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+

SOLO CON TU PAREJA (1991)

Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron  Written by: Alfonso Cuaron & Carlos Cuaron Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki  Editor: Alfonso Cuaron & Luis Patlan 

Cast: Daniel Gimenez Cacho, Claudia Ramirez, Luis De Icaza, Astrid Hadad, Isabel Benet, Toshiro Hisaki, Dobrina Liubomirova, Ricardo Dalmacci 

A womanizer is falsely diagnosed with AIDS by a jealous lover and falls in love with a woman equally suicidal as he.


The film already feels outdated. The humor seems a bit lost in translation with the town being so dark. A misdiagnosed aids story played for laughs. As a kind of slapstick sexual comedy.

There seems to be so much in the slapstick situational first half of the movie. That it never feels quite enjoyable or cohesive.

There is plenty of sex yet the films never quite achieved becoming erotic. Instead, it feels crueler.

The last third of the film feels ridiculous as only one scene throughout the film truly feels actually funny.

Most of the film feels so far-fetched and then over-the-top romantic that it takes a lot to believe most of it. 

The thing the movie does have going for it. It is artistically directed by director Alfonso Cuaron making his feature film directorial debut for what ends up such a slightly heavily comedic premise. Which ends up coming off as soft and weak though. Ever seems to penetrate its own artifice.

The best friends are set up to be so over the top nerdy that they lend themselves to stereotypes.

The shocking part is that considering the subject matter you would expect more shocks but the film Is surprisingly bland.

Maybe looking back at the film through modern eyes. Makes what might have been cutting edge seem like an artifact that was of the time more of a fad and modern that fell out of fashion quickly. As it might have been looked at as In Bad taste.

It also seems like a film whose story was made to shock to get attention, for the rookie director to get noticed but ended up pretty lightweight 

Grade: C

DOWN TO YOU (2000)

Written & Directed by: Kris Issacson 
Cinematography: Robert D. Yeoman
Editor: Stephen A. Rooter

Cast: Freddie Prinze Jr., Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, Rosario Dawson, Shawn Hatosy, Zak Orth, Ashton Kutcher, Henry Winkler, Lucie Arnaz, Lauren German, Lola Glaudini, Adam Carolla, Jimmy Kimmel 

A young man wins and loses the first serious love of his life. Al Connelly falls in love with the girl of his dreams. After the summer she breaks up with him. As he tries to recover Al goes to desperate measures.


This was after Miramax studios had a hit with the movie SHE’S ALL THAT and seemingly green-lit a bunch of teen aimed romantic comedies. Usually starring their golden boy at the time Freddie Prinze Jr.

This feels like a budgeted student film for a studio release. Everything looks cheap and garish. As it feels amateurish in direction and story.

The film is a simple romance story about a relationship and distractions as well as temptations and the influence of friends who rotate around them.

Selma Blair plays a temptress and Freddie Prinze Jr’s crush but the film Never makes her look that attractive or tempting. Maybe because they make her more television teen movie friendly, a woman of the world supposedly who comes off like the movie and it’s character pretentious but have nothing to even back any of that up with. 

Rosario Dawson seems to be cast only to add some diversity, for Julia Stiles’ character to have one constant friend of her own. Even Dawson is barely used except to add stoner humor to the film. Why the only minority character for that? 

You have seen this type of film a thousand times, much better. This adds nothing new or original to the formula.

The worst is that the film believes itself witty. When it is clearly not. As obviously this film again is made more for teens than the older ones? Just going by subject matter. Though plays more for a younger audience as their ultimate idea of love and romance.

Maybe because it is set in college that everything comes off as what college can be frugal, fun, and messy with bad taste. Yet believing yourself sophisticated with glaze drunken confidence and room For plenty of overcompensation. 

Mainly because we get to know these characters. Yet never become interested in them. 

The film tries to be true to and force the time periods and is adorable. Like putting them In a blender filled with the then-current themes and styles. Trying to be naughty or edgy yet cool but so watered down to make it feel dormant and dull.

The film has a particularly uninspired music Video playback that feels like how one would play if the director needed to over compose with dialogue for lacking any visual panache or he’s forced into that Miramax/Dimension romantic teen comedy formula. 

The soundtrack is filled with basic or generic general music that might have been popular at the time. Except for a song from the band  Cibo Matto

To give the film a kind of indie feel. Not to mention matching its College setting and fits the film’s mindset. 

