All in Review
It’s been around 5 years since we heard from Alfonso Cuaron. His ambitious film Gravity back in 2013 had many people excited for what he was going to tackle next. Many including myself expected something as grand if not bigger than Gravity. He needed to top it off. He surprised us all by coming out with his most personal film yet. A film that shines in its simplicity. I heard a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding this film. I was looking forward to watching it and seeing what everyone was talking about. I sat down a couple of days ago and watched it. I was enamored by the films simplicity. It is the type of film that is made for me. Simple human stories with a lot of emotion and passion ingrained into the work. To my surprise, I felt a bit disconnected from the story and the characters. It is not like I did not understand or “get” what was intended. It’s just one of those things where it just doesn’t click with you. That isn’t to say the film is bad. On the contrary, it is a VERY good film. It just did not connect with me as much as I would have hoped. Maybe it is the hype surrounding this film and the reactions that people have had. I don’t know what it is. Anyway, I will not let that cloud my judgement because this is a film that needs to be praised.
Buckle up boys and girls because this review is going all out. I deserve to let my anger out because of what this film did to me. I have never gotten out of a film with such a massive headache before, and Aquaman did that to me. I mean I hated Pacific Rim 2, but that film was just boring and flat. Aquaman is just a mess, a huge stinking mess. I don’t know when DC will get it. It is so sad. Because I am huge fan of DC’s comics. They have so much content, flavor, and character when compared to Marvel’s comic books in my opinion. Their world has so much potential. Not only that, I actually like Aquaman’s comics. I know he has become somewhat of a meme over the past few years. But I thoroughly enjoy his comics. It doesn’t stop there, Black Manta is one of my favorite villains in comic books ever. The way they portrayed him in this film was such a shame. It makes me so sad. I think the only solution for DC is to stick with independent films that don’t all tie into one “universe” like the MCU. Which is why I am hopeful for the new Joker film. They need to scrap everything, and just get experimental. Do something different. For example, Man of Steel, although it has many flaws, it was still trying to do something different. Now they are just trying to follow the same formula that Marvel is doing. And its all just so sad. Anyway, let’s get into this stinker.
Yorgos Lanthimos has been on my radar for quite some time. His films would always be mentioned in discussions made by cinephiles or having posts dedicated to his films on r/truefilm. His films looked interesting to me from the get go, but for some reason I never felt that “need” to want to watch them. It always felt like something that I will one day get to see. Especially with my busy schedule this past year, I haven’t had any time to watch movies. The thing that tempted me to watch The Lobster was a friend of mine, who watched it and kept insisted that I see it as well and discuss it with him. As my other friends started watching it as well, I could see completely polar reactions from some of them. Some of my friends absolutely despised a film and thought it was a waste of time, while the one who recommended it loved it. I love films that result in such a polarizing reaction, you either love it or hate it, no in between. Last year’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri is a great example of this type of polarizing film. You either think its genius or you think its trash. With Three Billboards, I fell on the “I hate it camp”. Well with The Lobster, I’m on the other side. I think this film is brilliant, and here’s why.
When the trailer for Into the Spider-Verse came out, I was cautiously optimistic. You see, aside from the X-Men, the Miles Morales series is actually one of my favorites Marvel has put out. I had always seen the potential in Spiderman. There is so much in the character that just feels right for comic books. He is relatable, fun, quirky, and most importantly real. That sentiment was even truer when I read the Miles Morales series that was just riddled with so much character and realness into the whole series. So when I saw that they were creating a movie based on the comic, I was excited. Then I was scared again, at the end of the day it was Marvel. I know its Sony, but I was scared that producers would play around and force generic decisions onto the film that would just ruin it. Nevertheless, the film came out and I decided to give it a shot. The animation looked nice, so why not? Well, I definitely wasn’t expecting coming out of that film and thinking it was the best Marvel film ever released. That’s what happened by the way.
I hate many aspects of modern Hollywood films. The list goes on and on. But if there is one thing I absolutely despise, its a forced message. When I say forced message I don’t mean something that’s easy to figure out. I mean like someone shoving their ideas into my throat every chance they get. That is what this film felt like. When I heard this film had some Oscar buzz surrounding it, I was intrigued. Didn’t read up on the summary or watch the trailer, just went into it blindly. Well now I know why this is getting that buzz. It’s the type of film I would expect people who work at Hollywood enjoy. Let’s just say it appeals strongly to one side of the political spectrum. I don’t really like to bring up politics when I am writing up my review. But since I had to sit through two hours of “racism is bad” being shoved down my throat, I think it’s justified that I can express myself freely.
Damien Chazelle came into the film industry with a bang. In 2014 he came out with a low budget film about a boy and his dream to be a great drummer. What he did not expect was the tremendous amount of support and praise to come his way. Whiplash was a huge success, and it is my personal favorite of his. I got excited for what more he could offer with more experience and a higher budget. Two years after Whiplash, in 2016, he came out with another music based film, La La Land. Now, I am really not a fan of musicals at all, but Chazelle made one that was so good that I could not deny its greatness. The film was the buzz of the year, and it was a huge contender for the Oscars. This was a man who was still in his early 30s and was able to create two critically acclaimed films in a matter of 3 years. His potential seemed endless. However, both those films had one thing in common, music. We all knew that Chazelle had a gift for incorporating music with film and exploring new ways to integrate both mediums. So when I heard he was coming out with a biopic about Neil Armstrong, I had no idea how it would come out. Was he a fluke? Was he a one trick pony? Can he do something other than music themed films and it still be as good? The answer to all those questions no, no, and yes but not as good.
A Star is Born has been garnering a lot of attention over the last couple of months. Aside from it being a remake of a film that has already been remade once or twice, it is a big step for both Cooper and Gaga. It is Cooper’s directorial debut and Lady Gaga’s major acting debut. Both are stepping into uncharted territory and it has brought all eyes on them. The overall result is a positive one to say the least. Critics have been raving about the film since its release. Positive reviews are seen everywhere and many speculate it is a front-runner for this year’s Oscars. Although the film has been getting amazing reviews, there are many people that see the exact opposite. The film has been polarizing to many, some seeing it as a masterpiece while others feeling like it is a waste of time. Personally I fall in the middle. I don’t think the film is a complete waste of time, and I don’t think it is a masterpiece. A Star is Born to me is a solid effort from both Gaga and Cooper, that had some great moments while still having some glaring missteps.