Nefta Football Club is a great case study to convey a message through the film instead of jostling it on the face. Rajinikanth, an Indian movie star with a legacy as famous as Chuck Norris, is known for mouthing dialogues about life and success. One such dialogue is "You can't achieve success without hard work, and the success that comes your way without hard work won't stay long." This quote sums up the moral of the 18-minute Nefta Football Club. Filmmaker Yves Piat treats a thin thread with the utmost respect and gives a piece of cinema that has profound
A sweet tale of ignorance where the wisdom lies beneath the silliness.
An affectionate, if not entirely in-depth document on a truly influential cinematographer.
Next to the director, the cinematographer is one of the most essential components to making great art. Cinematography can capture emotion and depth with vision, almost always better than words can ever do. Many of film history's greatest masters of light, including Roger Deakins, Karl Struss, Gordon Willis, Gregg Toland, Sven Nykvist, and Haskell Wexler, among others, have successfully demonstrated how images can truly increase the impact of any film, even if certain movies themselves, are not particulary meaningful. However, if there was one who somehow continues to be forgotten in the annals of the history of the medium, it
Criterion rides again with five titles.
In April, Criterion adds four titles to the collection. They are George Marshall's Destry Rides Again, Juraj Herz's The Cremator, Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know. Also available will be a Blu-ray upgrade of Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows. Read on to learn more about them. Army of Shadows (#385) out Apr 7 The most personal film by the underworld poet Jean-Pierre Melville, who had participated in the French Resistance himself, this tragic masterpiece, based on a novel by Joseph Kessel, recounts the struggles and sacrifices of those who fought
A potent work that emphatically proves the effectiveness of short-form cinema.
Bryan Buckley's Saria is based on 2017's tragedy when 41 girls orphan girls lost their lives to fire in Virgen de La Asuncion Safe Home in Guatemala, the very same orphanage they were housed in, or I may say, jailed. The first and last shots of the film have a spider crawling in the hallway of the orphanage, and the spider appears at three different junctures. First, the spider crawls into a closed room. Second, Saria, the titular character, saves the insect trapped in soap foam and lets it go out of the orphanage. Third, the spider crawls out of
This is the only opportunity for audiences to watch the short film nominees in theaters before the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday February 9, 2020.
Press release: ShortsTV, the leading platform dedicated to short entertainment (www.shorts.tv), today announced the titles it will feature in the 15th annual theatrical release of the Oscar Nominated Short Films, a three-compilation showcase. The 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films feature Academy Nominated Short Films from the Live Action, Animation and Documentary categories. ShortsTV will debut the astounding compendium of some of the year’s best but unseen films that will clock in at more than five hours of film. ShortsTV will premiere the 2020 Oscar-Nominated Short Films at the IFC Center in New York City and in select markets on January
Award to be presented during the 11th annual TCM Classic Film Festival for his significant contribution to film history & preservation.
Press release: Turner Classic Movies (TCM) today announced that the third annual Robert Osborne Award, recognizing an individual who has helped keep the cultural heritage of classic film alive for future generations, will be presented to one of the world's most respected film critics and historians, Leonard Maltin. He will receive the award at the 2020 TCM Classic Film Festival during a screening of a nitrate print, provided by the UCLA Film and Television Archive, of one of his favorite films, Counsellor at Law (1933). The first two Robert Osborne Awards were given out in 2018 to iconic filmmaker Martin
Yibrán Asuad's film is suffused with simplicity and innocence.
Is it necessary that a film set in the '90s resemble a movie from the '90s? All the Freckles in the World had me asking that question over and over, scene by scene. And my answer to it, it's not an issue if done well and even better if it mirrors the time. It wouldn't take thought to strike the film off by disregarding the simplicity of proceedings to the shallowness, the light-hearted nature to the absolute lack of stakes, and self-absorption to the absence of motivation in writing. The moments aren't underlined; no musical score guides you on how
Sidney Lumet's 1960 adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play heads a new week of releases.
Legendary director Sidney Lumet (1924-2011) had a knack for creating cinematic creations from some of history's greatest plays, novels, and true stories. Whether it was his iconic examination of Reginald Rose's timeless 12 Angry Men; Al Pacino's Sonny's bizarre bank robbery in Dog Day Afternoon; or a harrowing study of domestic and familial breakdown that surfaces Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, Lumet brought his own stylistic flourishes that continue to be beloved to this today. However, and this is painful for me to do this, but if I had to choose his most divided work, it has to
Joker leads with 11 nominations followed by The Irishman, 1917, and Once upon a Time...in Hollywood with 10 each.
