Screener from Creators Syndicate https://www.creators.com/read/screener Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Fri, 18 Jun 2021 04:43:11 -0700 https://www.creators.com/ http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Screener from Creators Syndicate https://cdn.creators.com/features/screener-thumb.jpg https://www.creators.com/read/screener f88f18aaa22562bf2e361a7a946e48b0 'The Sparks Brothers': Is This One-of-a-Kind Band's Long Wait Finally Over? for 06/18/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/06/21/the-sparks-brothers-is-this-one-of-a-kind-bands-long-wait-finally-over Fri, 18 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Alone among cult bands, Sparks have never for a moment thought of calling it quits. Even during the six parched years at the end of the 1980s, when the group &#8212; deadpan keyboardist/composer Ron Mael and his hyperkinetic younger brother, Russell Mael &#8212; couldn't find a label, they continued writing and recording music at their Los Angeles studio virtually every day. Now, as has often been the case over the course of their 50-year career, things are once again looking up. Their movie musical, "Annette," starring Adam Driver and Marion Cotillard, will be opening this year's Cannes Film Festival next month and arriving in the U.S. in August. Until then, there's "The Sparks Brothers," a fond documentary by director and big-time fan Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World"), which is stacked with tributes from such musicians as Thurston Moore, Bjork, and Flea and unexpected admirers like Jason Schwartzman, Neil Gaiman and Patton Oswalt. Says Beck, who's also on hand, "They may have given birth to other bands who don't even know that the lineage" of assertively clever electropop music "goes back to them."</p> <p>Apart from being a stirring tribute to artistic determination, "The Sparks Brothers" is also a compact introduction to the group's music, which isn't a lot like that of other groups. How many bands could move with such seeming effortlessness from heavily electronic tracks like "The Number One Song in Heaven" to the cleverly mocking "Lighten Up, Morrissey" to "My Baby's Taking Me Home," a song whose lyrics consist entirely of repetitions of its title ("a hypnotic, great song," says actor-musician Fred Armisen)? There are also some beautifully wrought ballads, like "Out in the Cold" and "Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth" (which has been covered, incandescently, by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode). <span class="column--highlighted-text">Wright's documentary is an excellent primer for anyone looking to venture more deeply into this music.</span> <p>Updated: Fri Jun 18, 2021</p> 6762cc3491ef778748b140f0d73ff1c2 'Censor' and 'Flashback': Blood and Confusion for 06/11/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/06/21/censor-and-flashback-blood-and-confusion Fri, 11 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Welsh director Prano Bailey-Bond probably didn't have a lot of money to make her first feature, but that could have worked in her favor. "Censor" tells a story set in the trash-horror film world of the 1980s &#8212; in Britain, the era of gut-ripping "video nasty": pictures like "Cannibal Holocaust," "The Driller Killer" and "Gestapo's Last Orgy." As everyone in this post-psychotronic age knows by now, these films were distinguished by their extreme violence and low production values &#8212; bleak sets, awkward camerawork, assertively lurid lighting. Bailey-Bond, a fan of the form with no access to major financing, has replicated those deficiencies with an easy precision.</p> <p>The advent of home video in the 1970s enabled the release of such films directly to consumers, prompting much media-fueled handwringing about their possible effect on children. Naturally, the government got involved. In the '80s, video classifications were devised, with some films ruled to be appropriate only for moviegoers either 15 and over or 18 and over. People with vague credentials were hired to be censors &#8212; to gather up all the most violent and otherwise disgusting video movies on the market and to spend their days in government offices watching and rating them, demanding cuts wherever they felt necessary. (Unsurprisingly, collateral damage was not uncommon &#8212; among the movies initially rounded up for censure was the 1982 Burt Reynolds-Dolly Parton musical, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.")