Short Term 12 (2013)

There are few angles of American foster care left to explore so this movie explores them all simultaneously. Each situation is unique and the entire system itself is complex; even a counselor might be trying to leave her own dark past behind.

There are new arrivals and seasoned veterans, new staff members and old pros, procedures to be followed and rules to be broken but ultimately, the reason it exists is because Human beings aren’t always valued. Yet whatever its flaws, there will never be a truly perfect system so long as it needs to exist in the first place.

What makes this movie impressive is its skillful handling of such a delicate subject; the bittersweet story is in more than capable hands, which lend their skills to retain the humanity of the types of people each character represents, especially those we rarely– if ever– see depicted outside of a stereotype. It’s a relief to think we’ve moved past the naive rich White saviors of the 1990s into sympathy for the plight of the mistreated, rather than pity for the tragically pathetic.

Can you ever forgive me? (2018)

In writing, as in life, less is more. Correspondingly, a simple story allowed to stand on its own, free to breathe (i.e. without overt biases and/or contrived themes imposed upon it), will naturally generate “The Conversation” so many artists eagerly crave these days.

Personally, I heard it say, “If you spend half as much time devoted to the task at hand as you do trying to get out of it, you’ll be fulfilled by both the process and the result. In the end, making a quick buck is complicated and expensive!”

But as viewers found with Doubt, everyone will walk away from the movie insisting it was about something else.

I Think We’re Alone Now (2018)

To pidgeon- hole this as a post- apocalyptic story would be too crass for such a nuanced satire that intimately explores the Human Experience; few films capture such a raw and visceral perspective.¬†One of its co-leads compared this to Harold and Maude, which is apt given its subtle dark humor. However, the isolation the characters […]

The Aviator (1985)

Life’s a challenge when you have a risky job, such as long-distance mail delivery but somebody has to do it. And someone else has to love you for– or despite of– it. But any situation can teach and heal you, if you let it. In this case, an emergency quickly shifts from adventure to survival […]

Flashdance (1983)

I suppose that in any Art form, everyone sees something different. Many recall this movie about a scrappy welder by day/ exotic dancer by night with nostalgia alone due to its iconic soundtrack. Others can still remember their infatuation with its lead after closeups of her exercise regimen made her iconic silhouette getting splashed with […]

Nebraska (2013)

Family is complicated, as is small town interpersonal politics. The addition of fame and a potential fortune amplifies tensions that crescendo towards a battle for personal pride. When a hapless salesman realizes his boozy old father plans to travel cross- country to claim a non-existent prize based on a misunderstanding, it’s becomes clear he’s just […]

11:55 (2016)

A decorated Marine, who comes home to the barrio is confronted by a regrettable decision from his past that threatens his plans for a brighter future. With each agonizing minute that passes, an act of vengeance inches closer, unless he can diffuse a showdown before the train arrives. To bother with the nuances of similar […]

Maze Runner: the Scorch Trials (2015)

This sequel to The Maze Runner effectively plunges its characters deeper into increasingly dark and twisted places that help train them for the ultimate test to be faced in the final installment. The continued portrayal of relationships as mutually respectful and fiercely loyal– absent of any hormone- fueled delusions– more than make up for the […]

The Maze Runner (2014)

Unfortunately, I need to preface this by saying that, despite being both sophisticated and dark, this was supposed to be a kids’ movie. It’s a significant consideration because, for some reason, it seems to garner recurring criticism over the supposedly impossible group dynamic. If we’re going to split hairs, it’s only fair to point out […]