The animated film is an invaluable guide to understanding death and loss for audiences of all ages.

Universal Pictures

“The great circle of life has begun,” says Rooter, an old dinosaur, as he comforts a grieving Littlefoot in 1988’s The Land Before Time. “But, you see, not all of us arrive together at the end.”

Death is inevitable, Rooter seems to suggest, and that’s okay.

Heavy stuff for a cartoon.

I knew The Land Before Time was sad. I watched it frequently as a kid. The film hits even harder than I remembered as I watch it now with a son of my own and having experienced losses of my own.

The film revolves around dinosaurs and their struggle…

Four Black American icons grapple with history and each other.

Amazon Studios

Christmas was good to Kemp Powers.

On December 25, 2020, Soul dropped on Disney+. Powers co-wrote and co-directed the acclaimed animated feature. That same day, another Powers-penned film, One Night in Miami, opened in limited release. It would hit Amazon a few weeks later.

Both movies are told from a Black perspective, though the similarities stop there. Soul is a movie about jazz, mixed with a healthy dose of magic and fantasy. One Night in Miami isn’t about jazz, and it trades fantasy for reality. The majority of the story takes places over the course of one night following Cassius…

The New Hollywood classic is as much a film about community and acceptance as it is about independence and rebellion.

Columbia Pictures (Sony Pictures Entertainment)

A few minutes into Easy Rider, Peter Fonda tears off his wristwatch, tosses it down into the dirt. He revs up his motorcycle and hits the road. Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” blasts on the soundtrack. Opening credits roll.

Take a look at some other songs on the Easy Rider soundtrack: “I Wasn’t Born to Follow,” “If I was a Bird,” Hendrix’s “If 6 was 9.” This is a movie about freedom. Rebellion. It screams rebellion as loud as an engine’s roar.

And yet, despite its fiercely independent spirit, there are moments around dinner tables and campfires, quiet moments of…

A veteran sheriff’s deputy teams with a young detective to hunt a serial killer.

© 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

The ending isn’t the problem.

The final act of The Little Things — the latest film from writer/director John Lee Hancock — is surprising, provocative, and dark. Pitch-black noir that’s sure to leave viewers with more questions than answers. Some people will appreciate it. I suspect many will find it frustrating and unsatisfying.

But, again, the ending isn’t the problem. The problem is that everything leading up to that ending is, simply put, unremarkable. Mundane, at best. Tedious, at worst.

Denzel Washington plays Joe Deacon, a deputy with California’s Kern County Sheriff’s Department. When he is sent to Los Angeles…

Jeffrey Webb

Fiction writer, freelance journalist, book / film critic.

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