Showing posts with label film. Show all posts
Showing posts with label film. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2019

Judy (2019) Is Simply Unforgettable

Biopics is one of the trickiest genres. Most authors or directors want to pay homage to someone they admire. But if a film exerts too much creative freedom, the story is more like fiction than reality. If it limits itself too much, reading a Wikipedia page would be more exciting. For an American icon like Judy Garland, there's more than enough exaggerated lore director Rupert Goold's Judy could've pulled from for his biopic. And yet for the first time since the last salacious profile was released, the film finds a good balance between exploring the myth of Judy and showing the real side of her.

Based on Peter Quilter’s play End of the Rainbow, Judy covers the last year of the legend's rollercoaster life. Facing homelessness, bankruptcy, and a custody battle for her children, Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger) takes on a five-week engagement of sold-out shows at London's Talk of the Town. As she grapples with one more comeback and falls head over heels for a sketchy entrepreneur Mickey Deans (Finn Witrock), Garland struggles to keep her head above water as her final spotlight starts burning out.

With all that has been gossiped about Miss Showbusiness, how a biopic would grapple with her legacy is a question I've asked myself as a longtime fan of "Joots." At worst, I expected a repeat of scathing tell-alls that are more concerned with melodrama and anonymous sources; so much so that they ignore her humanity and tarnish her reputation. At best, I just wanted it to be better or just as good as other musical biopics. A well-organized, entertaining, and emotionally-driven tribute doesn't seem like a lot to ask for, but the last time I wished for a biopic of a favorite icon, I got Bohemian Rhapsody... To  my great delight, the film hits most of the right notes.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019) Celebrates the Power of Superheroes Within

Geek, And You Shall Find (2019)
Superhero Faces Productions / Geek, And You Shall Find
Superman. Spider-Man. Captain America. Wonder Woman. These are just a few super-heroic characters who have become beloved icons for children and adults alike. From the famous Hall H at San Diego Comic Con to breaking box office records, it’s almost impossible to believe the arduous and inspiring evolution of geekdom. And yet, fandom not only started with the humble origins of comic books, but has also catapulted the way in which we navigate our everyday lives and the world around us.

Geek, and You Shall Find explores the fascinating past and future of comic books. Its creators and their stories have made a lasting impression on generations of readers, but where did it all start? How do the stories we love reflect society and vice versa? What can we truly gain from admiring characters that wear masks, don capes, and try to save their fellow man? Superhero Faces Productions journeys into the depths of Marvel, Westeros, Star Wars, and more to understand the life-changing impact behind our galaxy's biggest fandoms.

Starting with The Great Depression and the initial creation of Superman, Geek, and You Shall Find uncovers the rich history of beloved larger-than-life characters becoming an antidote and answer to society's greatest ordeals: war, racism, class disparity, immigration, and gender inequality. In speaking with the late Stan Lee, George R.R. Martin, Roy Thomas, and Kevin Eastman, the documentary examines the rise and challenges the comic book revolution has overcome and still faces. From censorship to international conflicts, comic books have not only withstood the test of time but also influenced reality far more than we could ever consider. Beyond the breaking down the timeline of how comic book creators imagined the fictional heroes we revere today, the film also implements Joseph Campbell’s heroes journey and how it mirrors our lives in mythological terms.

Drawing strength from comic books is no different than seeing ourselves in religious, historical, or public figures. Despite the fantastical or science-fiction approach to reflect the best and worst traits humans possess, comic books aren't often recognized as 'real' entertainment. When examining political issues, expanding inclusion, and challenging the status quo, the genre's critics are often the first to protest that 'serious' issues don't belong in their fandom. Outside of connecting with the genre's 'godfathers', the documentary also features creators standing up for what they believe in, psychologists  using comic books to help patients deal with trauma, and fans reaching out to each other for support and camaraderie. The worlds escape with on-screen and on the page prove to inspire real activism, practice compassion, and break barriers with their personal views.

As a self-proclaimed geek, it’s difficult to not find one area of my life that isn’t influenced by movies, books, or shows. When we connect with superheroes, Jedis, hobbits or wizards on their adventures, we become a part of their story and vice versa. Their ability to face against greedy corporations, evil masterminds, and stand up after being knocked down gives us strength to handle our own setbacks and victories. By participating in fandom over the years, I've grown out of my introverted cave to express my love of pop culture to write, cosplay, and try to inspire others to be the best that they can be. Comic books re-affirm what I love about fandom is as true and meaningful as I think it is for myself and fellow geeks as well.