</p> <p>"Censor" focuses on one such warrior in the battle for video decency, Enid Baines (Irish actress Niamh Algar in a tightly controlled performance). Enid isn't a prig; she understands that pop depravity requires some degree of leeway. "I've kept in most of the screwdriver stuff," she reports of one nasty piece of work, "and I've only trimmed the tiniest bit of the end of the genitals." <p>Updated: Fri Jun 11, 2021</p> de25a85c94662f0de1b945a67ba0e243 'David Crosby: Remember My Name': Portrait of a Man Running Out of Road for 06/04/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/06/21/david-crosby-remember-my-name-portrait-of-a-man-running-out-of-road-a8485 Fri, 04 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>David Crosby has been many interesting things over the course of his 77 years: a founding member of the Byrds &#8212; the band that created folk-rock &#8212; and of the subsequent super-duper group variously known as Crosby, Stills & Nash or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. He has also been a junkie, a fugitive, a convict and a world-class asshole. The new documentary "David Crosby: Remember My Name" lays out this story in ways that are often moving and, if it need be said, never dull. (Some rarely seen club and concert footage helps a lot.)</p> <p>The Crosby of today &#8212; his freak-flag hair now snowy but still flying &#8212; is a man battered but unbowed. He's had "two or three" heart attacks, he says, and there are eight stents inserted in that weary organ &#8212; the maximum number possible. Hepatitis C destroyed his liver, which required a transplant, and that's been chugging along for 25 years now. He is also diabetic.<p>Updated: Fri Jun 04, 2021</p> 3385a343c14cecb305c5f4fd6785cd9b 'A Quiet Place Part II': Come on Feel the Noise for 05/28/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/05/21/a-quiet-place-part-ii-come-on-feel-the-noise Fri, 28 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>The 2018 "A Quiet Place" was a movie about family values &#8212; chief among them <i> don't die a painful and horrifying death </i>. It was also a film with a title that was fully warranted: The first 38 minutes of its 90-minute runtime were entirely wordless. <p>Updated: Fri May 28, 2021</p> c979e68973a81a37d82d7563de340eb7 'Army of the Dead': Monster Mashup for 05/21/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/05/21/army-of-the-dead-monster-mashup Fri, 21 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Zombie movies, which have been shambling across movie screens since at least the 1930s, have an undying appeal. But their enduring popularity is a little odd, when you think about it, since a zombie, by definition, is generally slow in pursuit of its victims and has to rely on the frequent inclination of fleeing humans to trip over something or other and fall to the ground to await their gruesome fate. (Nowadays, the once-shuffling creatures are actually quite speedy.) </p> <p>The latest zombie exercise is the work of Zack Snyder, who began his directorial career with a remake of zombie auteur George Romero's 1978 "Dawn of the Dead" and has now returned to the genre with a sort of monster mashup called "Army of the Dead." The story, cooked up by Snyder (who also shot the film), Shay Hatten and Joby Harold, is a bloody combo of straight zombie horror and reconfigured Vegas heist flick, along the lines of the "Ocean's Eleven" pictures, and some of it's pretty entertaining. <p>Updated: Fri May 21, 2021</p> 6714023a758640e627ac8c8c6d655eb1 'Riders of Justice': Mads Mikkelsen in a Blood-Flecked, Philosophical Action Comedy for 05/14/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/05/21/riders-of-justice-mads-mikkelsen-in-a-blood-flecked-philosophical-action-comedy Fri, 14 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Riders of Justice" is a sharp, funny inquiry into the proposition that nobody ever really knows where they stand in this world, no matter how certain they may be that they do. </p> <p>Mads Mikkelsen is Markus, a Danish soldier deployed in some hot, dusty war zone when he receives news that his wife, Emma, has died in a subway crash back home. He immediately returns to Denmark to comfort his teenage daughter, Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg), who was on the subway with her mom but survived. <p>Updated: Fri May 14, 2021</p> a13f48d3ec159c8f0bcf9516796ef363 'Wrath of Man' and 'The Columnist': Guy Ritchie Returns (With Jason Statham, Wisely), and a Dutch Woman Discovers the Ultimate Cure for Online Menacing for 05/07/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/05/21/wrath-of-man-and-the-columnist-guy-ritchie-returns-with-jason-statham-wisely-and-a-dutch-woman-discovers-the-ultimate-cure-for-online-menacing Fri, 07 May 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Guy Ritchie movies, especially those of the gangster variety with which he started out 23 years ago, make life simple. You know what you're going to get walking in: a lot of shouting, a lot of skull-crushing music, a lot more shouting, and a boatload of blunt, brutal action. Not to say there's anything wrong with wall-to-wall uproar &#8212; who doesn't love the John Wick movies? But the Wick pictures have a sense of humor, and their action is, for the most part, brilliantly choreographed &#8212; they have <i> personality </i>. Guy Ritchie doesn't make those movies.