SHIVA BABY (2021)

Written & Directed By: Emma Seligman
Cinematography: Maria Rusche
Editor: Hanna Park 

Cast: Rachel Sennot, Polly Draper, Molly Gordon, Fred Melamed, Dianna Agron, Jackie Hoffman, Danny Deferrari, Glynis Bell, 

At a Jewish funeral service with her parents, a college student runs into her sugar daddy.


The film works as a character piece. Even though it takes place mostly in one location and is full of colorful characters who add comedy and point of view to the story. It all centers around the main character played by Rachel Sennot in a subtle and ultimately powerful performance. As she is out under high pressure unknowingly in a continuous situation. She begins to unravel in all sorts of ways.

What makes the film so strong is that while there is comedy it plays almost like a horror film or thriller. As the score seems to help tighten the rope around the character and set in such a crowded space there are fewer and fewer places to turn.

Even as she is struggling to keep her sugar daddy who is far from a Prince Charming and the longer he stays at the party. The more his farm diminishes, but he is the only thing she had control over and loses him. She will feel like she has nothing. So she keeps trying harder and harder to lessen herself to keep and seduce him. 

As it seems scene to scene she is running out of places to hide or things to distract her as she gets more worried and more people to talk about her and the danger of her secrets being revealed. As she tries to make things seem normal.

Even as she tries to seduce a guy who is her sugar daddy back and you begin to wonder is it more about the power and strength as he isn’t all that appealing or beating the competition for him in his successful wife who seems to know more than she lets on. Or did she actually fall for him as something more than just a client?

Is she just desperate to keep the status quo as anything different would force her to grow up? As the man ends up not being all that appealing. Which one can tell early on before any revelations are brought to the table 

The whole cast is eye-opening, they are funny and emotional. Though Polly Draper as the roads mother has the right amount of emotions and judgment to be frustrating and sweet

Rachel Sennot as the lead is a revelation as she plays so many emotions and feelings all at once. Even though it is mostly through facial expressions and actions more than dialogue. Not to mention her natural beauty comes through when being plain but also wants to be looked upon with desire.

The film also offers us a bi-sexual lead where the film does have sex and sexual language the film doesn’t become all about or into about the character’s sexuality as their defining trait 

This film could have easily been more of a simple dramedy that would Feel more staged or at least stage-bound the way it is shown and protested here is short but keeps the audience on their toes as each revelation or emotion feels like a jump scare or is looked upon with dread. 

Though it offers up a few surprises, by the end it leaves the characters uncomfortable but in it’s own way a happy ending. 

Thankfully for all the awkwardness and Cringe-worthy conversations and situations that play like horror the film still has its fair share of laughs and humor.

Grade: B+

DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (2019)

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Written & Directed By: S. Craig Zahler
Cinematography: Benji Bakshi
Editor: Greg D’Auria 


Cast: Mel Gibson, Vince Vaughn, Tory Kittles, Jennifer Carpenter, Michael Jai White, Thomas Kretschmann, Don Johnson, Udo Kier, Laurie Holden, Fred Melamed, Justine Warrington, Myles Truitt, Vivian Ng 


The script centers on two policemen, one an old-timer, the other his volatile younger partner, who find themselves suspended when a video of their strong-arm tactics become the media’s cause du jour. Low on cash and with no other options, these two embittered soldiers descend into the criminal underworld to gain their just due, but instead find far more than they wanted awaiting them in the shadows.

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