BLACK BEAR (2020)

Written & Directed By: Laurence Michael Levine

Cinematography: Robert Leitzell

Editor: Matthew L. Weiss

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon, Paola Lozaro, Grantham Coleman, Jennifer Kim, Lindsay Burge, Lou Gonzalez, Shannon O’Neill, Alexander Koch

At a remote lake house in the Adirondack Mountains, a couple entertains an out-of-town guest looking for inspiration in her filmmaking. The group quickly falls into a calculated game of desire, manipulation, and jealousy, unaware of how dangerously convoluted their lives will soon become in the filmmaker’s pursuit of a work of art, which blurs the boundaries between autobiography and invention.


This film is experimental in the best kind of way. A fractured meta-narrative that makes us examine the relationships between the characters and what we have seen or have been told.

The first half is more of a slow burn of hidden emotions, ambitions, and attractions. Where Aubrey plaza is more of a seductress and coveted by the male half of the couple. While the female is more jealous of her and her accomplishments.

Where in the second half the flip is switched and we realize the first half was the film the second half characters were making. So while the first half might seem UNFINISHED as they are in the middle of filming the second half gives it an ending while continuing the drama. Even now all the actors are in different roles. Aubrey plaza goes from being the director in the first half to be the star of the film who is having a breakdown as her partner is directing the film but seems to be oblivious to her feelings and needs. While trying to nurture the ingenue in the film. Whereas in the first half the ingenue played by Sarah Gadon was the put upon the pregnant wife of the male. Who was neglected once plaza’s character comes into the picture literally. 

The film lightens up a little in tone in the second half with more humor centered around the crew making the film. As it shows the little problems and culture that goes on such an independent project. 

Which actually perfectly offsets and magnifies Aubrey Plaza in these scenes. As she goes from easy going to emotionally tortured and while they seem more in a comedy. Her raw performance is so dramatic it offsets them and makes their dilemmas all the more shallow. 

The film lets it’s casa averted fixations be known in the second half. Plaza’s performance does remind the audience of Gena Rowlands in A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE the raw emotions as she continuously drinks and becomes more emotionally open but also has more despair.

The second half of the film also allows for more side stories and ongoing jokes with the characters. Whereas the first half is more solitary and focused on the core three actors. The second half while focused allows for more of an ensemble m. 

This film is quite the experience that you might need to watch a few times to get your head around and fully understand the film.

GRADE: B

THE HAND OF GOD (2021)

Written & Directed By: Pablo Sorrentino 
Cinematography: Daria D’Antonio 
Editor: Cristiano Travaglioli 

Cast: Filippo Scotti, Toni Servillo, Teresa Saponagelo, Luisa Ranieli, Marlon Joubert, Renato Carpentier, Massimiliano Gallo, Betty Pedrazzi 

Fabietto Schisa is a boy in the tumultuous Naples of the 1980s. The Hand of God is a story full of unexpected joys, such as the arrival of football legend Diego Maradona, and an equally unexpected tragedy. Fate plays its part, joy and tragedy intertwine, and Fabietto’s future is set in motion.


This film is oddly restrained considering it is directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Whose films always lean on beautiful visuals, characters, and landscapes and usually showcase a surreal reality as well as feeling more epic in scope.

This film is autobiographical so that it feels more personal and with more depth. Not so much an ensemble but we do see the world of Neapolitan Italy through the eyes of our teenage protagonist. Though we spend a lot of time with his family and the characters he comes across. Who each affects and shape his life in some way

Some are more obvious and immediate, others we get glimpses of and then learn about them later but never quite forget them. As each has some kind of advice for the main character.

All of this is happening while in the background soccer player Maradona is bright onto Italy’s Team and is helping them win the World Cup. So Much so that the main characters’ activities are scheduled around seeing the games. 

As he interacts with his family we see plenty of domestic drama. Though throughout there is a love story but it is more between the protagonist and his aunt. Who has a mental illness or is treated like she has and wears provocative clothing and has no problem being naked whenever. Not exactly your typical movie romance. 

