the end.


 

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.

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.

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.

'Drive-Away Dolls' Fails to Deliver any Substance or Consistent Laughs

Ulises Duenas

Things finally start to ramp up towards the end, and by then the slow place turns into a mad dash to the credits. Pedro Pascal and Matt Damon show up for a couple of scenes and the movie could have benefited from having them on screen longer, but maybe the budget wouldn’t allow for it. The absurdity of the plot and what the bad guys are chasing make for some good, cheap laughs, but it just seems too little, too late. 

‘First We Bombed New Mexico’ Spotlights Injustices Against Victims of the First Bomb Test

Ulises Duenas

One of the most shocking events the documentary explores is that just a couple of years after the bomb test, there was a surge in infant deaths among the families in the nearby towns. In the decades that followed, there was a large amount of cancer cases that were too numerous to be a coincidence or a medical anomaly. It was clear that the radioactive fallout was wreaking havoc.

‘Sunrise’ Excels at Confusing the Audience, Not Entertaining Them

Ulises Duenas

The beginning of the movie revolves around Guy Pierce’s character going on a rant about how different kinds of people aren’t meant to live together. The villain is so cartoonishly hateable that he ends up carrying the film. On the flip side, you have Alex Pettyfer who plays Fallon, the vampire who eventually decides he will do something about the evil bigot who is tormenting the town.

‘The Death Tour’ Deftly Portrays Ambitious Wrestlers Vying for Fame and Glory

Ben Friedman

The Death Tour follows wrestlers as they partake to see if they have what it takes for glory. The documentary captures the human psyche of a wrestler’s profile, and why they choose to compete. For some, they are driven by the idea of fame and glory.

The Best Films of 2023

Forrest Hartman

Christopher Nolan’s meditation on the father of the atomic bomb is tense, dramatic, and beautifully crafted from the first frame to the last. Much credit goes to Cillian Murphy, whose interpretation of the title character is worthy of an Oscar, and Robert Downey Jr., whose reading of Lewis Strauss reminds us that he is so much more than Iron Man.

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