CINEMA: Who’s Afraid Of Sam Levinson?

  MALCOLM & MARIE (directed by Sam Levinson, 106 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Malcolm & Marie is Sam Levinson’s follow-up to 2018’s Assassination Nation, which was a film that I think was a bit too smart for its marketed target demographic. I say that because copies of film that perfectly weaponized the metaphor of the social media witch hunt are always plentiful at my local used movie store. Assassination Nation was a film that stuck in my craw long after the press screening, and the more I thought about it, the more I found to appreciate […]

CINEMA: The Best Of Sundance 2021

  BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC This year I had the honor of attending Sundance as a member of the working  press — well, virtually that is. We are still currently in the middle of a pandemic. Sundance, the Park City, Utah-based film festival started by Robert Redford 36 years ago, is well known to film buffs for premiering the can’t-miss films of the year. This year Sundance ran from January 28th to February 3rd and screened 72 features and more than 50 shorts. I’ve attended more than a dozen virtual film fests in some capacity over the last year […]

CINEMA: The Dearly Departed

  JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH (dir. by Shaka King, 126 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC It’s rare that you see a first time filmmaker just race out of the gate with such a grand and assured debut, which feels like something a more seasoned filmmaker could work their entire career and never achieve. But Shaka King has accomplished just that with his second feature Judas and the Black Messiah. The ambitious biopic which just premiered at Sundance is based on newly declassified documents similar to MLK/FBI and Seberg, and if you’re thinking there’s a pattern starting […]

CINEMA: The Walls Have Ears

  MLK/FBI (directed by Sam Pollard, 104 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC In 2019 the FBI released a treasure trove of documents related to the Bureau’s notorious surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. that began in the wake of the March On Washington in 1963 and persisted until the Civil Rights icon’s assassination in 1968. Director Sam Pollard has sourced these documents for his latest documentary MLK/FBI which doesn’t waste its time with the more salacious accusations, but instead delivers some amazing context and insight into the how and the why this was allowed to go on […]

CINEMA: Dead Man Talking

  THE DISSIDENT (directed by Bryan Fogel, 119 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC There’s been no shortage of great political docs this awards season, and the most intriguing offerings seem to be the ones surprisingly absent from the bigger streaming services. Alongside Assassins, Ryan White’s excellent deep dive into the assissination of Kim Jong-nam, is The Dissident, the latest film by Bryan Fogel (Icarus). Like the Assassins, The Dissident digs into another polictically motivaved murder, that went unpunished: the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a government-sponsored Saudi death squad. Where The Dissident […]

CINEMA: A Q&A With Wonder Woman 1984’s Star Gal Gadot And Director Patty Jenkins

  BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Wonder Woman has always been a feminist icon, but director Patty Jenkins resurrected the fearless and Amazon just when the world needed her most. The first film hit in 2017 and establishing this new take on the character while the seeds of Trumpism were just starting to take root in America. Now three years later, Jenkins has brought Diana back and transported her to the go-go 1980s where she does battle with Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal), an Art of the Deal pyramid scheming business tycoon, complete with a blonde cowlick. Maxwell Lord’s superpower is […]

CINEMA: Waiting For Gadot

WONDER WOMAN 1984 (directed by Patty Jenkins, 151 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC This has been a weird year for superhero films. It’s been over a year since the last Marvel tentpole and in their absence DC has really stepped up their game up, proving they’re more than simply dark and gritty superheroes pining over mothers named Martha and misogynistic clowns. First came Birds of Prey , a colorful story of girl power that gave Harley Quinn the spotlight she so desperately deserved. That was followed up with The Harley Quinn animated series, which was easily one […]

INCOMING: Let It Be Again

VULTURE: Today, we are all a man named Jojo from Tucson, Arizona. Sharing the first footage from his upcoming Beatles documentary Get Back, director Peter Jackson gave us something far better than a trailer of the boys fighting about Yoko: It’s a five-minute montage that embodies “the spirit of the film,” and it overflows with facial hair and just about every pastel button-up imaginable for the era. Jackson pored through over 55 hours of previously unseen studio footage of Paul, John, George, and Joe Walsh’s best friend as the band recorded their final album, Let It Be, in 1970, giving […]

CINEMA: Citizen Mank

MANK (Directed by David Fincher, 131 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Based on the essay by film critic Pauline Kael, David Fincher’s Mank digs into the controversy behind just who wrote one of the greatest films ever made: Citizen Kane. While Orson Welles famously directed, produced and starred in Citizen Kane, Welles split the screenplay credit with one Herman J. Mankiewicz, AKA “Mank,” a crumbling genius with one foot in the grave and one on the bottle. While both men walked away with a Best Original Screenplay Oscar in 1942, it’s long been debated just how much […]

CINEMA: I Spit On Your Gravy

  PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN (Directed by Emerald Lilly Fennell, 113 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Director Emerald Lilly Fennell (Killing Eve) merges the arthouse with the grindhouse with this shotgun-wedding of the rape/revenge sub-genre to the #MeToo movement. Promising Young Woman begins by introducing us to Cassandra Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a beautiful young curmudgeonly barista by day, and by night an avenging angel who lies in wait in bars and clubs pretending to be over-served and incapicated. This trap is meant to ensnare the “nice guys” who attempt to take advantage of her only to have the […]

CINEMA: Hellraiser

I AM GRETA (directed by Nathan Grossman, 97 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC I Am Greta isn’t looking to change any minds about the teenage climate activist, or further educate anyone on the issue of climate change. Instead this Hulu Original documentary looks to do one thing, and it does that extremely well – humanize its subject through intimate portraiture. Granted unrestricted access to his subject, director Nathan Grossman takes his camera behind the scenes of the fire-breathing take-no-shit public personae and her #FridaysForFuture movement to reveal the humble origins of Greta’s crusade, her family life and […]

CINEMA: Why The Caged Bird Sings

  Billie Holiday had one of the greatest voices of all time. She was a woman of breath-taking talent and global popularity while also stirring controversy. She started a notable rebellion singing “Strange Fruit” which exposed the realities of Black life in America and earned her powerful enemies. Raw, emotional and brutally honest, Billie is filled with incredible, unheard testimonies from musical greats like Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sylvia Syms and Count Basie.” Then in the late 1960’s journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl set out to write the definitive biography of Billie. Over the next decade, she tracked down and tape-recorded […]

CINEMA: Chelsea Girl

ON THE ROCKS (directed by Sophia Coppola, 96 minutes, USA, 2020) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Sofia Coppola’s followup to 2017’s The Beguiled has the director once again returning to the themes of isolation and alienation that echo throughout her filmography, but this time exploring they hit a bit closer to home. Like 2010’s Somewhere, On The Rocks, which is both written and directed by Coppola feels very autobiographical as it explores the disorienting and dispiriting sense of psychic dislocation that can often creep into both marriage and motherhood. The film focuses on Laura (Rashida Jones), a successful author suffering […]