Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Another double feature of reviews to put up today, and perhaps not the last as we inch ever so closer to finishing the year up. Today, we'll be taking a look at heated glimpses into the world of the printing press, and the complex politics of the police system, brought to us respectively by Steven Spielberg and Martin McDonagh, in two of the year's very best films. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Brief thoughts on Molly's Game.

Poker's not a game of chance, explains Molly Bloom. It's a game of skill, a back and forth production of players deceiving the others and exploiting their tells and body language, where keeping secrets to the chest is a necessity to thrive through the game. Secrets, skill, deception, perhaps that makes Bloom - dubbed the "Poker Princess" - the greatest poker player never to take part in the high stakes game, building a mini-empire out of the underground poker rings headlined by wealthy celebrities and business giants, and even when landing under the eye of the FBI, refused to let those close secrets and the names of the people within her rings be publicly known. It's a fascinating true story, and one that the film based on her book Molly's Game tackles with the same suitable wits as its signature game.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Brief thoughts on The Disaster Artist.

Few movies are as singularly bizarre as The Room, the brainchild of enigmatic filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, that premiered in one LA theater in 2003. Originally conceived to emulate a Tennessee Williams melodrama, those intentions backfired when the film left audiences rolling with unintended laughter. The film soon gained intense cult status, being hailed as the "Citizen Kane of bad movies", and intentional or not, has become a singular masterpiece utterly shattering the line between good art and bad art. The making of this movie sounds like a great movie in its own right, which certainly proves to be the case for The Disaster Artist from director and star James Franco, becoming one of the year's sweetest and funniest movies.

Belated year-end reviews.

And with the year finally come to a close, taking all of the bewildering insanity and infuriating bitterness with it, it's time once again to reflect on the cinematic year that has been, and what the future holds in store. That doesn't mean the coverage is over mind you, since Oscar season is now in full swing, and there are still plenty of high profile releases to be seen. I look forward to all of those coming out, but as always, it's time to turn my attention to some smaller or under the radar releases, both from recently, and from earlier in the year. Enjoy?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

All the Money in the World, Darkest Hour, and The Shape of Water.

All right! Time to play catch up. I'm always one of the last to unveil my picks for the best and worst movies of the year, as my local theater scene doesn't always make it convenient for me to play catch-up (and Heaven forbid those movies have subtitles), and 2017 has been a particularly brutal year personally. But now, I'm ready to see some of the year's most buzzed-about titles, which finally make their way to my side of town. Starting things off, are some thoughts on the latest big contenders, from seasoned veterans Joe Wright, Ridley Scott, and Guillermo del Toro.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Greatest Showman movie review.

I will never not be excited for a movie musical. As one of my favorite film genres, it just seems to have all the ingredients for a great movie, relying on fabulous spectacle, physicality both in voice and movement, but most importantly for their heavenly tunes and elegant storytelling through lovely melodies. Even if the finished product comes out a turkey, I'll still be ecstatic to see one make its way to the screen, and with the recent success of La La Land, and Disney churning out more of the old-fashioned musicals they always excelled at, we seem to be experiencing a new wave of musical spectacles.

But even rarer is to see an *original* musical, one not based on any Broadway shows or pre-existing properties, make its way to the screen. 2017 alone has yielded two epic results, Pixar's Coco, and this Christmas season's release of The Greatest Showman, inspired by the Prince of Humbug P.T. Barnum. I guess Barnum was right, and I'm that sucker born to indulge in unabashed romps like this one. So how did this one stack up?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie review.

It only feels like yesterday when The Force Awakens made such a big splash, reinvigorating the long misused and tainted Star Wars brand, and introducing those grandeur space battles to a whole new generation. The Force Awakens did precisely what it needed to, and then some, by negating the damaging impact of the prequels, and restoring the good will and old-fashioned adventurism the series had become classic for. The results were outstanding to say the least, even if viewers felt some disappointment that the film (understandably) heeded so closely to the structure of A New Hope.

And while this wasn't enough to take away from what a great time it was, it was still clearly a first step into a much bigger and greater sandbox. Now freed from the shackles of nostalgic expectations, and able to more carefully craft its blank slate, and a time-waster spin-off inbetween to tide us over, the adventures of Rey and company can continue down darker, more complex, more unexpected routes in the follow-up film, The Last Jedi. And if falling short of the same standards set by The Force Awakens, is only slightly so. The fact still remains that this is one thoroughly satisfying and awe-inspiring film.

Reviewer's note: This review will have minor spoilers for The Last Jedi, as well as spoilers for The Force Awakens. Read at your own risk.