I like poetry. I like film criticism even more. The life is maudlin and predictable. Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson” is nothing revolutionary, but extremely symbolic, requesting you to read in between the lines to fully comprehend and appreciate the several meanings provided by the film.
The bus driver and the poet Paterson (the restrained yet quietly brilliant Adam Driver) and the significant other Laura (the equally impressive Golshifteh Farahani) live their lives in Paterson, New Jersey. The several poems are narrated throughout to provide significance to their lives.
Admirable and poignant: Paterson wakes up, consumes some cereal, attend the work, devour the dinner with Laura, walk the dog Marvin (Nellie), and drink one glass of beer at the local bar. Meanwhile, Laura is constantly dreaming to be the designer, the painter, the country musician, and the baker. You essentially witness their lives unfold, predictably and unpredictably. It is sometimes beautiful and it is sometimes repetitive, just like the life itself.
Monday to Wednesday: I attend the college, complete the homework, and attend the work. Thursday: Attend the college and the cinema. Friday to Sunday: Attend the cinema, scribe the film reviews, and complete the homework. My life is dull as well. But I thrive on monotony – hate change and surprises.
The required prerequisite is to relish some form of poetry or writing to be able to completely enjoy “Paterson”. It is infrequent to boast one requirement to like a film; however, “Paterson” demands the necessity – otherwise, you may discover the film to be the ‘arthouse gimmick’ – there is plenty to respect with of course, reading in between the lines.
The life continues and repeats itself – just fine. And yet, the life is still awesome, regardless of the circumstances. B
It is difficult to depict the mother and son dynamic via the motion picture. The mainstream Hollywood tends to frequently travel the stereotypical route and everything appears to be detached. Just leave it to the A24 and Annapurna Pictures masterminds to produce a motion picture that connects the audience to their mother, friends, and significant other (anything but the stereotype).
Dorothea (the marvelous Annette Bening) recruits two close friends Abbie (the retro, sassy, and scene stealer Greta Gerwig) and Julie (the extremely restrained and laid back Elle Fanning) to nurture the son Jamie (the quietly brilliant Lucas Jade Zumann) in Southern California during the late 1970s.
Dorothea may resemble the Grandmother – attempting to be the independent progressive woman yet following the traditions of her era during another time period. Abbie is the feminist voice – rationalizing sex and music during the 1970s – and the character would attend the Women’s March if she existed today. Julie is complicated in terms of simultaneously echoing Dorothea and Abbie and frequently unnecessary. Jamie remains in the middle – coming to terms with the adulthood – bickering “My mother was born in the Depression.”
“20th Century Women” politely examines the generation gap and the feminism. Mike Mills perfectly unifies the characters to allow the resonance, regardless the year you were born. The generation gap will always exist yet discover a few common notions that may result agreement. I grasped I am a feminist during the screening – advocating for women and their representation in film (thanks Abbie).
You must be able to tap into Dorothea’s perspective to connect to the eccentric narrative. It is pretty easy to accomplish due to the loving and sympathetic characters. I would’ve loved to hug Dorothea and Abbie several times via the screen. In simple terms, Mr. Mills understands how to depict fictionalized narratives that provide some slice of your life.
Regardless, “20th Century Women” is incredible – but you may not realize the fact until following the screening (sneaks up on you). A-
Many corporations exist: The American Multi-Cinema (AMC) Incorporation, the Marcus Corporation, the Starbucks Corporation, the McDonald’s Corporation, and the like. The corporations possess several locations to cater to the public. Most corporations provide the minimum wage to their employees.
The iconic slogan “I’m lovin’ it” and the Golden arches are nationally recognized. The fast food restaurants cause obesity. I enjoy fast food a few times every year and thus, usually prepare the meals.
The shake mixer salesman Ray Kroc (the brilliant Michael Keaton) purchased, franchised, and literally snatched the McDonald’s Restaurant. The brothers Mac and Dick McDonald (the equally impressive John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman) are initially skeptical of the restaurant franchise; however, Mr. Kroc constantly persuades the duo with the difficult to pass negotiation. Long story short, the nearby McDonald’s Restaurants would not exist if it wasn’t for the bastard Mr. Kroc.
John Lee Hancock’s latest film allegedly taps into the zeitgeist; however, you may not resonate with the clichéd biopic narrative. “The Founder” understands you may have recently enjoyed the McDonald’s cheeseburger – perfect volume of ketchup, mustard, and onion, and two pickles – but fails to explore the fast food consequences – just adequately touching the surface to compel the audience. Mind you, I devoured the McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries a few days ago. How ironic.
