Monday, December 7, 2020
Friday, November 27, 2020
Tis the season to be jolly and gay. At least, that’s what Happiness Season would like a lot of us to believe. Marketed as a holiday movie for the gays (and straights) – yay! – it’s hard to believe how much nuance is packed into the first major studio backed lesbian holiday flick – another yay! – and yet makes a total ba-humbug mess of this coming out tale.
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Friday, October 23, 2020
As Once Upon A River is told from Crane’s perspective, the film primarily belongs to Kenadi DelaCerna. She occupies almost every frame from beginning to end, which is a tall order for an actress making her screen debut. Crane is a quiet and thoughtful heroine who internalizes her experiences, leading most of DelaCerna’s performance to rest in subtle expressions, and to do so without losing your attention of what she is thinking and feeling. DelaCerna possesses a mature presence that brings Crane to life. A solid round of supporting actors also strengthens DelaCerna’s presence on-screen from a gentle teacher who takes her in as a hitch-hiker (William) Ajuawak Kapashesit to a trailer park dweller Smoke (John Ashton) who becomes one of Crane’s greatest allies and glimpses of hope.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
History has a way of repeating itself in Hollywood. When the same old stories are told, we’re stuck believing that the same people save or revolutionize the world over and over again. As female filmmakers look more between the lines of the past and its forgotten trailblazers, we begin to see just how much entertainment has scratched the surface. In a recent bout of solid female-driven World War II films, A Call To Spy continues to turn the tide of how cinema defines the “the greatest generation.”
Monday, August 3, 2020
Set in the English coastal countryside of Kent, academic researcher Alice Lamb (Gemma Arterton) becomes the guardian of a refuge child Frank (Lucas Bond) whose parents are fighting in the war. Despite the nearby town treating her as the “beast on the beach” for her unladylike behavior, Lamb and Frank develop an unlikely connection that helps unveil a lost romance with a former lover (Gugu Mbatha-Raw). As research about a fantastical island in the sky brings her closer to Frank, their time together draws more parallels between them than they ever could’ve imagined.
Friday, July 17, 2020
Age creeps up on us steadily. One second we're young and free, and the next we're burdened with too many responsibilities or we don't want to be a burden to our loved ones. What becomes of us when we age and those around us is at the heart of Relic - a horror film that makes us come face-to-face with the shock, confusion, and (hopefully) understanding aging inevitably causes.
After their grandmother Edna (Robyn Nevin) is reported missing, her daughter and granddaughter Kay (Emily Mortimer) and Sam (Bella Heathcote) journeys to her house to find out what happened and discover signs of disarray that makes them realize how severely she's been struggling on her own. When Edna mysteriously re-appears as if nothing happened, her erratic behavior forces them to realize there might be more to her dementia than meets the eye.
Monday, July 13, 2020
Thursday, May 7, 2020
A single mother Kathy (Hong Chau) and her shy son Cody (Lucas Jaye) make a roadtrip to visit her late sister's house, unaware that she was a reclusive hoarder. Their plans to sort and sell gradually expand over the course of a summer, allowing Cody to develop a friendship with a Korean war veteran Del (Brian Dennehy) next door.
Friday, April 3, 2020
Deep in the wilderness away from civilization, The Shepherd (Michel Huisman) tends to his flock of wives and daughters who worship his every word. On the cusp of teenage-hood, Selah (Raffey Cassidy) begins experiencing strange visions about the only community and family she's ever known. When the group seeks to find a new Eden, everything Selah thought she knew about The Shepherd might lead to the freedom she's secretly seeking.
Monday, March 30, 2020
Mickey (Jon Abrahams) and Jackie (Mark Webber) Callaghan are about to lose the pub that's been in the family for generations. The night before they’re supposed to payback a sizable loan, Jackie loses it all while gambling. When local mobster Tony Davolio (Chazz Palminteri) offers one last opportunity to wipe the slate clean, the siblings must go on the run with a young girl Clover (Nicole Elizabeth Berger) after she accidentally kills Davolio’s son.
Friday, March 13, 2020
Concerned mother Abbey (Melinda Page Hamilton) has recognized a pattern of mental health issues with her son Jacob (Bailey Edwards) since he was a young boy. Having grown up as a teenager with an obsession for video games and Nazi paraphernalia, Abbey now questions whether her son is planning an attack on his school. Left to take matters into her own hands, Abbey rigs their house with an elaborate surveillance system in the hope of helping other mothers recognize the warning signs.
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
In 2016, after the massive success of her fifth studio album 1989, Swift reached a new height of media overexposure and a public feud with Kanye West and his wife Kim Kardashian. When #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty trended worldwide for 24 hours, Swift was effectively canceled. The musician thought the world wanted her to disappear, and so she did – for a year. The question on so many fans’ minds will center on where Swift went during that time she disappeared, and this is where the documentary steps in.
Wednesday, February 12, 2020
|To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You / Netflix|
Lara Jean Song Covey's (Lana Condor) secret love letters that were never supposed to see the light of day end up in the mailboxes of her old school crushes. To save face from embarrassment and coming in-between her sister and an ex (to whom one of the letters is sent), Lara and one of her crushes Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) start a fake relationship. Their attempts at keeping up with appearances while getting to know each other personally gives way to real feelings.
We last left the couple on the lacrosse field optimistically declaring their feelings for each other, but going back to Adler High School behind is tougher than they think. After risking it all and willing to take a chance on love, Lara Jean and Peter are no longer pretending to be a couple - they're the real deal. As Lara struggles to navigate her first real relationship, a fellow love letter recipient John Ambrose McClaren (Jordan Fisher) springs back into her life, leaving Lara to question what being in love truly means.
