Cine-mea Culpa

I promoted racism. I know we all do, but I did it, like, professionally. Pretty recently. Ibram X. Kendi argues that confession can be an antiracist act, and that dude is way, way smarter than I am. So I confess: I stood in front of a room full of mostly white people, as an authority […]

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Remember When We Used to Laugh at Stuff?

Living inside the Friedrich Nietzsche wet dream that is 2020, humor seems as unreasonable as physical contact with a stranger. The bar for comedy has officially been lowered to “something that doesn’t make us weep while pondering systemic injustice or our own mortality.” This is great news for Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire […]

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Truth in the Title

What’s a word that describes the feeling of being overwhelmingly depressed and inspired at the same time? American, maybe? Whatever the precise term, that’s how director Dawn Porter’s new documentary, John Lewis: Good Trouble, will make you feel. This lean but comprehensive look at the titular Congressman’s six decades spent fighting this country’s smorgasbord of […]

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How to Salute With a Clenched Fist

Some films whisper subtle nuances and invite quiet contemplation. Some films are trash cans thrown through windows. On the basketball court and in the director’s chair, Spike Lee is at his best when he’s screaming, and Da 5 Bloods is an absolute holler. It is a messy, overwrought, tonally inconsistent, finger-wagging-in-your-face cinematic lecture, which makes […]

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Shirley, You Jest?

I’m by no means a disciple of the Church of Shirley Jackson, which is a religion I just invented for non-tax evasion purposes—suck it, Xenu! However, I’ve read enough of the Gothic author to know she doesn’t deserve a paint-by-numbers biopic, unless all the paint is black. Appropriately, although centered in facts about the real-life […]

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Dollars and Incensed

Clearly, if America needs anything right now, it’s more stuff to be mad at and worried about! If you’ve finished the appetizer that is our ongoing pandemic and would like a side of economic injustice to go with the entrée of racial inequity America is maybe/kinda/sorta ready to finally eat, chow down on Capital in […]

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COVID First Person

By Ryan Syrek   When my mom would drive me to middle school, I used to list the names and jersey numbers of Chicago Bears players on the way, so I wouldn’t literally shit my pants due to anxiety about bullies and homework. When I turned 15 and learned to drive, I was terrified of […]

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Grandma Got Ran Over By a Gang War

With an opening that evokes a somehow unproblematic Quentin Tarantino or more humble Edgar Wright, writer/director Sasie Sealy’s Lucky Grandma is immediately “on.” Quiet visual cues shout character qualities like a megaphone pressed to an eardrum. With her slouched posture and cigarette always seemingly about to leap to its death from the corner of her […]

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People Used to Physically Buy Stuff

In the “before times,” people would actually leave their homes to purchase things. Allegedly, some of them even liked it when they had to interact with other humans in the same remote vicinity. Two recent documentaries—three if you count The Booksellers, which you should, don’t be rude—serve as quaint little time capsules of an era […]

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