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">Ritchie's latest is a heist picture called "Wrath of Man," and the best that can be said of it is that it stars Jason Statham.</span> Ritchie and Statham both began their feature-film careers with Ritchie's "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Since then, Statham has gone on to become a stubbly, shiny-headed icon of action cinema, while Ritchie has gone on to continue being Guy Ritchie. (Although, it must also be said, in his favor, that Ritchie almost always delivers for his audience, which is large, and often scores at the box office.)<p>Updated: Fri May 07, 2021</p> bf24ce5c83afa633746797f2ded8e668 'Cliff Walkers': Spies Vs. Spies for 04/30/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/04/21/cliff-walkers-spies-vs-spies Fri, 30 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Surely one of the most frustrating things about espionage, with all its spies and betrayals and shifting mission goals, is that no one ever seems able to figure out what's really going on. The same might be said &#8212; in fact, let me say it &#8212; of the new Zhang Yimou film, "Cliff Walkers." As with all Zhang movies, this one is beautifully designed and photographed. It's set in the early 1930s, allowing the director plentiful opportunities to deploy period fedoras and luxuriously fur-trimmed coats. Also, the story unfolds in chilly Harbin, a large city in northeastern China, where it appears to snow every single hour of the day &#8212; perfect Zhang weather.</span><br></p> <p>The picture begins with a characteristically Zhangian visual flourish &#8212; a parachute descent into a snowbound Manchurian forest from the POV of four Soviet-trained Chinese guerrillas &#8212; two men and two women &#8212; who are intent on rescuing a survivor of the killing fields of the Japanese occupation and bringing his horrific story to the wider world. (Early on, we see Chinese prisoners in a Japanese-controlled execution yard being kicked and cursed and spit upon before being shot in the mud amid cackling laughter.) <p>Updated: Mon May 03, 2021</p> 69935203a26a6fbd4d60b10750392945 'Together Together' and 'Sisters with Transistors': Modern Love and Future Sounds for 04/23/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/04/21/together-together-and-sisters-with-transistors-modern-love-and-future-sounds Fri, 23 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>"Together Together" is a rom-com without the rom. It's an offbeat inquiry into the possibility of platonic love between a man and a woman. Ed Helms and Patti Harrison are just about perfect as Matt, a lonely 45-year-old app designer, and Anna, a 26-year-old barista whom Matt has hired as a surrogate mother for the baby he wants to ground his life with. </p> <p>"When I hang out with my settled friends," Matt says, "I feel sad for what I want and don't have. And when I hang out with my single friends, I feel sorry for what I have and don't want." <p>Updated: Fri Apr 23, 2021</p> 78a4be6049acac18f1d5da946ce6ff4c 'Gunda': A Wondrous and Heartbreaking Excursion Into the World of Animals for 04/16/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/04/21/gunda-a-wondrous-and-heartbreaking-excursion-into-the-world-of-animals Fri, 16 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>In 1995, the Australian film "Babe" took animal-fantasy to a new level. Advanced animatronic technology brought the picture's many creatures &#8212; the dogs, the sheep, the singing mice, the freaked-out duck, the duplicitous cat and, of course, the lovable porcine protagonist &#8212; into a realm of almost-real beings and lent their emotions a new weight.</p> <p>"Gunda," a wonderful new American-Norwegian documentary by Russian filmmaker Viktor Kosakovskiy, is unlike "Babe" in almost every way. There's no singing in it &#8212; there's not even any talking, because there are no humans. There's no score, either. All we hear over the course of the movie's 93 minutes are the sounds of nature: birdsong and fly-buzz mainly, and maybe the occasional soft crunch of a chicken foot pressing down into grass. <p>Updated: Fri Apr 16, 2021</p> 7ce12adb7d939cae8230a462688dc3ab 'Voyagers': In Space, No One Can Hear You Snooze for 04/09/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/04/21/voyagers-in-space-no-one-can-hear-you-snooze Fri, 09 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Writer-director Neil Burger has salted his new sci-fi movie, "Voyagers," with provocative social issues, but they're hardly new. "Who are we?" "Where are we going?" "Who cares?" </p> <p>Colin Farrell plays Jim, a science guy involved in a project creating government-engineered embryos. The resulting babies are raised in isolation &#8212; they never see outsiders or sunlight or hateful Chick-fil-As blighting the landscape. These kids have been created to scout out a new home for the people of Earth, whose own planet &#8212; as they were warned! &#8212; is being roasted by global warming. Scientists already have their telescopes trained on a substitute orb for Earth's sweltering masses, but it's 86 years away. So the original crew will never arrive there, only their no-doubt-cranky grandchildren.