Reviews, News, & Interviews

Mapplethorpe Movie Review: Matt Smith Makes Art

By Leslie Combemale | March 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

Whether you know his work or not, Robert Mapplethorpe remains an important, iconoclastic figure in the histories of both LGBTQ rights and contemporary art. So much so, in fact, that in 2017, Belgian designer Raf Simons built a couture collection, in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, around the famous photographer’s images. Now in theaters, …

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Captain Marvel Review: This Superheroine Story Flies High

By Leslie Combemale | March 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

Captain Marvel brings a super dose of woman power to the cineplex this weekend.  Along with champions of parity in film and strong female leads, fans of Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson, cat fanciers, and lovers of fun everywhere, you’ll want to be there for it.  There’s one thing you’ll want to know about the …

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Untogether: AWFJ Cinema Siren review

By Leslie Combemale | February 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

With the film Untogether, writer/director Emma Forrest examines creativity and intimacy, how they intertwine, give rise to inspiration and feelings of inadequacy, and often self-destruct under the pressure we put on them. A mixed bag, the film isn’t altogether satisfying, apart from watching the actors engage themselves fully in their portrayals. There are moving scenes that …

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Capernaum Movie Review: Indelible Indie on the Invisibility of Street Children

By Leslie Combemale | January 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

Capernaum is one of the five films nominated for a foreign film Oscar this year, and has the distinction of having won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. This heartbreaking film is challenging viewing. Director and co-writer Nadine Labaki hired non-actors who had lives very close to those represented in the story, …

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Rust Creek Review: An Escape Thriller With an Everywoman You Can Root For

By Leslie Combemale | January 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Director Jen McGowan’s Rust Creek, released in January both in theaters and on demand, is a compelling, exciting, and surprisingly unusual thriller. Female moviegoers have had to learn to accept that they aren’t going to be represented three-dimensionally in a large percentage of films released. This is particularly true in thrillers, which are often made …

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Bathtubs Over Broadway Review: Terrific Doc Celebrates Tractor Tunes and Sunscreen Serenades

By Leslie Combemale | December 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

On rare occasions, the truly bizarre and the utterly charming intersect. Just such a case can be made for Writer/producer/editor Dava Whisenant’s directorial debut, which mines the strange world of industrial musicals in the new documentary Bathtubs Over Broadway.These productions had their heyday in the 50s through the 70s, and were populated by talented performers …

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Jinn Review: Mother-Daughter Magic

By Leslie Combemale | November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Jinn, a new semi-autobiographical film by writer/director Nijla Mu’min, articulates the challenges many face in some form of other in their own lives, and it comes right on time. A coming-of-age drama about a teen grappling with her mother’s conversion to Islam and her own shifting beliefs,. It shows the sides of the religion not …

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Boy Erased Review: This New Drama Highlights the Hell of Conversion Therapy

By Leslie Combemale | November 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

Written for the screen, directed by, and co-starring Joel Edgerton, Boy Erased tackles the subject of conversion therapy camps and in-patient clinics that attempt to alter sexual orientation and gender identity.  Starring Lucas Hedges as Jared Eamons, the son of Baptist preacher Marshall (Russell Crowe) and his stay-at-home mom Nancy (Nicole Kidman), the film follows Jared as he …

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Can You Ever Forgive Me? Movie Review: Why You Must See This Fantastic Forgery Flick

By Leslie Combemale | October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

It’s hard to believe the story in new release Can You Ever Forgive Me?, based on writer Lee Israel’s memoir of the same name.  Starring Melissa McCarthy, it follows Israel’s experiences creating forgeries of letters by famous dead authors and playwrights, including Dorothy Parker, Noel Coward, and Katherine Hepburn. Director Marielle Heller’s film feels like a bit …

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The Hate U Give Review: Starr Power

By Leslie Combemale | October 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Opening in wider release this weekend is the film adaptation of The Hate U Give, the bestselling novel by Angie Thomas.  Director George Tillman Jr (Soul Food, Barbershop) brings to the screen the story of Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), who is the only eye-witness to the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the …

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