Press release: The 92nd Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. “ Oscars: Live on the Red Carpet” will air at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. Joker leads with 11 nominations followed by The Irishman, 1917, and Once upon a Time...in Hollywood with 10 each. Academy members from each of the 17 branches vote to determine the nominees in
"Every villain is a hero of his or her own story." - Christopher Vogler, "The Writer’s Journey"
From Spin Master, comes Sinister Six, a card game named after the infamous group of super villains from Spider-Man's rogues' gallery that first united together against Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 (Jan. 1964). At their inception, the sextet included Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven, Mysterio, Sandman, and Vulture. In addition, players (three to six) are also able to choose from Lizard, Rhino, Venom, and Green Goblin. Designed by Daryl Andrews & Adrian Adamescu, the object of the game is for players to work together on four heists and then defeat Spider-Man while working individually to gain the most
1917 is a terrific war epic with masterful technical aesthetics.
After reinvigorating the Bond franchise with Skyfall and ending his run on a whimper with Spectre, director Sam Mendes makes a leap into the war genre with 1917, a technically bold look at an often undiscussed period within history. Although it hardly goes beyond being technically bold, it still is quite admirable in its ambition. The whole film is structured as if it’s a continuous take and takes place over a couple days. Two soldiers, Will Schofield (George MacKay) and Tom Blake (Dean Charles-Chapman), are assigned to deliver a message to the second battalion of the Devonshire Regiment to prevent
Another week filled with cool new things.
Last month, I finally broke down and subscribed to Disney+. With The Rise of Skywalker coming out, I knew we’d want to watch some of the films, and with my daughter off for Christmas break, I knew we’d enjoy watching some Pixar or Marvel movies. We’d also be spending a week at my in-laws with all my wife’s family so I figured I could bring my Amazon Fire box and we’d all enjoy Disney+ more than regular cable TV. All of this was true, but mostly I wanted to watch The Mandalorian, Disney+’s new Star Wars series. We had a
The story piqued my interest about the scientists involved, making me want to learn more about them and their projects.
Based on the autobiography of the same name, writer/director Thor Klein's Adventures of a Mathematiciantells the story of Stanislaw Ulam's time working for the United States government on the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear weapons. Covering about a decade in his life during the 1940s, we meet an intelligent man who deals with matters at a distance, both personal and professional. In 1941, Stanislaw (Philippe Tlokinski), or “Stan” by those close to him, is a Polish mathematician teaching in the United States at Harvard. His younger brother Adam (Mateusz Wieclawek). They are both concerned about their family back
A two-hander where your two hands will be firmly embedded in your armrests.
I wasn’t at all familiar with director and co-writer Robert Eggers until this masterful sophomore effort, but immediately added his debut, The Witch, to my must-see queue after falling under the spell of The Lighthouse. The film really shouldn’t work, and yet it’s about as close to perfection as I encountered in last year’s film slate. It’s a dialogue-rich two-hander that is so stage-ready it’s just missing spotlights, it’s a twisted cerebral thriller with some insane freak-out moments, and it’s filmed on actual film in black and white in a nearly-square 1.19:1 aspect ratio that legitimately makes it seem like
Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish are the strong center of this amusing yet manufactured comedy.
The new comedy Like A Boss is like a cone of vanilla ice cream with sprinkles. It does its job at being satisfactory the way one would expect but with some added touches. It’s firmly aware that it isn’t meant to change the face of comedy even if it doesn’t offer “laugh a minute”-type humor. Yet, it admirably adds some slight heft with its handling of lifelong friendships. Mia Carter (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel Paige (Rose Byrne) have been together through thick and thin. Despite them having different personalities, they still have remained close friends who live together and run
It marries the physical and mental facets of horror.
A little question strikes me every time I watch a horror movie. Do horror movies exist in the universe of other horror movies? Isn't it quite apparent that an old mansion in the woods is a set up for the upcoming horror? The person entering it should be aware of it or at the least, shed little doubt, provided he/she has seen at least one horror movie in their life. Andrew Desmond's The Sonata has a quite interesting treatment. The evident intent of horror films would be to scare the living shit out of the audience. Some choose jump scares,
Pan African Film Festival | Opening Night Film, 'Hero,' Helmed by Female Director Frances-Anne Solomon | Tuesday, February 11, 2020
The festival will be held from February 11 - 23, 2020 at the Cinemark 15 Theatres, located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.
