The social enjoyment of having drinks among friends along with the negative impacts of alcohol are both explored nicely in this 2020 foreign film.
A movie from Denmark, “Another Round” follows four friends: Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang) and Peter (Lars Ranthe). All of them are middle-aged high school teachers who have settled down.
However, for their own reasons, they all appear to be stuck in a bit of a rut in their lives. Soon after celebrating Martin’s birthday, the four come across a university study that states humans have a blood alcohol level that is actually too low. With that in mind, they decide to put the study to the test and start having a few drinks during the day to see if they’ll function better.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Another Round’ finely captures society’s link with alcohol”
The Academy Awards sometimes gets a bad rap for being a night where Hollywood “pats itself on the back.”
While that does happen, though, the Oscars do play another important role. It shines a spotlight on films that can sometimes go under the radar. This is especially true for documentaries, which are often not found at major movie theaters that people go to on a Friday night.
Continue reading “Oscar Docs: A Look at the nominees”
The coronavirus pandemic delayed many things, including the release of several movies. Subsequently, my Top 10 list was also pushed way back to March.
This list does include a couple movies that were released in the last few weeks. However, like award organizations, I’m making an exception because of the pandemic. Plus, it’s not my fault that it took forever for “The Father” to come out.
Continue reading “Top 10 Best Movies of 2020”
The ailments that come with aging and the impacts that they can have on a person’s loved ones is shown in harrowing, heartbreaking detail in this film.
“The Father” is a drama revolving around the character Anthony (Anthony Hopkins). At the start of the film, Anthony is visited by his daughter Anne (Olivia Colman), who is concerned about how her father should be cared for.
It’s shown early on that Anthony appears to be going through dementia, and as the movie progresses, his condition worsens. As a result, Anne begins considering other options for Anthony’s care. Unfortunately, Anne’s discussion of care options brings more confusion to Anthony.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Father’ is a well-made, distressing drama”
Sometimes there are pieces of media that just try way too hard to be edgy. “I Care a Lot” definitely joins that club.
Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson in “I Care a Lot,” a woman who’s made a career as a legal guardian for the elderly. As part of her job, Grayson will get a notice from a doctor she works with stating that an elderly person can no longer live on her own, which she brings to a court.
In turn, the court will then grant legal guardianship to Grayson, allowing her to determine the care for the elderly person, which results in her putting them in an assisted living facility. It also means she has access to the elderly individual’s finances. The latest individual she decides to get legal guardianship over, Jennifer Peterson (Diane Wiest), though, just happens to have a significant connection to Russian mob boss Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage).
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘I Care a Lot’ crumbles due to poor writing”
Director Chloe Zhao is on a roll, following up her phenomenal picture “The Rider” with one of 2020’s best films.
“Nomadland” tells the story of Fern , a woman who’s retrofitted a commercial-sized van to live out of. Fern, played by Frances McDormand, made her decision after two-life changing events occurred. One of them was the death of her husband, and the other was the closing of the main company in a small Nevada town which economically devastated the city. With nothing left, Fern decided to go out on the road.
The movie picks up with Fern working at an Amazon facility, earning paychecks during the busy holiday season. When the season comes to an end, the film follows her journey across the the Great Plains and western-mountain states. During her time living on the road, Fern meets several people who share their perspectives on life and what their plans are for the future.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Nomadland’ is a superb film about the human condition”
The year 2020 hasn’t been my favorite for animation and unfortunately, “Over the Moon” hasn’t helped that case.
The picture, released on Netflix, tells the story of Fei Fei (Cathy Ang), a young girl who became fascinated by the Moon because of stories told by her late mother. At the film’s outset, following the death of her mother, Fei Fei is working with her father at their small pastry company.
Life seems to be carrying on for the family, but the pain of loss still lingers for Fei Fei. That pain is reinforced when her father begins spending time with a woman, Ms. Zhong (Sandra Oh), as the Moon Festival approaches. Eventually, she learns that her father plans to marry Ms Zhong, and as a result, she will likely be getting an annoying step brother in the deal.
Hoping to fix the situation, she builds a craft capable of reaching the moon to speak with an ancient being who resides there. The plan goes a little haywire, though, when it turns out her step-brother-to-be, Chin (Robert Chiu), tagged along for the ride.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Character issues make ‘Over the Moon’ a misfire”
Definitions of the American Dream can sometimes vary, but when you see it, you know it. An audience can see it clearly in this picture.
“Minari” tells the story of David (Alan Kim), a young boy whose Korean family is moving to Arkansas. His father Jacob (Steven Yeun) and mother Monica (Han Ye-ri) both get positions at a local chicken hatchery for employment, and settle in at a rural home. Along with his parents, David’s family also includes his sister Anne (Noel Kate Cho) and grandmother Soon-ja (Youn Yuh-jung).
As the film goes on, it’s shown that Jacob intended to use his job at the hatchery to get some footing, and that his main plan is to create a farm on his property, where he will grow Korean vegetables. As he plants more crops, Jacob hires a neighbor, Paul (Will Patton), to help with the process. The film follows the family trying to establish their life in Arkansas and the struggles that come with it.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Minari’ is a beautiful, emotional immigrant story”
The use of confidential informants, as this film shows in great detail, can be a problematic law enforcement measure.
In this case, the movie is about informant Bill O’Neal (LaKeith Stanfield), a young man who is arrested for pretending to be an FBI agent to steal a car. Rather than be charged right away, though, O’Neal is given an opportunity by bureau agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons). Not long before Mitchell gave O’Neal the opportunity, J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) announced that Black Panther Illinois Leader Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) needed to be monitored.
That’s the job offered by Mitchell, and to avoid prison time, O’Neal reluctantly accepts. O’Neal makes his way into the Black Panthers organization and over time, establishes himself as a full-fledged member. As a result, O’Neal begins getting closer to Hampton and is able to report his findings to the FBI. However, with tensions seeming to rise all around him, O’Neal finds himself being pulled in two directions.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ is a powerful, magnetic drama”
Before there was Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Walter Cronkite, there was Tom Hanks’s character Jefferson Kidd. At least according to “News of the World.”
In the film, directed by Paul Greengrass, Hanks plays Jefferson Kidd, a former Civil War captain who now earns a living by going from town-to-town in Texas to read the top headlines and stories from the nation’s largest newspapers. Set in 1870, reconstruction is still a work in progress, with some parts of Texas remaining dangerous while others are lined with United States soldiers.
The movie picks up with Kidd on his way to a different town for another news delivery. Along the way, he finds a young girl, Johanna (Helena Zengel), who’s near a broken down wagon. From paperwork in the wagon, Kidd learns that Johanna was taken in by a Native American tribe after the deaths of her parents, and that she was supposed to be taken to surviving family members in another part of the state. Kidd is then instructed by officials to take her to reunite with her family members, which is a tough, 400 mile journey.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Not much good to report in ‘News of the World’”