Reviews, News, & Interviews

Knock Down the House Review: An Inspirational Documentary for Irrational Times

By Leslie Combemale | May 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

The new documentary Knock Down the House is the sort of inspiring, invigorating film that will remind those in the existential funk created by all things Trump-related that there is hope. In this film, hope comes largely in the form of four working women, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin, all …

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Rafiki Film Review by Cinema Siren for

By Leslie Combemale | April 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

This captivating coming-of-age love story affirms Wanuri Kahiu as a filmmaker to watch. In 2018, filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu discovered her film Rafiki was going to premiere at Cannes Film Festival, a first for Kenya. Meanwhile, in her own country, where anyone found engaging in same-sex sexual activities can face up to 14 years in prison, …

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Little: These Actresses Bring the Fabulous to a Flawed Film

By Leslie Combemale | April 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

Frustrating pacing nearly derails superior performances and great co-star chemistry in the new film Little, a sweet confection still great for a night out with your gal pals. Though it proves itself uneven, it is also a nice reminder to stay anchored to your true self. Comedies celebrating black girl magic are all too rare. …

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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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