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.
“Only kids who can’t study at home go to school”
That is the underlying sentiment of this film. It looks at societal norms in a different light. Koreeda gives us a unique perspective of lower class Japan. How they make due with what they have. As well as how they twist reality in order to make what everyone else views “dysfunctional” to be “normal”. Going into Shoplifters, I didn’t have any expectations, something that isn’t surprising coming from me. I had no idea what to expect. What I experienced was a heartwarming story about society, class, love, and family. How individual dysfunctional pieces can come together to create a cohesive unit that grows stronger together. It is a simple film, but also complex in its message. And it is one that I think many should watch, especially in a day and age where we seem more dysfunctional than ever.
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.
I had never heard of Don’t Look Now before. I would usually have seen such films on lists or maybe recommendations from other film critics. However, for some reason I had literally never heard of this film before. Which compelled me even more to watch it. I sit down in my room and I turned off the lights. Grabbed my notepad and started the film. What happened in the next hour and fifty minutes was something I did not expect. I went through so many different emotions. From loving certain parts to absolutely hating others. From being nervous to laughing at loud at the silliness that is happening in front of my eyes. It was definitely an experience, however I’m not sure if it was a great one.
With every film I watch, I go into it with no information. To try to be as objective as I can, or at least let the film speak for itself. I don’t need to watch a trailer to hype it up for me. I just need the film to do the work. With Leave No Trace, it was the same thing but to the extreme. I seriously knew NOTHING about the film. All I knew was the title. I didn’t get a glimpse of the short summary, or the cast, or anything for that matter. I remember seeing it in a list or on reddit one day and thought why not. So all I had going for it was the title and that’s it. So when the film first started, I was like “oh is this going to be like The Last of Us or something?”. I thought maybe it would be a post apocalyptic film where they had to survive and all of that. However, at 10 minutes something happens, and I straighten up and think “oh this is interesting”.
Every time a new action-blockbuster comes out in the theaters, I rarely care. These films have become so similar that they all start to mesh into one big blob of Hollywood clichés. However, something strange happened this time, one of these films managed to grab my attention. Mission Impossible: Fallout for some reason was being highly praised. All over twitter and letterboxd I see some of my friends giving it rave reviews and speaking its praises. At one point I even saw some people comparing the film to The Dark Knight and even Mad Max! I was certainly intrigued. Why was this film singled out from all the other action blockbusters? What is it doing differently? I had to find out. Unfortunately, even after watching the film, I am still asking the same questions. Why is this praised so highly? I have no idea.
"I'm siiiiingin' in the rain, just siiiiiingin' in the rain. What a glorious feeling I'm happy again"
Chances are that you have heard that once in your life. Even if you haven't seen this film. That is how famous Singin' In The Rain has become. I bet there are people out there who know the main tune but don't even know there is a movie attached to it. When it comes to these sort of films I am very wary of writing my thoughts on them. I mean what more can I say about the film that hasn't been said before. Its too popular to talk about. So why am I even talking about it? Well I don't really like it........... So, here we go.
Reviewing old movies is always hard for me. On one hand I understand the limited technology that they had along with maybe a limited scope on what they are actually able to do. However, on the other hand I think of films like A Trip To The Moon, Modern Times, Citizen Kane, or any Hitchcock movie and think to myself "but those ones are still timeless". They were able to stand the test of time and still offer something no matter how much time has passed. I think a big criteria for me whenever I review an old film is "does it stand the test of time". Is it still enjoyable after all these years. I still know in the back of my mind about the limitations they had. Yet, I don't let it become a handicap for the film and it ends up getting a better score than it deserves. Because at the end of the day, if a film is not enjoyable or not worth watching, then why bother?
It's strange. Watching films for such a long time and still getting tricked about the content of a movie. I can usually tell where the film is going within the first 20 minutes. The last time I remember being faked out by a film was Mulholland Drive, and that was worth the trick to be honest. Going into First Reformed, I had no expectations. I knew that I liked Ethan Hawke, and that it was directed by the writer of Taxi Driver. That's about it. During the first 20 minutes of the film, I was enjoying myself. I felt like this would be a character driven film that gripped the viewer with the intricate life of a lonely priest. Halfway through the film I began to realize this movie wasn't what I thought it was. And I don't know how to feel about that.... Here are my thoughts.