Friday, 20 November 2015

"Daddy Don't Go" smashes stereotypes of disadvantaged "deadbeat" dads

A refreshing highlight at this year’s DOC NYC Festival is Emily Abt and Andrew Osborne’s “Daddy Don’t Go,” which challenges the all-too-familiar, conveniently reductive and hardened stereotype of minority dads that tends to dominate the Hollywood landscape. Shot over two years in the greater New York City area, the documentary’s four main protagonists — Nelson, Omar, Alex, and Roy — prove themselves self-sacrificing, committed and unexpectedly tender fathers as they struggle against homelessness, unemployment, bureaucracy and, in some cases, a criminal past...More

Veterans hope MDMA can cure their PTSD

Given the highly anticipated legalization of marijuana in several states, including New York in January 2016, some activists think it’s high time that Americans also reconsider the use of other Class I drugs for therapeutic purposes: in particular,MDMA and Ayahuasca for the treatment of veterans with PTSD...More.

Dr. Ken: A TV show that should be one small step forward for Asian-Americans feels like two giant steps back

Four episodes in, and despite its popular Friday night ratings, I admit that I’m disappointed to find “Dr. Ken” neither terribly funny/edgy, relevant, or even relatable as an Asian-American viewer. Instead of seizing the rare chance to subvert Asian stereotypes from inside-out, “Dr. Ken” just tends to neutralize them, as if pandering to a white outsider’s gaze for approval. 
It’s a real shame, because “Dr. Ken,” (after “Fresh Off the Boat,” now in its second season) is the first TV sitcom to portray an Asian-American family in, like, twentyyears. The last, of course, was Margaret Cho’s saucily hilarious, game-changing “All-American Girl,” which was unfairly cancelled after one season – despite killer cameos from Quentin Tarantino and Oprah. I also feel frustrated for the multi-talented Ken Jeong, who has impeccable comic timing, and has been unfairly limited by Hollywood to silly, distasteful Orientalist stereotypes, like in “Pineapple Express” and “The Hangover”...More

Steve Jobs, messiah to jerks: Are we worshipping innovation or just the freedom to be an a**hole?

Do we really need yet another Hollywood biopic about Steve Jobs? Granted, the life of a responsibility-shirking geek tyrant can be a hard sell. So it’s no wonder that the 2013 “Jobs” biopic — starring Ashton Kutcher — appeared little more a sunshine-infused excuse to follow the barefoot meanderings of an affable genius who picked up his not-quite-as-brilliant female counterparts when he wasn’t being charmingly misunderstood. (Surely, Steve Jobs had many gifts, but among them was definitively not sex appeal.) In a purportedly more balanced portrayal, the trailer for Aaron Sorkin’s “Steve Jobs,” which went into wide release last week, highlights Jobs’ human factor, disclosing his rather dysfunctional human relationships while still managing to idolize him as a tech giant...More

Saturday, 5 September 2015


Produced by Forest Whitaker, this teenage coming-of-age caper set in Inglewood, California involves the usual hood narrative trifecta of drugs, gangs, and crime while attempting to offer a playful alternative to black cultural stereotypes. Fantastical, and sometimes fun, if not quite convincing, Dope (2015) offers plenty of eye candy thanks to Rick Famuyiwa's energetic direction, Rachel Morrison's colourful widescreen lensing, and a cast including prominent models, rappers, and TV personalities. Supported by a single working mother (Kimberly Elise), high school nerd Malcolm's (Shameik Moore) American Dream is not to play basketball but to get into Harvard...More.

FILM REVIEW: Cartel Land

Perhaps this year's most important documentary, Cartel Land (2015) offers a too-close-for-comfort, ground-level look at vigilante groups who attempt to thwart murderous Mexican drug cartels on both sides of the US-Mexican border. Equally chilling and engrossing, this direct cinema Sundance winner also explores moral responsibility - or the increasingly murky guise thereof - in the absence of law and order, where the only clear issue is the seemingly unstoppable cycle of violence...More


Viewers with qualms that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl may turn out to be merely another best-selling YA novel-to-film tearjerker will be surprised by the film’s insightful focus on a decidedly nonsexual boy-girl relationship.“If this was a touching, romantic love story,” says teenage protagonist Greg (Project X star Thomas Mann) in droll voiceover, “suddenly we'd be furiously making out with the fire of a thousand suns, but this isn’t...” Busy escaping the social hell that is high school with his best friend and “co-worker,” Earl (impressive newcomer RJ Cyler), Greg is unexpectedly forced by his mother to spend time with Rachel (Manchester-raised Olivia Cooke), a classmate diagnosed with cancer...More.