Film Review: “Belle” Is a Peculiar Remix of “Beauty and the Beast”

My review for Belle on Film Festival Today!
If you dig “Beauty and the Beast” re-tellings, definitely check out “Belle.” Full review on FilmFestivalToday. This film is gorgeous and deeply moving. I cried more than once because, fair warning: it’s largely a grief story.

Belle is not much of a commentary on social-media culture or technology, nor is it even a straightforward love story. Instead, it’s largely an exploration of trauma, both immediate and long-term, specifically relating to loss and abuse … the film feels a bit crowded in story and theme … That said, the emotion is deft and hard-hitting, the plot far from predictable, and the mystery of who people really are behind their U façades offers surprisingly high stakes. There’s some role-switching, but more often writer/director Mamoru Hosoda blends archetypes and motivations between characters.


Read the full review on Film Festival Today:
“Belle” Is a Peculiar Remix of “Beauty and the Beast”


Film Review: “India Sweets and Spices” Delivers Lush Spectacle and Deeper Meaning

My review for India Sweets and Spices on Film Festival Today.
This film was a delight and I would absolutely watch it again!

India Sweet and Spices has a lot to say. There are significant statements about culture, class, generational divides, and economic disparity, but writer/director Geeta Malik (Troublemaker) has a deft hold of her film and conveys these messages in a delightful story that largely avoids clichés, staying grounded, throughout. The film has a self-awareness and compelling rhythm that draws you in and makes you want to stay … The film does an especially great job showing how individual choices affect those around us … This is really a coming-of-age story … and though the film winds up relatively happily, it doesn’t erase all of what’s come before. The characters at the center of the story have a strong sense of what matters most and, ultimately, so do we.


Read the full review on Film Festival Today:
“India Sweets and Spices” Delivers Lush Spectacle and Deeper Meaning