Though she is shown more as as a muse for him of free-thinking, humor, sex, and beauty and Luisa Ranieri playing aunt Patrica fills out the role beautifully. As the camera manages to make her look gorgeous no matter what the angle or lighting. Throughout the movie, there are female characters of great beauty who are treated as normal or every day.

The movie also managed to be one of the few films about filmmaking or future filmmakers that basically barely has any movies or talk of them in it. There is no film appreciation, though there is talk of Fellini, a filmmaker who Sorrentino can remind one of in telling personal stories in a grand way that always feels colorful.

This film doesn’t really follow a traditional plot or story and is more a collection of anecdotes and events that shape the character and give a vivid history and view of his hometown in the 1980s. Not as quirky as one might expect as there is nothing that truly stands out. 

Though by the end you are glad you watched and experienced the film that plays and feels more like a book by the end. Only here not everything is spelled out. It is more experienced, witnessed, and felt.

This is also a film best viewed in a theater or on the biggest screen you can find. 

Grade: B-

SONG TO SONG (2017)

Written & Directed By: Terrence Malick 
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Editor: Hank Corwin, Keith Frase & Rehman Nizarali 

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman, Cate Blanchett, Val Kilmer, Berniece Marlohe 

Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.


The film offers cameos from bands and musicians. Like Robert Altman’s THE PLAYER only less about the life and business just what kind of culture it takes place in 

The film is filled more with moments of the day-to-day. That is broken into fragments and left for us to witness and examine. As really the film takes place and shows us the lives of those attending a music festival. 

As it becomes a travelogue of the surroundings with a love of narration, that is supposed to help explain but becomes more oddly poetic. Meaning that what we see while visually stunning is a surface. While we learn what is underneath from the narration. Which offers up an explanation of sorts. 

The films of Writer/Director Terrence Malick usually revolve around the individual and their relationships with the world. Romantic and intimate ones are at the heart of the films. 

This could have easily been a modern NASHVILLE type ensemble, but the music festival is a backdrop for the intentions of music. With emotions and thoughts expressed through the melody with words. just like an album has a bunch of songs. Some are in the same Mold and some are distinct. Others offer a different slice of life and a continuation of themes,  but still a different moment and rules.

Going in you don’t know what to expect. But when it comes to director Terrence Malik’s later films. You kind of do, wide-angle lenses, narration, beautiful cinematography, poetic license almost abstract to the non-existent story. Left for you to meditate on, believing that this new film will be the one they have wanted from him and waited for. That will be his next BADLANDS or DAYS OF HEAVEN 

He tries to stick with the story more and each time while considered good. Not the classic fans hoped for. Though that seems better and is taken more seriously later,  then When they come out originally slow them to be seen more as pieces of art. Then just movies. Even if more and more end up as passable yet disappointing to a certain degree rather than good or even memorable 

The camera never really stops. We see private moments more glossy and pretty people doing normal things. Only with more shine and attention on these moments. Offering Communication through images. Never let lies during full conversations do it.

Though you might know what to expect. Though he offers you shards and then Leaves you to interpret and figure out what just happened. Sometimes with Narrations that sound like excerpts from books 

Usually, Actors clamor to work with Mr. Malik and his films usually are star-studded. Only then did he cut out half of them from the film. As they are not needed in what he wants to present. Which he finds during the editing process. 

So his films always seem like a cut he came to that was releasable after cutting down in the editing room from what might be the first draft filmed. If there was even a script. That it ends up feeling like A book with missing chapters and characters whose fate we never learn.

It ends up feeling more Like a music video with a score but missing the main song as there is a score but no singing necessarily. 

As characters who are almost like newborns come in and take out the narrative partially after an initial connection. Twisting things around a bit. 

Then the actors are filmed like fashion shoots. Like a footnote or introduction to a side story that affects the overall narrative.

Usually one can get excited when he sets his films in the present. Not so much historical epics,  but his strongest films are those usually based on books and true stories that have actual plots. Allowing them each a few chapters they tend to overlap through each other. To be the one In control of their own POV and their marriage and romantic missteps with guest stars.

