Jim Mckay

Jim Mckay

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Angel Rodriguez Review

Angel Rodriguez is a small-scale and elegantly understated look at one troubled urban teen's dilemmas and the equally tough challenges faced by the woman charged to help him. Spanning just two typical days in the life of 16-year-old Angel (Jonan Everett), we're given just enough time to appreciate how tough it will be for him to change his circumstances. There are no easy answers.

We meet Angel in the apartment of Nicole (Rachel Griffiths) and her husband Henry (Denis O'Hare). It isn't quite clear what the relationship between Angel and the couple is, but we know he's been invited to sleep over. Only later do we realize that Nicole is Angel's generous social worker, and he has nowhere else to go. Henry is not pleased by the arrangement but tries to engage Angel, with little success. They're from different planets.

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Brother To Brother Review

Perry (Anthony Mackie) has a lot going on. He's young, black, and gay, and studying hard at Columbia while also working at a homeless shelter and trying to get noticed as a painter. Disowned by his homophobic parents, he's looking for love, meaning, purpose... all that good stuff. "There's a war inside me," he thinks to himself.

So can he end the war in the course of a 90-minute movie? Brother to Brother tackles so many issues that there's no way Perry will find all his answers, but he does make a good start with the help of the elderly Bruce Nugent (Roger Robinson), a minor figure in the Harlem Renaissance whom Perry encounters on the street and later at the shelter. Nugent, who's also gay, takes Perry back to the days of wild Harlem through a series of black-and-white flashbacks. It's there that we meet the young Bruce (Duane Boutte) along with the superstars of the era: Langston Hughes (Daniel Sunjata), Zora Neale Hurston (Aunjanue Ellis), and Wallace Thurman (Ray Ford). By listening to Nugent's stories, Perry realizes that all the prejudices he's fighting -- black vs. white, gay vs. straight, light-skinned vs. dark-skinned -- are nothing new.

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Our Song Review

Our Song never struck me as being the greatest title for a movie. It brings to mind some weepy tearjerker with an A-list diva/actress dying of terminal cancer while her nursemaid looks on, wiping away a brittle tear. Rest assured, this movie is far more substantial than the banal Hollywood weepie. Jim McKay's indie follow-up to Girls Town is another socially aware portrait of adolescence over a long, hot summer in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.

Three close friends, Lanisha (Kerry Washington), Maria (Melissa Martinez) and Jocelyn (Anna Simpson), listen to their favorite song on the radio ("Ooh, child... things are gonna get easier... we'll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun") and wonder what the future has in store. As they go through their routines of shoplifting, flirting, grabbing a slice, or making plans to catch a movie, their relationships inevitably change as young friendships always do. McKay is well serviced by superb cinematographer Jim Denault (Boys Don't Cry), who knows how to frame subtle moments with unobtrusive grace.

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Spring Forward Review

People will compare it to My Dinner with Andre. They will inevitably be wrong. People will assume that it has something to do with Daylight Savings Time. They, too, will be wrong. People will assume that just because Michael Stipe executive produced this film, it will end up seeming like Being John Malkovich. They, too, will be wrong. In point of fact Spring Forward is that rare gem, a film with no brothers or sisters to deal with, no son to look down upon or father to look up to. In the family tree of American cinema, the most Spring Forward can have are a few distant cousins.

So what is Spring Forward? Simply put, Spring Forward is unique. It is not unique in the sense of Being John Malkovich or Spectres of the Spectrum (a uniqueness tainted with the surreal), but instead unique in the point of fact that it a movie that has no plot, that has no centralized point or purpose... that has nothing but characters. The characters are Murph (Ned Beatty) and Paul (Schreiber), two city parks department workers in Connecticut who spend one year talking while on the job.

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