If you have finished watching the film Treasure Planet (2002) and are looking for other movies like it, here is a list of options to consider.
Stamped from the Beginning
The Netflix documentary uses historical evidence and modern scholarship to demonstrate racism's continued role in US society.
At the start of the new documentary Stamped from the Beginning, filmmaker Roger Ross Williams asks his various interview subjects, “What is wrong with Black people?” Considering that all the interviewees in question are also Black, it is unsurprising that the question’s seeming hostility initially throws many. However, once they recognize the context of that query—Williams is asking for a historical context as to what Blacks have done to deserve centuries of institutionalized racism and violence—they are more than willing and able to discuss the subject at length throughout this strong and often provocative film.
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s book of the same name inspired the Williams’ film, a karmic debt the director pays back by including the doctor among a number of knowledgeable Black female scholars and activists. Together, they discuss how the twin stains of racism and white supremacy permeate American society in ways that continue to fester today. They explain how the concept of deeming people as greater or lesser by the color of their skin was born out of slavery. The aim was to simultaneously remove enslaved people’s distinguishing characteristics to make them seem like one undifferentiated mass and drive a wedge between them and white “indentured servants” to prevent the groups from joining forces against their common enemy, the wealthy landowner. Continue Reading →
The Trolls movies continue to indulge in their best and worst impulses in a third installment.
The poster for this past summer's R-rated comedy No Hard Feelings had a reasonably clever tagline to explain the strained dynamic between the film's two leads. Against an image of Jennifer Lawrence squeezing Andrew Barth Feldman's cheeks, a single word is placed on top of each person's face: "Pretty" and "Awkward." Nothing revolutionary in design, but it gets the job done. Best of all, that tagline also makes for an apt descriptor for Trolls Band Together.
The third entry in the Trolls trilogy (based on the popular 80s dolls), Trolls Band Together does indeed live up to the phrase “Pretty. Awkward.” The animators at DreamWorks keep coming up with gorgeous-looking environments for the titular critters to inhabit that look like they emerged from the wreckage of a craft store explosion. Unfortunately, the writing remains as stilted as ever. Continue Reading →
Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
An overview of the diverse features selected to screen at this year's Austin Film Festival.
This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike. Without the labor of the actors currently on strike, the work being covered here wouldn't exist.
A cycle rickshaw, adorned with a Texas flag billowing in the wind, whizzes by while blaring a Luke Combs tune. Massive murals of Willie Nelson and Post Malone gaze down on passersby like the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg. A man in a Blue Lives Matter shirt waltzes past a "PROTECT TRANS KIDS" sign planted on the lawn of a Catholic Church. Welcome to Austin, Texas, a Southern hotspot that, for the final weekend of October 2023, wasn't just home to these and other oddball sights, but also the backdrop for the 30th edition of the Austin Film Festival. Though not as world-famous as the Toronto International Film Festival or Cannes, Austin's annual ode to cinema is still a much-ballyhooed event attended by freelance journalists, aspiring screenwriters, iconic filmmakers, and everyone in between. Continue Reading →