Mr. Kroc was an asshole. The selfish businessman did not abide by the strict contract and oppressed all the barriers during the process. The McDonald brothers once owned something yet lost everything. It is difficult to like Mr. Kroc and easy to sympathize with the McDonald brothers.
The McDonald’s Corporation is able to enjoy the free advertising via the film. Nonetheless, I would like to enjoy the McDonald’s cheeseburger right now. C
“I pray but I am lost. Am I just praying to silence?”
“Silence” is an intense Christian film. Martin Scorsese understands how to correctly execute a faith based film. However, the legendary filmmaker demands the audience to fill in the gaps and question their faith during the viewing – simultaneously beneficial and off putting.
I believe in God. “Silence” is akin to the overlong sermon – Mr. Scorsese acting the pastoral duties. “Silence” is similar to visiting a church during the Sunday morning. Scorsese lectures and poses – Why does Jesus Christ exist?
Based on the novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo, the Jesuit priests Francis Garupe (Adam Driver) and Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) attempt to locate the mentor Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson) in Nagasaki, Japan.
Scorsese’s overdue passion project provides the sufficient enthusiasm – but some of the lust appears to be lost somewhere in Japan. You may feel almost nothing, regarding the priests’ journey. I admired yet disconnected to “Silence” – sincere performances, gorgeous production and costume design, and seamless transitions (eliminate at least one hour and rapidly declare the point in two hours).
It is okay to sometimes doubt your faith; although, the film should not allow the inquiry – the church is the place to visit to debate faith. “Silence” delivers good intentions – but Jesus Christ is my savior – the film partially responding to religious disputes is troublesome. It is unquestionable that there is a God and contemplating His existence is offensive.
The Christian faith is crucial during my life. “Silence” attempts to respectfully inquire the Christians; however I prefer the sermon by the Pastor – not the film director. B
The frequent terrorism is embedded in the American culture. The September 11, 2001 attacks altered the United States forever. The 2013 Boston Marathon attack refined the city forever. Many security measures are established; however, the United States dreads and stereotypes the terrorism, the Muslims, and similar Al-Qaeda groups. Peter Berg’s latest film is a successful reminder, regarding the 2013 Boston Marathon. “Patriots Day” is unable to achieve the triumphant tribute that it aspires to be.
The Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), the Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons), the Superintendent Billy Evans (James Colby), the Governor Deval Patrick (Michael Beach), the Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon), and the Boston Police Officers Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg), Patrick Downes (Christopher O’Shea), and Sean Collier (Jake Picking) investigate the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the consequences – the city wide manhunt to discover the Tsarnaev brothers (Alex Wolff and Themo Melikdze).
The narrative is self explanatory and fresh in our minds – four years ago the depicted event occurred. Yet, I sobbed during the assault sequence. The concluding survivor interviews and the genuine footage are far more intriguing than the tale conveyed onscreen. In simple terms, a documentary film – ideally directed by Laura Poitras would service the recent event than the dramatized narrative. We do not request a reminder that the terrible incidents constantly happen.
Anchored by the brilliant performances, the audience may appreciate the police officers and the medical personnel during the screening. Nonetheless, you may wish Hollywood would’ve delayed the film at least ten years to be able to provide the complete yet heartfelt salute to the 2013 Boston Marathon.
The constant reminders about terrible events are unnecessary right now, especially during the Trump Administration. B
The death of a loved one is difficult. The recent films tapped the sensitive subject with success (e.g. “Jackie”). Whereas Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) truthfully depicted the death and the outcome, J.A. Bayona’s “A Monster Calls” simultaneously provides the imaginative perspective and naturally tugs the heartstrings.
Based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Ness, Conor (Lewis MacDougall) seeks The Monster (beautifully voiced by Liam Neeson) to cope, regarding the Mum’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness (presumably the unnamed cancer). The Grandma (Sigourney Weaver) supervises the Grandson. Nonetheless, the brilliant performances allow the audience to sympathize with the one dimensional characters.
The screenplay is a strange beast: Most of the narrative is live action. The monster sequences are gorgeous cartoon appetizers (just enough to receive the complete taste). “A Monster Calls” is the standard buddy film yet – the touching movie is geared toward the children, but inappropriate, regarding the target audience.