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 09, 2021</p> 0b45534ee119efe6589a9b2a53f6460d 'Shiva Baby': Rachel Sennott Kills in This Hilarious Comedy of Errors for 04/02/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/04/21/shiva-baby-rachel-sennott-kills-in-this-hilarious-comedy-of-errors Fri, 02 Apr 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p></p><p>Somebody died. Danielle (Rachel Sennott) isn't sure who &#8212; somebody in her extended family, a second-wife's sister or something &#8212; but her parents, Debbie and Joel (Polly Draper and Fred Melamed), are all upset, and she's promised them she'll make it to the funeral. Or at least to the post-funeral shiva, for the traditional Jewish ritual of light mourning, extended eating and nonstop gossiping. It's the least she can do. Literally.<p>Updated: Fri Apr 02, 2021</p> ecf6d9a51d72652069f4c748ae008612 'Extase' (Ecstasy): The Weight of the World for 03/27/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/03/21/extase-ecstasy-the-weight-of-the-world Sat, 27 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p>In her dreamlike first feature, Brazilian director Moara Passoni uses action &#8212; especially the noisy street demos of her country's recent political past &#8212; as background. The movie's unswerving focus is a quiet young girl named Clara, who, on the cusp of puberty, is sinking into extreme anorexia. "This week, Manu got her period, and she cried her heart out," Clara says of a classmate early on. "I can't imagine myself with breasts." Why does no one notice what's happening to this person? "My body is like a scream," she says. </p> <p>Passoni's story, set in Sao Paulo around the end of the 1980s, is autobiographical. (The director herself was once seriously anorexic but lived to tell.) Clara's mother is a former nun impelled toward social action in the backwash of the country's 20-year military dictatorship. She runs for the national congress, wins and soon moves with Clara to the country's sleekly soulless capital of Brasilia. ("How could this place be home?" Clara wonders, taking in the city's cold concrete vistas.) </p> <p>Adolescence turns Clara increasingly inward. Her mother, seeing her daughter shunned after kissing another girl on the mouth, enrolls her in ballet school, where the importance of body weight looms large and Clara begins surreptitiously dumping food rather than eating it. She seems weird to the other girls and remains friendless. <p>Updated: Sat Mar 27, 2021</p> c79d7b2348263b210ae26e460f4f2fd3 'Zack Snyder's Justice League': Too Much of an OK Thing for 03/19/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/03/21/zack-snyders-justice-league-too-much-of-an-ok-thing Fri, 19 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">PRO: "Zack Snyder's Justice League" isn't three hours long, like "Avengers: Endgame."</span><br></p> <p>CON: It's four hours long.<p>Updated: Fri Mar 19, 2021</p> b80ad439c7c39a8c02027533386ed23d 'Another Round': An Oscar Look-Back at One of Last Year's Best Movies for 03/12/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/03/21/another-round-an-oscar-look-back-at-one-of-last-years-best-movies Fri, 12 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>This is a drowsy week for new movies (there's a Bruce Willis space-action film called "Cosmic Sin" opening, but you should forget about it immediately). And since the Oscars are coming up on April 25, now might be a good time to look back over last year's movies (which this year include everything released through Feb. 28) and maybe catch up with some worthy pictures you might have missed. For a lot of people, that could include Danish director Thomas Vinterberg's "Another Round," a tribute to the melancholy charisma of Mads Mikkelsen, which is on the Academy shortlist for best international feature.