Geek, and You Shall Find celebrates the rich history of storytelling in general and profound lessons and transformation comic books has on humanity. Superhero Faces Productions creates a positive affirmation about our unique passion for storytelling, and also invites those who don’t believe in the power of geek culture to reconsider. Their work maintains a wonderful balance of personalizing fandom from its roots to its present day success. We might not literally have spiderwebs shooting out of our wrists or take it to the streets against caped villains. But when we geek out, we are embracing a part of our identities in a whole new way and reminds us to embrace the superhero within.
Rating for the film: ★★★
Have you seen Geek, and You Shall Find? What do you think?

Please Note: I was provided with a screener in exchange for an honest review. Geek, and You Shall Find is available to watch on Amazon, Vudu, YouTube, and Google Play.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Quick Movie Reviews

I happened to catch a few older and newer movies in July, but felt my thoughts were better if they were laid out simple reviews. A part of me is hoping I can keep this up to complete my 2019 bucket list, so I'll see where this goes. These are my quick movie reviews for Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Thelma, and Ali. The review for Thelma contains spoilers. Have you seen these films? Let me know what you think in the comments!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Us (2019) Works Best in Fragments But Not As A Whole

In 2017, Jordan Peele made the unforgettable switch as a comedy veteran to masterful horror director. His debut film Get Out stunned audiences with complex storytelling, attention to detail, and ability to set an allegory of the real world into the horror scene. While it’s natural to expect just as much from him for his next film, Us turned out to be a lukewarm experience in its story and script. Much of it works on paper, but what's presented on screen leaves as many open-ended questions as it answers.

The Wilson family – Adelaide (Lupita N’Yongo), Gabe (Winston Duke), Zora (Shahadi Wright Joseph) and Jason (Evan Alex) - venture to a lake house near Santa Cruz for a fun vacation. Their harmless trip to the beach turns deadly when mysterious clones emerge around the country to hunt their other halves down. A traumatic event from Adelaide’s past, where she encountered her own doppelganger, brings back haunting memories, but they also might be the key to their survival.

If you haven't seen Us, read at your own risk. This post contains spoilers!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Katie Says Goodbye (2016) Strives to Find Meaning Out Of Misery

Katie (Olivia Cooke) dreams of leaving her past behind to move to San Francisco and attend beauty school. While pulling double-shifts as a waitress where her tips are wasted by her alcoholic mother, the seventeen-year-old supplements her savings as a prostitute. As she reserves every dime she can for greener pastures, falling in love with an ex-convict Bruno (Christopher Abbott) spirals her life out of control.

Everyone in Katie Says Goodbye has to forge their way in a claustrophobic nowhere town in the middle of the desert. There’s little to do for its residents except serve travelers on the road, drink, have sex – either for fun or as a gig. Left to fend for themselves with the basic necessities, Katie makes the best of what she has always looking for the silver lining. A few glimpses at her day-to-day life of monotonous waitressing, and excitedly gleaming at passing trains offers no rhyme or reason as to why she remains abundantly hopeful, and yet the film lovingly sets up this infectious charm only to gradually deconstruct it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Booksmart (2019) Is A Genuine Revelation

Booksmart Movie Review
Photo Credit: United Artists Releasing
Every generation has a coming-of-age movie that speaks to them - Say Anything, The Breakfast Club, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, Mean Girls. Joining a solid pack of recent flicks exploring girls' complex emotions and moving into the real world - Lady Bird, Eighth Grade, The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Olivia Wilde's directorial debut with Booksmart explores even the bookworms don't know it all.

From earning admission into Yale to doing charity work in Botswana, best friends Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) have high aspirations for themselves and their classmates. When Molly discovers that the slackers have also leveled up into amazing post-high school opportunities without sacrificing fun, she encourages Amy to squeeze four years of partying into the night before graduation. 


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Rocketman's (2019) Imagination Almost Burns Itself Out

Rocketman movie review
Paramount Pictures
Biopics tend to play it safe. They're afraid to veer too off from presenting the facts by the books and  rests on its laurels about whoever the story is based on. Given the freedom to delve into Elton John's colorful and bold life, Rocketman explore more than thirty years of the iconic musician's life. Combining elements of music and story, director Dexter Fletcher's goes all in, to the point that you wish he reeled it back just a little.