The film is a familiar tale where all the fun feels taken out of the way. While trying to seem fun. Including somehow cross-promoting with THE MAN SHOW.

The film does offer some creative touches and luckily has a cast of recognizable actors before and during their popularity. 

GRADE: D

DUCK BUTTER (2018)

Directed By: Miguel Arteta Written By: Miguel Arteta & Alia Shawkat Cinematography: Hillary Spera Editor: Christopher Donlon

Cast: Alia Shawkat, Laia Costa, Jay Duplass, Mark Duplass, Kumail Nanjiani, Lindsay Burdge, Mae Whitman, Hong Chau, Kate Berlant, Jenny O’Hara 

Two women, who are dissatisfied with the dishonesty they see in dating and relationships, decide to make a pact to spend 24 hours together hoping to find a new way to create intimacy.


This is a lesbian romance film that seems artsier. Where it seems like the actors get more outbid it than the audience.

While the film does offer a mismatched couple who affect each other in the end. By having one be the more negative over-thinker who is more afraid to try new things. Yet is an actress and the other a free spirit. Who seems to have no grounding. Whereby the end one is affected in a positive way the other in a more morose way. 

The aspect that the film offers is that these two characters hook up and decide on the morning to spend the next 24 hours together. After some initial conflict with the idea. The film explores the following 24 hours where they get to know one another, good and bad. 

It seems like they go through all the painful aspects and rewarding ones in the son of 24 hours. Which makes the film quirky. The characters and their problems always seem to bring it back to reality.

Even if it always has the aspect of a romantic and fantasy. The emotions at times are what ground it.

While Alia Shawkat is always interesting on screen and graduating to bigger roles. Here she is more nebbish, shy, neurotic, and a little depressed than every woman. Who hooks up with this beautiful free spirit played by the gorgeous Laia Costa who seems too good to be true and by the end. We do get to learn about each other a bit more and the dream girl still is unbelievable but at least we get to see her sweat (amongst other things)  and be human. 

Their relationship is believable and takes what most films would spread out over weeks and months and grounds it into the span of 48 hours for the characters. Where you feel that this is the first time they have ever been open not only with anyone else but maybe even themselves.

It’s an intriguing premise and I wish it had been more involving for the audience but while it offers some surprises. Again it is something that we have seen before and know where it is going. As it feels too familiar.

Not to mention interesting characters. You wish more happened or that they were a bit more interesting to keep your attention. This is why ever so often there is a sex scene between the two of them. Which are graphic yet erotic.

Which then seems to force the film into a third act. This reminds me of the movie CHASING AMY. Where a weird self-sabotage logic emerges and while it is understandable feels like a huge mistake out of nowhere. That is a challenge for the characters to one another where they both know will not have a happy ending so to speak 

Grade: C

EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (1998)

Directed By: David Moreton Written By: Todd Stephens  Cinematography: Gina Degirolamo Editor: Tal Bel-David 

Cast: Chris Stafford, Tina Holmes, Lea DeLaria, Andersen Gabrych, Stephenie McVay

A gay teen finds out who he is and what he wants, who his friends are, and who loves him, in this autobiographical tale set in middle America in the 1980s. Growing up, learning about life, love, sex, friends, and lovers.


This is a coming-of-age story only about a gay teen. What is remarkable is not only when it was made making it an early LGBTQ film but the fact that it is a throwback where the movie takes place in 1984. As it marks the film both nostalgic and kind of fun.

It also feels may be more personal or a testament to that time period. Culture, style, and fashion.

The film feels with some material that might be different for coming of age tales like being introduced to certain sexual acts. Though it does allow for a fresh spin for lifestyles that Have been missing g from these sorts of films or been more relegated to side characters where we never get to see their exploration.

This is definitely an independent movie as the production does offer a smaller story and a tight budget. That leaves some details to be vague.

Unfortunately, the film also leaves some characters or relationships between the characters to be that way also at certain points, but it also helps drive home a certain reality for the film and its characters.

In truth, this is a film all about the lead. So while there is the heartbreaking relationship/friendship between the lead and his girl/friend where the film gives her point of view not too much but enough to understand her confusion and pain. Where the relationship at a certain point remains ambiguous. Though it shows deep emotions. The same can be said of his relationship with his mother who reacts honestly and not necessarily cookie-cutter good or evil. In many ways, her character is the heart of the film. 

It’s also nice to see Lea Delaria in an early role. Where it seems like she is just being herself, but also a guide for the main character.

