Native Son (1951)

Few films have experienced a more tortured history than the 1951 version of “Native Son,” based on Richard Wright’s 1940 novel. While Wright’s work achieved best-seller status and would be adapted into a Broadway production by Orson Welles and John Houseman, Hollywood studios would only consider a cinematic version if the central character of a disenfranchised African American was changed into an ethnic white man. Continue reading

Shortcut (2020)

I admit that I was a bit hesitant during “Shortcut” as it seems to meander back and forth between time lines and whatnot. However, during the final half, Alessio Liguori’s “Shortcut” finds a path and sticks to it, offering a horror movie with great substance. “Shortcut” is a mix of It Chapter One” and “Jeepers Creepers 2” (sans the uh… uncomfortable pedo overtones) and really sucked me in as a creepy, weird, and engaging tale of coming of age in the face of a dark force on a deserted highway.

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Cuties (2020)

Where as a lot of teen movies focus much on the coming of age and rites of passage for young men through their sexuality, “Cuties” is ballsy enough to be cut from the same cloth. It’s a film that explores almost the same themes but in a more complex arena that’s based around femininity and growing up. While the silly ballyhoo around “Cuties” has been much ado about nothing, “Cuties” is a bold, important drama comedy. It’s ultimately about a young girl who is trying to figure out what kind of woman she wants to be, and never realizing that either route she chooses in life is going to be filled with obstacles, tough questions, and ultimately living with the path she’s chosen.

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For The Sake of Vicious (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2020]

The visceral raw energy and violence of Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s “For the sake of Vicious” is bound to be compared to the masterpieces like “The Green Room” very soon. The set up at least conjures up memories of “Assault on Precinct 13” except in a smaller scale. In either case, it’s a classic white knuckle home invasion siege thriller that spares no one, even when it successfully builds on empathetic and fascinating protagonists.

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