The film seems to want to be ambitious but leaves itself hard to grade as it comes across more as an art installation rather than a film. 

TO THE WONDER was his last most consistent film.  As it seems the most focused 

This ends up as A long movie that feels longer than it is and monotonous 

It seems like Michael Fassbender’s character is a music manager who is in love with Rooney mara’s character, who works for him and is mildly in the know but once she falls in love with Ryan gosling’s character. At first, she still cheats with Fassbender. Then once she stops, Fassbender meets and marries shortly afterward a waitress he picks up quickly. Where it is all love at first then they start to sleep around. Until she has a romantic liaison and he gets her into drugs and groupies 

Then His wife dies and Mara’s character is with gosling. But he seems to still have feelings for his ex and they break up. Once he finds out Rooney had an affair. She signs with Fassbender and then has a same-sex relationship. Gosling moves home to be around family and falls for Cate Blanchett who no one seems to think is good for him. So it continuously plays with this melodrama. 

This is one of these Films where you find yourself constantly checking the time where it’s headed and shocked it’s not over yet. 

A film that might be smarter than the audience. It is also a film that wants the audience To Interpret it all rather than explain. which can equal big filmmaking wishes handled by a true artist or someone who knows what they are doing.

He sets himself apart as Brave. Most filmmakers choose to have the audience interpret relationships or endings or characters. 

Whereas by the end explaining the plot/story is simple as there is so little of it. It whereas it is started out with visuals montages narration poetry, but barely any music which the title suggests there should be more of some 

It all feels Pretentious where One might wonder if the director had a script as it feels like there is none and they are making it up as they go along at the location and trying to fit it all In

In the end, the film doesn’t offer as much music as expected 

Grade: C

TALK TO HER (2002)

Written & Directed By: Pedro Almodovar 
Cinematography: Javier Aguirresarobe
Editor: Jose Salcedo

Cast: Javier Camara, David Grandinetti, Leonor Watling, Rosario Flores, Mariola Fuentes, Geraldine Chaplin

After a chance encounter at a theater, two men, Benigno and Marco, meet at a private clinic where Benigno works. Lydia, Marco’s girlfriend and a bullfighter by profession, has been gored and is in a coma. It so happens that Benigno is looking after another woman in a coma, Alicia, a young ballet student. The lives of the four characters will flow in all directions, past, present and future, dragging all of them towards an unsuspected destiny.


When it comes to Director Pedro Almodovar, With certain films his attention to detail is mesmerizing by even just the appreciation to women their style dress mannerisms and femininity is fascinating and he pulls us in 

Especially for a filmmaker who has always been artistic but also an early provocateur looking more to shock it seems Maybe now,  we Just pay more attention to every aspect of his filmmaking. Such as Melodrama, sense of color and suspense

As he seems to base his later films around stories and the works of noted authors he is a fan of, trying to match the depth and tone of their work.

Which might be why this film feels like reading a book. Introductions are made for our main characters but we really don’t know their situations, emotions, motivations or history until the film. Keeps moving and chooses to make the revelations of the twisted stories and personal histories. 

As things aren’t always as they seem. It feels like watching Two love stories that are parallel, but then come together. Though it could also be seen by the end. As before , that leads to the worthwhile love story of two damaged people brought together.

As one character stays a victim throughout. As she is more an object of fascination and infatuation. A kind of ideal, who is violated without her knowledge or permission. Then in the end. Looks to get into a romance with someone involved with her attacker of sorts.

It’s a film that challenges you. As the audience might not like or agree with the ending. As one romance is cut short though has time to blossom, yet find out it was ending. The other romance never truly existed. As it had a promising start until extreme acts ended it before it could truly start.

As the character of Benigno could be seen as hopeless romantic, but is more a stalker. Who gets his chance to be near his obsession. Ultimately being devoted to her care and taking care of her, but also getting to be physically intimate with her. Which he never treats as sexual or abused in that way at first. In fact he seems asexual sexually as though he loves her. He seems attracted and flirtatious with Marco in their friendship. 

