I have been a film critic for nearly 20 years and worked professionally, as a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association for the past 9 years. My favorite movie of all time is The Big Lebowski because it always feels new.
Love Sarah tells the story of three generations of women coming together to honor a late mother, daughter and best friend. In a masterful opening salvo, Love Sarah begins with a lovely series of scenes introducing Sarah as she is running late to the first day that she has access to the space that will become her very own bakery. In the course of 5 minutes we find that she has a daughter who loves her, a mother whom she is estranged from and a best friend who is to be her business partner.
The Wake of Light stars Rome Brooks as Mary, a woman from a small town who has remained in this town to take care of her ailing father. When she was six years old, Mary’s father, Stanley (William Lige Morgan), collapsed in a field from a stroke. Since that time, he’s been mostly unable to speak and has had minimal function other than walking from the bedroom to the kitchen to the living room on a day to day basis.
Found footage horror is the sub-genre that will not die. Despite the repeated and tiresome tropes and the sameness of the look of found footage, filmmakers continue to return to this well worn subset of the horror genre. The reason for this is obvious, it’s a way to make a movie cheap and fast. This doesn’t mean a found footage movie can’t be good, but the challenge grows to make a found footage movie that isn’t like every other found footage horror film.
I Blame Society is an absolute, start to finish, blast. This insanely dark comedy about a documentary filmmaker plumbing the depths of her psychosis is a thrill ride of rising stakes and rising insanity. Written and directed by Gillian Horvat, I Blame Society is bold, unique and shockingly original. Imagine the movie May but made by a female Christopher Guest character and you have a sense of what I Blame Society is like.
Real talk, am I getting soft or is the new romantic comedy Stars Fell on Alabama as charming as it I think it is? I thought I wrestled with my still unfinished review of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Stars Fell on Alabama has provided an entirely different kind of challenge. On one hand, I can’t pretend I didn’t find parts of the movie charming but on the other hand, am I just a sucker for a good leading lady and a couple subversions of expectations?
One of our finest dramatic actresses, Regina King, has made an effortless transition to the director’s chair with One Night in Miami. This speculative historical drama brings to life a meeting of well known black leaders and celebrities for a lengthy discourse on the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and the often controversial role played by the Nation of Islam amid that struggle.
Running late on publishing this list because I have spent the first four days of 2021 very, very ill. Thankfully, I do not have COVID-19 but pneumonia for sure is also not fun. I’d planned on publishing this list on New Year’s Eve but I figured why not celebrate instead, the end of 2020 by watching Netflix comedy specials and spending time with my family. Besides, New Years Day would be just as fine of a day to release this list. Then, boom, pneumonia, 4 days of pain and nausea that eventually put me in the hospital. Fun stuff.
I can honestly say that I am not at all familiar with the rich history of storytelling from Africa’s Ivory Coast. But, after experiencing the new movie Night of the Kings, I am fascinated by the intensity, invention and participatory style they’ve pioneered. The unique and thrilling story told in Night of the Kings uses this fantastic device of traditional storytelling to create a thriller narrative set inside of a famed Ivory Coast prison.