'Napkins' Is The Bear's Way Of Fighting Off Runaway Ambition

In a world that feels like a never-ending hamster wheel of ambition, sometimes you want the comfort of routine to get you through the day. You could even argue The Bear itself could use a bit more routine to balance Carmy’s unrelenting need to get a Michelin star. Until ‘Napkins,’ everyone gets caught up in the tornado of Carmy’s anxieties, falling in love with the wrong kind of process. It’s unclear if the partnership between Carmy and Sydney will survive or if Cicero might decide to up and pul...

'Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F' Is Here To Erase The 1994 Film

‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel F’ begins as all of the previous action comedy installments have in the past  — with Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy) getting into some trouble going above and beyond to stop crime in Detroit. This time, he’s staking out a gang operation during a Detroit Red Wings game with a fellow detective who is brimming with adulation that THE Axel Foley wants to hang out. In a classic mode of Murphy humor, he hilariously speaks to his partner’s surprise about a Black man wanting to go to...

'Maxxxine' Nails It's 1980s Vibes , But Not A Gratifying Conclusion

When we see a now 33-year-old Maxine Mixx (Mia Goth) approaching an audition for The Puritian II, the sequel to a B-horror film with a cult following, she is resolute living within her pastoral father’s saying, “I will not accept a life I will not deserve.” She was the lone survivor of the “Texas Porn Star Massacre” in writer-director Ti West’s 2022’s ‘X,’ so it’s pretty much uphill from there. When she says her lines confidently (A script? Maxine doesn’t need a script!), her way of transferring...

'The Bear' S3E3 Review: Repetition Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be - Substream Magazine

With The Bear, you can bank on an episode chronicling the heightened anxiety and anguish of running a restaurant. In the first season, there was the way-too-many-order meltdown of ‘Review,’ last season; it was the family and friends night gone wrong with ‘The Bear,’ and now we have ‘Doors.’ Carmy finds solace in structure because it’s the only thing he seems to have a grip on in his life. This is why he creates the non-negotiable list as a personal set of commandments to abide by. But the funny...

'The Bear' Season 3, Episode 2 Review: A New, Shaky Chapter Is Non-Negotiable

“Take us there, Bear.” That’s a lot of pressure upon the shoulders of someone who is barely holding it all together in the first place. Is it possible Carmy is the capable leader The Bear needs him to be, considering he’s locked inside a routine that doesn’t allow for any malleability to be considerate to the others around him? “Next” perhaps feels like the collective of The Bear is looking to move forward, but not with a sense of identity other than Carmy’s quest to get a Michelin star. There’s...

'The Bear' Season 3, Episode 1 Review: 'Tomorrow'

It’s all about what you can control, which is exactly why Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) finds his home in the kitchen preparing food. In ‘The Bear’s’ season three premiere, ‘Tomorrow,’ Carmy is writing a list of non-negotiables drawn from his previous travels and experiences. They run the gambit of saying “perfect means perfect” and “not about you,” a lot of principles that one would think are pillars of a successful restaurant. One of the very first ones he writes down is “less is more” –  somethi...

'Tuesday Loses It's Grip On It's Interesting Ideas About Death

Death is a terrifying certainty to deal with from many sides of the spectrum — from those who feel it breathing down their necks to the others bracing themselves for feeling the profound sense of absence. For the early part of writer-director Daina O. Pusić’s ‘Tuesday,’ there’s a view from the eyes of Death itself straight from an immortal, growing in size macaw (voiced by Arinzé Kene), once lush with color and now covered with dirt, downtrodden, and inundated by voices calling out to it to help...

Can The 'A Quiet Place' Franchise Be As Effective In A Theater Landscape That Wants To Do the Opposite? - Substream Magazine

It’s April 2018, and I’m heading to the AMC in Kips Bay with a friend to see A Quiet Place. In being a horror fan, you’ve seen every which way a jump scare can and almost every single theme that comes along with it. I was craving something fresh, and that’s precisely what I got. The theater was nearly complete, and you could feel the weight of everyone immersed in this experience collectively. Nobody wanted to make noise as if we were a part of the plot line in which comping on our popcorn would...