To say the least, a strange comparison (receive it as a grain of salt): “A Monster Calls” is the family appropriate “Manchester by the Sea”. However, Bayona’s film delivers the essentials to the children – imagination is everything and anything, God or let alone, the Monster will always support you through the triumphs and the tribulations, and letting go of the family member is unfathomable – but move on with the life.
Regardless of the inevitable conclusion, count on the tissues. I frequently do not sob during the films and yet, “A Monster Calls” called upon sobbing in the public cinema and following the screening. (If only “Manchester by the Sea” provided the identical result.)
The mourning may endure several months. The loved one belongs in your heart – always safeguarding you. Is my Grandma Jane fine, the Monster? B
The words “diversity” and “inclusion” are not synonymously utilized in the film industry and the real life. The diversity comprises folks of all backgrounds, regardless of the gender, the ethnicity, the age, and the like. The inclusion is embracing the women and the people of color. Diversity and inclusion are difficult to locate in the American cinema. And here we are commencing the New Year – 2017, “Hidden Figures” involves both diversity and inclusion. Indeed, a significant step towards progression. Mind you, Hollywood, you must endure the strenuous journey ahead prior to announcing “We did it!”
Based on the biography of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, the African American women Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), Katherine Goble-Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) solve the launch and landing (complicated mathematics) to win the Space Race. John Glenn (Glen Powell) was the first American astronaut to complete three out of the seven scheduled orbits around the Earth.
The female empowerment to the maximum! Propelled by exquisite performances provided via the three incredible leading ladies, the compelling yet surprisingly lesser known narrative allows the audience to feel good from start to finish. However, “Hidden Figures” follows the conventional biopic guidelines – but the film allows the mathematics and the NASA appreciation.
I still hate mathematics following the screening. You may not understand half of the math demonstrated onscreen. (What the heck is sine? What the heck is cosine? What the heck is this and that algorithm?) Ignore the fact: “Hidden Figures” is a genius.
Mathematics is essential, regardless of the circumstances. We are thankful – regarding the NASA is still exploring the outer space. The segregation is nearly nonexistent yet the men are still superior to the women today. Alas, “Hidden Figures” may or may not be profound – but allows the reflection afterward. B+
You’d consider that the playwright August Wilson adapting his play “Fences” into a motion picture would easily transition. Think again – hiccups will occur during the motion picture adaptation.
The housewife Rose and garbage collector Troy Maxson (Viola Davis and Denzel Washington) nurture the family Cory (Jovan Adepo), Lyons (Russell Hornsby), Gabriel (Mykelti Williamson), and Raynell (Saniyya Sidney) during the 1950s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Troy’s best friend Jim Bono (Stephen McKinley Henderson) supports the family during the various circumstances.
Mr. Wilson is such a significant playwright that you may have read “Fences” during the college (I read the play in the Introduction to Theatre course). The motion picture heavily sustains the stage atmosphere, allowing the audience to suddenly withdraw. “Fences” belongs to the stage, regardless.
“Fences” depends on the unique performances to progress the narrative forward. Davis and Washington provide career defining performances here. Davis commands the screen – Rose is vigorous, determined, and sassy if necessary. Washington is equally robust – Troy is a hostile gentleman and splurges during the payday, especially during the “You Ain’t Never Liked Me” sequence. Nonetheless, the film is relevant to today – inequality still exists, in the movies and elsewhere. Praise to “Fences”, regarding to represent inclusion! B
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Denzel Washington), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Viola Davis), and Best Adapted Screenplay
I was adopted by my wonderful parents during 1999 (of course, without providing my age). I’ve always pondered the personalities of the biological parents. Why did they abandon me? Indeed, I’ve never met my biological parents in person. “Lion” strikes a chord to the aforementioned subject.
Based on the biography “A Long Way Home” by Larry Buttrose, Saroo Brierley (Sunny Pawar) is missing in Calcutta, India. The Australian couple Sue and John Brierley (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) eventually adopts the boy. Saroo (Dev Patel) utilizes Google Earth to discover the long lost family – reminiscing the childhood via the flashbacks.
I am not as lucky as Saroo – will never personally recognize my biological parents; however, my adopted parents are beyond amazing, provided me the home, food, clothing, and passion for motion pictures and its criticism. Nonetheless, “Lion” is extremely unclear in terms of examining the various adoption themes – attempts to cause the sobs to no avail. The Brierley family is miles away, frequently disconnecting the audience.
