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Song to Song Review

17 Mar

“As I walk along, I wonder

A-what went wrong with our love

A love that was so strong”

There’s an ebb and flow to life and love. There are the hedonistic, weightless highs, the moments when you dance like there’s nobody watching and playfully chase each other around your apartment. There are the uncertain lows, the moments when you question what it is you’ve gotten yourself into and whether or not you can figure it out. Song to Song is a beautifully exhausting attempt to wade through that thicket, an attempt because that’s what Malick has made a career out of: carving out a spiritual and creative journey in which solutions come secondary to the transcendent highs achieved in the process. His newest project does reach some of those highs, but it definitely loses its way the longer it runs. Though the introduction of new characters and relationships stays true to the transient nature of life, it doesn’t quite anchor a story that’s more plot and character based than one might expect. Malick can be tedious in a good way, but the opposite is true as well.

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Kong: Skull Island Review

11 Mar

There are very few things that I respect more than a movie that is unafraid to embrace its own stupidity. Kong: Skull Island has thinly written characters, extreme tonal dissonance, and a complete and utter disregard for the talents of Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson, but it’s absolutely glorious in its brazen spectacle. Its thin characters and tonal dissonance don’t matter as much because it thoroughly commits to its premise, and it seems like the movie is one ridiculous–but hilarious–visual gag after another. It’s not trying to be something it’s not, and that’s something I appreciate in any movie, especially a nostalgia-laced B-movie blockbuster about a giant ape.

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Raw Review

7 Mar

Raw occasionally loses itself trying to say everything it wants to say, but it is undoubtedly an audacious (and quite witty) project that is never not interesting to watch. When it works, it works beautifully, and several moments in the film are early contenders for best scene of the year; the final scene in particular is brilliant and has a killer ending line. The score by Jim Williams and the directing from newcomer Julia Ducournau are top notch, and as sisters in the film, Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf do a hell of a job selling the emotional through line of the script. The film takes us through an examination of identity, burgeoning sexuality, addiction, freedom, and the line between man and animal, but at the end of the day, it’s a story about two sisters and their love for each other. This isn’t a cannibalism movie. It’s a story about humanity filtered through a fairly ridiculous setup, and it works.

GRADE: B+

The Top 30 Films of 2016

25 Feb


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Acclaimed films I wasn’t a huge fan of: The Fits, Hacksaw Ridge, Love & Friendship, A Monster Calls, Finding Dory, The Jungle Book, Deadpool, Sully, Swiss Army Man, Rogue One, The Red Turtle, Lion, Jackie

Films that really weren’t that bad: Batman v. Superman, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Passengers, Nerve, The Purge: Election Year

Others Considered: The Witch, Other People, Maggie’s Plan, Popstar, Things to Come, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Dark Horse, Indignation, My Golden Days, High-Rise, The Light Between Oceans, Certain Women, The Shallows, Loving, Midnight Special, Under the Shadow, Star Trek Beyond, 20th Century Women, Little Men, Fences, 13th, Moana, I, Daniel Blake, Aquarius, Louder Than Bombs, The Love Witch, Divines, Tickled

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The Top 12 Film Scenes of 2016

14 Feb

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Others Considered: Dead body (The Nice Guys), Ending (The Witch), Would That It Were So Simple (Hail, Caesar!), First encounter (Arrival), Final scene (Aquarius), Sabotage (Star Trek: Beyond), The fire (Divines), Final battle (Hardcore Henry), Horseback ride (Certain Women), Conversation (Indignation)

Honorable Mentions: The arm (Green Room), William Carlos Williams (Paterson), Diner ending (The Lobster), DMV (Zootopia), I Am Moana (Moana), Airport battle (Captain America: Civil War), Limo scene (Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping), The party/Whitney Houston (Toni Erdmann)

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Get Out Review

12 Feb

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Every so often, a film comes along that is so bold in its ideas, so unrelenting in its intensity, that you just have to allow yourself to be swept up in its grasp. Even given its flaws–mainly an occasionally shaky setup and an over-abundance of jump scares–Get Out is that type of film. It’s a deliriously entertaining ride through comedy, horror, action, and social commentary, and it knows exactly how to blend the four without detracting from any. Via a creative form of social critique, Peele does what horror filmmakers do best: draw from the everyday fears of our times and take them to the extreme. However, he also has a knack for transitioning between tones, and that’s where the beauty of the film lies; for instance, the comedy that oftentimes breaks up the intensity in various scenes actually contributes in a way to the overall intensity. That’s the only way I can describe it, as it’s best experienced firsthand.

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The Lego Batman Movie Review

7 Feb

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Doesn’t quite sustain its high energy, rapid-fire delivery throughout, but the quick-moving parts contribute to a very enjoyable story. The script is witty, the voice performances are stellar–especially Cera–and the self-referential humor actually means something with regards to the central character. Compare the humor and the social commentary to that of the movie’s predecessor all you want, but this one still deserves a lot of credit for engaging with and understanding its main character. This is an analysis of the Caped Crusader filtered through history, comedy, and a simple but resonant thematic base about ego and loneliness. At the same time, it’s also an infectious kaleidoscope of color that recognizes the fun of its premise: a bunch of legos running around fighting each other.

GRADE: B

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