Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Brandon Perea in a still from Nope (2022)

Universal Pictures

Author’s Note: I saw Nope in a movie theater, after only having seen the original teaser trailer. The most recent trailer gives away too much and should be avoided.

While filming Nope, writer/director Jordan Peele revealed that his most-used word on set was spectacle, and a spectacle it is. Nope earns its R-Rating for a disturbing set of visuals, but this horror comedy has its roots in sweeping westerns and awe-inspiring science fiction.

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Film Reviews

"Concrete Cowboy" Tells the Untold Story of Black Urban Cowboys

In a refreshing coming-of-age story, the unacknowledged Black cowboy subculture finds recognition

You can tell how Concrete Cowboy is going to end within 15 minutes of watching the film. In it, a troubled Black teenager, played by Caleb McLaughlin of Stranger Things, is sent to live with his estranged father for the summer.

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TV Reviews

Review: "Genius: Aretha" Struggles but Cynthia Erivo Shines

The Hulu biopic series struggles to find the balance between narrative drama and the truth

Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul

Genius: Aretha is an origin story in two parts. The Hulu series is split between two stories: a young Aretha coming into fame while balancing family and an older Aretha coming into her own sound while moving from gospel to pop music.

The result is an ambitious portrait of a legend which traces her genesis as an artist from her childhood to the peak of her career. While some elements of the series shine, especially Cynthia Erivo — whose acting performance and almost effortless renditions of Aretha songs anchor the show — at other points, it stumbles.

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Film Reviews

Netflix's "Operation Varsity Blues" Distracts from How Rigged College Admissions Actually Are

While the 2019 college admissions scandal showed the lengths the extremely wealthy are willing to go to get what they want, the college process is set up to favor rich, white students

Olivia Jade, daughter of Lori Loughlin who was charged with paying to get Olivia into USC

via Red Table Talk on Facebook

The new Netflix documentary Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is a thorough look at how the college admissions scandal began, worked, and was eventually taken down.

Using the original wiretaps and actual conversations reenacted by actors alongside documentary footage of experts and people close to those indicted, Operation Varsity Blues is exactly as enraging as you would think — a portrait of privilege and a reaffirmation of how easily the extremely wealthy game the system.

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Film Reviews

The Beautiful, Subliminal Drama of David Fincher’s "Mank"

Among Fincher's best films, Mank handles it's subject with subtlety and style.

Lily Collins and Gary Oldman in "Mank"

Update 3/15/2021: Oscar nominations have just been announced, with Mank receiving a total of 10 — more than any other film this year — with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Actor in a lead role (Gary Oldman), Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Seyfried). The film also received well-deserved nominations for Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound, Score, and Makeup.

David Fincher is not a director known for pulling punches.

In movies live Seven, Fight Club, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he has demonstrated a willingness to linger on scenes of horrifying gore and violence.

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The Notorious B.I.G.

The Los Angeles Times

On March 1, Netflix released the documentary Biggie: I Got a Story to Tell, based on the life and death of iconic Brooklyn emcee The Notorious B.I.G.

The film captures the man born Christopher Wallace as he rose to Hip-Hop superstardom through never-before-seen home video footage and untold stories from the people closest to him.

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