Press release: The 28th annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF) will open with the film “HERO: Inspired by the Extraordinary Revolutionary Life and Times of Diplomat and Judge Ulric Cross,” directed by Caribbean filmmaker Frances-Anne Solomon. The festival will kick off festivities with a star-studded Opening Night Gala at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11, 2020 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA), located at 7920 W. Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. This year’s theme is “20/20 Vision,” kicking off the decade with a fresh lens and solidifying its commitment to tell diverse stories with a global, luminous view.
Joaquin Phoenix delivers a strong performance as the Clown Prince of Crime.
Numerous actors have depicted Batman’s most famous villain, the Joker, over the years, all with different takes on the evil clown. Joaquin Phoenix is the latest in a long line of actors that includes Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, Mark Hamill, and Heath Ledger. Phoenix’s Joker is an emaciated, mentally ill, very psychotic, yet somewhat sympathetic character. His performance highlights the strong, yet controversial Joker. Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker, the highest-grossing Rated-R movie of all time, is set in early '80s Gotham City, where a garbage strike has led to an infestation of super rats. Gotham’s prognosis is bleak and
An almost forgotten 1938 George Cukor classic starts off 2020's first new week of releases.
Talking about the films that Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn made together, you usually go to 1938's Bringing Up Baby, and definitely 1940's The Philadelphia Story. However, George Cukor's somewhat overshadowed romance, Holiday (also 1938), shouldn't be left in the dust, especially because it is actually more grounded and honest than both Baby and Philadelphia Story. There is a type of subversive social commentary that you didn't really expect in the '30s. Adapted from Philip Barry's 1928 play, the film stars Grant as Johnny Case, a free-spirted man from humble beginnings who is engaged to Julia (Doris Nolan), a beautiful
An ancient Greek tragedy re-imagined in the living conditions and troubles faced by an immigrant family in Montreal.
Antigone directed by Sophie Deraspe is Canada’s official entry to Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards. The film is an adaptation of a Greek tragedy of the same name written by Sophocles in 441BCE. The play is about the Thebes civil war, which leads to the death of Antigone’s brother Polynices, and how she will fight the ruler and the state for the proper burial of her brother. It plays around the complex themes like civil disobedience, natural law vs. law of the state. The film doesn’t adapt the exact plot of the play but its focus
Hail! Hail! tells an important, albeit incomplete, story of an American music legend.
Chuck Berry Hail! Hail! Rock 'N' Roll pays tribute to the man many consider the King of Rock 'n' Roll, through testimonials from peers and famous fans, from a drunken Jerry Lee Lewis, who makes the claim for he and his mama, to John Lennon appearing through archival footage on The Michael Douglas Show. The film also documents the 60th birthday celebration concert held in his honor, which takes up the last half of the film. Unfortunately, it doesn't paint a complete picture of Berry's life as he cuts interviews short when touchy subjects are broached. In 1986, Berry was
A new year brings many new cool things.
I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I had a great time with mine and my wife’s family. I received some wonderful gifts (including that spectacular Godzilla set from Criterion and some Grateful Dead socks). I also got some much-needed rest. With a couple of weeks off, I have lots of cool things to talk about. It was really hard to just pick five, but never fear, I’m sure I’ll slip some of the things I consumed over my break during the next few weeks. Universal Horror Collection, Vol. 3 This collection from Shout Factory continues to cover Universal
Alberto Arevalo's documentary follows Carlos Cruz-Diez, Venezuelan-born artist, who at 94, sets out to achieve something unseen and unheard of in the artist community.
I've always wondered how individuals feel after reaching a peak of success in their respective fields, I mean, don't the tremendous achievements create a sense of satisfaction leading to fulfilment? If not, then I have to change the way I look at success and its fruits. It takes some time to get familiar with the vibe it creates, but after its opening moments, Free Color profoundly replicates the art form, which the film's subject and artist, Carlos Cruz-Diez, dreams to create. Now, we have only seen color being a part of an art form. In painting, color decorates, creates a
I appreciate your patience with me through the year with my silly little projects.