The exquisite performances are unequal to the mediocre narrative. The inevitable conclusion is foretold during the initial act. The initial act excessively addresses Saroo’s childhood. I suppose the childhood sequences provide the context. The crystal clear context may not be required to understand Saroo’s search. Everything is extremely straightforward that it frequently feels tedious, especially during the second act.
The individual identity is unique. I just wish “Lion” promptly discovered the genuine soul. B-
Hollywood released “nonsense” motion pictures as of late. “Collateral Beauty” chronicles Howard (Will Smith) literally speaking to Love, Time, and Death. And here, “Passengers” narrates Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence) and Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) awakening ninety years prior to the scheduled time – one of the many reasons why the hibernation pods exist. Ms. Lane and Mr. Preston are traveling to Homestead II, a planet similar to Earth.
Does Hollywood believe the public is downright dumb that they must tell us ridiculous stories? Morten Tyldum’s ("The Imitation Game") unclear intentions are immediately questionable. “Passengers” attempts to be poignant and yet, fails to entertain the audience. Lawrence and Pratt’s banter is respectable; however, everything that surrounds them is preposterous allowing us to believe cinema is, indeed, dead.
The Homestead II is able to wait. Please continue to hibernate. C+
The Kennedy Administration is written in the history books. We understand John F. Kennedy was one of the four U.S. Presidents that were assassinated, alongside Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, and William McKinley. Experience any college level history class (presumably under the name “History of the United States: From the Era of the Civil War to the Present”) and I betcha the Kennedy family is the lecture and the examination topic.
The First Lady Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy-Onassis (Natalie Portman) mourns the death of the husband and President of the United States of America – John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson). Ms. Kennedy-Onassis comforts the children and preserves the husband’s legacy – the “Camelot” Presidency.
Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie” is classified as “the anti biopic”: Examines a specific component of the Kennedy Administration, primarily how the wife Ms. Kennedy-Onassis arranges the funeral and mourns the death. The standard biopic investigates an individual’s life as a whole. The anti biopic structure is a blessing and a curse here, meaning “Jackie” is solely dependent on Portman’s exquisite performance to demonstrate the several grieving facets.
On the one hand, “Jackie” provides gorgeous production and costume design. On the other hand, “Jackie” delivers the brilliant performances that fairly support the frequently reserved and tedious narrative. The stiffness withdrew me to enjoy the rather fascinating insight of Ms. Kennedy-Onassis. (You may snooze here and there; however, you will not completely fall asleep.)
If it wasn’t for Portman’s performance, “Jackie” would result in a humiliating mess – a film that the Kennedy family would cringe in disbelief. In other words, “Jackie” is an incomplete yet tolerable mess. B-
For Your Consideration: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Natalie Portman), Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design
“Star Wars: Episode VII” (2015) is superior to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. “Rogue One” is perfectly assembled as a “Star Wars” film; however, the almost nonexistent “Star Wars” atmosphere withdrew me to enjoy the typical narrative.
Based on the characters produced by George Lucas, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) collaborate to rescue the Death Star plans.
Gareth Edwards previously helmed the epic “Godzilla” (2014). Compared to “Godzilla”, “Rogue One” barely touches the epic saga status. The “Star Wars” saga taps into the zeitgeist, regardless of the decade and here, “Rogue One” is just another space adventure yearning to earn millions at the box office. The monotonous action sequences are allegedly grand in scope – and may allow you to snooze instead.
Jones and Tudyk are obviously miscast. Where are Daisy Ridley and John Boyega to save the day? Ridley and Boyega completely embodied their respective characters. Jones implies to be in a different world other than the “Star Wars” universe. Is her mind on “Inferno” (2016)? Tudyk behaves akin to a strange alien than a robotic friend.
“Rogue One” provides the nostalgia in every inappropriate way. Edwards does not fully destroy the beloved franchise; although, including his own voice to the spinoff is a curse here. Believe me – I attempted to like the movie to no avail.
The “Star Wars” universe is usually exciting. I inquire: What the hell happened here? Please answer the question for me. Thanks. C
Damien Chazelle’s third feature film “La La Land” is why I fell in love with motion pictures in the first place. Chazelle is a director to be reckoned with – between “Whiplash” (2014) and “La La Land” – he subtly stuns the audience to speechlessness.
Here’s to the fools who dream as foolish as they may seem… The aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Emma Stone) and the jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder (Ryan Gosling) reside in Los Angeles, California attempting to fulfill the respective dreams. The duo randomly met cute and eventually, the relationship flourishes.
