Category Archives: Review
What I appreciate about director Sam Mendes’ war drama 1917 is that it has all the urgency, suspense and sense of brutality you’d expect from a World War 1 film without glorifying war itself. The focus of 1917 is not on a particular battle or military campaign but on the harrowing mission of two British soldiers, Lance Corporal Blake and Schofield, to deliver a message through enemy territory to save a battalion of 1600 men, including Blake’s older brother, from being massacred. I didn’t mind at all that the story is straightforward, light on dialogue and has only two lead characters. Where 1917 shines is in its immersive direction, hauntingly beautiful cinematography and earned emotional moments.
An early funny moment in Parasite which encapsulates Ki-taek and his family is when the pest control exterminator comes to their poor neighborhood, he leaves the windows open in their half-basement apartment for the “free fumigation”. Not knowing much about the story beforehand, I mistakenly thought that Parasite would be a horror film like Director Boon Joon Ho’s previous hit The Host. Instead, Parasite is harder to categorize. I would say it’s a comedy thriller with a dark edge to it. The black comedy is used to put the spotlight on social issues in a way which viewers can easily see the faults of the system and people. Ki-taek’s family are opportunistic and cunning but not unsympathetic as they worm their way into the Park family’s lavish home.
The first thing that stands out about Uncut Gems is Adam Sandler’s genuinely solid performance in a non-typical role. Sandler plays as Howard Ratner, a New York jeweler who weaves a tangled web of high stakes risk and frantic desperation when scrambling to pay off a gambling debt. Sandler brings a sense of amusement and authenticity to heightened moments in Uncut Gems. The tightly written script is very good at capturing how Ratner’s business, family and personal life collide and unravel before his eyes. Despite his poor decision making, the well-rounded character driven story and performance makes you want to see Ranter succeed.
In a way, my hazy memory of 2017’s supernatural horror film It helped me to appreciate the themes in Chapter 2. Character names started to pop up in my head before they were spoken. And a brief flashback brought back to mind some of the past events along with the emotions tied to them. As referenced in It Chapter 2, our memory works to hold onto things that are meaningful to us like significant childhood moments. In other instances, traumatic memories are suppressed until a picture, object, sound or even a smell, triggers it bringing back all the old feelings that were once buried. Repressing memories is a mechanism to help people cope and avoid confronting a stressful or painful incidence. It Chapter 2 takes us back to Derry, Maine where the “Losers’ Club” have to confront what they thought they’ve left behind. Read the rest of this entry
Avengers: Endgame is one of the most anticipated movies in recent memory. From the start, Marvel Studios made fans aware that the movies were building towards an epic story as part of their ambitious, shared cinematic universe. Respecting the source material, Marvel Studios adapted a roster of comic book superheroes for a modern audience. As fans became more invested which each new franchise, including superheroes that were not widely popular, Marvel’s momentum continued to grow. With Endgame, not only has the anticipation greatly risen so has the expectation for an emotionally satisfying and meaningful conclusion to the Infinity Stones story line.
Upgrade (2018) is a cyberpunk thriller that paints a murky outlook on technologically enhanced humans in the near-future. Self-driving vehicles, VR technology and artificial intelligence are already a reality today. Just imagine how much further we will have developed and integrated these technologies in the years to come. The believable aspects to the futuristic setting in Upgrade adds to the disconcerting anxiousness to what could be in store for the next stage in humanity.
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part recaptures the feel-good energy of the first film, although it’s not as refreshingly humorous. Part of the reason is it’s really hard to recreate that lightning in a bottle again even if the same successful elements are mostly present.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated superhero movie that will be referenced by fans and cultural commentators for many years to come. The film takes the popular formula of a coming of age meets superhero origin story but tells it through a fresh, bright-eyed perspective. Miles Morales as a new Spider-Man and Peter Parker (also Spider-Man), team up when their alternate universes collide. The hallmarks of what makes a good Spider-Man movie are in Spider-Verse. There is plenty of web-slinging action presented through visually stunning animation. The story has enough heart and depth to engage viewers of all ages. Overall, the quality of the story, voice-acting and presentation is far above what one might expect from an animated superhero movie.
And now for something completely … well different. Nicolas Cage’s latest film Mandy is a wild, captivating trip. More specifically it’s an acid trip filled with hallucinatory visuals and an otherworldly vibe as if torn from the pages of a cosmic horror novel.
Tom Cruise may be in his mid-fifties but there is no slowing down the Mission Impossible franchise. Mission Impossible: Fallout, the sixth film in the series, brings plenty of excitement which fans have come to expect: high speed chases through iconic cities, a nail-biting race against a countdown clock, and spy thriller twists.