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Sam Mendes' 1917 Movie Review: A Pulse-Pounding War Movie With Smart, Tight Focus

It's been awhile since I have seen a movie like 1917, directed by Sam Mendes. Throughout, viewers follow a chosen pair of character with a mission from point A to point B during World War I. Although there are a host of equally interesting events and people the story could have included, this movie and this story follows only British soldier Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) as they fulfill orders to deliver a message instructing a Battalion of the Devonshire Regiment to call of a planned attack on the Germans. In order to deliver the message, they will have to travel through abandoned German territory, hoping there are no enemy stragglers along the way.

There are no back stories. We know little to nothing about the pair. There is only the present. Only the mission. Here and now. Viewers have the luxury of a very uncomplicated storyline. But the story is far from boring. Quiet scenes in a field bookend what is otherwise a con…
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Julius Onah's Luce Movie Review: A High School Powerplay With No Winners

Luce sets up a premise, compelling characters, and a plot that gets more interesting as the story goes along, with a final moment that leaves viewers with more questions than answers. Open-ended movies are often uncomfortable for the average viewer because it often tells you more about yourself than anything the storyteller intended, but if you enjoy a hearty discussion, Luce is the movie for you.

Luce is the darling of his high school. Adopted from the war-torn country of Eritrea (in the horn of Africa) when he was younger, after years of intensive therapy, Luce is now a star athlete and a powerful public speaker. He's also polite, communicates well with adults and peers, and is well-liked by everyone in the school. Everyone agrees that Luce has a wonderful future ahead of him . . . as long as he continues to play by the rules established in the sandbox his parents and teachers have created for him.

Luce's history teacher, Harriet Wilson (Octavia Spencer in another powerful r…

Episode 8 Endings and Beginnings in Netflix Dark Season 2

Dark is one of the best Netflix original series to date. To see a description of the show and all of my episode recaps, go here.

Episode 8 Endings and Beginnings

Rather than do a full recap of the finale, I will just leave an impression this time, as there are so many great details that trying to recap it seems futile. With awesome special effects and entrancing images, you need to watch the episode to fully appreciate it. 
In this episode, there is no neat resolution. While we finally get the Jonas/Martha reunion that some of us have been waiting for, as well as a touching reunion between Elisabeth and Charlotte, a whole new set of puzzles are revealed. 
What looks like a conclusion is really only the frustrating realization that the thing that Jonas wanted to prevent appears unstoppable. He himself is culpable in this cycle, and we get the distinct impression that nothing will ever be right for Winden. 
For many this moment will be intolerable and many viewers may want to quit. This is…

Trey Shults' Waves (2019): A Study in Color and Parallelism

Trey Shults' Waves (2019) inspires passionate discussion every time it comes up. Some praise it's storytelling style of multiple points of view, while others complain that it's a meandering mess. I'm in the camp of enjoying the format. Waves provides an unforgettable experience of color, sound, and emotion. It tells a compelling story and provides opportunities for discussion. It's exactly the type of story I want to support.

African American high school student Ty (Kelvin Harrison) has it all: the girl, the friends, athleticism, the acclaim, and by all counts, a supportive family. We open to a series of montages showing us Ty's life: hanging with his girl, high on life and crazy in love, going to practice, working out, taking selfies. He is on the wrestling team, and they all chant, "I cannot be taken down; I am a new machine," while performing drills. Ty lives in an upper middle class home with his dad and stepmom (we find this out later) and young…

Thoughtless Questions: When Are You Going to Have Kids/More Kids?

This article is part of my Thoughtless Questions series. The purpose of this series is to create greater awareness for people who want to be better human beings. Each entry examines a question that people frequently ask that can be painful or harmful. The people who ask these questions don't have bad intentions, yet the questions they ask are thoughtless.

One such question is: When are you going to have kids/more kids?
My hope in writing this article is to share why you should avoid asking this question, why I believe people ask this question, and provide alternative talking points. 
When I was a teenager, my older sister became pregnant, and I had the privilege of becoming an aunt. However, the baby wasn't expected, and I learned how easy it can be to get pregnant. It seemed at the time that becoming pregnant was the easiest thing in the world. If you engage in sex, in one moment, your entire life can change. As I continued in my teens and aged into adulthood, I met more and…

Melina Matsoukas' Queen & Slim Movie Review (2019): How to Get a Date Worth Keeping

Melina Matsoukas' Queen & Slim has received mixed reviews from critics. Most of the criticism circulating around praises the style and look of the film and the reverence the camera bestows upon black community. Conversely, reviewers feel less complimentary about the overall message of the film and feel like it's too much emotion and not enough logic. I won't comment upon how race is handled in this film because there are others who are better informed (Angelica Bastien) and equipped (Kolby Mac) to write such a post. But I did want to touch on some points I haven't heard anyone talk about yet: the perils of online dating and how the couple's bad Tinder date ends up in a ride or die love.

A brief summary for those who are unfamiliar with the movie: Queen & Slim meet for dinner at a "black owned" establishment for dinner. They don't seem to have much in common. On the drive home, a white police officer pulls over their car because of "errat…

Sean Baker's The Florida Project Movie Review: A Fairy Tale Set in Poverty

In fairy tales, every child is a prince or princess who eventually gets a happy ever after. But what if the princess's parents aren't queens or kings? What if this princess grew up within the world of what Florida Project's director, Sean Baker, calls the hidden homeless?

Just outside the walls and fences surrounding the self-proclaimed "Happiest Place on Earth" -- Walt Disney World -- there are people with no permanent housing, who choose, for whatever reason, to shack up for long periods of time at brightly colored motor hotels. The majority of The Florida Project takes place at the Magic Castle Inn and Suites, with its all-lavender facade looking less than picturesque.

Our princess, Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) lives at the inn with her mother Halley (Bria Vinaite), who perfectly encapsulates what we used to call a "fun mom." Moonnee spends much of the movie running around the inn and its neighboring properties -- other inns, the local ice cream parlor…