Uncle Howard (2016)
"Though well meaning and emotionally genuine, Aaron's assertion that 'Howard's was an unfinished story long after he left this earthly world' unfortunately comes off as all too true - a film requiring more momentum to effectively honor its subject matter."
"Paterson, The Movie And The Melancholy Muse: The thwarted artist as whimsical working stiff in these economic hard times. And this typical economically depressed town, yet quirky and daffy, in the symbolically laden shadow of that bustling NYC metropolis."
"A devastating indictment of the loathsome corporate mass incarceration servitude, along with their creeping privatization of everything. And that the Oscars must finally recognize documentaries for awards in the Best Film and Best Director categories."
"Both Stone's cat and mouse intrigue and Snowden's Red State/Blue State online dating object of desire delight at watching his 'inner liberal grow,' lighten the heavily detailed proceedings somewhat, in this moody surveillance state egghead thriller. "
"Most compelling, is how in a rare moment of collective solidarity, rapidly assembled crews spontaneously came together to save everyone. And that's quite an unusual sighting in a movie these days, with the deepening divisive climate in society right now."
Pete's Dragon (2016)
"Subplots including environmental consciousness for kids never materialize enough for this mostly somber tall tale, to latch on to a clearing out of these woods. Not to mention a little Paul Bunyan pick-me-up that might have lightened up the proceedings."
"Ironically right winger D'Souza in his actually not so secret hit on Hillary now peppering the Internet as well, may send audiences in the opposite direction left - to Jill Stein. While never answering one pressing question - Who funded your pricey movie."
The Phenom (2016)
"Oddly a sports movie about baseball for eggheads and equally baseball for dummies. Which has as much on its mind literally as what's going down on the playing field - and may go a long way towards engaging both competitive sports couch potato audiences."
Free State of Jones (2016)
"A suppressed US history of guerrilla warfare rural revolution reignited now by Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and youth in economic crisis fueling the emerging rebel impulses defying the current election. Intimating as well the roots of Dem election rigging."
The BFG (2016)
"Tall tale, long story. Not to mention Dahl's own darkly subconscious subtext counting institutional child abuse, school bullying, PTSD - and Dahl himself rather a giant, at six feet six inches. Along with narrative violations of the Geneva Conventions."
Hello, My Name is Doris (2016)
"Not into complying with whatever stereotypical scraps are allotted to older actresses in movies, Field embraces her character with geriatric gusto. Displaying elder empowerment with eccentric charm and bold sexual desire - however freaky or fantastical."
"Thomas Jane and Laurence Fishburne in a very different sort of faceoff, of post-military conflict damaged souls in this PTSD psychological crime thriller. As one struggles against his inner demons, and the other succumbs to the mental ravages of war."
"Delving into the historic struggles of the Women's Movement of the last century. Where did the basic rights females young and old enjoy today come from, and what fierce social struggles in the 20th century made them possible, and still relevant today."
Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2016)
"An outsider looking in voyeurism veering offensively close to being more about the filmmaker's fixation on her immigrant alienation - if not a blatant exotic poverty porn aesthetic - than the brutal internal isolation of her subjects absent of causality. "
The Letters (2015)
"A tale of two Mother Teresa's: On the brink of Vatican sainthood just announced, holy healer or 'hell's angel'? Expect an essentially nuance-free infomercial embrace of the former, despite ironic inklings of nun feminism challenging male church authority."
The Brainwashing of My Dad (2016)
"Impressively tracks a family phenomenon via media mind controlled ditto-heads, brainwashed staged interventions, angry white men, and drive time as the geography of destiny. But lacks further scrutiny into shadow corporate complicity and a tanked economy."
Prescription Thugs (2016)
"Bell takes it personally as well as publicly with the tragic death of his own brother. And what exactly is going down with the deadly prescription drug epidemic, and pharmaceutical corporations in league with doctors and drugstores raking in billions."
"Subverts the cultural contradictions saturating westerns historically, while probing the post-Civil War PTSD pathology beyond the officially mythologized dark side wild west frontier. And another corrective to the portrayal of Native Americans on screen."
"Part whistleblower biopic, part corporate horror thriller, Concussion navigates that socio-economic minefield on screen when exposing big business malfeasance. Under an economic system where profit supersedes the health and even lives of everyone else. "
"Brandishing both a wand and a wink at audiences, and split somewhere between colossal and cartoonish. And no, I am not now nor have I ever been a Star Wars junkie. Akin to an atheist at the church podium. And likely my fate: Let the haters be with you."
The Look of Silence (2015)
"Remarkably the third Oscar entry this year, along with Trumbo and Iraqi Odyssey as bold leftist historical corrective. And naming the names of Indonesian anti-communist genocidal death squads and the shadow government there, enabled by CIA intervention."
The Paradise Suite (2015)
"Fragmented lyrically somewhat like the flow of life, while simultaneously delving into the everyday horror of refugees in crisis, sex trafficking in all its raw brutality, and the existential contradictions of humane impulses laced with furious darkness."
"Naming names - the red baiting right ones this time instead. And a richly satirical roll call outing, along with redemption on screen, inflicted by McCarthyite state terror harm, done to the ensuing political PTSD damaged population and soul of a people."
Where to Invade Next (2016)
"Benevolent Capitalism: A Love Story. And why bother with pesky facts, when your objective is a feelgood film. Marx once said it's not enough to be right, you have to be convincing. Moore grabs the latter notion, with faulty fact checking for the former. "
The Walk (2015)
" Less digital dazzle than deja vu, and inches away from death - literally. And essentially seeing is not believing cartoonish caricatures wrapped in distracting hocus pocus layers of optical illusions, as 'the outside world starts to disappear.' Indeed..."