It would seem he lives up to the ultimate title of caregiver. He also seems to idolize women as when he first falls for Alicia, it is while he is taking care of his own dying mom and it seems once she is gone. Out of loneliness his care and loving feelings are transferred to Alicia. just as he is devoted to her in the hospital, but opens up and shows feelings for Alicia even as his co-worker obviously likes him but he stays blind to it.

In fact until he is inspired by a silent movie (in a shocking and visually stunning scene) he never gets sexual. The one time he does in a selfish and undefendable act, is when he is finally punished. Throughout the movie we never really see sex, but it is introduced and we are thrown in The emotional pull of it. 

Where it gets more troubled is that this act actually brings upon a kind of miracle… a cure. Where he suffers and deserves to for her recovery and it feels like a minor religious allegory of it all. It also causes a salvation for his friend Marco

Throughout the film there are artistic touches that only add color to the characters and situations. In the end what should be simple is so haywire emotionally, but has beautiful conclusions. Albeit dark and in moments that feel sumptuous.

Even in the bullfighting sequences more the alpha but most emotional of the couple. She always feels more in control. As physically stronger and masculine yet always needing to be saved and supported in life.

It feels like we are watching lives with a bit of serendipity, not a movie or a story. Yet we are still showcased the more interesting parts 

Oddly this film is exactly what I thought it would be but still amazing. As it unfolds like a novel and feels nurturing and strangely full. Even though at heart it is disturbing if you think deep about it. it is also romantic

Grade: B+

WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY (aka CHACUN CHERCHE SON CHA) (1996)


Written & Directed By: Cedric Klapisch 
Cinematography: Benoit Delhomme 
Editor: Francine Sandberg 

Cast: Garance Clavel, Zinedine Soualem, Olivier Py, Renee Le Calm, Simon Abkarian 

Chloe, a young woman, is going on holiday. She entrusts her beloved cat to Madame Renée’s care. But one day Madame Renée (an old lady of the neighborhood) can not find the cat. Chloe starts searching the neighborhood… This is the pretext for the exploration of a quarter of Paris and his inhabitants.


A French film that starts with a simple premise of a young woman looking for her missing cat. That ends up leading to a bunch of adventures and experiences that usually involve some kind of romantic entanglement

This is the first film of French writer director Cedric Klapisch that I saw that perfectly sets up his usual bohemian style. His films work more as ensemble pieces with a main character in the middle. Who this story usually either revolves around or is at the center and cause for situations

As the movie goes on this is really a film about the neighborhood and its citizens more a kind of anthropology study to a degree. As we watch how they work like a well-oiled machine. With one another. While also watching how their quirkiness helps to guide and make connections for the main female character In The middle of all of this.

The film is eclectic and colorful and mostly fun than anything else, not Too dramatic. Yet at times romantic and showcasing how easily we can read into things and believe people at their words a little too soon before they have proven themselves.

This is a French film that was perfect for the time period and comes off as a quirky French film where you want to be in the movie or move into this neighborhood. As it is a classic neighborhood with more younger people moving in and experiencing it’s the charm. So that it feels like that French getaway you might have always wanted to experience in your 20’s so you would get the modern and old school In Equal measure. as you get an insider look at all around France and the different neighborhoods or districts as they prefer to call them

Though the film doesn’t really have too much to do with the story or plot. As you more or less follow Chloe, the main character on her journey, and get to feel or at least witness her experiences. So the film is kind of free form in a way without being experimental. As for all of its freedom, there still feels like there is structure here.

If you have seen his later films THE SPANISH APARTMENT, RUSSIAN DOLLS and CHINESE PUZZLE 

This will be a little familiar but allows you to see where it all started at least In theme. Though they are constructed they manage to surprise you and add color to the films through the characters. Who we get to know a bit about and get to spend a little time with. As they only add to the enjoyment of the picture.

