• Cinephilia

    Review: On Her Shoulders

    Following an attack by the Taliban while on her way to school, Malala Yousafzai became a global advocate for peace, equality and education. Her name is known around the world, thanks in no small part to her diligent work (for which she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014), as well as the media’s pervasive coverage of her, the documentary film about her, her memoir and other books she’s written…  Potentially less well known—though just as courageous, inspiring and world-changing—is Nadia Murad, a young woman from a nearby part of the world whose life was up-ended not by the Taliban but an equally despicable force. In 2014, ISIS terrorists plundered the…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: Cold War

    Cold War is the latest film from Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski, follow-up to his Oscar-winning drama Ida. Like that deeply intimate story of a young nun discovering the truth of her ancestry in post-war Poland, Cold War unfolds in the years after World War II, as that country begins to rebuild both its cities and its reputation, each quite damaged from years of combat and propaganda. Filmed in a lush black and white (also like Ida) that immediately conjures a sense of nostalgia and austerity, central to this story of starting over is an ill-fated love affair between a young performer (a simply astonishing Joanna Kulig) and the dashing instructor and band…

  • Cinephilia

    Review: El Angel

    True crime stories are big business. Since the success of the blockbuster podcast Serial, seemingly every producer, writer and director in any medium is looking for the next big crime story to tell. Just look at the latest Netflix offerings on any given week…there’s always a new criminal to profile, a new mystery to try to solve. Which is what makes El Angel, a dramatization of the life of Argentina’s most notorious serial killer, such a captivating treat of a film. Not only is the timing perfect for a profile of the babyfaced, remorseless criminal who terrorized Buenos Aires in the 1970s, but as an import from the southern hemisphere, it’s likely…

  • City Stories

    2018 [on stage]

    I broke a personal record of sorts in 2018: thanks to exceptional access via Third Coast Review (hello, media tickets!), I saw a whopping 35 theatrical productions over the course of twelve months. From storefront productions to world-class opera and everything in between, there were weeks I saw several shows in a row. And of course, who can forget that super-festive holiday run in December. (To put this all in perspective, consider this: I only saw seven shows in 2017!) There are several highlights (and low-lights) that come to mind when I look back on the full list of shows (recorded below for posterity). Generally speaking, I’m most grateful for…