'A Quiet Place: Day One' Locks Into the Human Aspect of the Alien Invasion (and It Works) - Substream Magazine

The first words you see upon a wide shot of New York City of director Michael Sarnoski’s ‘A Quiet Place: Day One’ is that noise level averages 90 decibels — which would mirror a constant scream. That’s horrible news when you consider how the ferocious aliens (called Death Angels in canon) operate concerning sound and how densely populated the city is. It’s a recipe for disaster and carnage. In 2021’s ‘A Quiet Place Part II,’ the film slightly looks at the first day of this invasion from the orig...

'The Knife's Single Location Thriller Speaks To Who Is Afforded the Benefit of The Doubt - Substream Magazine

This review is a part of our 2024 Tribeca Festival coverage.
After a long day of construction, Chris (played by first-time director Nnamdi Asomugha) finishes the bathroom backsplash and unwinds with his music and headphones. He goes outside, where he drinks a beer (hesitant at first) and goes home to his wife Alex (Aja Naomi King) and his three children. One of the tools Asomugha exhibits a comfort level within his directorial debut, “The Knife,” is escalation—even better to establish enough of...

There's A Enjoyable Story Inside 'The Watchers' It Just Can't Find - Substream Magazine

A forest in the middle of Ireland seems to trap anybody who steps inside it in its own warped sense of time and space. An American protagonist languishes in a foreign country, mired by the tragedy of her past. Oh, and entities that seem to gain enjoyment from being observers of the humans they trap for a strange reason. Ishana Shyamalan’s first feature, ‘The Watchers, ’ based upon A.M. Shine’s novel of the same name, has the ingredients to build upon its premise that draws upon the fairy tale an...

'Ghostlight's Brilliance Lies At The Meeting Point Between Community Theater and Forgiveness - Substream Magazine

Kelly O’Sullivan and Alex Thompson’s second feature, ‘Ghostlight,’ opens in a conventional manner that conceals its deeply poignant emotional undercurrent. Dan (Keith Kupferer) wakes up in the waking hours to get ready for his construction job while a version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oh, What A Beautiful Morning” plays in the background. You can envision this song from the 1943 Broadway musical ‘Oklahoma’ against images of caution tape and noisy jackhammers and see the funny irony. But this...

Can Everybody Please Be Normal About the WNBA?

Like many others, I was excited about the WNBA opening its doors to new fandom. The 2024-2025 season is coming off the headwinds of an NCAA women’s basketball tournament that drew record-high viewership and boasted an incredible draft class with players such as Angel Reese, Kamilla Cardosa, Cameron Brink, and the highly decorated Caitlin Clark. It felt like a perfect synergy, as the WNBA was experiencing record-high ratings. With more eyes, the hope is that you get fans that follow the new playe

‘Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga’ Unveils Another Side of George Miller's Cruel World and A Heroine Rising Within It

In 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road,” Tom Hardy’s iteration of Mad Max tells Charlize Theron’s version of Furiosa, “Hope is a mistake. If you can’t fix what’s broken, you’ll go insane.” Throughout these projects, director George Miller’s visceral shows a world ravaged by catastrophe where hope is in short supply, much like the resources those who remain fight to the death over. In Fury Road, Max reluctantly joins Furiosa’s quest to mute the ghost voices in his mind of those he could not have, while Fu

The Ineffectiveness of 'Back To Black' and the Shortcomings of Biopic Depictions

Biographical dramas are a harrowing venture because you condense a person or collection of people’s history into a two-hour digestible medium. When the subject is no longer alive, that story becomes the amalgamation of thoughts and voices. There’s the director, the writer (or writing team), and the surviving members of that person (whether it be family, an estate, or a combination of both). Humans, especially musicians, have given us joy, but we are also complex individuals with ups and downs. I

'The Strangers: Chapter 1' Is Only Here To Justify The Films To Come After

It’s not just the terrifying means to the end that was the lifeblood of the effectiveness of the 2008 “The Strangers” original that made it so harrowing. There was also the randomness in which it occurred and the possibility of happening to any of us from a remote location. Within slasher/suspense films, the main antagonist usually has a motive. However, in this case, the chilling compass of the three masked killers is earmarked by one sentence; “Because you were home.” The attacks weren’t a res

