A Love Letter To Literature

The 50th Anniversary of John Williams’ Stoner John Williams’s Stoner — which this month is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a tastefully geometric hardback edition from New York Review Books — is a quiet novel; a portrait painted in sober tones of the life of a somber, unremarkable man, a story that unfolds softly andContinue reading “A Love Letter To Literature”

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War Doc ‘Combat Obscura’ Is An Unflinching Microcosm Of War In Afghanistan

War is “boredom punctuated by moments of terror,” as the old adage goes. Boredom, however, has never made for a good film, which has led to a cinematic century of war presented as an exciting, if horrifying endeavor. And while some films (“Full Metal Jacket” and “Platoon“) edged ever closer to the ghastly reality, and othersContinue reading “War Doc ‘Combat Obscura’ Is An Unflinching Microcosm Of War In Afghanistan”

‘Wrestle’: A Striking Examination Of Race, Poverty & High School Sports In Alabama [Review]

There aren’t many ways out of poverty. The socioeconomic constraints that pin families in place don’t often let up from one generation to the next. This, though, is the antithesis to the American Dream of upward mobility. And while we are gradually coming to terms with this reality—that circumstances at home and in the communityContinue reading “‘Wrestle’: A Striking Examination Of Race, Poverty & High School Sports In Alabama [Review]”

‘Honeyland’ Is A Haunting Portrait Of A Dying Way Of Life [Sundance Review]

There is an unassuming languidness to Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s anthropologic documentary about a rural Macedonian beekeeper, “Honeyland.” It’s a quiet and passive film that’s content to luxuriate in place and revel in solitude, which, in turn, both drags the narrative’s loose pacing and instills a certain natural structure that, once embraced, becomes almostContinue reading “‘Honeyland’ Is A Haunting Portrait Of A Dying Way Of Life [Sundance Review]”

Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘One Child Nation’ Uncovers A Traumatic History [Sundance Review]

From 1979 until 2015 China controlled its population through its notorious one-child policy. The name, in more than one way, is a misnomer. In theory, a one-child policy simply limits the number of children a family can have to one. But the reality of the policy was far more devastating. Not only were women givenContinue reading “Grand Jury Prize Winner ‘One Child Nation’ Uncovers A Traumatic History [Sundance Review]”

‘Midnight Traveler’: Refugees Reclaim Their Story In Harrowing Documentary [Sundance Review]

The democratizing power of technology gives everyone the tools and platform to be heard. It has, at times, worked miracles — many claim Twitter and Facebook were integral in coordinating the Arab Spring, while the ubiquity of smartphones has allowed the documentation of human rights violations committed by dictators around the world (and in SyriaContinue reading “‘Midnight Traveler’: Refugees Reclaim Their Story In Harrowing Documentary [Sundance Review]”

Netflix’s ‘Fyre’ Doc Is A Fascinating Study Of The Man Behind The Infamous Music Festival Disaster [Review]

Behind every great disaster is a fascinating story. And, as our society continues to amass more ways to document our every interaction with Instagram and other social media tools, these great stories become easier and easier to tell. “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened,” a new Netflix documentary about the infamous musical festival catastrophyContinue reading “Netflix’s ‘Fyre’ Doc Is A Fascinating Study Of The Man Behind The Infamous Music Festival Disaster [Review]”

‘Making A Murderer Part 2’ Is Full Of Riveting Family Drama But Light On Answers [Review]

If you watch “Making a Murderer” looking for answers, you should know by now that you’ve come to the wrong place. The first season of Netflix’s cultural phenomenon was, on the surface, all about answers. Or the lack thereof. Or the search for them. But, over the course of the 10 episodes, which premiered in 2015,Continue reading “‘Making A Murderer Part 2’ Is Full Of Riveting Family Drama But Light On Answers [Review]”

Charles Ferguson’s Timely ‘Watergate’ Doc Is Routine But Vital [NYFF Review]

It’s been a hell of a week. A divided, partisan country ripped at the seams and what was once a split has become an unnavigable chasm. The protracted and ugly Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh turned into a culture war — left vs. right, men vs. women — when a courageous woman cameContinue reading “Charles Ferguson’s Timely ‘Watergate’ Doc Is Routine But Vital [NYFF Review]”

Buster Keaton Crashes Through Exalting Doc ‘The Great Buster: A Celebration’ [Venice Review]

Few, if any, forms of art have changed as fast as cinema. From the beginning, it was married to the greatest boom of technology the world has ever known. From the Kinetoscope and the Lumière Brothers to the birth of studios to talkies to color to 3D and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Movies have always been changingContinue reading “Buster Keaton Crashes Through Exalting Doc ‘The Great Buster: A Celebration’ [Venice Review]”