Michelle D. Sinclair Archive

The Expanse

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June 22, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Unlike many far-future shows or movies, The Expanse is believable to a harrowing degree. There are no Vulcans, or lightsabers, or even aliens with strange protrusions from their heads. Instead, you have a premise and a plot that seem ripped straight from our past tendencies, projected into a future landscape as fascinating as it is terrible. Based on a series of novels by James S. A. Corey and set in the 23rd century, the series presents a future where humanity has colonized the inner part of the solar system, with stations located as far out as Jupiter’s moons. Even some […]

Avengers: Infinity War

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May 18, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Written by Michelle Sinclair PSA: This review is a spoiler-free zone. Despite the nauseating amount of my life that I have spent watching every tangential Marvel film to ensure I would Know All The Things going into Avengers: Infinity War, I didn’t particularly want to see it. Some of that is superhero burnout, but mostly I was turned off by the plethora of articles online speculating that the film would be the darkest installment and gushing over how many major characters could die. Not my favorite things. On top of everything else, the title Infinity War does not sound even remotely […]

Amateur

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April 20, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Netflix is releasing new movies direct to its streaming site at a rate of about one or two a week, and despite the acclaim garnered by some of its earlier projects, it is not skewing toward quality. “Throw everything at the ceiling and see what sticks” seems to be the ruling approach. From that inauspicious breeding ground comes Amateur, a social media–infused spin on the old underdog sports story. Number blindness poses challenges on the court as well—how does a point guard who can’t read the shot clock or the scoreboard control the flow of the game? Eighth grader Terron […]

Icarus

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March 23, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

When filmmaker and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel sets out to make his documentary Icarus, his premise is clear: If professionals like Lance Armstrong and other top racers can dope and get away with it (at least for awhile), can an avid yet average cyclist do the same thing? What kind of change will he see in his race times? How much difference does doping really have on an athlete’s performance? It is a whistleblower story, peeling away the grandiose rhetoric of the International Olympic Committee to reveal its rotten underbelly. The trouble is, Fogel needs an expert to teach him […]

Black Panther

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February 23, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Black Panther seems to have exploded across the movie reviewing and analyzing world, captivating critics and audiences alike as the first superhero movie with a black man in the headlining role. While I cannot speak to the emotions many people of color have described upon seeing a big-budget African superhero, I’m delighted to agree the movie is a success. I’m even willing to say director Ryan Coogler has crafted a triumph for women in a genre that is traditionally male-centric fare. This is no cardboard megalomania story or simple quest for world domination. The scars of colonialism still mutilate Africa. […]

I, Tonya

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February 2, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

The biopic has developed a certain level of grandeur over the years. Almost always “prestige” pics, such films go straight after the Oscars, with actors bringing their A game and then some to show a person’s life, tragic flaws, heroic triumphs, and everything between. They have one thing in common—a certain reverence for their subject. I, Tonya, is not that biopic. Extraordinary talent and drive brought her to the pinnacle of success, only to lose everything because of the cesspool of her roots and her own poor choices. Yes, the film is more sympathetic to Tonya Harding than public perception […]

The Post

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December 29, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

By Michelle D. Sinclair Streep. Hanks. Spielberg. With Oscar-bait like that, The Post could have rested on its headlining laurels and cranked out a movie that would have made money and won recognition regardless. Fortunately for history, the film is every bit as good as advertised. The classic book and movie All the President’s Men immortalized the most infamous event of the Nixon years, but the lesser known scandal that preceded it and positioned The Washington Post as a newspaper powerful enough to take on the president has faded from common knowledge. This is the story of the Pentagon Papers–both […]

Stranger Things 2

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November 17, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

The second season of a hit show is always going to feel a bit like the kid sister of a standout student: it reaps the benefit of a good reputation, but is also unfairly expected to fit a certain mold. Don’t get me wrong—Stranger Things 2 ticks all the ’80s adventure monster movie boxes that made the original season so entertaining. But it’s also its own story and should be enjoyed without expectations that everything will be the same as it was. After all, the truly great movie sequels don’t simply try to recreate the recipe of the original—they expand on […]

Battle of the Sexes

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October 20, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

Battle of the Sexes is an island of fist-pumping inspiration in the usual seasonal deluge of October horror movies. The film tells the story of Billie Jean King, the push for equal pay in women’s tennis, and the cultural undercurrents surrounding the 1973 tennis match between King and Tennis Hall of Famer Bobby Riggs. Billie Jean insists multiple times throughout the film that she’s not trying to say that women are better than men, just that women deserve the same respect as men. It’s the early 1970s, and women’s tennis players are struggling for equal pay and respect. Tennis star […]

First They Killed My Father

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September 22, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers is a biopic directed by Angelina Jolie and released in theaters and on Netflix simultaneously. Based on the eponymous memoir, the story follows the memories of a woman, Loung Ung, who was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia. The father’s quiet endurance and the risks he takes for his family under this deadly cloud speak powerfully of his love and courage. The film begins with a brief but stark history lesson: Cambodia had been a neutral country since 1954, but in the early 1970s […]