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Wednesday - August 4, 2021
Quad Cities USA - Guide to Davenport & Bettendorf Iowa and Rock Island & Moline Illinois
 

‘Two Distant Strangers’ Is A Masterpiece

May 20th, 2021
'Two Distant Strangers' Is A Masterpiece

Art is a powerful tool. It can make us laugh. It can make us cry. It can make us think. It can be used to fictionalize harsh real-life circumstances in order to enhance our acceptance and understanding of actual reality. That’s the power behind the Netflix short (and Oscar nominee and front runner) Two Distant Strangers. Sharply written by Travon Free and directed by Free and Martin Desmond Roe, this 32 minute masterpiece centers around Carter James (an nuanced and solid Joey Bada$$), a clean cut black dude reliving the same day of waking up next to his new fling (an absurdly authentic Zaria... Read More

Shoot, Stab, Repeat (Review: Boss Level)

March 19th, 2021
Shoot, Stab, Repeat (Review: Boss Level)

Boss Level is streaming on Hulu In the world of Hollywood, it can take time for a genre to emerge. That’s mostly due to the overwhelming cowardice lurking throughout the entertainment industry. If you have a novel idea for a movie, say, an action flick where the hero is scared and tired, or a series of films that create an interconnected cinematic universe, the vast number of executives will pass on it before you can finish your first sentence. It took a minute for time loop movies to catch on. Groundhog Day wasn’t the first. As best as I can figure, the first time loop movie was The Girl... Read More

Details, Details (Review: The Little Things)

February 22nd, 2021
Details, Details (Review: The Little Things)

The Little Things is streaming on HBOMax Hey, you! You, the person who just dropped a few hundred bucks on screenwriting software and who bought a veritable library of books on how to write a winning script. You, the person who was struck by a (potentially misguided) bolt of motivation to roll up your sleeves and bang out a screenplay about a serial killer. Maybe…don’t? Look, don’t get me wrong, pretty much as long as there have been movies, there have been movies about disturbing maniacs who prey on the innocent. Fritz Lang’s M had to do with a child murderer in Berlin, and it was... Read More

Nice Guys (Review: Promising Young Woman)

February 17th, 2021
Nice Guys (Review: Promising Young Woman)

Promising Young Woman is streaming on Prime They said he came from a respectable family. Regarding his character, they said he was kind, loving, and respectful. By all accounts, he had a bright future ahead of him in the medical field, and a spot on the U.S. Olympic Swim Team beckoned. On January 17, 2015, the vast majority of people would have thought that Brock Turner was going places. A promising young man, indeed. Twenty-four hours later, he was under arrest. Not long after that, he was facing two charges of rape, two charges of felony sexual assault, and one charge of attempted rape. There... Read More

Disorder In the Court

November 20th, 2020
Disorder In the Court

The Trial of the Chicago 7 is streaming on Netflix There’s a long and semi-proud tradition in Hollywood of the courtroom movie. Some of them, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Verdict, and 12 Angry Men stand the test of time.* They have something particular to say about the law, about justice, and how we either uphold our ideals or abandon them altogether. Here’s the thing about making a courtroom movie…they’re hard. The first problem before you is the script. Ever read legal transcripts? If not, they’re a very effective substitution for valium. Your first challenge is to hack through... Read More

“Yes, God, Yes” a Sweet, Small Film Exposing Enormity of Catholic Hypocrisy

October 26th, 2020
“Yes, God, Yes” a Sweet, Small Film Exposing Enormity of Catholic Hypocrisy

The 70-minute teen comedy/drama “Yes, God, Yes” is a sweet, slight and mostly satisfying film that deftly, gently tackles enormous, weighty subjects – sexuality, morality, religion, personal autonomy and responsibility, and the vast, disgusting hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. The 2019 film was written and directed by Karen Maine (who co-wrote the 2014 abortion-themed “Obvious Child”) and stars Natalia Dyer (of “Stranger Things” fame), based on Maine’s 2017 short film of the same name also starring Dyer as a shy, sympathetic, and secret rebel. The awkward, totally identifiable... Read More

Miss Mystery

October 22nd, 2020
Miss Mystery

Enola Holmes is streaming on Netflix Perhaps the best part of a movie, for me, is the first couple of seconds. By that point, I have a broad idea of the premise. I’ve poured myself a drink. My brain is prepared. When the first production company logo appears onscreen, we’re in a Schrodinger’s Movie scenario. Anything is possible, and even if the premise is ill-advised, there’s a chance of getting something amazing.* Add to that the excitement you get from hearing a strong concept. A secret organization protects Earth from alien threats? Sold. A rag-tag group of scientists opens a business... Read More

‘Tenet’ A Beautiful, Big Scale Mind Bender

September 18th, 2020
'Tenet' A Beautiful, Big Scale Mind Bender

Director Christopher Nolan started tinkering around with the concept of time many years ago on a much smaller budget with 2000’s “Memento.” I liked it so much that, on a visit to the Twin Cities, I took a girlfriend and her husband to see it, my second time through it. It was unique, original, interesting, exciting and it didn’t run 150 minutes. It was even nominated for Best Original Screenplay at that year’s Oscars. We’ve now been treated to “Memento’s” successors from Christopher Nolan: “Insomnia (2002); “The Dark Knight Trilogy” (2005-2012); “The Prestige” (2006);... Read More

Love, Die, Repeat

August 14th, 2020
Love, Die, Repeat

Sometimes, the best-case scenario is to be wrong. We all have our blind spots, right? I was wrong about Andy Samberg. Wrong as hell. For a while there, I had him pegged as a second-tier Saturday Night Live alum. I figured his comic persona was just like Jimmy Fallon, where he was all about being cute and non-threatening. He would probably get a talk show or a sitcom, and that would be that. Turns out Samberg did get a sitcom, the very funny and very sharp Brooklyn Nine-Nine. He’s also part of the comedy troupe The Lonely Island, and he starred in the criminally unappreciated Popstar: Never Stop... Read More

Brothers

July 2nd, 2020
Brothers

Da 5 Bloods is streaming on Netflix I’ve never served in the military. At the tail end of high school, recruiters from the Army bombarded my phone, trying to convince me to sign up for officer training school. What they didn’t realize, and what I only dimly knew at the time, was that I would have been an absolutely horrible soldier. There’s a host of reasons, but the main might be that I ask too many questions, and when you’re part of a chain of command, asking too many questions at the wrong time can get people killed. I’ve also never been Black. For God’s sake, have you seen me? If... Read More