Beyoncé, Country Music, and the Weight of the American Flag

My first vivid memory of discovering country music was with my grandmother and discovering that she liked Randy Travis. This was a woman who was devoutly devoted to listening to gospel music, so it was a shock to me. It was also at the beginning of finding music outside of hip-hop and R&B. In those moments, there’s something pure about having something different permeate your senses. It’s because there’s a protective encasement around that sense of wonder that does not apply to gatekeeping — bec

Writer/Director Shannon Triplett Talks 'Desert Road' and Grounding Her Sci-Fi Odyssey With Emotional Stakes

What first things come to mind when you think about the desert? I bet it’s the extreme heat and endless amounts of sand (and you wouldn’t be wrong). What would be next is that it’s the wrong place to get stranded because the infinite horizon doesn’t seem like it will reward you with reprieve — instead, uncertainty is often the most unsettling thing to experience. Shannon Triplett’s directorial debut, Desert Road, is born out of a personal story where her boyfriend went for a run, got lost, and h

Director William Oldroyd speaks on ‘Eileen’ and the art of adapting a romantic mystery

Eileen often feels like it marches to the beat of a ticking clock, and it’s not necessarily one thing bound to erupt. It’s the 1960s small town Massechutes life that bounds one woman like a tomb. The title character (played by Thomasin McKenzie) prefers to fade into the background as a secretary at a private correctional facility for young men. She calls it Moorehead, and it might as well mirror a personal prison she’s locked within. Her co-workers don’t care for her; Eileen’s former police offi

‘Dream Scenario’s Kristoffer Borgli speaks on societal phenomenons, influencer culture, and how his film shapes it all

Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is just a regular middle-aged biology professor who you probably wouldn’t take a second glance at if you walked by him in a supermarket. Paul knows this too, with his snazzy sweaters and two daughters who think he’s highly uncool. Well, at least his wife Janet (Julianne Nicholson) loves him. What if this average person unexpectedly started strolling into your dreams? Not to rearrange anything or reconstruct a deep dark memory you might have, but to pass by? It’s cree

Saying the show must go on during the Hollywood strikes is not a form of solidarity

The show must go on, but it's not a good slogan regarding the ongoing historic dual WGA and SAG-AFRA strikes. While the lights continue to be off in many studio lots, the non-WGA shows Live with Kelly and Mark and Sherri have returned to filming. But, the considerable backlash was geared toward Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher. Barrymore and Maher had put out respective statements and stated they would bring back their respective shows without using WGA writers. There was a pseudo apology (that als

Director Jeff Rowe speaks on putting the youthful energy back inside ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’

I had various entry points concerning my long-standing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fandom. There was, of course, the 1990 live-action film, the Saturday morning cartoon with the infectious opening song, and the Nintendo and arcade games. We’ve been through decades of Ninja Rap, reboots and remakes, and larger-than-life costumes. With a beloved franchise such as this, it’s a formidable challenge to approach it without leaning on the things we already know.

That’s where Teenage Mutant Ninja Turt

Directors Danny and Michael Philippou on ‘Talk To Me’ and creating the cure for the common possession film

This interview was conducted before the SAG-AFRA strike.

If there was a game that allowed the dead to enter your body for thirty seconds, would you do it? If you said no, I wouldn’t blame you. Now, add the layer of losing somebody close to you. If you lost a family member or best friend and that game gave you a glimmer of hope to speak to them again, would you reconsider? That scenario will make you think a bit.

Twin brother filmmakers Danny & Michael Philippou know their ways around social me

Director Lee Cronin and ‘Evil Dead Rise’: Apartment buildings full of evil, deadites, and kitchen appliances

For over 40 years, The Evil Dead franchise started by Sam Raimi has made us cringe at the sight of unsuspecting victims reading from the Necronomicon (the book of the dead), showing the terror and sometimes comical sides of the deadites, and championing the usage of rusty chainsaws. Where most of the iterations of the franchise’s horrific stylings originate from a remote cabin in the woods, writer/director Lee Cronin moved the location to an apartment building in Los Angeles.

