Here is a documentary that will write history. The Case Against 8 artfully weaves the tale of the legal fight over same-sex marriage into the personal stories of the people whom our unfair marriage laws most acutely affect. This is the film that will be shown in high school history classes studying the marriage equality movement twenty years from now. And I expect there will not be a dry eye in the class.
I set out to watch Kate Bornstein Is a Queer and Pleasant Danger with enthusiasm. After all, how could I not be excited to watch the story of “a self-described trans-dyke, reluctant-polyamorist, sadomasochist, and recovering Scientologist” who has been instrumental in raising the visibility of transgender folks?
E.J. Assi and Nada Shouhayib star in Detroit Unleaded, where their characters fall in love in a Detroit gas station.
As an Arab American with a background in media criticism, I often feel like a broken record, calling out the endless stereotypes of Arabs in U.S. popular culture. I long for transgressive representations, those that break the mold and offer audiences thought-provoking stories about humanity. When I find them, I exclaim, “Alhamdulillah!”—an Arabic expression that literally means, “Praise be to God,” but culturally translates as: “Hell, yeah!” The independent film Detroit Unleaded deserves such a shout-out.
A portion of the poster for new documentary Fed Up and an factoid from the film.
The line between legitimate health advocacy and body shaming is a precarious one. So what does it look like when yet another food documentary sets out to “revolutionize” the way Americans think and eat, and also “cure the obesity epidemic”? Well, let’s say that things get messy.
I grew up seeing certain images in fairy tales. These images depicted a European, Victorian world that I wasn’t a part of and didn’t come from: bouncy dresses, British aristocracy, long robes, sharp accents, castles, virtue, and power. We were taught to revere these images, to associate royalty with Europe, to learn the order of kings, queens, princesses, and lords. But rarely did these images reflect us. Until now.
I was going to skip seeing Only Lovers Left Alive because the promotional blurb described the plot like this: “Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangier, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover.”
The Women on Waves ship heads to international waters to dispense the abortion pill to women in need.
The documentary Vessel begins starkly, with the reveal of a typed plea from a woman in Morocco in 2012. Her words are full of desperation: she needs to get an abortion but the procedure is illegal in her country.
In most tales of alien infiltration, the extraterrestrial life force arrives heavily armed: death rays, mysterious pods, killer black ooze, and the like. In unsetting and surreal sci-fi film Under the Skin, Scarlett Johansson arrives equipped only with a sexy female form, a winning damsel in distress routine, and a robotic desire to consume. Of course, she is a highly effective predator.
At the beginning of the Finding Vivian Maier, numerous friends, relatives, and former employers of the recently discovered Chicago street photographer and nanny try to describe her succinctly: she’s eccentric, bold, private, paradoxical. Above all, say friends, if she were alive, she would never have allowed this cinematic exposition of her life.