Watu Wote from director Katja Benrath is one of five films nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
Watu Wote is a beautifully-captured film. Shot mostly at night with low-light lighting schemes, the short nevertheless captures the streets of Kenya wonderfully.
Much of the action of the short, however, takes place inside Continue reading Watu Wote (All of Us) (2017) Short Film Review →
Mary and the Witch’s Flower is the first feature film from Studio Ponoc, a company made up of several former creators from the famed Studio Ghibli. It tells a story that is essentially Harry Potter adjacent, in which a young girl named Mary (Ruby Barnhill, in the English-language dub) stumbles upon a special flower, an engraved broomstick, and, ultimately, magical powers.
I say Harry Potter adjacent because Mary is whisked away on broomstick to an Continue reading Mary and the Witch’s Flower (2017) Movie Review →
There is one word that describes every facet of the film I, Tonya. Energy. From the acting performances, to the editing, to the camera work, to the dialogue, to the framing device, to the soundtrack there is a constant and consistent energy. There is never a wasted or dull moment. It is a two-hour movie that breezes by.
Beneath this energy, which is spear-headed by dark comedy, is a surprising amount of empathy that the film drums up around the figure of Tonya Harding (portrayed here by Margot Robbie). The highly publicized story of Harding plays out in the film in a Continue reading I, Tonya (2017) Movie Review →
DeKalb Elementary from director Reed Van Dyk is one of five films nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
The entirety of the short film DeKalb Elementary takes place inside of an administrative office of the eponymous elementary school. A man (Bo Mitchell) walks in and calmly proceeds to take out a semi-automatic rifle. Holding a woman (Tarra Riggs) hostage, he waits for the police to arrive.
The calmness of the characters involved may at first appear anachronistic to the plot that is unfolding, but the short plays out in what feels like a realistic way. This is accomplished through Continue reading DeKalb Elementary (2017) Short Film Review →
Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is a film that takes its time yet never wastes a moment. It may seem at first that it is slow to startup, but this humdrum beginning that meanders almost lazily through this formative summer of Elio’s (Timothee Chalamet) is used as a basis from which the film’s central relationship can form. From the point at which this relationship comes to be, the film becomes an intensely emotional and sensual experience.
Certainly, this lengthy and deliberate film will lose some viewers. The simplicity of the plotting does not help in that regard. But beyond mere plot is a film that captures Continue reading Call Me By Your Name (2017) Movie Review →
Guillermo del Toro, with his latest The Shape of Water, weaves, in effect, a fairy tale monster movie. Imbued with the shadowy lighting and terse patriotism of the Cold War 1950s, in which nationalistic patsies are led by men in trench coats who speak in passwords, the film sets itself in an industrial government building that hides away U.S. military secrets.
Working in this industrial warehouse, underneath the shadowy government officials and their shills and patsies, is the mute Elisa (Sally Hawkins). With the camaraderie of Zelda (Octavia Spencer), who fills the space where Elisa’s words cannot reach, they clean the facility. This includes cleaning up the blood after a new arrival to the facility causes Continue reading The Shape of Water (2017) Movie Review →