Author: uabblazermedia

by George Barreto Birmingham’s very own film festival this year included a multitude of genres and international films. These films also maintained smaller budgets, providing an exceptional platform for independent projects that would have otherwise gone largely unseen. From recognizable actors to new faces, each film is specifically curated by Birmingham-based organizers that have an immense love for cinema. Every film is given the attention and spotlight it deserves. The festival continues to grow and flourish each year, and the 24th iteration was the biggest one yet. Like any festival, the coveted awards are the highly anticipated closer of the busy…

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By George Barreto After the massive success of ‘Get Out,’ Jordan Peele has been preordained with the insurmountable pressure of recapturing lighting in a bottle. But at every opportunity, Peele finds a way to challenge expectations and sidestep convention by creating films that are unique and unequivocally his. A story about an otherworldly visitor antagonizing a pair of siblings in scattered hills outside Los Angeles feels like it could easily rely on overworn tropes to carry itself. However, it’s what Peele does with the audience’s awareness of tropes and iconography that elevates it into a refreshing and exciting stratosphere. The…

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By George Barreto In possibly one of the strongest (albeit most rushed) openings to any MCU movie, Gorr the God Butcher (played by Christian Bale) finds himself absent of faith. With a fiery rage, he seeks to dismantle an unforgiving pantheon by killing gods after the untimely death of his daughter. It was during this promising introduction that I began to fear the worst: the movie would be a hodgepodge of promising but ultimately directionless ideas. The fourth installment of the “Thor” franchise and the 20-somethingth entry to the all-consuming MCU conglomerate finds Thor at the same crossroads he’s always…

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By George Barreto It’s hard to depict any person’s life in a movie. It’s even harder when the person lived many lives in one. But who else than Baz Luhrmann to tackle the task? Luhrmann is widely known for his maximalist approach to storytelling such as 1996’s “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” 2001’s “Moulin Rouge!” and 2013’s “The Great Gatsby.” In a sense, it feels like Luhrmann should be the only one able to bring Elvis Presley to life on the big screen. The biography follows the legend himself, played by Austin Butler, from his humble beginnings to his eventual…

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By George Barreto A self-proclaimed gay version of “Pride and Prejudice” breathes much-needed life into an uninspired genre. Romantic-comedies have been at a stagnant stage for the better part of the last decade. Studios no longer consider a star-driven cheesy love story to be viable in theaters. Many rom-coms lack fail to properly reinvent the genre. Streaming services have taken advantage of this stagnation by releasing countless formulaic movies whose plots are practically comatose. “Fire Island” is propped up as another one of these entries to the genre, yet it manages to sidestep convention by introducing a new set of…

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By George Barreto It’s Pride Month, which also means it’s June: time to go outside and enjoy the sweltering Alabama heat. Many are considering passing this weather with a plethora of outdoor celebrations that scratch that summer itch. But for those looking to cool off indoors with some cold drinks, I would like to recommend some queer movies to go along with them. Happy Together, Wong Kar-wai In “Happy Together,” Wong Kar-wai, a pioneer of Hong Kong cinema, creates a lush and dreamlike exploration of toxic love. Two strangers decide to take a trip to Argentina to see a waterfall…

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By Karim Mikhail Mortality. For most, this word elicits the vision of old age, the slow withering-away that awaits us all. We find comfort in this thought; mortality lies at the opposing end of the life spectrum, its reach distant from us. But what if our conceptualization of mortality is backward? Just as mortality fills our visions of the future, so too does it corrupt the very start of life: infancy. This burden, however, is unequally shared. In particular, African American communities have long suffered the brunt of infant mortality. In 2018, for every 1,000 live births of Black babies,…

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By Karim Mikhail The brain. An organ that holds the secret of humanity, whose enigmas continually perplex the brightest researchers. Science has laid bare the secrets of virtually every other organ. Our brain, however, remains the final frontier: a pièce de résistance in human evolution.      But for all its mysticism, the brain is more accessible than ever before. Technological and medical advancements have enabled scientists and physicians to probe its circuitry, investigating how these networks can go awry when diseased. Dr. Markus Bredel, a central nervous system (CNS) radiation oncologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is one doctor…

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