GRADE: B

S#X ACTS (SHESH PEAMIM) (2012)

Directed By: Jonathan Garfinkel 
Written By: Rona Segal 
Cinematography By: Shark De Mayo 
Editor: Arik Liebovitch 
 Cast: Sivian Levy


Inevitable is a realistic paraphrase of a classic teen-movie, a deep dive into the ‘Grey zone’ of sexual abuse, told through the story of average suburban adolescents. The story takes place right now, next door. Gili is a teenager who decides to change schools. She is determined to improve her lame social status. Over the course of a few weeks she hooks up with several different boys, all from her new school. Their encounters get more and more sexual. Exploring their limits each time further. The boys are eager to take what is so generously offered, and Gilli is thrilled to get the attention. No tears, no complaints, no consequences. No adults. No one who says that maybe something is wrong

While this film puts more of a true face on the youth as thy discover sex and sexuality. It is also more of a horrific tale.

This is one of the most depressing and scary movies I have seen recently more scary as this might be a tale that could be rooted in truth or actually be happening out there.

The film starts off simple as her behavior seems to happen to impress her crush, yet with the introduction of his friend who is better looking more forward, and more inclined to have fun and showing her positive attention. Sensing thins falls for him and seem that her crush has no bounds. He leads her on constantly hooking up and more or less using her like a pet and trying to get her to hook up in front of friends or with friends.

Even at times when it looks like She has found a savior in the role of a friend in the group who seems to like her romantically. Who she seems to hang out with as to get closer to her main crush and out of desperation as no one else is calling her. Quickly turns into more of a date rape-ish scene after she slightly insults him. where he doesn’t realize the consequences of his actions.

Later on in the film after continuous debasement. There is a defining scene where the core group of friends refuse her transport and call her degrading names truly showing what they think of her. She really shows no reaction as seems fixated on her crush.

What the film lacks is a scene or sense where she finally lets it all out knowledge of her actions or sense of self. Letting it all out. Instead it stays bottled in and keeps getting worse and worse. As the adore wants her to come to her senses or for someone preferably female to save her.

I don’t know how true to life this film is bit I fear there are a lot of women and some men out there like this. 

Sivian Levy gives a brave performance in the lead. She has a natural beauty that isn’t obvious or announce itself but is clearly evident. That gives her character, not a prom queen look more of a girl next door look. Which seems to fuel the characters need for acceptance and attention. While she gives the character a certain resourcefulness. She is also a victim of her own decisions and self-delusion. She convincingly makes the character clear though not the root of the decisions.

This film has an unflinching look that as soon as it turns to becoming a more realistic erotic scene the ugliness of the situation and the debasement on the character becomes so overwhelming it is more like a torture scene.

We are given a quick, short look at her home life to better understand why she might accept how she is treated and the motivations behind her actions and decisions.

The revolving question in this film is that by a certain point she realizes she is being used almost being pimped out practically. You wonder is this all for attention and being popular or does she really continue in these actions to please and impress the one boy she has a crush on and is her main abuser.

By the ending though it is left ambiguous. It leaves you to wonder will she continue this behavior as it looks like it will become a bigger circle and this time as before it will be more Of a submission by force.

The film is broken down into individual scenes that seem to end with some kind of sexual act, Part of the fun of the film is finding the inventive way the director introduces the number into the next scene.

 Grade: B-

SOUTHPAW (2015)

Directed By: Antoine Fuqua 
Written By: Kurt Sutter 
Cinematography By: Mauro Fiore 
Editor: John Refoua 

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rachel McAdams, Oona Laurence, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Forest Whitaker, Beau Knapp, Miguel Gomez, Dominick Colon, Skylan Brooks, Naomie Harris, Victor Ortiz, Rita Ora

*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from IMDb among other sources In this review

As tragedy strikes him in his prime, famed boxer, Billy Hope, begins to fall into a great depression. Once the decision regarding the custody of his daughter is under question, Billy decides to get his life back on track by getting back into the ring.


Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is the strength of the film and provides a kind of new type of performance from him. That makes him seem more brutal and streetwise. Speaks as more of a brawler. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t give him much to work with nor does it rise to the sorts of depth that he tries to showcase. As the film ends up becoming more of a combination of well-intended and dressed-up cliches. That makes the film constantly feel familiar, yet ends up becoming formulaic.

As soon as Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson shows up we know all we need to know about his character and where most likely the story is going. As everyone seems to play their character by the book. Which again makes the film come off as paint by numbers. Where here they try to color outside of the edges time to time to throw off where the movie is going. For instance a scene or two where it seems like the film might go the revenge route and quickly drops that side of the story. I am guessing as to his spiritual well-being and beating up the guy’s friend in the ring will be the ultimate revenge?

His wife’s murder subplot is a major point of the film. As it introduces the revenge-justice angle of the story but after that, it never answers many of the questions the audience has. Like what happened to the guy? Was he caught as the entourage seemed to rush him out. Also, I know it is easy to set his opponent up as a major villain, but his look of shock could have opened up the movie dramatically as to what he is going to do about this. Turn his friend in? Hide him And disavow him. That is a major dramatic opportunity dropped. We never even really see it affect him other than that moment and leaves you to wonder if he was just shocked, thinking they were just busting each other’s chops and this fool brought it to a place it didn’t bleed to be or wondering will this hurt his career? As is it only sets up a well-earned rivalry. As it is Gyllenhaal enemies’ camp fault for the death.

So that it seems the film keeps coming up with interesting ideas and abandoning them. To either keep the movie streamlined and moving forward or were scared to go off the path that might have added something new to the mix and made it at least more noteworthy.

It seems the child bonding scenes are here to give the main character something to strive for and keep him going throughout. As well as show his sensitive side and add a heartwarming element to the film.

Strangely the film seemed to be set up to be an awards season challenger and THE boxing movie of the year, but CREED seemed to be the one that no one saw coming to take that title, An underdog itself.

While that takes shape on the side the film adds a child surrogate for him to bond with as it ends up having little to no reason. As it eliminates it later for emotional manipulation, but as it was never built too strongly. So that it just adds up to a challenging scene that asks us to get emotional for something. And someone that wasn’t properly or strongly introduced in the first place. That just seems to reinforce the fact that these are some mean streets. Embrace them, but try to get away from them also. In other words, don’t forget where you came from.

We envy get the grizzled old trainer played by Forest Whitaker whose character is tough but loving and likes a drink now and then.

The film uses the fight as a representation of revenge and redemption. It also encourages the reunion with his child. On that end the film again becomes not only cliche but convenient as the social worker he is dealing with at first seems gruffer with him. Though all of a sudden with no real reason, she does an about-face and is one of his biggest supporters. A dramatic decision that isn’t seen or earned.

The film has plenty of workout scenes to show the brutality of trading but gives the men credit for the toughness and bravado shown. Letting the audience have a more physical reaction to the actors physical (it seems) transformation. I am sure it also helps to convince the audience to be attracted to the star even more.

The boxing scenes are more about brutality and seem to want to come off more as street fights that is how vicious they look at times.

Though the film eventually becomes monotonous as it seems to get in its own way too often that not even the impressive visuals can save.

“Southpaw” is the term given to unorthodox stance (left-handed) boxers. However, Jake Gyllenhaal is right-handed, therefore orthodox. He only adopts the southpaw stance in the final fight, under instruction from his trainer Which even seems like a premeditated conclusion for the title.

As the film was first offered to star Eminem as an unofficial follow-up to 8 MILE. One can see how as the character has many similarities to him as far as the public knows about him and fits the themes of his songs. Closeness to his daughter, growing up on the mean streets, becoming successful and still not being entirely happy, having many enemies who seem to come for him. Having an entourage, going down the road of drugs and booze that seems to almost destroy him, making a comeback. Though Eminem did work on the soundtrack and wrote 2 songs for the film

It’s a film that could have been interesting, but we have seen it way before. Even if it tries to offer a different take then ROCKY a more street smart, tougher and violent one. It just offers nothing new. Other than an opportunity to see a movie star stretch.

