Tag Archives: 2017

DeKalb Elementary (2017) Short Film 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.

2018-oscars-live-action-short-film-review

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

Call Me By Your Name (2017) Movie 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.

call-me-by-your-name-2017-movie-review

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

The Shape of Water (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.

shape-of-water-2017-movie-review-guillermo-del-toro

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

Molly’s Game (2017) Movie Review

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.

mollys-game-2017

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

Darkest Hour (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.

darkest-hour-2017-ben-mendelsohn

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 (2017) Short Film 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.

lost-face-oscars-2018

What first we see in Meehan’s film is the visceral stabbing of Continue reading Lost Face (2017) Short Film Review

All the Money in the World (2017) Movie 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.

all-the-money-in-the-world

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