It also presents what seems like it will be first love but more one-sided. As one seems like it’s love and the other looking for a seduction and hook up but not necessarily wanting all the responsibilities of a relationship. This is a story that mostly involves youth.

One of the film’s major strengths is that It’s not a movie where once he comes out he is persecuted nor is he celebrated. It deals with the complications of coming out with some good things and some bad, but a general sense that it will be ok for the character.

Grade: B-

PRIVATE SCHOOL (1983)

Directed By: Noel Black 
Written By: David Greenburg & Suzanne O’Malley 
Cinematography By: Walter Lassally 
Editor: Fred Chulack 

Cast: Phoebe Cates, Matthew Modine, Betsy Russell, Kathleen Wilhoite, Michael Zorek, Fran Ryan, Ray Walston, Sylvia Kristel, Frances Bay 

Christine, a student at an exclusive all-girls private school, is in love with Jim, who attends an academy for boys nearby. Christine’s arch rival Jordan also has her eye on Jim, and she is willing to do whatever she can to steal him away. Jim’s uber-slob buddy Bubba is going with Betsy, Christine’s cynical friend, though he would probably be unfaithful if any other woman were willing to get near him. Bubba and his pals sneak into the girls’ school dressed in drag in hopes of reaching the Promised Land (better known as the women’s shower room), while Christine and Jim run away together for the weekend, though their escapade isn’t as romantic as they had hoped.


While I can celebrate this film as a milestone as a teen sex comedy I watched often when I was growing up. It will always hit a certain special chord with me. Though I can also say it’s not really a good film. It’s one that has stayed in my memories over the years for many reasons.

One of them being Phoebe Cates in one of her few I fortunately memorable starring roles and also for introducing Betsy Russell an actress I remember from many 80’s movie and who I had a huge crush on at the time (she was most recently in the SAW movies. Still looking beautiful) I believe why she made such an impact on me was at the time. She not only was an actress I had a crush on, but also the first crush I ever saw topless on screen. Which was as good as nice for me at the time.

You also must keep in mind d to me at that age not only was this erotic and exotic material. It was practically porn so it was sacred and felt like it was contraband almost illegal material or at least material I wasn’t supposed to have access to. Which brought an extra joy to watching it

This film was often compared with FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. When I was young even though that film depicted teen sex with a little more authority and realistic elements in a truthful but humorous way. That seemed to show a heart and decency. Plus it was a good movie. The only reason I can think of the comparison is because both feature Phoebe Cates only here in more a starring role,

I can’t say this is a good movie. As the central plot is simple and dumb but identifiable. The film is more episodic in nature and has to deal with life at an all boys and all girls academy in close vicinity. There is a popular couple who haven’t done it yet, but are planning to once all the obstacles get out of their way. There is a rich girl who wants the popular guy and tempts him often. There is also the overweight hot tea best friend who somehow has a cool girlfriend but is always not only horny it the genius who has all these plans that will go wrong.

The only true noteworthy aspect about this movie is that it lives up to it’s promise when it comes to gratuitous nudity, that Fast times promised and gave more of a snippet of. Here there is nudity a plenty usually provided by miss Betsy Russell a veteran of T & A 80’s movies such as TOMBOY.

Even though theoretically she is the villain. She is always shot lovingly and iconically like a bombshell. She totally steals the movie abs is ken fo the more memorable characters and elements. Even as phoebe cates is mroe representative of love, romance abd a certain innocence. Russell’s character is the movies sex appeal, the vixen truly the bombshell and represents lust. Where even though most male characters drool over her. She spends most of the movie trying to entice Matthew modine away from his girlfriend.

I really wonder were these the only films around and offered for young actors or did they figure they would work their way up the Hollywood ladder by getting their foot on the door with these movies or since it was their first movies did they take it and the material seriously? Did anyone become method like Sean Penn and his character in fast times?

I would advise only Watching this for the nostalgic value and vintage 80’s style and nudity. Other then that it doesn’t have too much to offer. Unless you love lowbrow humor and stupid jokes and bad cross dressing.

Sometimes you have to sit and wonder what was wrong with you that you might have thought these movies were great as kids. I think it was the nudity that made me think that this was a masterpiece in my youth. I have the same weakness now, only in life. As nudity make me one weak.

Debut movie as a choreographer of Paula Abdul who choreographed the women’s aerobic workout. And appears as a cheerleader.

Actress Phoebe Cates not only was the top-billed actor but was a performer for the film’s soundtrack singing two songs “How Do I Let You Know” and “Just One Touch” the latter in a duet with Bill Wray. That just helps give the film that 1980’s cinematic cultural sheen.

