‘Madres’ Star Ariana Guerra on How Film Can Tell Stories to Inspire Change

Madres is a bit of an enigma as a film. Billed as a horror movie about a Mexican American couple in 1970 who move to California for better opportunities as the due date for their first born approaches, the film takes inspiration from a very real historical tragedy. In the years post WWII, California farm workers were subjected to hazardous working conditions which poisoned them with the deadly pesticides that were being sprayed over the crops. Madres aims to bring awareness to a forgotten disaster and Ariana Guerra wanted to make sure she was apart of this important story when she accepted the role of the film’s protagonist, Diana. 

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‘The Manor’ Director Axelle Carolyn Wants to Know Why Everyone is So Afraid to Grow Old

Axelle Carolyn has been a lover of the horror genre from the beginning of her career. Ever since her jump from sitting in front of the screen to being behind the camera as a director, Carolyn has honed her craft to tell human stories through the genre that scares us most. For her new movie, The Manor, premiering on Amazon Prime Video as a part of “Welcome to the Blumhouse,” we were able to sit down and talk with Carolyn about life, death, and the fear of growing old.

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Gigi Saul Guerrero on Campy Horror and Respecting Your Elders in ‘Bingo Hell’

In Bingo Hell, co-writer and director Gigi Saul Guerrero creates a world of horror that harkens to the campiness of early ’80s schlock with a tale that feels as old as time itself. But it’s also a labor of love and reverence for the people in our lives that came before but are often never the protagonist of our stories — our elders. 

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‘Tales of Arise’ Review: Rising to the Occasion Never Felt So Good

I have spent most of my life playing Japanese role playing games. From the Final Fantasy series to the Shin Megami Tensei series, I have enjoyed several different JRPG titles from Japan. But one in particular was always hit or miss for me, and that was the Tales series. I bounced off of Abyss and Beseria, never owned a Gamecube to play Symphonia, finished Vesperia and liked it, but never felt the pull of replaying it. So to say that Tales of Arise is one of the best JRPGs to date is an understatement. Tales of Arise captures what makes JRPGs timeless while evolving and creating a new vocabulary of play through its storytelling and combat that I hope other studios take note of. 

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‘Ouija Japan’ Summons Greatness but is Cursed with Being Decent

Something that has always fascinated me in horror movies is that through the sheer bombastic embrace of all things repulsive in society, it can often be the best mirror image society has of itself. Whether it be through nightmare dream logic, campy visual stylization, or an over abundance of gore, when you strip the horror genre to its core there is a meaning behind the madness.

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The Haunting History of Vampires and Blackness is Captured in ‘Black as Night’

In the film Black as Night, screenwriter Sherman Payne pens a haunting and alluring tale of vampires and their victims through a lens not much often looked through. Crafting a story that centers Shawna, a 15-year-old African American woman, as she battles vampires in a modern day New Orleans against a backdrop of not only the history of Hurricane Katrina but also the generational and systemic trauma of being Black in America. 

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Super Smack is Ready to Smash Stereotypes and the Industry with New EP

Super Smack is a Filipino American rapper that has been leveling up in the music game ever since his first ep, Neon Red, hit streaming services. With a unique blend of gaming culture, anime references, good vibes, and a message for change, Super Smack’s pens music that blend pop and rap in ways that make the nerd in any of us step on the dance floor.

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‘When I’m A Moth’ is Beautiful but Doesn’t Say Anything

Waking from a dream never felt so unfinished as it did when I reached the end credits of When I’m A Moth, an independent film directed by Zachary Cotler and Magdalena Zyzak, written by Cotler. It’s a film that on paper has all the markings of being an arthouse darling — a small cast, eerie poetic dream visuals, pontifications on choice and fate with a going nowhere protagonist and yet, as I rose from my seat afterwards, it felt as if I was remembering a half dream. Unable to finish the thought of what it wanted to be but fascinated by the parts I could remember.