I'll See You in My Dreams (2015)
"Reflections on the highs and lows in rites of passage, in this bittersweet tale channeling the female experience of aging. Along with the humorous when not harrowing cross-generational bonding that can awkwardly kick in. "
Patch Town (2015)
"Factory noir rears its head, when it comes to corporations, consumerism and the destructive pursuit of objects of materialistic desire. As the cabbage plant working stiffs in a different sort of scary movie, become the assembly line products themselves. "
An Injury To One (2002)
" About the horrific hidden history of the US labor movement and capitalist crime scenes, and Dashiell Hammett's Poisonville. And the still unsolved, or rather uninvestigated, assassination of legendary labor leader Frank Little nearly a century ago. "
Miles To Go (2012)
"Rose earnestly pursues self-awareness when it comes to the angst of his self-described 'modern manchild generation.' But all that mileage leaves him stranded internally, rather than probing the toxic effect of the world in social crisis all around him."
Older Than America (2008)
"Older than American Sniper too. And despite Bradley Cooper turning up championing Native Americans, this First Nation telling it like it is thriller about neo-colonialist oppression by a Native female filmmaker has been buried all these years as well."
Love Hunter (2014)
"Lots of bittersweet charm, but lacking some reality checks. Like hey, the American dream is currently located under the rubble of the ongoing economic crisis in progress. Not to mention how US bombs buried Serbia under rubble 16 years ago this week."
The Gunman (2015)
"Anti-American Sniper. In the murky midst of multiple mercenaries, a two-timing damsel in distress, corporate conmen, a differently duplicitous Javier Bardem checking in, macho mayhem and matadors. And in any case, an anti-hero somewhat saved by the bull. "
Black Harvest (1992)
"Delves deep into the fracking crisis as it scars the human soul. Revealing the ideological contradictions and clash pitting farmers pushed off their land by oil companies, against jobless nomads living out of their cars and desperate for work - any work."
Accidental Love (2015)
"A health care crisis subversive screwball mashup of Hollywood and Occupy Wall St, the Kristin Gore deliberate social satire comes off as a different inconvenient truth. And all the critics bashing this movie who have no health insurance, raise your hand."
Merchants Of Doubt (2015)
"Though not all the dots connect, there's plenty exposing the games corporations play, to make you believe the opposite of dangers they create. Including information gridlock, science actors, think tank mercenaries and well, the Red Scare and watermelons."
The Cobbler (2015)
"Magical social realism graces this strange politically conscious comedy about bad landlords, housing activism, a Yiddish cell meeting on the Lower East Side a century ago, and Sandler for a change getting in touch with his sort of inner workingclass hero "
Gemma Bovery (2015)
"A fanciful fable feminizing Flaubert. Along with a provincial bakery giving rise to exploration of the sensuous connection between flour and flesh, with wine the local anti-depressant. And no less than four doting males crowding a single love triangle. "
Effie Gray (2015)
"Fifty Shades Of 'Gray'? A different Dakota's deranged deconstruction on screen, though conversely as a sexless slave in matrimonial bondage. While touching on class/gender solidarity with the butler, and possibly pedophilia. Emma Thompson, you rock. "
"A doc about workplace violence and murders not so random after all, with a focus on the disturbing trend linked to the war on unions. And what it all has to do with Reagan, privatization, Social Darwinism, consumerism, and the Postal Reorganization Act."
Black Sea (2015)
"Worker rage and rebel impulses collide in this tense political thriller, as economic crisis cinema sails into 2015. Placing the fury of the jobless front and center, and international class connections crossing cultural lines."
Eyes Of A Thief (2014)
"A Palestinian guerrilla underground dramatic feature and true story. And managing both defiant and self-critical sensibilities, while filming under a state of siege. With a little help from a refugee camp, the local Freedom Theater, and a Turkish bath."
The Beat Beneath My Feet (2016)
"Perry burrows into his emotionally fractured character with a fierce intensity, conjuring the life and inner turmoil of a conflicted rock musician as mass media fugitive. And not unlike say, Perry's perpetual flight from his Beverly Hills 90210 persona."
Alive Inside (2014)
"Uncovers the power of music to heal mentally and emotionally, while the drug corporations and nursing home industry oppose these efforts. Neither of which is in the business of curing patients, but rather perpetuating profits by treating symptoms instead."
"Satire and surrealism upstage sacrament in this somewhat mixed metaphor screwball religious comedy noir. Or in other words, if Jesus returned to earth, specifically Ireland, in the midst of this chaotic and devilishly lunatic moment in human history. "
Bound By Flesh (2014)
"Zemeckis explores the tragic lives of the Hilton Sisters, conjoined twins paraded and exploited financially as so-called freaks in the heyday of carnival sideshows. Intimating as well twisted notions of fame, and the freak show roots of reality TV today."
"When horror movies and history meet. And with a disturbing and discomforting persistent dread, Drones is in no way standard entertainment, nor should it be. Or as Dirty Wars doc director Jeremy Scahill solemnly observed, 'You can't surrender to a drone.'"
Half of a Yellow Sun (2014)
"Half of a truth. A generic take on the plight of the wealthy in war just about anywhere. And as a contrived cover for the real issues - how colonialist instigated chaos is always about oil and religion, and how Neo-Crusades in league with NGOs, kick in."
"A slim satire on the 40th anniversary this April 1974, of Portugal's Carnation Revolution, ending the longest fascist dictatorship in Europe outlasting Hitler and Mussolini by three decades. But a cautionary challenge to dumbing down of the media today."
No God, No Master (2014)
"With this suppressed US history of rebellion, anarchism, the Palmer raids and the IWW resurrected at the movies, this moral thriller gets points for just existing. Even if somewhat a reticent victim itself of the government intimidation it indicts here."
Thelma & Louise (1991)