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">It's hard to imagine this movie being made in precisely the same way in this country, and not just because it opens with a Kierkegaard quote. </span>Its subject is binge drinking, a lot of which we see being done by teenagers, often with the chuckling approval of their elders, who look back fondly on their own drunken teen years. (The drinking age in Denmark is 16.) No moral stance is taken; we only see the damage &#8212; but we see the fun, too. <p>Updated: Fri Mar 12, 2021</p> f67fc4975ab7ec73a807cf282572ede3 'My Salinger Year': Margaret Qualley Encounters the Mysterious Phantom of American Literature for 03/05/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/03/21/my-salinger-year-margaret-qualley-encounters-the-mysterious-phantom-of-american-literature Fri, 05 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>In 1995, an aspiring poet named Joanna Rakoff (a real person, played in "My Salinger Year" by Margaret Qualley) arrived in New York with her Eng. Lit. master's degree and set about trying to become a writer. First, though, she had to become a secretary, working for the director of an old-line Manhattan literary agency, a middle-aged woman named Margaret (Sigourney Weaver). The agency had a distinguished history, having numbered among its clients over the years F. Scott Fitzgerald, Langston Hughes, Agatha Christie &#8212; and the hyper-reclusive J.D. Salinger, who was still on board, or at least still called in.</p> <p>This is a small, sweet Canadian movie, based on Rakoff's 2014 memoir, that might have melted into a puddle of pure niceness without Qualley's coltish charm. As it gets underway, Margaret makes clear to Joanna that her job, like that of the agency itself, is to protect Salinger from his fans &#8212; from their impertinent clamoring, their emotional entreaties, their fierce need to connect with an author who hasn't published a word of new prose in more than 30 years. The agency's technique for doing this &#8212; in light of the fact that Salinger himself hasn't answered a fan letter since 1963 &#8212; is to reply to all reader mail with bloodless form letters and then shred the fan inquiries &#8212; although not before someone has actually read them to flag any unbalanced correspondents. (Following the assassination of John Lennon in 1980, police responding to the scene found his killer, Mark David Chapman, on a sidewalk quietly reading Salinger's most famous novel, "The Catcher in the Rye.") <p>Updated: Fri Mar 05, 2021</p> 4a0b04695472008a02403fcaea6928a8 'The Father': Anthony Hopkins at the Latest Peak of His Power for 02/26/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/02/21/the-father-anthony-hopkins-at-the-latest-peak-of-his-power Fri, 26 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>An old man named Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) has just heard an unfamiliar sound coming from somewhere in his large London apartment. In the living room, he finds a stranger (Mark Gatiss) sitting in a chair reading a paper. This man says he is the husband of Anthony's middle-aged daughter, Anne (Olivia Colman), and that this is actually his apartment. Anthony's world tilts. "There's something funny going on," he says.</p> <p>Not funny ha-ha, unfortunately. Just moments ago, Anne, who is actually a divorcee, told Anthony she was moving to Paris. "I've met someone," she says. "The rats are leaving the ship," Anthony replies, with the flashing hostility that has become an abrasive feature of his crumbling personality. "You're abandoning me," he says.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 26, 2021</p> 6887c16931d2bf5fa5af9a3298e19af7 'Nomadland': Frances McDormand Finds a Home in the New American Van Culture for 02/19/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/02/21/nomadland-frances-mcdormand-finds-a-home-in-the-new-american-van-culture Fri, 19 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Out on the road one day, a woman named Fern (Frances McDormand) is listening to another woman &#8212; a wandering "vandweller" like herself &#8212; telling a story about a friend she once had. He was a man who worked for 20 years at a soul-shriveling corporate job, forgoing luxuries and squirrelling away money to eventually buy a boat so he could retire into freedom one day. That never happened, though &#8212; he died of cancer instead. "He missed out on everything," the woman says.</p> <p><span class="column--highlighted-text">"Nomadland," the third feature by writer-director Chloe Zhao, has a warm, womblike intimacy. Many scenes were shot during the pre-dawn or post-sunset "golden hour," lending the desert settings a placid glow.</span> With the exception of McDormand and David Strathairn, playing another of the new American nomads Fern meets in her wanderings, the movie &#8212; which is based on a nonfiction book by journalist Jessica Bruder &#8212; is substantially populated by non-actors, who give the film a feeling of real life unfolding (a tribute to Zhao's uncommon skill with amateur performers). </p> <p>Fern is a Nevada widow who's knocked sideways when the gypsum-mining company that sustained her town goes bust (and the town soon loses even its ZIP code). Selling off the effluvia of her life, she buys a van and sets out to see the world &#8212; or at least more of it than she ever made time to see before. Soon she discovers there's an extensive tribe of people like herself &#8212; middle-aged, searching for purpose &#8212; people who find guidance for their new lifestyle in the books and YouTube channels of camper/RV guru Bob