Given that Cronin

Director Joslyn Rose Lyons on ‘Stand’ and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s long journey back

In speaking with director Joslyn Rose Lyons about Stand, a documentary chronicling the life of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, the word light came up frequently. Justifiably, we think of light positively. Lights show us the way and bring us warmth. However, light also offers things to the forefront that we might not be ready to see. Light often attracts some darkness. Mahmoud has never allowed limitations and impediments to hold him back.

Born Chris Jackson, he grew up in Gulfport, Mississippi. Despite pov

Director Ken Rodgers on ‘The Bullies of Baltimore’ and giving a legendary defense their day in the sun

Let me throw some statistics out there (since we’re in a heavy analytics era). The 2000 Baltimore Ravens' defense allowed only 10.3 points average (the record low for a 16-game season), had 49 takeaways, and only allowed 970 yards of rushing total (another league record). That Baltimore Ravens team with players such as Ray Lewis, Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, Jamal Lewis, the late Tony Siragusa, Trent Dilfer, and Sam Adams carried a hearty confidence that they were going to beat your team into su

Director Kyle Edward Ball speaks on ‘Skinamarink’ and manufacturing a different type of haunted house

Writer/director/editor Kyle Edward Ball seemed destined to make Skinamarink his first full-length feature that transports you to a time when it appeared the confines of your home could work against you. His YouTube channel, Bitesized Nightmares, is full of shorts based on the reoccurring dreams people who watched his videos have had. When we think of the monster in the house, it’s often paired with the reassurance from our parents that everything is going to be alright. They’ll check under the b

Director Matt Sobel Speaks On 'Goodnight Mommy' and It's Narrative Differences From the 2014 Original

Remakes, reboots, and continuations are a commonality within the horror genre. Just this year, a Texas Chainsaw Massacre film was released, which follows the first two films canonically, and the Laurie Stroud/Michael Myers saga is set to wrap up with Halloween Ends. Franchises such as Nightmare On Elm Street, The Exorcist, and Hellraiser have either received or are about to be touched by the refresh treatment. One sub-genre of this is that of foreign films being transposed for an American audien

Director Carey Williams and Writer K.D. Dávila Discuss 'Emergency' and Adding Social Commentary to the Buddy Comedy Genre

When you have a recent coming-of-age buddy comedy film, they usually have the following elements. A group of friends typically predicate all their social hopes and dreams on doing the impossible (and most times, illegal) for one night. In that period, they argue, discover traits about themselves they didn’t know beforehand and then venture triumphantly into the sunrise of the next day. Director Carey Williams and writer K.D. Dávila follows some of those themes in Emergency; their 2018 award-winn

Director Kate Dolan Speaks On 'You Are Not My Mother,' Irish Folklore, and the Side of Motherhood We Don't See

One of the most frightening things a person can witness is a person they love morphing into someone they don’t recognize, and there’s no way to help. What if the ghosts haunting your hallways are the memories of the times you used to share with a parent? Char (Hazel Doupe) is already having a tough time adjusting to school, fighting off bullies, and trying to make friends. Her mother, Angela (Carolyn Bracken), is going through a rough time, often lying in the confines of her dark bedroom. One da

'All My Friends Hate Me' Review: A Darkly Funny and Anxiety Inducing Catch Up Session Amongst Old Friends

When old friends get together after a long-standing break, there’s the saying of “picking up where you left off.” In reality, is that even possible? Sure, you’ll always have the memories, but is it really fair to say everything will be the same? One of the few constants in life is change—especially when talking about people. We all get new jobs, significant others, and fall into living situations that mold us into something different.

