THE UNBEARABLE WEIGHT OF MASSIVE TALENT – Review by Rachel West

Since making his acting debut 40 years ago, Nicolas Cage has amazed, shocked, surprised, and confounded audiences. With over 100 acting credits to his name, The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent finally delivers the role Cage was born to play – himself. The Unbearable Weight Of Massive Talent stars the Oscar-winning actor as Nick Cage, a cash-strapped actor who is ready to give up on Hollywood when he’s offered a paid appearance at a Spanish billionaire and Cage superfan’s birthday party. Reluctantly agreeing, Cage gets tapped to become a CIA informant when it is revealed that the birthday boy is actually a drug kingpin involved in a high-profile kidnapping.

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HATCHING – Review by Rachel West

The debut film from director Hanna Bergholm, Hatching is a bold Finnish body-horror that offers a new take on the doppelganger story. It is a tale of motherhood. Tween gymnast Tinja is a lonely girl who will stop at nothing to impress her unnamed influencer mother ). Starving herself and giving up on outings with classmates for her sport in order to win the approval of a mom who hides behind the sunny Instagram filters of the perfect modern Finnish family for her “Lovely Everyday Life” blog. Obsessed with appearances, Tinja’s mommy-blogging mother is not seeking a truly authentic family life, but one of smoke and mirrors expertly curated to inspire envy in her many followers.

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BRUT FORCE – Review by Rachel West

Set in California wine country, Brut Force follows newly fired reporter Sloane Sawyer as she reluctantly returns to her hometown. Having mourned the death of her mother some time ago, the home Sloane heads back to is a rural vineyard operated by her stepfather. Here, reconnecting with the vineyard’s migrant workers she feels akin to, Sloane discovers a web of corruption and threats against the working population. With layers of racism, xenophobia, classicism and personal histories at play, Sloane is determined to get to the bottom of the harassment and find out what true threats are bubbling under the idyllic surface.

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AMBULANCE – Review by Rachel West

Ambulance is a Michael Bay boilerplate thrill ride throwback to the 1990s that desperately hopes its audience will hang on for the wildly absurd ride. Based on a 2005 Danish film of the same name, Bay’s latest entry into to his explosive filmography is a near two-hour chase scene overstuffed with some quippy one-liners that feel resurrected from the director’s mid-90s action blockbusters The Rock and Bad Boys. Viewers needn’t worry if they forgot about those movies because Chris Fedak’s script will literally remind you they exist with characters referencing and quoting from each of them.

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Nadine Pequeneza on LAST OF THE RIGHT WHALES – Interview by Rachel West

With her latest documentary feature Last Of The Right Whales, Canadian filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza gained unprecedented access to the North Atlantic Right Whale. With less than 360 of the species remaining in the wild, Pequeneza documented the plight of the whales by following a number of experts on their quest to help this critically endangered whale. Delivering stunning never-before-seen footage of the North Atlantic Right Whale, Pequeneza’s doc is more than just an exploration of how humans have directly impacted their population, but a drastic call to action follow the deaths of 17 of the species in 2017 alone.

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LAST OF THE RIGHT WHALES – Review by Rachel West

Convincing an audience to care about a whale most have never heard of, let alone can picture, is a challenge filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza takes on in the conservation documentary Last Of The Right Whales. Winner of Best Canadian Feature at the 2021 Planet In Focus International Environmental Film festival, the documentary presents audiences with not just an unparalleled look at the North Atlantic Right Whale, but an engaging story.

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THE UNMAKING OF A COLLEGE – Review by Rachel West

In 2019, a crisis at Hampshire College was unfolding as new president Miriam “Mim” Nelson attempted to give up the independence of the experimental liberal arts school. Unhappy with the underhanded attempt to change the college’s status and seeking to hold the administration accountable, students led a 75-day sit-in protest in Nelson’s office – the longest of its kind in American college history.

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DONKEYHEAD – Review by Rachel West

Donkeyhead is a family drama centred on Mona (Darshi), a thirty-something woman who has returned to her family home to sort out her messy life as a failed writer. Soon, a short break turns into several years and then her father is diagnosed with cancer. After he takes a turn for the worse, Mona’s more successful siblings descend on the traditional Sikh family home, determined to take the reins and manage the situation better than Mona has. Family dynamics quickly come into play as Mona reconnects with her siblings and comes to terms with the life choices she has made in the past.

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MAXIMA – Review by Rachel West

Claudia Sparrow’s inspirational documentary Maxima chronicles seven years in the fight of its titular heroine against the gold mining operation intent on seizing her land and destroying natural environmental resources. The film tells the story of Máxima Acuña and her family’s plot of land in the northern highlands of Peru, where the Yanacocha Gold Mine plans to expand its open pit mine directly into Máxima’s territory. Indifferent to the human and environmental cost their expansion, the mining company will use their money, power, and political connections to seize the Acuñas rightfully owned land.

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13 MINUTES – Review by Rachel West

Thirteen minutes is all the time four families in a Central Midwest town have to seek shelter from the tornado of the century. Directed by Lindsay Gossling, the disaster drama does a remarkably good job of depicting the massive tornado and its wake of destruction on what is surely a minimal budget. The 13 minutes leading up to the tornado’s touchdown and the immediate aftermath are the strongest elements in the movie. However, the tornado strike alone isn’t a compelling enough reason to watch the personal dramas unfold in the build-up to disaster, making 13 Minutes worth not much more of your time.

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