“La La Land” provides the ideal movie soundtrack in the recent memory. The tunes such as “Another Day of Sun”, “Someone in the Crowd”, and “Audition” are a few highlights. The songs frequently act akin to various show tunes and hence, “La La Land” is similar to a Broadway musical in the favorable perspective.
Mia and Sebastian may lack character development; however, Stone and Gosling are the flawless yet spicy twosome here. “La La Land” is a sophisticated ode to the dreamers, the musicals, the romance, and the vintage Hollywood. There are millions of dreamers still chasing the fantasy, like myself.
Cinema is dead may trigger the recall – films are not produced like this anymore. Once you witness this masterpiece, you’ll most likely believe – Oh God, cinema is not dead! “La La Land” delivers some title cards, reminiscent of the silent films and the talkies (nostalgia to the maximum).
The traditional narrative surprisingly enhances “La La Land”. The innovative atmosphere is attached to nearly everything. You may not be initially blown away; however, the film quickly convinces you – there is nothing like it right now.
I am dreamin’. You’re dreamin’. We’re all dreamin’. Cheers to the fools who dream. Let’s continue to dream the unimaginable and sing and dance all day long. (In simple terms, my personal favorite film of 2016.) A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Stone), Best Actor in a Leading Role (Ryan Gosling), Best Score, Best Original Song, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Screenplay, Best Sound Editing, and Best Sound Mixing
Whereas Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” (2016) impeccably examines the language and the art of communication, Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea” thoroughly investigates the life and the death and its effects on the family and the friends – and gradually punches the audience in the gut during the screening. I am still dazzled by “Manchester by the Sea” – as of this writing, despite I witnessed “Office Christmas Party” afterward, mind you. (I recommend that you should not pair the film with a cheerful film in terms of double features.)
The uncle and janitor Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) mourns the brother Joe Chandler (Kyle Chandler) and assigned to be the guardian of Patrick Chandler (Lucas Hedges). Patrick is the son of Randi (Michelle Williams) and Joe. Lee travels from Quincy, Massachusetts to Manchester by the Sea, Massachusetts (hence the title) to arrange the funeral and Patrick’s guardianship.
Life is akin to a book. We scribe the book every single day without recognizing the fact. Everyone dreams the happy conclusion as seen in fairytales and Disney movies. Almost every mainstream film utilizes sugarcoating to escape the moviegoers via the reality. “Manchester by the Sea” is fearless in terms of presenting life as it is without the sugarcoat. The Chandler family naturally scribes their diary – the audience witnesses the ups and downs through life and death without hesitation. Yes, “Manchester by the Sea” is able to be mundane to some folks due to it is walk and talk movie with nonexistent action pieces. Nonetheless, some transitions are a tad tedious during the second act.
“Manchester by the Sea” is initially commonplace; however, the empathetic narrative, the brilliant performances, the beautiful production and costume design, and the graceful score guide the film to full circle. You may witness bits of your life onscreen, depending how much the film connects to your personal life. My Grandma Jane died awhile ago and the death deeply affected my family and I. Indeed, it is difficult to arrange and attend the funeral. I still miss Grandma Jane to this day.
Life is worth enduring, regardless of the circumstances. Continue to write the book. Profound and fragile, “Manchester by the Sea” is one of my favorite films during 2016. A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Leading Role (Casey Affleck), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Michelle Williams), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Lucas Hedges), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Cinematography
Love is priceless and beautiful – individual and collective. We feel love all the time, regardless of the circumstances. Jeff Nichols’ latest film “Loving” is an understated and relevant sight to behold. “Midnight Special” (2016) is one of my favorite films and accordingly, “Loving” moderately succeeded to surpass the aforementioned film.
The interracial couple Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) is sentenced to prison in Virginia during 1958. The interracial marriage violates the anti-miscegenation laws. The Loving family resides in Washington, D.C. and creep into Virginia to reunite with their respective families. Furthermore, Mildred and Richard accuse the state of Virginia and the Supreme Court provides the unanimous decision in “Loving v. Virginia” – the laws prohibiting interracial marriage are unconstitutional.
The United States is still forging equality – there is a long way before the country is balanced, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, and the like. Women are still underpaid and African Americans are considered to boast a criminal background. The stereotypes remain prominent in this day and age. “Loving” demonstrates equality must be justified in the eyes of the law. The personal and impersonal risks emerge and one must confront the “small battles” and the “big war”.