'IF's Emotional and Imaginative Canvases Can't Seem To Co-Exist

As we age, many things tug at the threads of our imagination to which the semblance may barely exist. The capitalistic society of labor may dilute a sense of work/life balance to the point where we might refrain from indulging in the hobbies we love the most. On top of that is the truth that life is finite and that as we grow older, the loss of the people we love becomes more of a possibility. Sometimes, it’s in a prolonged matter; in other cases, it happens without warning. Nevertheless, it jos

'The Fall Guy's Quick Move To VOD Put Hollywood's Theatrical Still Shaky Relationship On Display

When I attended this year’s SXSW, ‘The Fall Guy’ was one of the films that received the most attention and had lines wrapped around the block to get into. Given the cast, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this would be a surefire hit. You have Ryan Gosling fresh off the massive success of ‘Barbie,’ Emily Blunt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Winston Duke, and Hannah Waddingham as a great ensemble. The premise of a stuntman thrown into this over-the-top action conspiracy while trying to help his ex-girlfr

The Apple Fell Too Far From the Tree

From 1997 to 2002, Apple’s mythos was to “think different.” That slogan accompanied a commercial highlighting some of the 20th-century’s most significant figures, from Pablo Picasso to Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Einstein, Jim Henson, and Frank Lloyd Wright. At that point, the company was on the precipice of redefining the concept of technology in our daily lives. There was the IMac, the early iteration of the Apple Store, Apple’s operating system, the iPod, and the Apple TV and iPhone soon a

'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' Still Has Something To Say

‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ could have elected to go the straightforward route in leveling the seesaw battle of dominance between highly evolved apes and humans that have switched places in the hierarchy of society. But Wes Ball’s installment, which takes place 300 years after 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes, exquisitely and smartly operates in grey. Within the center of Josh Friedman’s story is the overarching meaning of legacy and how it can be interpreted through generations. ‘K

'Mind Body Spirit' Takes A 'Hereditary' Sized Chunk Out of Wellness Culture

Sifting through influencer culture in conjunction with health advice might be horrific enough, but ‘Mind Body Spirit’ takes a ‘Paranormal Activity ‘-found footage stylistic choice and places it within the nightmare of a singular person searching for identity. There’s enough of a pitfall searching for yourself amongst the eyes and the dopamine of an audience—it’s a drug you’ll never seem to get enough of. Alex Henes and Matthew Merenda place this meta-commentary on the many states of wellness cha

Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake Also Dealt With Our Perception of Musical Output and Frequency

J. Cole’s now-taken-back diss track ‘7 Minute Drill’ had a couple of lines that some saw as criticism of Kendrick Lamar’s musical output. “He averagin’ one hard verse like every thirty months or somethin‘ /If he wasn’t dissin’, then we wouldn’t be discussin’ him.” It is the same sentiments that Drake said (in another deleted for different reasons), ‘Taylor Made Freestyle,’ “I guess you need another week to figure out how to improve / What the f*ck is taking so long? We waitin’ on you.” After “Li

'New Life's Cat-and-Mouse Story Peels Back To Reveal Something Engrossing

John Rosman’s ‘New Life’ opts for subtlety as it presents its main protagonists in what you think are two different paths that will eventually collide. On the one side, the audience sees the first visual of a blooded and out-of-breath Jessica (Hayley Erin) looking to escape something or someone. While languishing alone in the Pacific Northwest, she’s looking to get to Canada in a hurry. The only glimpse is a couple of armed men looking through her house as she escapes. What did Jess do that has

'Unfrosted' Is Better Left Kept In Its Silver Packaging

What if I told you there was a proxy war between Kellogg’s and Post as they raced to their version of the Pop-Tart out into the world in the early 1960s? Yes, the one you might have eaten this morning may have been a vehicle of contention during The Cold War if you take “Unfrosted: The Pop-Tarts Story” as gospel. In reality, the film stakes between the real and comedic device because it seeks a more compelling story than its subject matter allows. America was deep in the throes of adding cereal
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About Me

Journalist, Self-published author of five books, podcast host, and photographer since 2014, Murjani Rawls has been stretching the capabilities of his creativity and passions. Rawls has as a portfolio spanning through many mediums including music, television, movies, and more. Operating out of the New York area, Rawls has photographed over 200+ artists spanning many genres, written over 800 articles, and a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic. His career aspirations continue to develop as his years in media continue.