Growing up with his cold father and self-absorbed mother, a young Elton John finds refuge, imagination, and identity in his musical gifts. The lack of love he didn't received as a child, homophobia, and toxic relationships turns into a devastating recipe for substance abuse as he rises in the music industry. (Read the full review below)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

John Wick (Chapter 3 - Parabellum) Is Back So Tell A Friend

John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum
Lionsgate
After making a name for himself on a bus with Speed (1994), as the Chosen One in The Matrix (1999), and fighting demons in Constantine (2005), Keanu Reeves headlining a spy movie was an absolute no-brainer. But nobody could’ve probably anticipated the unstoppable resurgence his career would’ve taken with John Wick in 2015. The start of a non-stop action chronicle where his character brutally, endlessly assassinates other assassins is just something we can't get enough.

The John Wick series is unlike any other spy movie. In one-fourteenth of the time of James Bond’s legacy, fans have gobbled up John Wick and all the new ways he can kill someone over the past four years. It isn't that he just massacres bystanding hitmen; it's the intense choreography Keanu and the stunt crew perfect for every action scene; his enigmatic reputation and the relateable relationship Wick has with his dog; the slick direction of Chad Stahelski; the sleek production design as Wick sheds blood in a nightclub, on the city streets, or by a dockside that keeps us wanting more. While John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum carries over all of the stunning elements from the first two films, it also proposes that idea that sometimes story can damper the action.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Isn't It Romantic (2019) Knows How To Be A Copy But Not Exactly Original

Warner Bros. Pictures
Natalie (Rebel Wilson) cherished romantic comedies as a young girl, watching Pretty Woman with wide-eyed optimism and believing her own life could turn into an epic fairytale. When her mom shatters her dreams that women like them don’t get their happily-ever-after, she grows up to be cynical about love and the genre she used to adore. And then she suffers a traumatic concussion and wakes up in her ultimate nightmare: a rom-com. Her life is flipped upside down with an apartment straight out of Architectural Digest, a bustling career, and an impending engagement to a hot yet superficial millionaire (Liam Hemsworth). The only way Natalie can return to reality is to fall in love, but that’s a little hard when it’s the last thing she wants.

As much as romantic comedies have found resurgence on streaming services, the typical genre of a woman searching for the love of her life has changed drastically over the years. Landing Mr. Right while living in a fancy apartment and having a career of every woman’s dreams has made way for rom-coms to feature more realistic views of dating, singledom, and marriage. Modern stories have commonly explored imperfect relationships with female characters struggling to balance work, love, motherhood, and friendships. By trying to take a page out of the chick flicks that have paved the way with tropes and running gags, Isn’t It Romantic doesn’t quite know how to be a parody of the traditional genre and say something new.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Avengers: Endgame (2019) Is A Fine Finale But Not Marvel's Finest Hours

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
With The Snap of Thanos’s fingers, Avengers: Infinity War flipped from a typical superhero flick into an unforgettable event that no Marvel fan or casual movie-goer would ever forget. To say that Avengers: Endgame has been an event of its own is massive understatement. Its unbelievable hype has a lot to live to up since we saw half the universe dusted into oblivion in 2018. As Marvel draws its Infinity Saga to a close, this twenty second film is without-a-doubt a funny, action-packed and tender farewell. But in good ways and bad, it doesn’t necessarily capture the same magic of its sister flick.

As Paul Bettany once wisely said, “Snitches end up in ditches” if they spoiler Avengers: Endgame. Taking my fate into my own hands, I’m breaking with the requests from the Powers that Be (Marvel Studios and co.) to say: this review contains massive spoilers. Read it your own risk.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Ekaj (2015) Offers An Intimate Portrayal of Love and Hardship Among LGBTQ Youth

How do you find a sense of belonging when you’re not accepted by your own family, let alone society? Veteran fashion photographer turned writer and director Cati Gonzalez puts homeless LGBTQ youth under the microscope in a vivid portrayal of a too-often overlooked community.

After being kicked out by his homophobic father, a young teenager Ekaj (Jake Mestre) drifts on the hustling streets of New York City struggling to get by. When he befriends Mecca (Badd Idea), a thief and artist diagnosed with AIDS, the naïve Ekaj learns about the hardships of love, loss, and survival.


Monday, April 8, 2019

Meeting Brown (2019) Personalizes the Divide between Love, Race and Racism

What do you do when the one you love turns out to be the opposite of what you thought? Great relationships can feel like they’re built on honesty and trust, but one brief meeting with her fiance’s best man Richard (Andrew J. Cornelius) changes everything for Alex (Diana Gonzalez-Morett) – a hopeful Latinx bride who sees her white partner’s true colors about their cultural differences.