Poignant and subtle, Negga and Edgerton are the ideal couple. The facial expressions indicate everything with and without dialogue. The Loving duo requested to be absent during the Supreme Court hearing. Like the Loving family, “Loving” is reserved – a subtle character study that regularly isolates itself. The screenplay is frequently detached and stiff causing some tedious moments, especially during the second act. The Loving family accomplishes the crucial life events – married, construct a nice home, and nurture the children. You may desire to witness additional events during the life.
“Loving” is able to hit home, whether you like or dislike to admit it. Love exists in our essence and hell yes, the film delves into the core – damn genuine that you cannot ignore the fact. You may recognize “Loving” is special if investigating beyond your relatives. Love is love. Love conquers all. B+
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Ruth Negga), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Joel Edgerton), and Best Original Screenplay
“Rules Don’t Apply” chronicles the driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) and the determined actress Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) are employed by Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty). Hughes implements the guideline: No employee is allowed to have any relationship whatsoever with a contract actress.
“Rules Don’t Apply” provides the mundane film related behind the scenes narrative and hence, you may frequently snooze. Mr. Beatty boasts good intentions; however, the unclear motive does not allow “Rules Don’t Apply” to smoothly progress. Some restrictions are superior to zero limitations in this instance. C
Have a blessed Thanksgiving, my readers.
“Frozen” (2013) was the sensation a few years ago; however, “Moana” easily surpasses the wintery tale by a huge margin. Moana understands how to guide the seas with prowess. You’re welcome!
The sea enthusiast Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) and the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) returns the heart of Te Fiti. Moana discovers her identity along the way.
You may ponder “Frozen” is awesome prior to the “Moana” screening. Think again. “Moana” currently possess the Best Movie Musical status. Adios to “Frozen”. “How Far I’ll Go” is my personal favorite song. “Moana” deserves the Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song (various selections) consideration. You may be unable to stop humming the tunes following the screening.
“Moana” provides the typical companionship narrative; however, delve further and relevant notions expose themselves. The townspeople and the gorgeous islands represent Hawaii and counterparts and accordingly, the exquisite animation may outshine “Zootopia” (2016). “Moana” reinforces the animated movies are enjoying the Golden Age as of late.
“Moana” boasts excellent Broadway potential. The exhilarating narrative would flawlessly transition to the stage. (Hire Lin-Manuel Miranda to scribe the book and additional Broadway songs. He accomplished the phenomenon “Hamilton”, for peatsake.)
“Moana” is one of my favorite films and indeed, an awesome film that travels beyond the sand. A
Kelly Fremon Craig’s directorial debut “The Edge of Seventeen” is able to strike a chord to almost everyone. We endured teen angst back in the day. There is a sense of nostalgia if you’re eighteen or older here.
The high school student Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) discovers the best friend Krista (Haley Lu Richardson) is dating the brother Darian (Blake Jenner). Nadine discloses personal information to the history instructor Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson) and flirts with Erwin (Hayden Szeto) during the history class.
“The Edge of Seventeen” is the flawless and accessible film. Nadine appears to be the reflection of myself. I precisely connected to Nadine’s antics and the whole nine yards. Let’s be real here though: I rarely underage drink and disobey my parents. Nadine boasts one close friendship – Krista. Same here – I enjoy one devoted friendship – Terra. Nadine faces the difficulty to socialize (me too, girlfriend!). Whereas Nadine bitches to Mr. Bruner, I bury myself in movies to escape the socialization. The minor complaint is the instructors do not drive the students' home due to the non professionalism component.
“The Edge of Seventeen” emerges more than the simple coming of age narrative. It easily taps into the zeitgeist – from Nadine impatiently anticipating to be the adult to the mother Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) acknowledging the “favorite child” (the brother Darian). Nadine initially desires to commit suicide; however, eventually recognizes she is able to accept Krista and Darian as a couple. “The Edge of Seventeen” politely confesses the face palm moments. Nadine accidentally text messaged Nick Mossman (Alexander Calvert), Nadine exceedingly grumbles, and demands the advice via Mr. Bruner. In simple terms, Mr. Bruner is akin to the stepparent here.
Sweet and humorous, “The Edge of Seventeen” may be the modern coming of age classic. A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Hailee Steinfeld), and Best Original Screenplay
The Swedish Film Institute selected “A Man Called Ove” (En man som heter Ove) to vie for the foreign language Academy Award nomination.
