Michelle D. Sinclair Archive


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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

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

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

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

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 […]


August 18, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

Fifteen years ago, HBO’s The Wire gave the world an intimate look at the darkest parts of Baltimore, Maryland. In the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death in police captivity two years ago, the news delivered brutal images of rioting across the city. But there’s more to Baltimore than violence and professional sports, and thanks to the new documentary Step by Amanda Livitz, Baltimore’s big-dreaming kids, loving parents, and dedicated teachers get their chance to shine. Step is currently on limited release in theaters. The pulsing, seething staccato of their performances make you want to stomp along, but Step isn’t really […]

Spider-Man: Homecoming

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July 21, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

Spider-Man: Homecoming Review by Michelle Sinclair How many times can you sit through a reboot of the same superhero story and still be entertained, even moved? I had thought I was at my limit for Spider-Man movies, but after a little taste of Tom Holland’s joyous teenage web crawler in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, I knew I’d want to see what he could do in his own movie. In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Holland—and the filmmakers around him–don’t disappoint. Peter Parker wants to stop big crimes and be a part of the Avengers so badly and yet Robert Downey Jr’s Tony […]

Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War

June 23, 2017 Michelle D. Sinclair

It sometimes seems that there’s never an end to the horrifying things humanity will do to one another. Stories like the ones told in Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War offer an antidote to the toxicity, proving ordinary people have done—and we hope will continue to do—extraordinary things in defiance of hate. Periodically, they returned home to children who were growing up without them. In this Ken Burns documentary (released last fall and recently made available on Netflix), Tom Hanks and Marina Goldman narrate the voices of an American Unitarian minister and his wife who left their small children behind […]