Wells (who appears in the movie as himself, making social observations like "The Titanic is sinking"). These people keep their minimalist lifestyles going by taking temporary jobs along the way, and we see Fern cleaning restrooms, harvesting beets, working as a short-order cook and boxing shipments at an Amazon fulfilment center. ("It's good money," she says.) <p>Updated: Fri Feb 19, 2021</p> d5c332c488ae91f04f54bc0700ca65d7 'Judas and the Black Messiah': Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield Revisit the Horror of a Civil Rights Battlefield of the 1960s for 02/12/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/02/21/judas-and-the-black-messiah-daniel-kaluuya-and-lakeith-stanfield-revisit-the-horror-of-a-civil-rights-battlefield-of-the-1960s Fri, 12 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p>"Judas and the Black Messiah" comes at you like a shotgun blast full in the face. <span class="column--highlighted-text">In his first major feature, director Shaka King supercharges the story of murdered '60s Black Panther leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya in an electrifying performance) and his betrayer, turncoat Panther Bill O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield, likewise superb). </span>The movie deftly illuminates a central ideological issue of the period &#8212; nonviolent community uplift versus extremely violent Maoist revolution &#8212; but it also delivers explosive action scenes when the Panthers fight back against their lawless FBI antagonists, and a brilliant avant-funky score (by Mark Isham and Craig Harris) that's expertly ornamented with vintage contributions from Gil Scott-Heron, Eddie Gale and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, among many others. </p> <p>The story begins in Chicago in 1967. Smalltime criminal O'Neal has been popped by the Feds for car theft and for waving around an FBI badge that wasn't his to wave. "A badge is scarier than a gun," he explains to his interrogator, a bureau agent named Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons, wonderfully ambiguous). Mitchell tells O'Neal he can either do prison time for his felony transgression ... or he can go home right now if he agrees to become an FBI informer. O'Neal, a man whose ideals are entirely negotiable, takes the bait immediately. </p> <p>Before long, O'Neal has insinuated his way into the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, where he becomes the chapter security chief and the bodyguard of its leader, Hampton. Director King lets Hampton &#8212; a onetime prelaw student who's moved on from an earlier political home in the NAACP &#8212; press his revolutionary case from beyond the grave, holding on closeups of a fiery Kaluuya as he rouses crowds with his effortless charisma. "War is politics with bloodshed," he tells people. "Politics is war without bloodshed." Naturally, in the spirit of the times, he also name-checks Mao Zedong from time to time &#8212; "Political power flows out of the barrel of a gun," and all that stuff. But the Hampton we see here is most committed to providing health care for the poor and free breakfasts for hundreds of hungry kids every day. He's also getting his harder edges sanded down by a sweet-but-tough Panther newbie named Deborah Johnson (an irresistible performance by Dominique Fishback of "The Deuce"). <p>Updated: Fri Feb 12, 2021</p> 664118d9b93d00e18fd1e66f39275ad4 'PVT CHAT': The Return of Julia Fox for 02/05/2021 https://www.creators.com/read/screener/02/21/pvt-chat-the-return-of-julia-fox Fri, 05 Feb 2021 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p><span style="background-color: initial;">Jack (Peter Vack) is a 30-something New Yorker maintaining a tenuous hold on a dumpy downtown apartment with his skill at internet blackjack. Internet sex is his real game, though. He's a regular at a cam-girl site, where he feverishly works out his sex-slave fantasies with a knockout dominatrix named Scarlet (Julia Fox). They're at a stage in their commercial relationship where, for a sizable "tip," she agrees to pretend they're both just ordinary human beings, and to tell him a little bit about herself. She used to like to paint, for example. "Wow!" says Jack, with overdone amazement. "You're an artist? That's the coolest thing I've heard all day." "Your life must be pretty boring," Scarlet says, "if that's the coolest thing you've heard all day." Score one for dom girl.</span><br></p> <p>It's a bit of a surprise to find Julia Fox in another indie lower-depths movie at this point. She popped out of the Safdie brothers' "Uncut Gems" a little more than a year ago like a mermaid out of a mudhole, and a spangly Hollywood future seemed to be hers for the taking. Indeed, she has already shot an all-star HBO movie with Steven Soderbergh and Matt Damon. But "PVT Chat" was already in the can, and now here it is.<p>Updated: Fri Feb 05, 2021</p>