Where To All the Boys I've Loved Before brought us along on the journey of Lara Jean's struggle to trust giving her heart over to a real relationship instead of a fantasy, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You brings into view the expectations Lara places on herself as she falls in genuine love for the first time. Both Lara Jean and Peter have to confront insecurities from past relationships (namely with Peter's ex Genevieve played by Emilija Baranac) - they must learn to shed the restrictions of their fake-ship and invest in each other wholeheartedly.
As perfect as love stories might read on the page, it's an entirely different challenge to experience them in real life. Offering a perfect mix of rom-rom chemistry and grounded, relateable performances, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo pick up where they left off, vibing off of each other as the characters gradually grow up. As the beating heart of the series, Lana Condor once again brings humor, heartbreak, and self-awareness to her role as Lana. She perfectly fulfills the role of the conflicted and personable heroine we don't often see in romantic comedies anymore. Next to Centineo's Peter whose energy is as contagious as over, Jordan Fisher's John steps into the role of the sensitive and artistic dreamboat who might steal Lara's heart with ease.
Despite the first film's release two years ago, it doesn't feel as if time has passed at all between the two films. The sequel makes a few major switches behind the scenes - the director's chair passes from Susan Johnson to Micha Fimognari, while Sofia Alvarez adds J. Mills Goodloe as her screenplay partner. From her splendidly bold and colorful costumes to cinematography by, Lara Jean's world takes us back to the nostalgic sphere of rom-coms that sweep us off our feet. Also serving as cinematographer, Fimognari keeps the visual palette from the first film, giving the trilogy a consistent atmosphere and look that you can't get enough of.
For the most part, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You recaptures the same charm as its set-up, revitalizing the nostalgia for rom-coms of the past. It has more adorable characters, gorgeous costumes, and tender mishaps between the letter-writing love triangle that'll make you swoon as rom-coms should do. At times, it also expands its missteps, namely failing to let Lara Jean explore life outside of the confines of her view about and by Peter or John Ambrose. While the first film explored the similarities between Lara and Peter but balanced out the hiccups of their unorthodox arrangement, the consistent string of miscommunication and mix-ups limits the foundation of who they are individually. Some issues throughout their relationship, particularly Peter's inability to look past Genevieve, never exactly feels resolved or that the main relationship grows as much as it could. Subsequently, the cast's chemistry makes the story work even in its strongest and weakest moments where you can't help but feel like rooting for them.
Ringing in the old days of John Hughes's movies, To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is a rare gem, continuing the magic of the first flick and becoming a solid follow-up for a trilogy. Led by effervescent star Lana Condor, the film offers an enthusiastic and heartwarming diversity to a round of complex and endearing characters. The story reminds us of what it's like to fall in love and the journey of learning to communicate and be vulnerable in a relationship. As a romantic-comedy series for a new generation, the charm and joy from the mini-franchise leaves us wanting more for its final and third installment.
Please Note: I was provided with a screener in order to watch this film. To All The Boys I've Loved Before and To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You is currently available to watch on Netflix.
Saturday, February 8, 2020
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) Sparks New Life in the Comic Book Genre
Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) has broken ties with The Joker, but the immunity her relationship brought has now expired. Formerly under the protection of her ex's power, Quinn’s gotta fend off Gotham City’s worst nightmares when they come to collect. As her emancipation invites more obstacles than she bargained for, Quinn’s sets off a rebellious chain-reaction with teen thief Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), marginalized cop Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), vigilante Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and The Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead against a diabolical club owner Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor).
Friday, January 24, 2020
|STXfilms (United States)|
Saturday, January 11, 2020
Sunday, January 5, 2020
|Sony Pictures Releasing|
Set during the Civil War, the March sisters face trials and tribulations with their place in the world. While Jo (Saoirse Ronan) aspires to be an independent writer, she struggles alongside her sisters Amy (Florence Pugh), Beth (Eliza Scanlen), and Meg (Emma Watson) to follow their passions or find economic stability through marriage.
Saturday, December 21, 2019
|Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
In 2015, the Star Wars legacy was reignited with director and writer JJ Abrams’s The Force Awakens. A ragtag group of heroes fighting against the Empire 2.0 hit too close to home with A New Hope, but offered a chance to connect with a younger generation of characters and explore new plots. Namely, why did Luke Skywalker disappear? How did Ben Solo’s relationship with his uncle turn him to the dark side of the Force? Who was Rey from nowhere? The film was filled with endless possibilities that unraveled in the divisive follow-up The Last Jedi. Trying to answer as many questions as possible while also subverting expectations, director and writer Rian Johnson planted fresh ideas about failure in the Star Wars mythos. It gave us the chance to imagine Star Wars if it didn’t act like a formulaic blockbuster Star Wars film. Given full reigns to reinsert his own character development and plot, Abrams returned to throw everything at the wall and give fans the climatic finale they wanted. But it’s also one that we never imagined and might not have realistically needed.
After The Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) escapes The First Order, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is tasked with completing her Jedi training to take down Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). When the prince of darkness makes an unexpected reunion with the invincible Sith Lord Emperor Palpatine, both Rey and Kylo's connection to The Force will drive them to confront their biggest fears and darkest secrets.
This review contains spoilers from the film - read at your own risk.
Monday, December 9, 2019
|Warner Bros. Pictures|
Living in the slums of Gotham City with his troubled mother, social outcast, party clown, and aspiring comedian Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) struggles with his mental illness. As ruthless street punks, his boss, a late night talk show host, and society seemingly have out for him, Fleck wrestles to fulfill his aspirations of putting on a happy face and making the world smile. Subsequently, the ostracization he endures drives him closer to becoming the nihilistic criminal he abhors.