Maybe as it seems to try and at the time seek out awards contention. That might be the reason the film feels so stuffed. As it goes overboard in trying to impress the audience. Instead of just being itself and going where the story could naturally lead.

Grade: C-

COME AS YOU ARE (2019)

Directed, Cinematography & Editor: Richard Wong 
Written By: Erik Linthrost

Cast: Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel, Gabourey Sidibe, Janeane Garofolo, C.S. Lee, Jennifer Jelsema

Three young men with disabilities hit the road with a jaded nurse driver to a brothel in Montreal catering to people with special needs. Remake of the acclaimed Belgian film ‘Hasta La Vista’.


First off yes this is a heartwarming film that is predictable focusing on a road trip of ill-gotten but understandable means.

This is a rare film that focuses solely on characters with disabilities that seems to only come along every so few years. Even though most of the actors aren’t disabled they sell it through their actions.

Whereas even when it comes to their parents they have to prove their gaining of independence.

While the film does the obligatory scenes of showing them as normal human beings with the same desires as most. Then have to prove to others who are prejudiced against them that they can do things like jokes. The film offers a diverse cast 

This is also a film that is a little lightweight and while it has its little adventures. The strength of this movie is the characters and their different personalities. They eventually charm you so that you are forging for them and want to see what kind of calamities they get into next. 

It’s episodic in brute but as the film goes along the characters grow on you. So that while they might begin as stereotypes. They eventually grow into well-rounded characters. Who you grow to appreciate. 

The film even has an unexpected romance. It truly is an unexpected hidden gem. That gets by More on Emotion than filmmaking.

Grade: B

GIRL ASLEEP (2016)

Directed By: Rosemary Myers 
Written By: Matthew Whittet (Based on his Stage Play) 
Cinematography By: Andrew Commis 
Editor: Karryn de Cinque 

Cast: Bethany Whitmore, Harrison Feldman, Amber McMahon, Matthew Whittet, Eamon Farren, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle Catanzariti, Pia Moutakis, Clara Moutakis 

The world is closing in on Greta Driscoll. On the cusp of turning fifteen she can’t bear to leave her childhood, it contains all the things that give her comfort in this incomprehensible new world. She floats in a bubble of loser with her only friend Elliott, until her parents throw her a surprise 15th birthday party and she’s flung into a parallel place; a world that’s weirdly erotic, a little bit violent and thoroughly ludicrous – only there can she find herself. Based on the critically acclaimed production by Windmill Theatre, The film is a journey into the absurd, scary and beautiful heart of the teenage mind.


The film feels like a dream which at least a third of the film appears as a Out and out fantasy that makes no sense except to the main character and seems to be a parable about her dilemma. It feels more like the work of a singular imagination that makes sense to only a few.

 Luckily the film works off of offbeat charm and style. As well as being absurd with details such as the date of her birthday being February 31st, The twins that constantly are the henchwomen of the main characters. Album cover art coming alive an becoming a full character and just about the entire third act that becomes a weird rural fantasy.

While the film definitely has a vision and most of the film could usually be explained away as more of a vivid exaggeration that comes off surreal of how it feels to be growing from a child into a teenager. Where you still have that innocence but the real world starts to beckon harder and harder putting pressure on you. Though either way the characters would still be considered quirky from any other view.

The film actually started out as a stage play. Which helps explain the limited locations and it seems the need to get the most out of them. Which also adds a claustrophobic feel and intensity in some scenes. It’s what helps make the film feel vivid and livens up the film to a degree. When there isn’t necessarily that much action going on.

Like the film the characters come off as stylish by being a bit off style yet quirky. As they double down on their beliefs and lifestyle. The film seems at time off center but knows where it is going even if the audience doesn’t. So that it is a journey for us. So you have to depend on the film to guide you. Yet you always feels safe though easily distracted and discombobulated.