Pete (Tom Stourton) is excited to spend some time with old c

Director Lauren Hadaway Speaks About 'The Novice,' and the Essence of Rowing

Determination is defined as a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something difficult. It’s the quality that we love in all of our sports heroes—either driving down the field in the 4th quarter or putting up the last shot to beat the buzzer for the win. Well, there’s a road to get there. A lot of training, sacrifices, blood, sweat, and tears. You know the sayings. However, what if that drive turns into something darker where you can no longer recognize yourself? Where you c

Director Camille Griffin Speaks About 'Silent Night' and Setting the End of the World During Christmas

The Christmas season is full of wonderful things—Santa, Candy Canes, snow, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” played around the clock. It’s a time of giving, love, and where you spend time with those who are closest to you. Now, imagine this and the end of the world was the next day. How would you choose to spend it then? Would you pretend as if nothing was happening and indulge yourself in holiday bliss? Or would you try to fight off the end from coming? First-time writer/director Cami

Creator Valerie Armstrong Speaks On 'Kevin Can F**k Himself' and How the Show Tackles Themes Hidden In the 'Laugh Track'

At first glance, Kevin Can F**k Himself seems like a typical family sitcom. It’s complete with prototypical characters, laugh tracks, and problem-of-the-week situations that many shows have patterned themselves for years. However, as you dive deeper into its clever setup, you’ll discover that creator/executive producer Valerie Armstrong has a lot of smart things to say. Within Worcester, Massachusetts, Allison McRoberts (Annie Murphy) has grown increasingly unhappy in her marriage to husband, Ke

Oh Wonder Find That the Only Way Out Lies Within Each Other

’22 Break,’ the fourth album from London-based alt-pop duo, Oh Wonder, is an honest depiction of the struggles that they experienced during that period. Through the pandemic, many people underwent an inner metamorphosis. Things that they deemed essential experienced a reshuffling. In some cases, the partners and relationships received a massive shock because there was nowhere to run from the truths tucked away through various modes of escape. The music industry was at a standstill – the halls an

Thrice Urges You To Be Present While They Continue To Expand Their Musical Horizons On 'Horizons/East'

Horizons/East, the 11th album from California-grown rock back Thrice, is a through-line of musical exploration and finding where ideas can lead. Change has always been the constant symbolic pillar of the band — from the electronics of 2005’s Vheissu to the four parts of The Alchemy Index, where the band made groups of songs to mimic the behaviors of the four elements. This album is a buffet of influences and musical curiosities. From the jazz club, piano feel of ‘Northern Lights’ to the aggressi

Noah Kahan Has Done A Lot of Growing and Is Ready To Show the World How Much

Around June 2019, I spoke to singer/songwriter Noah Kahan about his debut album, Busyhead. It was a particular time in his life where he was on the precipice of the stardom that he always wanted. Kahan’s brand of folk-pop spoke candidly about the excitement and the apprehension of leaving the comfort of everything you once knew behind. Like the past year and a half, many of us had some time to do a bit of self-reflection. There were few places to go where we could run to. Perhaps it was back to

Revenge Wife Proves That There's Power In A Name

There’s a saying that in order for new things to arrive, let things go. That adage rang true for Elizabeth Nistico. Formerly known as lead singer and co-founder of the duo HOLYCHILD, the project would soon meet its ending point in December 2019. Even as HOLYCHILD was slowing down, Nistico began the DNA of Revenge Wife, her solo project in 2017. It’s not just music, but houses all her artistic endeavors. Nistico is an art director and director of all her videos, along with creating the treatments

Actress Carly Pope Speaks About 'Demonic,' Her Character, and Working With New Technology

Family wounds are usually the toughest to heal. Especially when there’s a presumably unforgivable act that alters the course of a mother and daughter relationship. Carly (Carly Pope) is faced with a difficult set of circumstances concerning her mother, Angela (Natalie Boltt) ad a young age. With that was a desire to forget the circumstances of her past and forge a new life and identity. Something draws her back. Her mother, who is in a coma, has been kept under the care of a mysterious company.

Alexa Mansour On 'The Walking Dead: World Beyond' and the Evolution of Hope's Character

Within the worlds of AMC’s The Walking Dead and Fear The Walking Dead, there’s a certain sense of bleakness that has permeated throughout the long-running shows. Landscapes overtaken by zombies and the humans left behind to pick up the pieces. Some characters audiences have clung to as they tried to build a sense of community. Others we have grown to hate as you realize that the horrors and difficulties don’t just lie within the undead. It’s also the primal nature of the living that can get you,
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