Fall Festival Review: Pieces of a Woman

1 Oct

The film never tops its heart-wrenching first act, a dizzying yet controlled horror film that is as impressive a piece of filmmaking as it is a relentlessly harrowing sequence of events. The fact that it’s a long take isn’t the only impressive thing about it – it’s utterly immersive as a set piece, from the blocking to the performances to the ways in which the camera maneuvers within the space. You feel every emotion and ounce of terror as things slowly but surely careen off a cliff.

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Fall Festival Review: Shithouse

28 Sep

Certainly did not expect to be giving a film named “Shithouse” a high score, but here we are (and let’s be honest, the title is unnecessary). With all due respect, everything about Cooper Raiff and the story behind the film seemed obnoxious on the surface, but color me surprised to realize that this is actually a warm, endearing love story with genuine heart and humor. It’s certainly not everyone’s college experience, and very much not mine, but it’s successful at capturing a very particular sense of longing and uncertainty – one that conjures up nostalgia for an experience that you maybe never even had.

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Bad Education Review

3 May

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Bad Education is an impressive balancing act that avoids the temptation to insert glitz and glamour where none is needed. Its sets are realistically drab, its characters feel grounded, and its tone is fairly muted relative to the absurdist dark comedy it could’ve leaned hard into. Instead, Makowsky and Finley – a pairing that was pretty much bound to happen – rely on the strength of the storytelling and the all too relevant moral complications inherent in this situation.

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The Best Films of 2019

14 Feb

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FILMS

25. (TIE) Pain & Glory / Tigers Are Not Afraid

24. Avengers: Endgame

23. Marriage Story

22. Booksmart

21. Atlantics

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The Best TV Shows of 2019

1 Feb

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25. (TIE) Back to Life & A Black Lady Sketch Show

24. You

23. Chernobyl

22. Dead to Me

21. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

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The Best Film Scenes of 2019

9 Jan

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10. Manson Massacre, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” – The only source of actual entertainment in this film is a ridiculous, over the top flurry of violence at the end – it’s meant to rewrite history, but better just enjoyed at face value.

9. Jo’s Monologue, “Little Women” – This short outpouring of emotion is Jo in all her heartache, compassion, contradiction, and desire. It can also serve as its own mission statement for this new reimagining of the story.

8. Opening, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” – Simply beautiful, a quick snapshot of San Francisco yet also a lovingly realized ode to its people. The cinematography and score create a sense of smooth frenzy – like you’re rushing to get through everything but also breathing in everything that you can.

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The Best Television Episodes of 2019

2 Jan

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15. Watchmen, “A God Walks into Abar”

14. Bojack Horseman, “The Face of Depression”

13. Ramy, “Ne Me Quitte Pas”

12. Pose, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”

11. Catastrophe, “Season 4 Episode 6”

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Uncut Gems Review

31 Dec

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A blistering, full throttle descent into madness that manages to make a bunch of terrible men yelling over each other extremely entertaining. Sandler is a force in this film – you can see every one of this character’s impulses eating away at him from the inside, driving his every thought and action. It’s an incredible performance, especially from a body language perspective, its own high wire pressure cooker imbued with just the right amount of tragic comedy. Julia Fox holds her own and then some opposite him, clearly understanding both the ridiculous and brutally sad sides of the story in tandem. Daniel Lopatin’s score is brilliant, per usual.

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The Best Film Performances of 2019

29 Dec

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PERFORMANCES

15. (TIE) Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory” & Sienna Miller, “American Woman”
14. Jonathan Majors, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”
13. Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein, “Booksmart”

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The Best Television Performances of 2019

27 Dec

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As is tradition, time to kick off my year end lists in television, film and music! Stay tuned for more.

15. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle, “Pen15”

14. Michelle Williams, “Fosse/Verdon”

13. Regina King, “Watchmen”

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