Hot Takes

Jingle Jangle (Netflix): Re-Capturing Joy

By Jacob Sahms The toy inventor Jeronicus Jangle has joy, oodles and oodles of joy. He creates for anyone and everyone, until the fateful night when his apprentice Gustafson steals from him. This is the story that a wise old grandmother (Phylicia Rashad) tells her grandchildren between the fire and the Christmas tree. It doesn’t […]

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix): Rising Up, with Family

By Jacob Sahms In the late 1990s, a smart Appalachian teen finds his place in the world thanks to a knack for algebra and the hard knock home education he receives from his family. In bittersweet terms, his life is both a representation of the struggle of poor America and the culmination of generations of […]

The Mandalorian (Season 2, Episode 1): Are We In This Together?

By Jacob Sahms Thanks to the global pandemic that has ripped major motion pictures (Wonder Woman 1984, No Time to Die) from theaters for the seven months, the first episode of the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian might be the most-anticipated project of 2020. That’s not to say that it would’ve been received without […]

Love and Monsters: Do You Have What it Takes?

By Jacob Sahms After a giant asteroid crashed toward Earth, and Earth’s nations united to fire missiles at it, and after the missiles destroyed the asteroid but rained down chemicals on all living things, ninety-five percent of the population was killed off by mutated bugs and other mutated live forms. Joel (Dylan O’Brien, Maze Runner, […]

St. Benedict’s Prep Headmaster Leads Young Men to Love in Benedict Men

By Jacob Sahms Watching Quibi’s Benedict Men, produced and narrated by Steph Curry, there are basketball players, who fly up and down the screen via Quibi’s documentary series. Their stories move quickly, struggling on and off the court to balance school, the game they see as a way out, and the relationships around them. And […]

The Fugitive (Quibi): Old School Thriller with Social Justice Take

By Jacob Sahms In 1963, David Janssen starred as Dr. Richard Kimble, wrongly-accused of his wife’s murder, framed by a one-armed man, and pursued by police lieutenant Philip Gerard (Barry Morse). Thirty years later, Harrison Ford reprised Janssen’s role and fled Tommy Lee Jones’ U.S. Marshal, and spawned a sequel. Now, only on Quibi, the […]

Benedict Men (Quibi): What Hurts My Brother

By Jacob Sahms From producer Steph Curry, Quibi’s Benedict Men presents a hybrid look at basketball and faith, with a healthy influence of racial justice. The documentary from director Jonathan Hock, who has filmed the stories of Duke Basketball, Chris Herren, Sebastian Telfair, and others, chronicles a season in the life of Newark’s (NJ) St. […]

Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs: Image Issues

By Jacob Sahms A mash-up of the Grimm Brothers’ Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and a Danish fairy tale called Red Shoes, Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs finds the principal characters meeting again, but in a whole new way. Snow White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is the kind and chubby daughter of King White, […]

Mulan’s Character, From Esther to Jesus

By Jacob Sahms The live-action remake of Walt Disney’s animated classic from 1998, Mulan, bears the main spirit or the marks of the original while also carving more than a little new ground. Mulan (Liu Yifei) stands in for her father, who is too old and too feeble to take his familial spot in the […]

The One and Only Ivan (Disney+): Finding Your Place & Purpose

By Jacob Sahms At the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, dwindling crowds came to see the silverback gorilla Ivan (Sam Rockwell), the elephant Stella (Angelina Jolie), the baseball-playing chicken Henrietta (Chaka Khan), and other novelty animals, under the watchful eye of the mall owner Mack (Bryan Cranston). But when Mack acquires the baby […]