Meeting Brown draws attention to the complex lines drawn between love, race, and racism. Director and writer Ana Lydia Monaco, a rising Latina filmmaker, tackles diversity by bringing representation to women of color to the screen with experiences from her own community. Realizing how often she didn’t see herself and fellow people of color onscreen, Monaco’s transformed her observations with bicultural couples to create a distinct narrative about life as a woman of color.

Nervous yet excited for her doubtful maid-of-honor to meet her fiancé John (Sean Dube) and his best man, Alex believes John is exactly the man she wakes up to every morning. Life is seemingly smooth between the two of them until that fateful evening when the four of them spend time together – or rather, Alex and Rocio (Sonia Diaz) try to navigate Richard’s ignorant remarks about their heritage and identity while John goes along with the "jokes". His continual dismissal of his future wife's feelings and invites an alarming realization to Alex about his own excuses about Richard’s behavior. Monaco’s script paces well between the dreamy state of bliss Alex thought her life was and the slow realization of John's beliefs aren't what she ever imagined.

Even though the film’s primary focus of the cracks deepening in a romantic relationship, there’s a genuine relevance, especially in our current political climate, of how much we might be expected to accept other people’s behaviors as they are. It might be out of fear of losing or creating a rift between a family member, friend, or acquaintance, there's a personal responsibility of recognize what individuals of other communities withstand and persevere. How we treat someone’s culture in our own lives speaks to how society treats minorities on a whole – women, people of color, LGBTQ, people with disabilities. Meeting Brown is succinct and to the point of how what most consider microaggressions, small acts of ignorance, start to add up whether we are bystanders or in the direct line of dangerous judgement and attacks.

As a ten minute short film, Meeting Brown presents a thorough examination of what Latina women encounter. Her cast carries the story well with performances by Gonzalez-Morett, Sean Dube, Sonia Diaz, and Andrew J. Cornelius. Even though there is an increasing divide between the film's leads, the actors share a palpable chemistry together as their idyllic relationship starts to present true issues. Monaco’s attention to detail and the experiences she has witnessed in her own life creates a refreshing defiance of the typical roles women of color are presented with on-screen and shines a light on the daily conflicts they encounter in real life.

Please Note: I was provided with a screener of this movie in exchange for an honest review. Meeting Brown is currently making the rounds at film festivals this year. Check out more of Ana Lydia Monaco past and current work at her official website.

Rating: ★★☆

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Captain Marvel (2019) Proves Her Power

Captain Marvel Movie Review
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Fandom hatred for Carol Danvers was sparked long before she hit the screen. From Brie Larson calling for more inclusiveness with film criticism to her heroine being pitted as better or worse than Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel had “something to prove” to the haters, the box office, and the barriers Black Panther obliterated. Despite being underestimated, the film has been knocked down but fights to live another day.

On the planet Hala, Vers (Brie Larson) and her fellow alien race of Kree are fighting a brutal war against tyrannical shape-shifters called Skrulls. Curious and haunted by the mysterious dreams she has of another life, she escapes capture to Earth to uncover the truth about where she comes from and who the real enemies are.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Fighting With My Family (2019) Shines A Light on Sharing The Dream

Fighting With My Family review
Universal Pictures
Thousands of screaming fans. Electrifying feuds. Bold outfits. Audacious athleticism. Wrestling is larger than life. Taking the glitz and glamour down a notch, Fighting with My Family shows what happens when fans dare to walk the path their heroes paved and become icons themselves.

Based on the real life story, eighteen year old Saraya-Jade Bevis - popularly known as Paige - (Florence Pugh) who aspires to be a wrestler, is discovered by the WWE and becomes their youngest champion ever. Hailing from a small town in Norwich, England, Paige's dreams are not entirely her own. She shares them with her family - dad Ricky (Nick Frost) and mom Julia (Lena Headey) who runs their own wrestling association, and her brother Zak (Jack Lowden) who misses out on making his own fantasies as a WWE Superstar come true.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Serenity (2019) Delivers Justice to The Hype Train


Promo tours often limit actors from not leaking intricate or even obtuse details about their upcoming highly-anticipated films. Persuading audiences to see their project based on a trailer, the director's skills, and chemistry between the leading stars is a tricky sell and not something I envy. This marketing spin, usually left up to Big Important Movies like action flicks and superhero sagas, has surprisingly worked for Serenity - an independent film with big names and an even bigger plot twist that's proving sometimes not shouting the story from the rooftops is worth its weight in tuna - I mean, gold.

