A Million Miles Away
A Million Miles Away is one of those movies that live in the meaty part of the decent curve. Far too sturdy and well-made to be called bad. Too rote and predictable to really call good. It tells the true story of José Hernández (Michael Pena), an unquestionably inspiring man who did an impossibly difficult thing under impossibly difficult circumstances. Continue Reading →
The military drama Heroic overcomes cliché to capture structural horror.
A significant string of recently released movies centralize crises of faith. The lead suffers abuse, boiling until they burst. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times, a subconscious metaphor for how authoritarianism and the crushing realities of oppressive institutional forces are increasing the temperature and pressure of the citizenry that will inevitably lead to a rupture. In 2022 there was God’s Country, The Beasts, and Women Talking. Now at Sundance, we have Heroic, a Mexican drama unfolding inside a military school. Director David Zonana’s film may resemble several movies that use this same arc. However, it distinguishes itself with careful direction and surreal depictions of how the mind processes abuse and vengeance. Continue Reading →
Triangle of Sadness
As we lurch our way through the sixth or seventh wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve only just begun to see how much billion dollar companies (and billionaires themselves) profited from the chaos, while smaller businesses and individuals took devastating financial hits. A class war has erupted, if not in real life (yet) then certainly on social media, marked by endless heated debates over privilege, the victims and villains of capitalism, and who the “elite” really are. Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness satirizes this very unsettling period in time, putting a cheeky spin on class rage, but with an acidic undertaste that lingers long after it’s over. Continue Reading →
Una película de policías
It’s common to think about each of us having a “role” in society, with costumes, positions, stages, and actions to be performed. Mexican director Alonso Ruizopalacios (Gueros, Museo) deputizes this idea in A Cop Movie, which investigates policing and the line between fiction and documentary with political precision. Continue Reading →
Amazon's adaptation of the Roberto Saviano novel is far too passive and jumbled to capture your interest.
“Look at cocaine and all you see is powder. Look through cocaine and you see the world,” says the tagline to Roberto Saviano’s book, ZeroZeroZero. Now an eight-part mini-series on Amazon Prime, the show promises the same. It purports to be the whole picture of the cocaine trade from the Italian buyers to the Mexican sellers to the American brokers. We follow the effects of a single shipment of cocaine on the lives of people spread across multiple continents. Unfortunately, showrunners Stefano Sollima, Leonardo Fasoli, and Mauricio Katz’s attempt is unwieldy and unfocused.
Reviews of the source material reported similar issues, with Saviano’s narrative often lacking, well... narrative structure. You’d hope that the show would seek to correct this by streamlining Saviano’s many interviews into a cohesive picture, but it ends up replicating them instead. Continue Reading →