Review: “Little”

The 14 year-old Marsai Martin has already captured the hearts of the masses as Diane on the ABC-hit sitcom Black-ish, and now she’s created a new vehicle to showcase her impressive talent in Little. Based on the concept of the 1988 film Big starring Tom Hanks, Little follows Jordan Sanders, played by the always wonderful Regina Hall, as she juggles the pressures of running a tech company and remaining successful. Unfortunately for her staff, which includes her assistant April played by Issa Rae, and anyone else she encounters, Jordan torments anyone in her path and disregards any sort of manners typically attributed to speaking to people after being bullied in school for being herself as a kid. Once she’s transformed into the little version of herself, introducing Martin, by a little girl she bullies, Jordan, with April’s reluctant help, must relearn the magic of being a child with plenty of laughs along the way.

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Jason Barker’s “A Deal With The Universe” is a home-video fairytale

A Deal With The Universe is a buoyant insight into transgender fertility and follows director and subject Jason Barker as he attempts to get pregnant.

A Deal With The Universe highlights the nuances of transgender fertility through Barker’s own confessionals, where he candidly talks about his feelings of masculinity, of discomfort in his own body, and of being misgendered by healthcare professionals. Pregnancy and masculinity seem at odds with one another to many people, but throughout the film Barker reaffirms the multiplicity of his parenthood.

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Podcast Game of Thrones Special #1

End of an era is here and we’re celebrating with a special podcast! For the last season of Game of Thrones, we’re going to have a podcast episode after each episode. For the first episode “Winterfell”, Dilara Elbir speaks with Little White Lies’ associate editor Hannah Woodhead about how it feels to watch the last season as longtime fans, expectations for the first episode and CGI dragon watching everyone’s favourite Nephew/Aunt pair make-out. Be aware of the spoilers and enjoy!

Available on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PlayStitcher, and anywhere else you access your podcasts!

On our Patreon page, we set a goal of $75 to start working on our podcast and four months ago we hit that goal, thanks to your help! Every time we gain a new Patron, we come one step closer to saving enough money to pay to our writers. You can help us with as little as $1.

Podcast #5: Music in Film

The fifth episode of the Much Ado About Cinema Podcast has arrived!

On our Patreon page, we set a goal of $75 to start working on our podcast and four months ago we hit that goal, thanks to your help! Every time we gain a new Patron, we come one step closer to saving enough money to pay to our writers. You can help us with as little as $1.

In this episode, I talk to writers Mia Vicino, Kareem Baholzer, and Hannah Ryan about our favorite uses of music in film. To keep the conversation tidy, we limited it to non-original, non-score music. It was a lot of fun to put together, we hope you enjoy!

Available on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and anywhere else you access your podcasts!

‘Shazam’ Unlocks the Power of Family and Sincerity

My initial take on Shazam was going to be that by the time the liquor store scene comes around, in which Billy (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) uses Billy’s newfound superhero transformation powers to go to buy some cheap beer, only to find out that beer is absolutely disgusting— it’s pretty clear that Shazam has a spark; a spark that sets it apart from every other DC releases thus far. A spark that makes the experience of watching it in theaters an absolute joy all the way through despite all of its studio blemishes, and that spark is a soul. But I remembered how great that dinner table scene with Billy and Freddy is and I realized that I lied, actually. This movie has two sparks in its arsenal, the other being sublime child performances. With these two simple but crucial traits, Shazam manages to overcome most of its own hurdles to cement it as the absolute best and most satisfying DCEU release so far.

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‘Pet Sematary’ Struggles with The Past But Delivers Delightfully Original Scares

Pet Sematary is a book that author Stephen King called his “worst” because of how much is scared him. And it is a terrifying story, dealing with the monstrosity that is grief. While it was adapted into a film by Mary Lambert in 1989, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer have adapted it again, in a move that made horror fans wary and begged the question: why do we need this film? But this recent adaptation, offering callbacks and homages to the original film while also creating a fresh take on a classic horror story, establishes a more terrifying tale that examines the deep psychological trauma of grief and the horrifying actions people wrapped in grief are capable of.

The film begins with the Creed family moving from Boston to the sleepy town of Ludlow, Maine. Dr. Louis Creed (Jason Clarke) has taken a position as a campus doctor with the goal of slowing down and spending more time with his wife, Rachel (Amy Seimetz), daughter, Ellie (Jete Laurence), and baby son, Gage (Hugo and Lucas Lavoie). Shortly after they move in, Rachel and Ellie discover a pet cemetery in the woods behind their house. They learn from their neighbor, Jud Crandall (John Lithgow), that the children of Ludlow have buried their pets there for generations, making a sort of twisted ritual out of it. But something sinister lurks around the cemetery, a force that seems to feed on grief.

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‘The OA’ Season 2 is very different to its predecessor, but it just as gripping

Whatever your stances towards the streaming service and its hyper-capitalist nature, it’s hard to deny that Netflix has given a platform to a specific group of high-quality serials. They share a firm grasp on the modern zeitgeist, push boundaries in terms of representation and bring original dramatic concepts to the table. It’s obviously a completely different story how the company treats their output —there is an easily comprehensible tactic of catering and extreme calculation. Netflix has understood that taking risks can pay off, but as soon as they don’t, any “misinvestments” are avoided —case in point are the recent cancellations of excellent, culturally significant shows such as Everything Sucks! and One Day at a Time due to insufficient viewers. That being said, it’s great to see some strong, original television being brought to the mainstream. One example particularly stands out in this context; co-created and written by regular collaborators and North-American indie darlings Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, The OA is a tightly plotted and character-focused genre mishmash that handles its concerns of trauma, belief, death and human relationships with a stunning amount of suspense, vigor and pathos.

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The show’s premise is one that is hard to encapsulate. A hurricane of mysteries sets the ground for the events surrounding Prairie Johnson (played by Brit Marling), her mysterious disappearance—and return. Prairie used to be blind, but has her sight has been restored after reappearing on the radar. The incident draws a lot of attention to her and her adoptive parents, who particularly struggle to understand what happened. Instead of opening up to them or the authorities about the events and why she calls herself The Oa, Prairie contacts five people that couldn’t be more different, orders them to leave their front door open in the middle of the night and meets up with them in an abandoned house to tell her long, incredible story and the role they each play in itThe group, first plagued by skepticism and mistrust, slowly grows to be some sort of family and the fact that their only prior connection was being members of the same school, fades away.

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