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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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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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Little Women Review

25 Dec

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Little Women is a genuinely lovely, affecting film that exudes such warmth for its characters and their hopes, dreams, and fears. It’s driven both by an understanding of sisterhood and by an understanding of what it means to want something as an individual. It lives in the complexities of human emotion and love, and in its most striking moments, highlights the dichotomy of trying to be independently headstrong and the oftentimes soul-crushing loneliness that accompanies being human. It’s at its core an all enveloping hug of a film, one that modernizes the well-tread story in a way that feels genuine and befits Gerwig’s sensibilities.

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire Review

1 Dec

A film that is deeply in love with the women at its center, and in love with the idea of their love. It’s the type of rare film that has no desire and no space to explore the influence of men in their lives – any pain and conflict in this story is derived less from external forces and more from pure, unencumbered longing. That’s refreshing, to say the least. It’s also as immaculately crafted of a production as you’d expect – the colors are lush and vibrant without being overpowering, muted when they need to be and powerfully vivid in certain key moments. The use of music, and lack thereof, is striking and calculated in its effect. The performances are both stellar.

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The Irishman Review

29 Oct

The Irishman is a 209 minute congregation of the various films and themes Scorsese has been working on for decades. It’s a distinct distillation of his evocative religious pieces and his dynamic gangster pieces, and a perfect example of how these two types of films make perfect sense coming from the same director. The basic framework of the story has been done before, both by Scorsese and by many others, and it’s the type of story that is its own dying breed – as it should be, I’ve seen enough antiheroes struck with regret to last a lifetime. However, it’s Martin Scorsese through and through, and the man knows how to make a great movie.

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Parasite Review

3 Oct

Parasite is, in no uncertain terms, fucking great. It’s funny and suspenseful and deeply powerful. It’s genuinely creative and unpredictable in a way that we don’t often see, and it has an acute understanding of the physical and emotional boundaries of social class. More than anything, it is at its core concerned with human beings, specifically families, and the ways in which they navigate, construct, and even break down those boundaries. Empathy is of the utmost importance in this story. Continue reading

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