Based on the novel of the same name by Fredrik Backman, the lonesome and moody Ove (Rolf Lassgard) implements the neighborhood association rules, visits the wife Sonja’s grave, and rejects the life. Ove develops the friendship with the neighbors Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and Patrik (Tobias Almborg).
Lassgard, Pars, and Almborg are lovely to a fault. “A Man Called Ove” provides the delightful Debbie downer turned optimistic individual narrative. You may compare this film to “The Lady in the Van” (2015). The contagious positivity is necessary to the world. The negative notions delay the comprehensive life.
You will experience another facet of cinema here. Trust me, the subtitles are not awful. You may not help but to admire “A Man Called Ove” during the conclusion. B
You may speculate cinema is dead due to the oversaturation of underwhelming films. Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” will literally rejuvenate the audience. I was floored following the screening. I could not believe the film I just witnessed -- and it is my personal favorite film of 2016, surpasses Jeff Nichols’ “Midnight Special” (2016) by a huge margin.
Based on the short narrative “The Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang, Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) recruit expert linguist Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams) and theoretical scientist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) to translate and interpret the alien communications.
“Arrival” is the standard alien invasion narrative on the surface; however, mind boggling spectacular if disregarding the traditionalism. Villeneuve stunned us with “Prisoners” (2013) back in the day and reminds us why he is one of the best directors working in Hollywood today here. “Sicario” (2015) is modest misstep in my observance and yet, I wholeheartedly forgive him.
The outlandish aliens are something you do not usually witness during the average science fiction movies. The aliens resemble heptapods and own their unique language. There are many “human” interpretations to the heptapods.
“Arrival” provides the psychologically and physiologically intense narrative – difficult to explain due to the film may deliver the inner body experience. It is akin to meditation and enlightens you in the process. I slightly sobbed during the conclusion. In simple terms, “Arrival” delivers the profound cinematic experience and reaches beyond the art of motion pictures. (I swear a new word should be invented for this film genre.)
The relevance, tangibility, complexity, and overarching essence are exquisite. “Arrival” is able to mean anything to anyone. Donald Trump may be the 45th President of the United States; however, the world is not ending today. “Arrival” demonstrates the beauty of cinema to the comprehensive degree. Most films vaguely achieve what “Arrival” accomplishes. Sure, it is damn unfathomable. Witness “Arrival” and you may thank me later. A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Amy Adams), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Jeremy Renner), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Cinematography
The Marvel Studios continue to reinforce the vast repertoire of superhero movies. The superheroes easily tap into the zeitgeist.
Based on the comic book of the same name by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofer) introduce the former neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) to the mystic arts. Dr. Strange endured several hand surgeries prior to the mystic adventures.
Swinton, Cumberbatch, and Ejiofer provide conventional performances. Swinton is the highlight if you ignore the formulaic storyline. The Ancient One arguably deserves the individual spinoff. The minor characters are superior to the foremost superhero – Dr. Strange.
“Doctor Strange” shares several similarities to Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” (2010) in terms of the narrative concept and the visual spectacle. Nonetheless, the film is nearly identical to the previous Marvel movies. I attended the 3D screening – the format mostly misses the mark yet dazzles during the final act.
On a personal note, “Doctor Strange” accomplished nothing – demands the brains to propel the narrative forward. The spectacle outweighs the mundane tale. “Doctor Strange” is the unremarkable addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). I anticipate the inevitable sequel may deliver the victorious cure. C
“Moonlight” is an astonishing masterpiece. Barry Jenkins’ formidable storytelling steadily flourishes and electrifies the audience to the core.
Based on the play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarell Alvin McCraney, “Moonlight” is chronicled in three sections: “Little”, “Chiron”, and “Black”. The young black man Chiron “Little” (Alex Hibbert) is shy and bullied and accordingly, Teresa (Janelle Monae) and Juan (Mahershala Ali) feed and shelter the boy. The mother Paula (Naomi Harris) is addicted to various drugs. Terrel (Patrick Decile) harass the teenager Chiron (Ashton Sanders); however, Chiron slaps Terrel and the police arrest him. The adult Chiron “Black” (Trevante Rhodes) is a drug dealer, visits his frail mama in a rehabilitation center, and reconciles with Kevin (Andre Holland). The pulsating heart follows the individual segments.
Hibbert, Ali, Sanders, and Rhodes deserve the Best Supporting Actor campaign. Likewise, Harris and Monae deserve the Best Supporting Actress campaign. The astonishing performances will leave you in awe from start to finish.