My uncle as always Introduced this movie to me. Where it was on cable constantly. He had a crush on Phoebe Cates at the time. Especially in the censored version that played on USA cable channels all the time before they had any original programming really.

This was a film that was necessary in my youth. As it was a film I was probably way too young to watch at the time. Yet it was costantly on cable on HBO in the more R Rated nature it was meant to be shown, but then on USA and Wood channel 11 in New York in the more censored form. Either way it has always had a hint of danger for me. As it was always a film that seemed forbidden.

Watching it later in life it hardly comes anywhere near the danger that I felt, but it will always stand as a film that was one of my introductions into more T & A material and definitely a movie that was more gold standard maturing knot puberty.

GRADE: B-

SOUTHSIDE WITH YOU (2016)

Written & Directed By: Richard Tanne 
Cinematography By: Pat Scola 
Editor: Evan Schiff  
Cast: Tika Sumpter, Parker Sawyers, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Taylar Fondren 

The film chronicles the summer 1989 afternoon when the future President of the United States, Barack Obama, wooed his future First Lady, Michelle Obama, on a first date across Chicago’s South Side.


The focus on what it’s not for once as it is a black romance that is not totally comedy.

It’s a very ambitious film a film that mixes fact and fiction, but tries to keep the subject matter simple and charming while sticking to most of the facts. Trying to keep the material fresh even though we know how it will end.

Nor is there an emphasis on sex at hooking up as a major part of the romance. We See the characters as smart and well respected. Even if at times the film falls into cliche perils as part of it’s story line and charm though at least the film tries to give it more of a mature aspect to them.

It’s something that is different a mature and more adult look at romance that is simple and complex. That deals with the future and more about making their way in the world. Through lifestyles and career ambitions.

Doesn’t suffer the same fate as many it seems cliche romantic movies which have already been in the decline over the years. We are more served with romantic comedies which already usually weaken some movies by putting more emphasis on the comedy and then having a romantic scene here or there when we already have plenty comedies that have romantic scenes as side, LOVE story. I guess when it comes to romantic comedies at least half of the film will revolve around dating and romance or the love interest will be more than one dimensional and have character

Though unfortunately it seems in African American based ones it seems the focus is on the couple arguing most of the film which is meant to be seen as funny then finally get romantic towards the end or one or both characters being sex crazed. Which automatically feels more like something out of a sitcom rather than needed for a feature.

Which is why when a film like this feels like a rarity and it shouldn’t it is so noted. When there are and should be plenty of films and stories like this out there. Like the individuals it portrays. As there are plenty of people out there like this but unfortunately only a few get the spotlight or more people get to know

Which might be why the Tyler Perry movies are so successful as they serve an audience that feels disenfranchised and that no one makes films for that audience as his are films that they see themselves not only represented in, but also speak more directly to them and their community. As his films at least seem tailor made or meant to be representative of his audience.

An imagined history based on The few facts we know about the Obamas first dates. That gives this film more of a pop culture glow but also a hook as to why audience might want to see it and is a little different than some others.

According to director Richard Tanne, all of the main events of the film did actually occur on the Obama’s first date with the exception of the community meeting which happened at a later date. Obviously another BEFORE SUNRISE influenced film. as it is more about conversation, character and emotion. Though generalizing it that way would easily be a cop out as the film also adds it own touches to the romance as their day is more adventure filled.

As some romantic films have to be shown and filmed that way to showcase that initial spark and see the chemistry while the chemicals mix and start to bond. We understand why in the future even as challenged and frustrated they might be with one another. Why they stay together. So that there are plenty of situations to observe there differing opinions and points of view

While also showcasing it’s own version of romance that is traditional and not necessarily

The same old. As every person’ love story is similar but different and special to the couple or individual and this films honors that We get glimpses of their future greatness. For her we see the roots of it. How she wants to have her own career and be great. How he hasn’t exactly decided what he wants to do but his belief in people, communities and America and how people naturally gravitate towards him. Both actors are believable as the Obama’s

Michelle comes off as someone trying to carve her own niche and life. Be independent and make her way in the world. Not looking to be defined by someone else. Not have anyone but herself take charge of their life

Barack as a confident young man who has taken the for rallying people and charismatic. It still not exactly sure about his future and defining himself

Grade: B

THE PHOTOGRAPH (2020)

Written & Directed By: Stella Meghie 
Cinematography: Mark Schwartzbard 
Editor: Shannon Baker Davis 

Cast: Issa Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, Chante Adams, Y’Lan Noel, Kelvin Harrison jr., Lil Rel Howery, Teyonah Parris, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Rob Morgan, Courtney B. Vance, Chelsea Peretti 

A series of intertwining love stories set in the past and in the present.