Everyone on Plymouth knows everyone else’s business. There’s no hiding who is sleeping with who, the gossip between tourists and locals, and if someone’s venture immediately starts to flail. Plymouth is claustrophobic, to say the least, for Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) -  a washed-out fisherman obsessed with catching tuna, drowning in the memories of his son and struggling to make ends meet. When his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) comes into town offering him $10 million dollars to kill her current abusive husband, Baker must be led away from a tempting payday that could push him further into madness.

The magic about Serenity is that, like a lot of action flicks and franchise players, it’s best to not know a lot about it. Director Steven Knight, either by pure happenstance or sheer insanity, wrote a script that has a lot of things going for it – both good and bad. Namely, the story starts off relatively simple – a hard-knocks guy trapped on a tropical island where everything should be easy breezy, and it’s not. Like the insufferable heat, Baker is suffocating in "paradise" where every day becomes more lucid than the last. It's within the film's most normal moments that the tension builds as Knight implores the cinematography and mood into a modern noir.

And, then eventually the plot grows out of control to instill the twist that has everyone talking. The plot’s swerve, in all honesty, is not that hard to miss. As Baker howls, shrieks and wallows in his sorrows and obsessions, Knight slides in clues and even straight-out tells you where the story is heading. Every shot aims towards growing intrigue (okay, maybe not the ones of McConaughey in the nude but still there's something to take away from those too) and holds the promise that if the audience just stays with it a little longer, they're in for a surprise. Thus, audiences shouldn't feel shocked by a film that is blaring what is going to happen, but all that suspense transforming into true hard facts is a real mind-boggler. It’s a storytelling switch so audacious that one is left not only trailing the breadcrumbs to assess everything the film had laid out before, but also coercing you to pull back the layers of a very surreal onion that only increases the confusion and captivation.

If the film is stripped of the plot twist, Serenity contains a level of tremendous detail by its head honcho in Knight as well as a genuine commitment by the cast. Between Baker falling apart over mysterious visions about his son to Knight's tonal shifts with Plymouth's idyllic aesthetic, the film makes for an adequate drama on its own. In particular, McConaughey and Hathaway give performances that reach varying levels of Nic Cage’s looniest cinematic moments as well as their career bests. Other supporting stars have more trouble finding their place in the story as they only make-up parts of the whole and nothing more. The film has its own set of ambitions to be "a serious film to be taken seriously", but also seems to confuse authentic mystery with being over-the-top.

To be honest, Serenity could've become a drop in the ocean of bargain bin movies – it has all the right elements of a convincing contemporary noir and then it becomes something else entirely. It's hard to think about its stylistic intentions without feeling like some parts of it was a massive prank the audience stumbled upon. Without the instant-reactions of social media, there's a true chance this might've not gained its notoriety so quickly and for its cult potential to live on. And that’s sort of the blessing and crux. Knight worked some kind of vision into his idea that might be worthy of watching once and forgetting about, or revisiting in five years with the sense that this movement of enthusiasm for the film was fun to be a part of. It breaks the rules and defies expectations in the most unexpected ways, leaving 2019 into a rocky but awesome start.

Rating: ★
a gold star for trying
Have you seen Serenity? What did you think?

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Monday (2018) Packs A Big Punch For The Short Film Circuit

Sometimes it's not the budget that makes a short film good, it's the production team rallying behind it that counts. Following in director Robert Rodriguez's footsteps, independent filmmaker Alejandro Montoya Marin participated on El Rey's network show Rebel Without A Crew where creators banded together to create an original film. Armed with $7,000, no crew, two days to prep and fourteen days to film his project, Marin creates a fun action movie reminiscent of today's blockbusters.

Jim (Jamie H. Jung)'s life is about to change in the worst ways when he loses his job and his girlfriend gives up on their relationship. Caught in the crossfire of two hit women aiming to take down a drug cartel, Jim is on the run for his life and standing up for himself once and for all.

As the story counts down Jim's day starting off as bad as it can be and only getting more bleak and chaotic from there, what Martin and the cast were able to put together in such a short amount of time shines. Each actor has a fitting on-screen presence for their characters and working well as an ensemble. It's difficult to single out any singular actor in particular, but Kenneth McGlothin exudes a perfect big personality as Jim's friend Paul and Anna Schatte/Sofia Embid have a commanding, intimidating bad-ass presence as the hit women at odds with each other's plans. But the entire cast has good comedic timing and offers solid reminders of similar action-comedies like Horrible BossesThe Other Guys or 21 Jump Street . It's also worth it to stay through the end credits for bloopers and a post-story catch-up with Jim's old business acquaintance.

