‘Zola’ runs 90 minutes, which is too long to be stuck in this on-screen weekend

“Zola” – “You want to hear a story about how me and this bitch fell out?  It’s kind of long, but it’s full of suspense.” – Zola (Taylour Paige) This cinematic tale – “Zola”, directed by Janicza Bravo – is based on a real-life 2015 Twitter post by A’Ziah Zola Wells, but this wasn’t an ordinary mention about her birthday, an adorable pet video, or a delicious meal photo.  This 20-year-old delivered a mindboggling-long social media post that totaled 148 connected Tweets, and it detailed her dubious weekend with a…

Movie of the Week: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’

“Blue is the Warmest Color” (2013) – Adèle Exarchopoulos gives one of the very best performances of 2013 as a French high school student discovering her sexuality and graduating into womanhood through a passionate love affair with an early 20-something collegiate co-ed with blue hair (Lea Seydoux). Director/co-writer Abdellatif Kechiche winds through Adèle (Exarchopoulos) and Emma’s (Seydoux) relationship for three hours of runtime, and intricately captures subtle – and not so fine – nuances which show love as extraordinary and also traumatic.  Whether Adèle eats pasta at the table or…

‘Fathom’ communicates clearly, but it doesn’t cinematically speak

“Fathom” – Other than breathing, communication might be the most natural act in the world.  By definition, it’s “the imparting or exchanging of news; the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings; and social contact.” Sounds simple enough, but according to Google, “6,500 languages are spoken in the world today.”  If you’ve ever been to a foreign country where you don’t speak the native tongue, simple tasks like ordering off the menu, finding a restroom, or translating a subway map’s intricacies can be as bewildering as dumping 1,000 puzzle…

‘F9: The Fast Saga’: The series jumps the shark (again) and something much bigger in the 3rd act

“F9: The Fast Saga” (2021) – Saga is the right word when describing “The Fast and the Furious” series.  Director Justin Lin’s “F9: The Fast Saga” is actually the 10th film if you include “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” (2019).  Ten films dating back to 2001 is quite the cinematic run, and by comparison, Hollywood released six James Bond, seven “Star Wars”, and four “Star Trek” movies over the same period.  Thankfully, only one “Cats” film reached theatres, but I digress. According to BoxOfficeMojo, these films have raked…

Movie of the Week: ‘A Single Man’

“A Single Man” (2009) – Fashion designer Tom Ford steps into the world of cinema and directs and co-writes “A Single Man”, the story of an English professor (Colin Firth) mourning the loss of his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode).  Set in 1962 Los Angeles, Ford, cinematographer Edward Grau, production designer Dan Bishop, and art director Ian Phillips get all the visuals of the period exactly right, as birthday-cake-icing pinks and blues and muted browns regularly pop into the frame.  Meanwhile, George (Firth) is feeling blue and muted.  He can’t shake…

Celebrate age 13 with ‘Luca’, a pleasant Pixar journey

“Luca” – What’s the most challenging age during childhood?  How about age zero?  Sure, you load no responsibility, and your mom, dad, grandmother, a daycare worker, or some other parental unit feed and change you throughout your first year on Planet Earth.  Then again, your folks completely control your daily itinerary.  Walking is a problem, and so is speaking in clear, concise sentences.  Age zero is no picnic, but when looking back, 13 years young probably is – “Survey says” – the #1 answer on “Family Feud”, seven days a…

‘Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It’ celebrates and speaks frankly

“Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It” –  Rita Moreno loves to dance.  Dance, sing, and act!  At 89 years young, this entertainment legend became a household name on April 9, 1962, when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her treasured role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961).  This 5’ 2” thespian – with probably the shortest speech in Academy Awards’ history – has fashioned a lasting impact on the four traditional pillars of entertainment: movies, television, theatre, and music. However, her career…

Hayek, Jackson, and Reynolds can’t save ‘The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard’

“The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard” – Salma Hayek, Ryan Reynolds, and Samuel L. Jackson are three of the biggest movie stars working today, and hey, all three are big-screen comic book characters, to boot.  Don’t forget that Jackson played a Jedi too. So, after assessing their remarkable acting resumes, let’s all recite this together:  “We’re not worthy!  We’re not worthy!” Well, in 2017, this superhero triad starred in the sophomoric action-comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, and when a film rakes in 176 million dollars worldwide on a budget of “only” 30 big…

Movie of the Week: ‘The Birdcage’

“The Birdcage” (1996) – Mike Nichols’ remake of “La Cage aux Folles” (1978) is a landmark LGBTQ film in American cinema, although looking back, this hit comedy – which raked in 185 million dollars worldwide – does have a troubling premise.  The mid-90s and 1978 were different times, so the story of a 20-year-old son asking his gay fathers, Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert (Nathan Lane), to act straight for one night to fool his fiancée’s conservative parents – perhaps – seemed like a semi-reasonable request to the American public…

‘In the Heights’ is a satisfying musical that sometimes soars to spectacular highs

“Tell me something I don’t know.” – “No Me Diga” For those who love Broadway musicals (and are deeply familiar with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s work), there’s probably not a whole lot of new information that I can write about in his and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ film adaptation of their Tony award-winning hit “In the Heights” – which won four statues in 2008 – that you don’t already know.   Admittedly, the word of this stage triumph or its transformation to a theatrical release was first-time news to this film critic. I never…