“Moonlight” is the conventional coming of age tale on the surface. Nonetheless, the film is a stunning depiction and metaphor of adolescence to adulthood following delving into your existence. It is able to connect nearly everyone, regardless of the age, gender, ethnicity, and social class. The subtle resonance mostly impacts you following the screening. You may ponder the film during several days. Revelatory and raw, “Moonlight” is a breath of fresh air. A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Naomi Harris and Janelle Monae), Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alex Hibbert, Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score
The feelings are contagious. You most likely discovered emotional contagion if you’ve endured the introduction to interpersonal communication course during college. (The aforementioned reference is located in Interplay: The Process of Interpersonal Communication, Thirteenth Edition: Chapter Eight).
Based on the Good Luck Trolls developed by Thomas Dam, the Bergens – King Gristle (voiced by Christopher Mintz-Plasse) and the Chef (Christine Baranski) invade the Troll Village. Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) rescue the fellow trolls.
The emotional contagion signifies the process by which emotions are transferred from one person to another. Poppy experiences brief depression, Branch croons, and the village ignite the various colors during the poignant sequence. The emotions circulate from the actors to the audience.
The zany tunes counteract the adequate voice performances and the standard happy go lucky narrative. The occasional sadness is essential to live and thrive. Poppy eventually grasps everything is not all “cupcakes and rainbows”. “Trolls” contains potent morals that perfectly speak to the children. The adults may smile upon the genuine aforementioned messages.
The Bergens are not required to consume trolls to experience the happiness. Discover the fervent emotions within the essence. The Troll Village may rejoice! B
The life is tedious: We complete laundry, prepare various meals, attend the college, and purchase the diverse items. We understand living the ordinary life is predictable.
Based on the short stories by Maile Meloy, Laura Wells (Laura Dern), Gina Lewis (Michelle Williams), Beth Travis (Kristen Stewart), and Jamie (Lily Gladstone) reside in the small town and attend to the diverse commitments.
Leave it to the independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt to provide the female driven, mundane, and poignant film. Dern, Williams, Stewart, and Gladstone deliver subtly excellent performances. The actresses are superior to the screenplay.
Stewart enjoys the grilled cheese sandwich – the real life right there. “Certain Women” is inaccessible to the mainstream audiences: Frequently plodding, never clarifies how the women intersect, and develops into four short films in one feature film. It would succeed as individual short films. “Certain Women” attempts to deliver the intimate character study; however, you may feel detached to the ladies. The nonexistent emotional resonance reinforces – life is life and life is dull.
“Certain Women” could’ve attained some profound meaning along the way. The admirable women could’ve embraced the several chances to demonstrate our lives require value. Our lives are worthwhile in spite of the tedium. Follow the unique journey, regardless of the circumstances. B
The news is essential. Some news may be devastating to the journalists reporting the information. The newscasts provide various emotions: Happy, heartbreaking, hilarious, and the whole nine yards.
The news reporter Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) commits suicide on television during the 1970s. Meanwhile, the mother Peg Chubbuck (J. Smith-Cameron) and the colleagues George Ryan (Michael C. Hall) and Jean Reed (Maria Dizzia) did not recognize the sudden event approaching.
Hall provides one of the best performances during 2016. She allows the audience to ignore the fact Chubbuck will eventually commit suicide. Smith-Cameron, Hall, and Dizzia deliver equally brilliant performances; however, this is Hall's show all the way. Hall deserves the Academy Award nomination.
The inevitable conclusion is justified. The director Antonio Campos exquisitely examines Chubbuck’s personal life, consisting of depression and mood swings. You may sob during the final moments. In simple terms, “Christine” is subtly powerful and poignant. It is remarkable in every scene. Nothing is artificial, but raw to the core and gradually gets under your skin.
I am afraid “Christine” will be overlooked by many folks – but it is an urgent film to witness. “Christine” caters to a specific audience and accordingly, independent theatres (e.g. Landmark Theatres) only screen the film. It was worth traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to witness one of my favorite films of 2016.
The news may be baffling and yet, “Christine” is a must see, regardless of your perspective. A
For Your Consideration: Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role (Rebecca Hall), and Best Original Screenplay
Review Structure Key
Regular reviews ~ Word count varies.
Mini reviews ~ Positives and negatives (+/-) analysis.
Brief reviews ~ One hundred words, more or less.
Thirty Second reviews ~ Multiple films will be reviewed all at once, hence the editions. One sentence to three sentences. Primarily utilized for when I have personal commitments (may or may not be stated).