Robert Daniels

Robert Daniels

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Founder of 812filmreviews.
Contributor to RogerEbert.com, ThePlaylist, Polygon, Consequence of Sound, and Film School Rejects.

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  • Embattled

    Embattled

    ★★½

    As the lightweight and welterweight WFA champion, MMA-fighter Cash Boykins (Stephen Dorff) has won every title there is to win except father of the year. Modeled after Conor McGregor, the bearded brawler with a high-skin fade, Cash is a foul-mouth bruiser, who until recently was absent from the life of his 18-year-old son Jett (Darren Mann). Our first glimpse of the pair sees Cash talking to Jett about the size of his package, as he walks to the octagon for…

  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

    ★★★★½

    It feels like a miracle not just to see Chadwick Boseman grace the screen once more, but for his final role to come in an August Wilson work. Barring the Denzel Washington-directed Fences, also starring Viola Davis, Wilson’s plays haven’t been cinematically adapted. A shame. Because few playwrights have captured the hopes, pains, and humor expressed by Black Americans with the same level of specificity as Wilson did. In the 15 years since his death from cancer, a cruelly ironic…

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  • I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    I'm Thinking of Ending Things

    ★★★★★

    A young woman (Jessie Buckley)—whose name we never know—accompanies her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) to visit his parents. Her voice over—which sometimes doesn’t play so privately—Jake intermittently asks her if she’s said something—narrates as a stream of consciousness. Everything about Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things—from the opening credits’ microscopic font to the disintegration of familiar storytelling methods—is proudly inaccessible.

    The film’s dark, cool tones intimates the nagging, creeping, nighttime fear of oblivion: whether from mental or corporeal aging.…

  • David Byrne's American Utopia

    David Byrne's American Utopia

    ★★★★★

    Spike Lee and David Byrne aren’t an obvious pairing. While the former’s oeuvre, for the most part, features unflinching stories about Black life in America, the latter became a hero to white college-educated teens everywhere. But on closer expectation, the two are more similar than different. Both are a product of New York’s 1980’s and share a mutual interest in African culture. With their album “Remain in Light,” in 1980, Byrne and the Talking Heads became some of the first…