Review: The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson

Year: 2019 Runtime: 82 Minutes Director: Daniel Farrands Writer: Michael Arter Stars: Mena Suvari, Taryn Manning, Nick Stahl, Agnes Bruckner, Drew Roy, Gene Freeman By Bee Garner "The Murder of Nicole Brown Simpson" claims to be based on the true event that shocked America, the horrorendous death of Nicole Brown, the ex-wife of sports star... Continue Reading →

Review: The Irishman

I had a surreal experience watching “The Irishman” (2019). There is a scene of a gangster assassinated while he is eating dinner with his family in a restaurant in New York City’s Little Italy. As I watched I slowly recognized the restaurant and remembered a dinner I had had with my brother and two cousins so many years ago I had forgotten all about it. My memories superimposed themselves on the murder taking place onscreen which I had never known before had happened there. As an Italian American raised in New York one must sometimes wonder, “Have I really been living in a Martin Scorsese film all my life?”

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 13: Mudbound

The greatest achievement of Netflix is giving creators a place to put their work. From Martin Scorsese to Ava DeVernay, Netflix has become a creative landing for directors and writers to display their work without the hassle of going through the tired Hollywood process. Dee Rees got to do just that with her second feature "Mudbound" as a Netflix original movie. After her debut "Pariah", which also earned a spot on our Top 50 List, Rees proved her worth and had a much larger market to sell her idea in. It premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was released in November of 2017, which put it squarely in the Oscars award season. Not that it needed help being premiered at the end of the year, but it helped to gain it four nominations, including two for Mary J. Blige who created an original song for the film.

Black Christmas: The constant cycle of Misogyny and Violence toward Women

Christmas time is always one of the most emotional times of the year. It brings joy, happiness, and jolly good cheer. But it can also bring other emotions too: pain, sorrow, fear. In Bob Clark’s 1974 slasher masterpiece "Black Christmas", these emotions are all brought to the forefront in very realistic and sometimes unnerving depictions. At the core of this film is women fighting for acceptance, the right to their bodies and ultimately their lives.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 14: The Farewell

In 2000, we learned that my grandfather had cancer. He went through chemotherapy, and my mother and I went up to help him and get him to doctor’s appointments as he ended up in assisted living. I was there the day he received his terminal diagnosis, and 7 of the next 10 weeks were spent trying to comfort him, and get things prepared for after the inevitable happened. It finally did in late July. I was very close to him- he was like another parent to me. It was devastating. Those months come to the forefront of my mind in contemplating Lulu Wang’s beautiful dramatic comedy, “The Farewell.” Inspired by her own life, Wang tells the story of her family whom, when they find out the worst about their beloved Nai Nai, they do what is unthinkable to most of us- they don’t tell her.

Retrospective Review: White Christmas (1954)

It was 1941 and American soldiers were away from home only weeks after Pearl Harbor. On Christmas Day they heard a song written by a Russian Jewish immigrant that spoke of all their longing for home and the comforts of the holiday sung by Bing Crosby on the radio. Seventy-eight years later, “White Christmas’ by Irving Berlin has lost none of its poignancy and the film that shares its title is just as cherished. “White Christmas” is a remarkable film, especially for the two fantastic leading ladies it is lucky to claim.

Review: “21 Bridges” (2019) STX ENTERTAINMENT

“21 BRIDGES” opens with a young Andre Davis (Christian Isaiah) at the funeral of his police officer father who was killed by some drug dealers and the clear effect it has on him. Scroll ten years forward to an adult Andre (Chadwick Boseman) who has grown up to be a cop himself, but one with a notable tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.  This leads to him being called up in front of Bureau of Internal Affairs.  As this is happening to him, what is supposed to be a small time drug heist, goes down and several police officers are coldly gunned down by the two criminals who blundered into this unexpected disaster, Ray (Taylor Kitsch) and Michael (Stephan James), both war veterans and extremely loyal to one another. Ray is the typical villain while Michael, although loyal to him, has more sense and compassion and wanted to walk away once things were clearly not going to plan.

The Very Last Day Examined

Sexual assault is a crime that has been perpetrated upon far too many women; some who’ve unfortunately gone through this may find this film to be one too difficult to sit through. An experience like this is not one which needs re-living--especially when it hits this close to home (which happens to be the case of the director/screenwriter/producer, Cédric Jouaire according to my press notes).  A best-selling writer is seduced, then kidnapped by a stalker who accuses him of rape. She claims that the rape occurred 20 years ago and that he has used her personal tragedy and exploited it by making it the plot of his latest novel. The author insists that this is merely a coincidence and that his work is merely one of fiction, yet the vengeful woman persistently forces him to confess.

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