THE WOLF AND THE LION – Review by Tara McNamara

Animal awesomeness roars in The Wolf and the Lion, a family drama that will get the attention of tweens and animal lovers, although their reactions may not be the same. Directed by Gilles de Maistre from a script he co-wrote with his wife Prune de Maistre, the story follows 20-year-old Alma , a music student whose life takes a different direction when a lion cub literally falls into her arms while she’s visiting her late grandfather’s private island in Canada.

Read more

SEX APPEAL – Review by Tara McNamara

In this bold new post-MeToo world, word is finally out that consent is a crucial part of foreplay. We’d expect to see that reflected in teen films. But Sex Appeal seems to be positing that the outdated ’80s-style raunchy high school hump fest genre can be revived if it comes from a female point-of-view, is given a sex positive scenario, and features socially progressive characters? This comedy about a super smart science-focused heterosexual high school senior who turns her “first time” into her school project is not humorous, not helpful, and definitely not for everyone. There’s a chance that teens may find Sex Appeal to be appealing. But, for most adults, it’s more likely to be appalling.

Read more

RON’S GONE WRONG – Review by Tara McNamara

Ron’s Gone Wrong creatively illuminates how “connected” devices are contributing to a lack of human connection and the unprecedented challenge kids face as they grow up in the social media age. This empathetic animated family film, which Disney absorbed in the 20th Century Fox acquisition, looks at the complications of establishing friendships today, especially if you’re a socially challenged introvert.

Read more

Genesis Rodriguez on CENTIGRADE – Tara McNamara interviews

Genesis Rodriguez stars in Centigrade, a chilling thriller that’s loosely based on a true story which occurred in 2002 in arctic Norway, in the dead of winter, when a young couple and their newborn child were trapped inside a rented vehicle that was buried in snow during a blizzard. With little to eat and only layers of clothing to keep them from freezing to death, the pair struggled for survival. Centigrade was shot in chronological order and has a convincingly claustrophobic ambiance and a gripping authenticity that makes you wonder just what the actors endured while making the film.

Read more

STAGE MOTHER – Review by Tara McNamara

For the last few elections, polls reveal that what Americans want most is for people of different sides to start working together. And in the last few years, Americans say they want the divisiveness in America to end. An odd, heartwarming musical comedy with a gun-toting grandma and an entourage of drag queens is the first drop in the bucket that shows maybe there is a way.

Read more

WE DON’T DESERVE DOGS (SXSW2020) – Review by Tara McNamara

We Don’t Deserve Dogs is a documentary that shows how dogs are truly man’s best friend all across the globe, in a series of vignettes. People in one location in one country share their experience with how one dog has impacted their lives. Usually, the animal helped them with a positive transformation, but not always. Ultimately, as all dog films, it’s not really about the dogs. It’s about the humans.

Read more

ECHOES OF THE INVISIBLE (SXSW2020) – Review by Tara McNamara

Echoes of the Invisible is as heady, vast and ambiguous as its title indicates. It has a lofty goal: to help us understand our place in the universe. To do so, it takes us on journeys ancient and present, up into the cosmos and down into the ocean’s icy depths, through deserts and rainforests to identify the world’s most persistent living organisms and exploring our interconnectedness: stranger to stranger, neighbor to neighbor, one nationality to another, and us to our ancestors and the earth around us.

Read more

SPOTLIGHT February 2020: Sara Zandieh, Filmmaker, A SIMPLE WEDDING

As Hollywood moves to course correct in wake of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, Iranian-American director Sara Zandieh checks off a lot of requisite boxes, especially the one marked: TALENTED. After changing her career from journalism to writing and directing narrative films, each of her stepping stones has been a milestone.

Read more