Review: ‘Sylvie’s Love’

In one scene of Eugene Ashe’s Sylvie’s Love, the woman at the center of it all (Tessa Thompson) is used as a human model for her mother’s very prim and proper lecture on posture. A yardstick serves as her visual guide, gently tapping her daughter on each arch of the body. In the very next scene, those same shoulders and neck are about to be rubbed down with sunscreen as she and her jazz musician boyfriend Robert (Nnamdi Asomugha) relax together on a make believe beach rooftop. It’s a subtle edit, but one that exemplifies the chasm that exists between … Continue reading Review: ‘Sylvie’s Love’

Review: ‘Sound of Metal’

In Darius Marder’s new film Sound of Metal, actor Riz Ahmed begins and ends in two distinct places of stillness. The film opens on him sitting behind his drum set as if in a black void-shirtless, buff and tattooed…. his entire being pulsating with anticipation like a caged animal waiting to strike. And then he does, the stillness broken as he drives a frenzied beat to accompany singer/guitarist and bandmate Lou (Olivia Cook) as she drones the lyrics to their heavy metal/noise sound. It’s probably the happiest he’ll be in the film as his drum beat crescendos and wavers out … Continue reading Review: ‘Sound of Metal’

Review: ‘Borat Subsequent MovieFilm’

It was 14 years ago when Sacha Baron Cohen struck comedic pay dirt with his mockumentary Borat, solidifying his fearless jabs at the idiocy around him and creating a legendary character in the process. It seems only fitting that 2020 is the perfect time for another Borat bloodletting, and boy, he doesn’t hold any punches. In our current state of gross incompetence, bankrupt moral corruption and rampant selfishness, Borat Subsequent MovieFilm feels like a comedic salvo that shows we truly have crossed the satiric other side with no return. It’s amazing that an outrageous character like Borat seems more reasonable … Continue reading Review: ‘Borat Subsequent MovieFilm’

Review: ‘Time’

Garret Bradley’s Time is fashioned together from over two decades’ worth of footage. Part of it comes from the main subject herself; Sibil Rich initially created home videos as a way to visually document her time apart from her husband, who has been serving time for a 1997 armed robbery. What filmmaker Bradley has done in shrewdly piecing together those intimate moments with Sibil’s current push of activism to free him after 20 years becomes a potent exploration of rage, determination, unrequited love and, yes, lost time. As the forceful presence in virtually every scene, Sibil is a magnificent person … Continue reading Review: ‘Time’

Dallas VideoFest33 Docufest: ‘The First Film,’ ‘Texas Trip,’ ‘Proof’

David Wilkinson’s The First Film fits snuggly into an avenue of programming Dallas VideoFest often champions, which is the inward exploration of film itself, either through a certain filmmaker or a unique tangent of its long history. I’d dare say this film probably extends back into cinematic history as far as one possibly can. As an actor, writer and producer since the early 1970s, Wilkinson has struggled to gain acceptance of his idea that an early technological pioneer named Louis LePrince is the man responsible for the very first film images taken in the British town of Leeds. Not Paris. … Continue reading Dallas VideoFest33 Docufest: ‘The First Film,’ ‘Texas Trip,’ ‘Proof’

DallasVideoFest33 DocuFest: ‘Finding Yingying’ and ‘For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close’

One tenet of Chinese culture is the strong reliance on dream interpretation and the ability of past souls to visit their families in this neuro-netherworld. As haunting as the disappearance of a young girl can be, the full force of devastation is felt when one family member explains her belief that the girl in question is still alive because she hasn’t visited her in dreams yet. It’s this state of purgatorial hell that shrouds a majority of Jiayan “Jenny” Shi’s remarkably moving new documentary Finding Yingying as a family struggles to understand and then come to terms with the sudden … Continue reading DallasVideoFest33 DocuFest: ‘Finding Yingying’ and ‘For Madmen Only: The Stories of Del Close’