"The GoGo's" is a documentary following the all-female rock band from the 1980s who wrote and played their own songs. They were also the first all-woman band to be managed by a woman. Told from the GoGo's themselves (the original members and the current ones too), this documentary dives into the beginnings, hits, highs, lows, their disintegration, and their comeback.
When first hearing about this documentary about Luis Miranda, I had to search who he was (I know I know, but I'm honest). Then I found out that he is the father of Lin Manuel Miranda, which piqued my interest. This documentary follows the life of Luis Miranda, a political consultant that would be a significant asset to the Latino community.
"Wendy" takes us back to Neverland with the new version of Peter Pan. It begins with a series of scenes full of sweetness and cuteness that will most likely hook (no pun intended) you into this film. Wendy (Devin France) is now facing the reality of survival by having to protect her brothers with possibly never returning home.
Uncle Frank" is one of the first films I thoroughly enjoyed at the Sundance Film Festival. It follows Frank (Paul Bettany), a university professor who lives in New York with his significant other. It's the 1970's, and Frank must confront his family when they find out about his sexual orientation in the most painful and unexpected form. We're introduced to Frank's whole family in the opening sequence leading up to his introduction. His niece, Beth (Sophia Lillis), seems to be the only family member who admires and enjoys spending time with Frank.
“Vivos” is a documentary that follows the families of 43 students who forcibly disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. On the night of September 26, 2014, a bus full of students, from Ayotzinapa, was intercepted and confronted by the police. Many were killed at the scene, others were severely injured, and 43 students utterly disappeared. The government claims that these students were turned in to the local cartel, who murdered all 43 then burned them. They were supposedly burned in a big bonfire where later their “remains” would be found.
“Horse Girl” (2020) is an oddity of a film, but a moving and harrowing one at that. Alison Brie stars and co-wrote it with director Jeff Baena, known for his ability to construct a marriage of dark subject matter and comedy. Here, there’s definitely a gloom, and while there is some humor, “Horse Girl” is mostly a rabbit hole down one woman’s detachment from reality. It also provides Brie, an incredibly talented and versatile actress, a chance to embody a role entirely. While I missed the film at Sundance, I was able to chat with Brie briefly, and I know how personal this story was to her. Even without that context, it’s clear. It is a tour de force for Brie, showing her devotion to the performance in every way.
Radha Blank’s “The 40-year-old version” is my favourite film of the Sundance Film Festival. I walked into the screening without any previous knowledge of the synopsis nor seen any reviews of earlier showings. The film begins and immediately grabs your attention you can't keep your eyes off Radha, not only because she’s the protagonist of this film but also because her presence charms you towards her. As a struggling playwright, Radha has kept herself busy with her teaching profession while grieving the loss of her mother. As she approaches 40, Radha wants to continue being creative and decides to give rapping a second chance. "The 40-year-old Version" is directed, produced, written, and brilliantly acted by the talented Radha Blank. Believe me when I say she is someone to look out for in the future. Her name will soon be familiar to many of you. After all, she won the best director prize at Sundance (deservingly so). It's no secret that I lost my mother a little over five years ago, and I'm still grieving her loss. Radha’s grieving process reminded me of my own.
Call me the worst feminist stereotype you can think of, but I’m glad that female rage and revenge are starting to be a big thing in movies. So you’d think I would be just the audience for “Amulet,” a horror film that’s also the feature directorial debut of actress Romola Garai no less. Alas, while the movie exudes a whole lot of righteous, well-earned anger, without a real focus it’s merely one nonsensical plot twist after another. Tomaz (Alec Secareanu) is a former soldier whose past traumas have left him homeless. But a chance encounter (or maybe not so chancy) leads him to a rapidly decaying home, where a young woman named Magda (Carla Juri) is caring for her ailing mother.
“Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always” by Eliza Hittman, follows a pregnant 17-year-old who decides to go to New York to have an abortion performed. She resides in Pennsylvania, where the abortion laws are strict, so after some searching, she finds New York is the best place to get the procedure (without needing parental consent). I walked into this film knowing absolutely nothing, then the movie began, and I observed that it’s about a pregnant teenager. I immediately felt a knot in my stomach because I could relate to Autumn (I became pregnant with my first daughter when I was 16).