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Review: Minding the Gap

— by BEV QUESTAD —

“This device cures heartbreak” is written on the underside of a skateboard. How much that is true is one of the themes examined in Oscar-nominated “Minding the Gap,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about a group of skateboarders from a depressed side of town in Rockford, Illinois, where 47 percent earn $15 or less an hour and a fourth of all crime is domestic.

What these boys have in common is a desire to escape, and tricky skateboarding, requiring transcendent attention, provides just that.

The problem is when these fellows come of age and find they haven’t prepared themselves for meaningful employment. How can they support themselves? (CONTINUED)


Review: Donnybrook

— by RON WILKINSON — In a land of broken promises, the raw will to survive stands in stark relief. Desperate people do desperate things and the law that most of us have the privilege of following does not count for much. Such is the hardscrabble world of Jarhead Earl and his family. Set in […][...]


Review: Capernaum

— by BEV QUESTAD — “We’re insects, my friend. Parasites!” explains Zain’s father, the defendant in a trial for parental negligence. The plaintiff is his 12-year-old son who is suing both cruel parents for giving birth to him. Capernaum is a messy place of disregard where chaos and survival instincts overcome the essential values and […][...]


Review: Hale County This Morning, This Evening

— by BEV QUESTAD — Hale County is in Alabama. Sixty percent of the population is black and 40 percent is white. The median income for a family is about $31,000. About 27 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, which includes the folks featured in this documentary. Filmmaker RaMell Ross shows that […][...]


Review: Among Wolves

— by RON WILKINSON — A motorcycle gang of traumatized war veterans rides into town. They are acting out with bike acrobatics, looking tough as nails, taking no guff. Then they are listening to the nun at the local orphanage telling them what to do about the malfunctioning wiring. There are plenty of orphans here, […][...]


Review: High Flying Bird

— by RON WILKINSON — Professional sports have reached a point of almost religious sanctity, and dogma, all over the world. As expected, the money changing hands leads to corruption, major or minor, in almost every league. Director Steven Soderbergh fit right into this film, since the modern American National Basketball Association is a company […][...]


Review: Free Solo

— by BEV QUESTAD — El Capitan, Yosemite’s seemingly sheer gray façade, juts upward majestically reflecting the morning sunrise. Experienced rock climbers, with ropes, regard it as a dangerous challenge. So, Alex Honnold’s decision to try it without equipment or partner, in other words, free solo, seems suicidal. If the idea for this film is […][...]


Review: The Heiresses

— by RON WILKINSON — An aristocratic couple grows up with the freedom to live outside societal norms in traditional Paraguay. As their money runs out, they are forced to gradually reenter a stratum of society they thought they could leave behind. Caught in social and legal currents they cannot control; Chela and Chiquita will […][...]


Review: Buffalo Boys

— by RON WILKINSON — It is a bad day for Sultan Hamza, the noble warrior and wise leader of an indigenous population in 1800’s Java. Dutch Captain Van Trach (Reinout Bussemaker – possible Oscar nomination for best slavering, demented corporate colony lackey of 2019) finds the Sultan and executes him in the most slavering, […][...]