Hot Takes

Clifford the Big Red Dog: You’re Different, Just Like You’re Supposed to Be

By Jacob Sahms Clifford the Big Red Dog serves up fun for the whole family, a delightfully charming film that is bigger and better than a story created on short children’s stories from Scholastic should dare to be. Maybe that’s because of the story by Justin Malen and Ellen Rapoport, or the direction of Walt Becker, or […]

Needtobreathe Documentary Into the Mystery

By Jacob Sahms “Is music spiritual or emotional?” The central question exists at the heart of Needtobreathe’s new documentary Into the Mystery. Providing an extended behind-the-scenes look at the band’s process in making a new album, the film also serves as a state of affairs for the current lineup of the band. Founded in South […]

Paw Patrol – The Movie: Loving Your Neighbor While Wrestling with PTSD

Too often, family-friendly movies based on TV shows result in… extended episodes of the TV show with little-to-no added depth or a sort of Frankenstein-ing of the childhood characters. In Nick Jr.’s first foray into the adaptation game, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Isabela Broner brought the animated adventurer to life in a way […]

Cry Macho (HBO Max): Tackling Masculinity

By Jacob Sahms In Cry Macho, Clint Eastwood and Gran Turino collaborator Nick Schenk have adapted the screenplay from N. Richard Nash’s novel. While the story follows retired Texas rodeo cowboy Mike Milo (Eastwood) into Mexico, where he’s sent to retrieve his former boss’s, Howard Polk (Dwight Yoakam), son. Young Rafo Polk (Eduardo Minett) lives […]

The Eyes of Tammy Faye: The Spectacular Rise & Fall of a Televangelism Empire

By Jacob Sahms Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker rose to prominence with their televangelist show The PTL Club (1974-87) and the Christian-themed amusement park Heritage USA. In the dramatization of the 2000 documentary of the same name, The Eyes of Tammy Faye looks at how the couple fell in love, pursued their understanding of God’s […]

Come From Away (Apple TV+): Radical Hospitality

By Jacob Sahms On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York City. This is well-known even by young people who weren’t alive at the time. But a lesser-known story is of Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, where thirty-eight plans were forced to emergency land, the subject of husband-and-wife Irene Sankoff and David […]

Monsters at Work (Disney+): Changing Culture

By Jacob Sahms After the events of Monsters Inc., Mike and Sully (Billy Crystal and John Goodman) find themselves directing the business of the company, up to their glorious animated eyeballs in protocols, paperwork, and problems that they never imagined. Of course, they still have to deal with a cranky administrator, but this time it’s Roz’s twin […]

The Suicide Squad: Great Message Buried Under Excess

By Jacob Sahms In the latest Warner Bros./DC Comics film, a group of broken individuals join together to save the world – or at least save themselves. The Suicide Squad, a mash-up sequel and reboot of 2016’s Suicide Squad, finds a group of violent criminals going behind enemy lines to complete a mission that no […]

F9: Jumping the Shark with a Bigger Shark

By Jacob Sahms No one should be surprised at this point to find out that Vin Diesel says he wants the future of the Fast & Furious series to include time travel. They’ve driven cars out of planes, cars over planes, magnetized vehicles, had the Rock fight Jason Statham, and in the latest, F9, they’ve had a car strapped […]

Nine Days: Discover Your Soul’s Purpose

By Jacob Sahms In a world where audiences pay more for films with splashy colors exploding across CGI screens and excessive action scenes that devolve from plot points into set-ups for the next action scene, Edson Oda’s Nine Days stands out. Because it’s not the explosion that draws the audience in but the lyrical nature of the […]