Malcolm & Marie (2021)

Sam Levinson is very good about reframing narratives we’ve seen a thousand times to feel new and unique (I love “Euphoria”). While “Malcolm & Marie” doesn’t re-invent the wheel, it’s a stellar two person drama that pits two painfully self absorbed people against each other one night. While Malcolm and Marie may not make it as a couple, they make great adversaries, which might just tie them together for the rest of their lives. And that’s the primary draw of the film.

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The Right One (2021)

A young writer seems unable to write her second novel after having a decent success with her first published work. One day, she meets an oddball who’s trying to survive something from his past by creating new personas for himself at all times. As she starts to really like him, he discovers that she has used him for writing inspiration and disappears.

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Rams (2020)

In the Australian countryside, farmers raise and compete for best ram in the local fair. After one ram shows signs of a deadly and highly contagious disease, the entire community is put at risk and must rally together to survive this massive hurdle. Two feuding brothers are the center of things and must find a way to make things work for their own survival.

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25 Years Ago, “Romeo + Juliet” Gave Me My First Brush with Shakespeare

1996 was a big year for me. I was thirteen in middle school and my English teacher introduced me and my classmates to the work of William Shakespeare. Although we spent the year working on a project that explored the various works from the playwright, we were primarily focused on “Romeo & Juliet.” We spent most of the year reading the play in class and before the school year let up, my teacher staged her contemporary version of “Romeo & Juliet” for the school that everyone took part in. It was called “Ronnie & Julie.” I loved art but was way too shy to act, so naturally I was in the poster department.

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You Have to See This! A Clockwork Orange (1971)

With “A Clockwork Orange,” Stanley Kubrick set forth a high bar and standard upon which all future gang warfare films would be based on. It’s a surprising fact considering “A Clockwork Orange” is not entirely about gang warfare at all. It’s a science fiction, dystopic, thriller about a predator of humanity who gets a taste of his own medicine a hundred fold once he is rehabilitated into a docile animal of society. Or so that’s what we’re led to believe up until the very ambiguous climax where Alex reverts to his classic recurring orgy fantasy.

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American Wisper (2020)

One of the things I really like about Russ Emanuel’s direction is that he’s able to conceive a true crime movie that feels respectful and not at all exploitative. That’s a tough feat to accomplish especially in a time where a lot of indie studios are inexplicably anxious to exploit actual horrible crimes. “American Wisper” (formerly “Wisper”) is a true crime thriller that actually managed to engage me, and that’s saying a lot for someone that almost never cares to dive in to this kind of material.

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My Summer as a Goth (2020)

Tara Johnson-Medinger’s “My Summer as a Goth” is a lot like “Edge of Seventeen” but with so much less insight and charm than its predecessor. That’s not to say that “My Summer as a Goth” is terrible, but it’s a mostly unpleasant and surface level teen coming of age film that doesn’t re-invent the wheel. It definitely doesn’t seem to want to re-invent the wheel, spending a lot of its time trying to work in the inexplicable, often clumsy plot elements in to the narrative.

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