Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015) Chloe Zhao – Movie Reviews

Set in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Songs My Brothers Taught Me primarily revolves around seventeen-year-old brother Johnny Winters and his eleven-year-old sister Jashaun, living with their alcoholic single mother Lisa below the poverty line. With local jobs in very short supply, John makes a few bucks here and there delivering bootleg alcohol and weed to his Oglala Lakota brethren in a place plagued by alcoholism and a lack of easy roads in life.  Meanwhile, their biological father, a rodeo performer who sired over two dozen half-brothers and sisters in his lifetime around the reservation with many different women, has died in a fire.  The community gets together in their mourning, but the wounds run deep, leaving an anguished Jashaun wanting the closeness of her brother who is already making plans to leave her behind to move thousand of miles away with his girlfriend Aurelia, who is on the verge of leaving to go to college in Los Angeles.

The Boy and the Beast (2015) Anime Movie Reviews

The story involves a nine-year-old boy named Ren, who, after the untimely death of his mother after a bitter divorce, ends up filled with despair and rage, roaming the streets of Tokyo rather than live with his distant relatives.  That’s when Ren is spotted by a Kumatetsu, a hot-tempered ursine beast from another dimension where animal-men rule supreme, Jutengai.  Ren ends up following Kumatetsu into an alley that serves as a portal back to the a supernatural place where shape-shifting humanoid animals with otherworldly powers, and where humans are not allowed because of their dark predilection for death and destruction.  An exception is made for Ren, redubbed as Kyuta (for his age, “nine”) who has been taken in, rather reluctantly, as the Kumatetsu’s apprentice, and given the undisciplined beast-man is one of two possible successors that will ascend to the rule of the fantastical domain, he has some leeway in this regard.  Both are ill-equipped to handle their newfound roles as mentor and apprentice, especially as they butt heads constantly, but they soon learn to make it work to their benefit and actually do some learning and growing from one another.

Mustang (2015) Deniz Gamze Erguven – Movie Reviews

Five orphaned, loving, and seemingly carefree sisters living in a very conservative town in Turkey are growing up fast — so fast that when they’re spotted engaging in a bit of innocent horseplay with some local boys, they’re immediately disciplined, and the home in which they reside takes to locking down the girls, placing a virtual ‘chastity belt’ around the home of bars and high walls, before they go out and bring shame to the family and village they’re in. Their day-to-day existence also changes, whereby their guardians and other local ladies put them through a “wife factory”, showing them how to dress, cook, sew, and other things they should know in order to fetch the first available man through the process of arranged marriage.

London Has Fallen (2016) Gerard Butler – Movie Reviews

The story begins in Pakistan, with an American drone strike on the abode of terrorist-supplying arms dealer Aamir Barkawi, where a wedding appears to be taking place. Two years later, the unfortunate death of the British prime minister has many world leaders converging on London to attend his funeral. That’s when the enemies of the Western world, led by Barkawi (who somehow managed not to die in the drone strike), decide to strike back, with an elaborate plot to assassinate all of the heads of state and to blow up all of London’s most prominent landmarks, with many of the terrorists out and about in the guise of the local police and palace guards, making it difficult for the military to separate friend from foe. However, President of the United States Benjamin Asher is still alive, thanks to the continues heroic efforts of his Secret Service super-agent, Mike Banning, who must work twice as hard as ever before to make sure the terrorists don’t succeed in their plan on kidnapping Asher and executing him live on world television.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) Tina Fey – Movie Reviews

Tina Fey stars as Kim Baker, a journalist stuck in a life rut while working in television news as a copy-editor in New York, who ends up taking on an assignment to cover the war in Afghanistan beginning in 2003. What initially had been intended as a three-month gig end up being much longer (we immediately know she’s still there in 2006, based on the film’s prologue), much to the chagrin of her boyfriend back home. In Kabul, she’s immediately a fish out of water, dealing with the many macho men in the Marines, violence seemingly erupting without notice around her, and with none of the amenities back home. While there, she’s immediately taken in by the pool of fellow war correspondents and their entourage of photographers and bodyguards, who enjoy blowing off considerable steam in the evenings, while in the daytime, it’s still as dog-eat-dog for news stories as it had been back home.

Gods of Egypt (2016) Gerard Butler – Fantasy Movie Reviews

The film is set in Ancient Egypt, at a time when gods and human co-existed in the lands. The gods were like humans, mortal and fallible, but were twice as tall and their veins coursed with gold instead of blood. Each of them also had unique superhuman abilities like flight. Our main protagonist is Horus, the god of the air, who is set to ascend to take over Egypt from his father Osiris. However, those plans are soon foiled when Set, the arrogant and ambitious younger brother of Osiris, mounts a murderous coup and takes over the lands himself, plucking out Horus’ eyes in the process, rendering him powerless. It’s a dark time for Egypt, who all, gods and men alike, become subservient to their new king Set, who also immediately makes the newly dead pay a heavy fee in order to secure a place in the afterlife. Meanwhile, a roguish human named Bek, seeking to resurrect his murdered love Zaya with divine help, allies with the banished Horus to thwart Set’s quest to steal away all of the powers of the remaining gods.