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‘Language Lessons’ Is A Lesson To Behold

Two people from across different continents use webcams to build a beautiful friendship rooted in understanding each other, both linguistically and emotionally in Language Lessons. Natalie Morales directs, co-writes, and stars alongside Mark Duplass in a film that is both incredibly simple in production execution and completely captivating through its narrative and strong performances.

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A Beautiful Presidential Conversation w/ Whitney Skauge and Terence Smith

In The Beauty President, Terence Smith retells his ’92 presidential campaign as his drag queen persona Ms. Joan Black in a conversational documentary short film by Whitney Skauge. Smith didn’t realize at the time it would be such a historic moment in political art, and this film captures his surprise and delight at being a part of history. 

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‘12 Minutes’ Wasn’t Long Enough to Be Compelling

It has been four days, eight hours, fifty minutes and twenty-nine seconds since I played 12 Minutes and I’ve been perplexed as to how to write this review. Normally, this would be kind of a good thing. The moment of reflection that comes after seeing something that feels profound, provoking an introspection as to why it resonated so much doesn’t happen with 12 Minutes.

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‘Americanish’ Shines a Heartwarming Light on its Community

Iman Zahawry provides a refreshing and heartwarming romantic comedy centered in a community that is so often ignored in media. What might feel like a run of the mill indie film straight from the early 2010s, the films sets itself apart and elevates itself with its likable characters and message of trying to find one’s independence and what it means to be Americanish.

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‘Unapologetic’ is an Unflinching Exploration of Activism

“What is this helping?” is one of the first sentences uttered by a white restaurant patron unsettled in Unapologetic’s first scene, where protestors express the reality of the recent deaths of Black residents in their community to unsuspecting people eating brunch at restaurants. The scene perfectly encompasses the themes and motives of this documentary: a large and triumphant call to arms to make a more honest and equal world while people sit quietly trying to ignore not only the performance, but the actual knowledge of those who are destroyed and subjugated by these injustices.

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‘Nebulous Dark’ Can’t Time Travel Enough to Be a Strong Movie

A nightmare-fueled time-traveling plot unravels in Shahin Sean Solimon’s new film, Nebulous Dark, a sci-fi movie about the world’s last human man as he wakes from deep sleep to find the Earth has been conquered by aliens. This sounds pretty straight forward for a plot, but this is only how I could fully understand the film after watching it and reading the synopsis again. If you were to watch Nebulous Dark after only seeing the trailer, as I did, you would find an almost surreal, nihilist nightmare of a film that I can’t tell if it’s poorly edited and poorly written, or if it’s actively trying to attack the viewer on a subconscious level. What I was left with was an art piece that genuinely intrigues me and is unintentionally funny, by a film that takes itself incredibly seriously.

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‘The Beauty President’ is a Beauty to Behold

As I watched the Pride flag waving as the credits ran at the end of The Beauty President, I remembered growing up in the early 2000s and how I knew nothing about what that flag meant then. That 20 years later, I can see it at my city’s town hall flying next to the United States flag. Director Whitney Skauge and the film’s subject, Terrance Alan Smith, bring a beautiful historical moment in LGBTQ+ history to the forefront with an air of grace and love that I hope everyone could see. 

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‘Bring Your Own Brigade’ Burns Bright

Two cites, two fires, and rising temperatures flare up in Bring Your Own Brigade, an American documentary film by Lucy Walker, following the aftermath of the 2018 California Camp Fire and Woolsey Fire that destroyed Paradise and Malibu, California.

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‘Frankie Quinones: Superhomies’ is a Must-Watch Comedy Special Experiment

Internet sensation Frankie Quinones arrives in a low rider with two of his most well known characters Creeper and Juanita in his first sketch and stand up comedy special on HBO in Entre Nos Presents: Frankie Quinones: Superhomies. Frankie takes us through musings and anecdotes of his life, his family, and the community he grew up in with a lovely celebration of how far he has come; however, he has a hard time withstanding the weight of sharing the stage with three strong personas. 

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