It can easily be seen as a film about puberty. Where you are a threat to some and you struggle to find where you belong who is your group, pack as well as getting attention you are not used to and it feeling like an onslaught like you are being hunted. Not sure who you can trust as some turn on you that easily or are using you to a degree. Where the wrong move seems like it could be your peril. So that it almost paralyzed you or makes you very fragile.

The film can sometimes feel moody as it stays strange, but still manages to stay sweet and never is boring.

The film Actually feels like an Australian NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. Only from a girls point of view you can see the flourishes of a Wes Anderson film in the design. It’s easy to compare as it seems nostalgic but of it’s own imagination. Though it’s cinematic style seems simple but also expressive and deadpan that at times seems to try too hard but after awhile you get used to it as it becomes too common.

It’s not one of the first or only film to be taken from a girl’s point of view when it deals with a conning of age story. Though it is rare that we get to see a story of so much awkwardness. So much so that the third act is more of a fantasy story.

The film does deal with sex but it doesn’t make it as heavy an issue or something that permeates almost every scene and decision that the character makes. Which is a welcome change. Even if it doesn’t all make sense at first.

The film even has continuing action in the background to keep you your eyes busy and a full experience that keeps you on your toes. That makes everything feel amplified.

Grade: B-

THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7 (2020)

Written & Directed By: Aaron Sorkin 
Cinematography: Phedon Papamichael 
Editor: Alan Baumgarten

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong, Alex Sharp, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul-Manteen II, Mark Rylance, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Ben Shenkman, Frank Langella, Michael Keaton, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Caitlin Fitzgerald 

What was intended to be a peaceful protest at the 1968 Democratic National Convention turned into a violent clash with police and the National Guard. The organizers of the protest–including Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, and Bobby Seale–were charged with conspiracy to incite a riot. The trial that followed was one of the most notorious in history.


This is a film that comes with a certain pedigree so that no matter what happens it constantly comes off with a certain pedigree.
It’s Certainly an eye-opening history lesson and recreation. That does feel like it was a film always planned as a live-action version of an animated documentary that tells the same tale. Only here the film filled with recognizable actors came in a vital time of the United States being in a personal political uproar. That not exactly was a repeat of the times that the film depicts but in a similar situation. Proving that history has a way of repeating itself. 

This film seemed to want to send a message of hope, faith, and belief or democracy and the power of individuals United in belief to hope to change the system and stand up for their rights and everyone’s.

The actors are all good. Even if some come off more like they are playing virtues and beliefs (Eddie Redmayne) rather Than characters. While others seem to be going more for impersonations. Then again some characters are written more vividly than others. As like the characters’ personalities some Are more dramatic some are more comedic.

Mark Rylance, certainly stands out amongst the cast. Even if his role isn’t as showy. Even as everybody here wants and deserves a Pat on the back for what they bring to the film and their roles. Ultimately at times like the film, it feels a bit self-serving. 

The script is good, it feels like it is more meant to say something about the then-current political times while going over historical events. 

The direction by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is fine. No big flourishes, only wish that it might have been a bit stronger visually and made more of an impression in scenes. Especially those where there are action or powerful moments. 

For a film that seems to reach for so much and paint a bigger picture, it feels restricted or smaller than expected. Which works somewhat as reminding us that this was a microcosm of the country where so much was being decided. It also achieved letting it feel more personal and intimate. Though it feels different than what we are used to with historical films feeling epic and as big as the decisions and landmark history they bring forth. 

This is a crowd-pleasing tale of constant injustices that unfortunately seem to keep happening and have to be seen to be believed. 

Even if some might say that it Is mostly liberal infighting against injustices and a corrupt system that has sought fit to target them. As political leaders. 

Even as Bobby Seale’s story is so strong and fascinating than seems cut off at a certain point and out of the rest of the film. As in love he seemed lumped in with the rest randomly. 

The film stays entertaining. A s a smooth feel-good movie. It just never feels close to blowing you away. Though it is a story that needs to be told and shared. 

Grade: B-