Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game is based on a true story; a true story told by a potentially unreliable narrator. Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), a one-time Olympic contender, is under indictment for running an illegal gambling ring. Technically, she’s guilty (she wrote a book on the subject when she was in need of some money). All the same, the story is much more complicated than guilt versus non-guilt.
The story is complicated, but the movie makes it much more complicated than it needs to be. Sorkin jams into this 140-minute movie three storylines involving Continue reading Molly’s Game (2017) Movie Review
The critical world has been abuzz over Gary Oldman’s Oscar-worthy performance in Darkest Hour. Sporting a physique more, dare I say, jowel-y, Oldman plays British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from his selection to his rallying of Parliament to support war efforts against Germany.
Clearly, Oldman is at center stage in Darkest Hour. His performance is certainly transfixing; he embodies Churchill with a mix of grumbling brutish, beady-eyed fury, and unexpected compassion. He could win an Oscar for his role, and it would not be undeserved. But Continue reading Darkest Hour (2017) Movie Review
Lost Face from director Sean Meehan is one of 10 films short-listed for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short
Sean Meehan’s Lost Face is a short film adapted from the Jack London short story of the same name. It is the story of a group of fur traders who are captured and tortured by the Native Americans who were enslaved into building their trading post.
What first we see in Meehan’s film is the visceral stabbing of Continue reading Lost Face (2017) Short Film Review
The conversation surrounding Ridley Scott’s All the Money in the World has been louder than actual buzz for the movie has been. With the bold decision by Scott to replace Kevin Spacey but maintain the film’s original release date, re-shooting to put Christopher Plummer in the J.P. Getty role occurred over the course of mere weeks.
While this turnaround is certainly impressive, and much can be said about this film being saved from studio abandonment, this conversation outside of the text of the film should not determine how one judges the text itself.
What is to be made of All the Money in the World, then? Continue reading All the Money in the World (2017) Movie Review
It is exceedingly hard to rank entities that are discrete artistic creations, mainly due to my resistance to comparing such individual achievements. It is much easier to rank things that are the worst. (I’m not the biggest fan of worst lists for other reasons, but when there are over 30 films to choose from for such a list, it is something I have to discuss).
So, yeah, this list is ranked, but it is merely based on my personal feelings of these films right now. More importantly, this list exists as a living document on Letterboxd. This is simply because my area has yet to release certain high profile 2017 films such as The Post, and I have not had time during the busy holiday season to get around to seeing films such as The Shape of Water and Call Me by Your Name, etc. etc. Check there for updates.
50. Trainspotting 2
Some things get richer with age: whisky, wine…mostly alcohol. The original Trainspotting remains an electric, darkly comic ride through heroin addiction. T2: Trainspotting is Continue reading Top 50 Movies of 2017
One benefit a musical is afforded is narrative efficiency. As we see at the beginning of The Greatest Showman, entire backstories and a character’s drives and goals can be distilled into a single song. But narrative efficiency should not replace depth of characterization, storytelling, nor theme.
The themes at the heart of the songs in The Greatest Showman are not particularly deep or insightful. The power of dreams and acting on them. The power of individuality and being comfortable in one’s own skin. Tolerance of those different than yourself. A general distaste for upper class snobbishness. None of these concepts are Continue reading The Greatest Showman (2017) Movie Review
So get this: it’s a buddy cop movie starring Will Smith. Yeah, sure, it reminds one of Bad Boys, only Smith’s partner Jakoby (Joel Edgerton) is an Orc. And Smith’s character, Ward, is racist against Orcs like the rest of the police force. In this universe, pretty much everyone is racist against Orcs, and Elves, and Fairies. At one point, Smith swings a broom at a Fairy, trying to kill it, and says: “Fairy lives don’t matter today.”
So, you know, the film’s subtle.
Ward and Jakoby find themselves in the middle of a war between the police, various gangs, and some assassin Elves. It is a war over a misplaced wand, which, based on what people are willing to do for it, seems to have an equivalent power to Continue reading Bright (2017) Movie Review
Alexander Payne’s latest is a sci-fi comic drama about a man named Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) who decides to engage in the biggest scientific innovation since the Apollo space program: Downsizing.
Downsizing, or “going small,” is the process of shrinking one’s body down to five inches and moving to one of many small communities, a “magical” place where everything is cheaper because the quantity the consumer requires is smaller (although, economy isn’t all about quantity…if there’s a demand for small diamonds, wouldn’t the price of small diamonds go up regardless? But I digress).
Downsizing has a sprawling plot. For a film about shrinking a person and putting them under a glass dome, there is a lot of movement. Too much, to be frank. The first act of the film is firmly planted in Continue reading Downsizing (2017) Movie Review
My Nephew Emmett from director Kevin Wilson Jr. is one of five films nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
My Nephew Emmett dramatizes the events leading up to the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, a 14 year old African American boy who was killed by two racist men for whistling at a white woman. It does this from an intriguing perspective, that being Till’s uncle Mose (L.B. Williams).
Framed with sumptuous cinematography from Laura Valladao, My Nephew Emmett takes its limited perspective and creates Continue reading My Nephew Emmett (2017) Short Film Review
The Silent Child from director Chris Overton is one of five films nominated for the 2018 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
Libby (Maisie Sly) is a young deaf girl. Her family largely ignores her, as much as her mother (Rachel Fielding) keeps saying that Libby gets on well with them. When speech therapist Joanne (Rachel Shenton) enters the home, Libby begins to come out of her shell, but Libby’s parents are not as keen on the speech education that Joanne is performing.
Chris Overton’s film is elegantly shot, particularly in outdoor or montage sequences. Much of the film, however, is Continue reading The Silent Child (2017) Short Film Review