Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Review: “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Posted February 1, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (Warners/HBO Max – February 12):  The title refers to the FBI informant Bill O’Neal (played here by LaKeith Stanfield) and the Illinois Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya).  Although Hampton was only 21 years old, he was so charismatic and successful–he had put together a local coalition that […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “Eight For Silver” & “The Sparks Brothers”

Posted February 1, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  EIGHT FOR SILVER:  Sean Ellis’s 19th century werewolf movie takes itself very seriously.  Ellis has extensively revised the usual mythology of the genre:  the full moon doesn’t figure into things, the werewolf curse dates back to biblical times and relates to a set of silver teeth, there’s a political dimension to the story, and […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “First Date” & “Pleasure”

Posted January 31, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  FIRST DATE:  Your regard for First Date is likely to directly relate to your nostalgia for the low-rent action comedies and Tarantino imitations of the 1990s and 2000s.  Those comedies were marked by idiot plots that piled on coincidences to justify rampant bloodshed, while no pseudo-Tarantino script would be complete without garrulous gangsters monologuing […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “Land,” “Together Together” & “Marvelous and the Black Hole”

Posted January 31, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE:  Goodhearted YA comfort food.  Kate Tsang’s feature debut is about 13-year old Sammy (Miya Cech), who has become surly and rebellious toward her father Angus (Leonardo Nam) and sister Patricia (Kannon Omachi) since the death of her mother.  Things become even worse when potential stepmother Marianne (Paulina Lule) enters […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “R#J” & “A Glitch In the Matrix”

Posted January 30, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  R#J:  Every generation gets its Romeo & Juliet.  In Carey Williams’ R#J, the words of Shakespeare are only occasionally heard.  Instead, these extremely up-to-date Capulets and Montagues communicate almost exclusively over social media on their phones, and those screens are where the bulk of the film takes place.  As written by Williams, Rickie Castaneda and […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “Passing,” “Street Gang” & “Mass”

Posted January 30, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  PASSING:  The actress Rebecca Hall has taken a big swing in her writing/directing debut.  Her film Passing, based on the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, embraces ambitious, difficult themes with sensitivity and expertise.  The story concerns Irene (Tessa Thompson) and Clare (Ruth Negga), one-time teen friends who run into each other after several years […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “In the Earth” & “Knocking”

Posted January 29, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  IN THE EARTH (Neon):  After his foray into more commercial cinema with the Netflix remake of Rebecca that didn’t go very well, Ben Wheatley has returned to the stranger and more experimental style of his earlier films like Kill List and High Rise with In the Earth.  It’s not an easy movie to describe […]

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Film Festival

SHOWBUZZDAILY Virtual Sundance Reviews: “Human Factors,” “Cryptozoo” & “How It Ends”

Posted January 29, 2021 by Mitch Salem

  HUMAN FACTORS:  Is Ronny Trocker’s Human Factors intended as a political allegory?  The married couple at its center are the German Jan (Mark Waschke) and the French Nina (Sabine Timoteo), and there’s a plot point about whether the ad agency they run will take on a political party as a client.  If that’s the […]

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