The reason I really wanted this film to work. Is that it is rare that you see black romance onscreen. There are films that have it but they only Come around once a decade. As usually on film they just fall in love and get married as part of a bigger story or they are already married and friends to other people in the movie. A supporting character usually having a wife or girlfriend. Or they are the arguing couple or their relationship is more comedic throughout. Never quite deep and never truly showing love and definitely not romance.

 As it makes or seem like the characters are more materialistic, a sexual, sexual only or shallow. It rarely celebrates the beauty of black characters making it seem like they are only as worthy as their looks or body parts.

This leads to a lack of representation again and leaves black people with very few examples of on-screen love. Which might be why at times and at large it seems to be a rarity onscreen and off at times also.

This film at least tries to work against the negative stereotypes and represent and present a love story that doesn’t rely on race heavily but is a black film Romance. With beautiful artistic characters.

So while this film is a romantic drama. what doesn’t precisely work is that it has two love stories that parallel one another and are supposed to complement each other as well as tell their own and nurture one another. The problem is that the one from the past is so much deeper and more felt throughout. 

While the modern romance is similar it doesn’t feel as deep. As it happens faster and doesn’t have any challenges until towards  the end. Leaving it more bland and quite frankly a bit dull. 

There are no hardships for the romance really because as soon as they see one another we know this is meant to be. While the flashbacks to older characters which is the reason they met and came together in the first place. Has so much drama and meaning. It makes the modern one feel a bit empty.

Though at least we get to see the thrill of the chase at the beginning of their courtship. Trying to impress or. Another and be witty. It also lets us see their passion for one another and the reasons they and their romance grows 

The film might have been stronger if rather than treating it as a puzzle and parallel if the older story was told first and then see how it affects the modern in bits. Though it seems it is there to show parallels as well as keep the story motivated as a kind of mystery.

Either way the film definitely has a cultured vibe and mood throughout with a great jazz soundtrack. It’s nice to see a film of black professionals who are upwardly mobile and successful more upper-middle class. 

One only wishes the modern-day Romance was stronger.

If i had to describe this movie with one word soulful.

Grade: C+

THE WEEKEND (2018)

Written & Directed By: Stella Meghie
Cinematography: Kris Belchevski
Editor: Shannon Baker Davis

Cast: Sasheer Zamata, Tone Bell, Dewanda Wise, Kym Whitley, Y’Lan Noel, Josefina Landeros 

A comedian goes away for the weekend with an ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.


It’s nice to see an all-black romantic comedy once in a while. That offers representation and no stereotypes. It also offers a strong independent female lead who is smart, funny, and not desperate.

It’s easy to fall for lead Sasher Zamata and her character. She is charming even if deeply sarcastic and at times rude. Though usually Go for the Dewanda Wise type character, her rival of sorts in the film. As she seems to be given short change. We barely get to know her and she is treated almost like a villain. When she is actually Put in an awkward situation and treated kind of badly by most involved over the weekend. 

So that whIle Sasher Zamata’s Character is the protagonist and whom we are supposed to root for. She is kind of mean and is written off as being sarcastic to be defensive because she is afraid of getting hurt and being vulnerable. Yet she seems to mostly get her way most of the time. So that rationalization doesn’t always work, but then again is she really that different than guys in these types of romantic comedies? who are ass holes for the most part throughout and unmotivated except when they finally find the one and then no matter how underhanded they might be to be with that person we are meant to root for them be axis they are presented as the underdog?

The film Feels awkward and at times airless due to lack of a score partially. Though like the film and the performances, script, and direction. Just feels like something is missing. Yet it wins you over and stays entertaining. 

Though clear from The beginning where it is going. We Want her to end up with the other guy. The one she has no history with, Who seems more deeper and fun. 

As she has chemistry with both her ex and the next guy. She is a little obvious in her attraction for her ex and her ex makes it obvious he wants her still too but can’t Make up his mind. Which is not only frustrating for her but also for us. 

Though happy the way it ended not storybook and a little Unexpected.

In the end, the film that Is a nice little romantic comedy that is more about bonds and relationships rather than romance and fantasy fulfillment. 

Grade: C+