Oscar Docs: A Look At The Front-Runners “13th” And “Made In America”

The Academy Award for Best Documentary has five nominees, but the competition has more or less narrowed to two.

The pair of candidates includes “13th” and “O.J.: Made in America.” In both films, race is a central matter that’s deeply explored and well connected to their respective core subjects.

Continue reading “Oscar Docs: A Look At The Front-Runners “13th” And “Made In America””

Advertisements

Top 10 Films of 2016

Films come out in all different types of genres and with different goals of what they want the audience to experience. In that sense, sometimes coming up with 10 of your favorite movies from a year can be easy, but ranking them is a little more tricky.

With that in mind, while some movie may be ahead of another, it doesn’t mean that there’s an astronomical difference. All the movies listed on my top 10 list are there in how I well I received them, but the order isn’t extremely important.

Continue reading “Top 10 Films of 2016”

REVIEW: ‘Lion’ Is A Feelgood Movie That Earns Every Heartfelt Moment

An incredible journey that happens to be a true story is portrayed in “Lion,” one of the top tier movies in 2016.

The picture tells the story of Saroo (played at first by Sunny Pawar) a young boy from India who, through a series of events, is separated from his family and ends up alone on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home.

Much of the first act of the film shows Saroo, who doesn’t know the pronunciation of his home town and also speaks a different dialect, trying to survive on his own before eventually getting taken into an orphanage. As a result, Saroo is eventually adopted by a married couple from Australia. The film then has a timeskip and shows Saroo as a grown man (Dev Patel) who’s still haunted by his past. Because the memories of his family live on, Saroo sets out on a mission to find out where he’s from.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Lion’ Is A Feelgood Movie That Earns Every Heartfelt Moment”

REVIEW: ‘Elle’ Is A Dark, Disturbing Piece Powered By Isabelle Huppert’s Performance

For the first time since 2012 Paul Verhoeven returns to the director’s chair with arguably his most twisted feature film to date.

“Elle” follows the title character who’s more commonly referred to as Michele. A CEO of a major video game development company, Michele is a wealthy and rather powerful business woman living in France.

Her life, already quite complicated, becomes shattered in the opening scene of the film, though, when she’s attacked and raped at her home. What follows is an exploration of how the character deals with such a disgusting act, how it influences her decisions and how it relates to her past.

Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Elle’ Is A Dark, Disturbing Piece Powered By Isabelle Huppert’s Performance”

REVIEW: While Predictable, ‘Hidden Figures’ Is A Solid Look At An Important True Story

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the space race of decades past has many inspiring stories of brilliant people, so it’s always a treat when Hollywood visits the subject.

“Hidden Figures” is another such feature. The picture tells the story of Katherine Johnson (Taraji Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), three women who worked at NASA in the early 1960s in a unit dedicated to all the math for the agency.

Because their work was all about calculations, they were even called computers at the time. As their skills are called upon, though, Katherine is brought into a special task force for NASA’s latest mission, Mary is brought into an engineering unit and Dorothy, meanwhile, works to advance her role as the supervisor of her group. While this is happening, the three women have to face discrimination while also dealing with immense pressure as their work is key to bringing astronauts home safely.

Continue reading “REVIEW: While Predictable, ‘Hidden Figures’ Is A Solid Look At An Important True Story”

REVIEW: Despite A Poor Main Character, ‘Patriots Day’ Remains A Compelling Cinematic Look At A Horrific Moment

Director Peter Berg takes audiences behind the scenes of the Boston Marathon bombing from multiple viewpoints in “Patriots Day.”

While the picture does explore many of the people who were at the bombing and its immediate aftermath, such as Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), the film largely takes place through the eyes of Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg).

Saunders, who’s a fictional character made to represent Boston police officers, is a sergeant with the department and much of his story revolves around tracking down the two terrorists responsible.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Despite A Poor Main Character, ‘Patriots Day’ Remains A Compelling Cinematic Look At A Horrific Moment”

REVIEW: A True Delight, ‘La La Land’ Is 2016’s Most Charming Film

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who’ve co-starred before, reunite on screen for “La La Land,” which is arguably the best movie of their careers.

A true love letter to old Hollywood, “La La Land” kicks off by telling the story of Mia (Stone), an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. The key word is aspiring, as Mia is unable to catch attention in her auditions. Gosling, meanwhile, plays Sebastian who’s also a hopeful artist.

Sebastian is a pianist who’s all about jazz music and has a goal of opening a jazz club. Eventually, the two characters meet, a relationship develops and the film explores the effect it has on their dreams.

Continue reading “REVIEW: A True Delight, ‘La La Land’ Is 2016’s Most Charming Film”

REVIEW: Superb Acting From Portman Creates A Haunting Portrait Of American Tragedy In ‘Jackie’

Pablo Larrain directs and Natalie Portman stars as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in this in depth look at one of America’s darkest days and the aftermath.

The picture largely takes place in the days after the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, but other time periods are explored, too. While a majority of the picture shows Jackie planning the funeral in the days after the assassination as well her conversations about the events with others, the movie also shows the First Lady’s famous TV tour of the White House and when the Kennedys first arrived in Texas.

As the film unravels, it explores Jackie needing to be a mother, continue being a public figure and take efforts to preserve her husbands legacy.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Superb Acting From Portman Creates A Haunting Portrait Of American Tragedy In ‘Jackie’”

REVIEW: Award Caliber Performances From Washington, Davis Make ‘Fences’ Worth A Watch

The award winning play “Fences” has come to the big screen thanks to Denzel Washington, who both starred in and directed this feature.

Washington’s role in this picture is the lead character Troy Maxson, an African-American man working a tough job in the 1950s to provide for his wife and son.

As the film progresses, it explores more of Troy’s relationships, his goals and his failures. Especially detailed here, though, is his strained relationship with his son, Cory (Jovan Adepo).

Continue reading “REVIEW: Award Caliber Performances From Washington, Davis Make ‘Fences’ Worth A Watch”