Monday showcases a lot of potential for Marin as a filmmaker. The story trails in the footsteps of comedies and action movies that you would see today with leading stars like The Rock or Kevin Hart. His direction is seamless, especially with the sound editing adding clever bytes for specific lines of dialogue and an energetic soundtrack. As the writer of the film too, there's a real sense of love for film-making with Marin's clever dialogue and nods to pop culture. The only slight stumbles are a few one-liners that feel random and out of place. However, it's tough to imagine how much of a rush the production must have been to work together, but the limitations doesn't show in the slightest. For a film that only runs an hour long, there's a lot to unpack and it makes for a fun Friday night short film to check out. Hopefully it's the start of bigger and better films to come for everyone.

Please Note: I was provided with a screener of this movie in exchange for an honest review. You can currently watch Monday on Apple Itunes.

Rating: ★★☆
Have you watched Monday? What did you think?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Favourite (2018) Is Capable of Much Pleasantness

The Favourite movie review
With some directors, you never know what you’re going to get. As familiar as you may be with their past projects, they always manage to create something within their own style but also off the beaten track. Director Yorgos Lanthimos is easily one of those types of directors today. Every film he produces from The Lobster to The Killing of A Sacred Deer, Lanthimos stands out even from his own work. This is easily the biggest, perhaps the best way, to describe his latest film The Favourite.

Set in the early 18th century, Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) relishes having Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) all to herself. And then, her cousin Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) arrives on their castle's doorstep striving to make a name for herself by any means necessary. The two begin vying for the attention of the Queen as Britain braces itself for war against France.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) Might Just Be The Best Spin-Off in the Galaxy So Far

Some movies just have really bad luck. One wouldn't think that this would be the case for Star Wars, but since its Disneyfied resurgence in 2015 the beloved phenomenon has had its ups and downs. The highs have been relatively good enough to give the movies a new life, while the lows of critically-panned sequels and spin-offs are enough to put a kink in the franchise's hype. Overshadowed by high expectations and franchise-overexposure, Solo: A Star Wars Story has the unfortunate disadvantage of landing right in the middle.

Set before the original Star Wars films, young Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) joins forces with a group of smugglers in order to make good on a deal that went sour. Along the way, he reconciles with a partner-in-crime he thought he'd lost for good, gains enemies, and makes new friends as he aims to become the best pilot in the galaxy.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Watch on Netflix: Bird Box (2018)


2018 has given us quite a few reasons to believe that women can do more in Hollywood than what they’ve been regulated to. Similar to films released earlier this year such as science-fiction flick Annihilation or romantic-comedy Crazy Rich Asians, the latest apocalyptic adaptation Bird Box is another example of an unexpected film telling a different story than the ones we’re always used to: female roles can be complex, actresses don’t have to stick a certain genre, and men can be more than  the only strong character.

Based on the book by Josh Mallerman, a mysterious virus triggers people into killing themselves sparking an international apocalypse. Mallory, an artistic hermit who's not prepared to give birth to her child let alone the end of the world, must fight to step outside of her shell in order to survive. Forced to live alongside fellow survivors – an Army vet Tom (Trevant Rhodes), a MAGA conspiratorial Douglas (John Malkovich), a young and naive pregnant woman Olympia (Danielle Macdonald) - she has to remain guarded enough to stay alive but also not lose hope in humanity.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Mary Poppins Returns (2019) Is Full of New and Familiar Tricks

Mary Poppins, the British superhero equipped with a talking umbrella and bewitched carpetbag, first debuted onto the big-screen nearly fifty-four years ago. Having become a childhood classic starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke in the hotly contested adaptation between author P.L. Traver and Walt Disney, the beloved nanny makes a comeback in a familiar and fresh "remake-quel" of the original.

Set twenty-five years after the 1964's story, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) returns to the Banks’s home where Michael (Ben Whishaw) and Jane (Emily Mortimer) are all grown-up and have fallen on hard times at the height of the Great Depression. Michael, in particular, is struggling to overcome his wife's passing when he learns that the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank is about to repossess his family's home. While Michael and Jane race against an impossible deadline, Mary and an exuberant lamplighter Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) take Michael's children with a series of bombastic and inspiring adventures.