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of best-of lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017 and 2018. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. BEST OF THE REST 2019 BY THE NUMBERS 5,004,620 steps taken this year (2,425 miles) 365 days walking over five miles in 2019 Three days not walking over five miles since 1/1/15. 28 days with over seven hours of
The best of shows that came across my TV screen and the little movies called advertisements.
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of best-of lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017 and 2018. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. BEST OF TV / STREAMING 2019 We live in a very high quality TV-show era now. Maybe the top end isn't as strong as a decade ago but the number of very good shows is amazing. It's hard to
Paul Schrader's directorial debut gets a nice new release from Kino Lorber.
After finding great success as a screenwriter on such movies as The Yakuza (directed by Sydney Pollack), Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese) and Obsession (Brian De Palma), Paul Schrader had the clout to demand the ability to direct his own scripts. His first film as director was Blue Collar, a down and dirty drama about three guys working on an assembly line at an auto plant who decide to rob their own union and find themselves over their heads. It is a realistic portrayal of the lower middle class and how big business and big unions can grind a person down
The best of movie lists of 2019 for movies I saw and ones I should have seen. And a stab at 2020.
From 2005 through 2012, I pretty consistently wrote my Sunday Morning Tuneage blog. It continued inconsistently through 2013 before being abandoned. Each year was punctuated with a series of best-of lists. While the blog still remains retired, I'm revived it last year for a Best of 2017 and 2018. The feedback was enough for me to compile it again this year. BEST OF FILM 2019 No other blogger is brave enough to pick their favorites before they see them. Here's what I boldly thought I'd be writing about in December 2019. PREDICTED BEST MOVIES OF 2019 (Dec. 2018) 1. AVENGERS:
A film so bad the guys at Mystery Science Theater 3000 called it "pretty good."
Poor Basil Rathbone. After finding great success on stage and the screen, after becoming a huge star playing Robin Hood, after being nominated for two Oscars, and portraying the definitive Sherlock Holmes (at least until a certain Mr. Cumberbatch came along), he ended his career mostly hamming it out in drek. In the last decade of his life, he made films like Hillbillys in a Haunted House, The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini, and this rather silly sword and sandals fantasy. The Magic Sword is probably best known today as one of the many films ridiculed on Mystery Science Theater
Previously only available in murky, ugly prints, pretty good crime thriller Trapped has been beautifully restored in HD.
Film noir are crime movies, but not all crime movies are film noir. There has to be an element of tragedy to the film noir - of a normal person (criminal or not) who takes an opportunity to do indulge their worse nature, and their world falls apart around them because of it. A real film noir needs to be about a failing of moral choice. There has to be some chance that the main character could have acted in a different way, may have wanted to, really, but they had their moment of weakness. An itch they just had
A difficult, but hilariously dark morality tale about men behaving really, really badly.
After Pulp Fiction (arguably the film that defined the 1990s) came out, it changed the dynamic of how violence was depicted in the movies back then. It kind of signaled a genre that could be called the "Violent New Wave," where some films used violence just as a selling point, while others used it as an important piece of the puzzle to show how far society has fallen. Actor-turned-director Peter Berg's polarizing 1998 black comedy, Very Bad Things, can be placed in between the two. On one side, it's about how masculinity can take some really unsavory turns; the other,
The impressive work put into making these cartoons available in high definition should be commended and make one hopeful for future animated releases from Warner Archive.
After a disclaimer about the unfortunate ethnic and racial depictions that occur in a few shorts, Popeye The Sailor: The 1940s, Volume 2 presents the next 15 titles released in chronological order, which debuted during the years 1946 and 1947. For those who don't know the cartoon series, the stories make frequent use of a basic template. Popeye has a girlfriend named Olive Oyl, or at least that's what he thinks the nature of their relationship is. Bluto (or his stand-in) catches her eye and she runs off with him, but then when he gets sexually aggressive with her, she
The premier television festival announces the first selections: with the casts and creative teams of Modern Family, Outlander, Schitt's Creek, and A Special Evening with Dolly Parton & Dolly Parton's Heartstrings.
Press release: The Paley Center for Media today announced the return of the premier television festival, PaleyFest LA 2020, which will take place March 13-22, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Citi cardmembers, plus Paley Patron, Fellow, and Supporting Members, will have an exclusive opportunity to purchase tickets first during a special presale period from January 14-15, 2020. The first program selections announced for this year’s festival include the casts and creative teams of the global phenomenon Outlander (Starz) on March 19, the farewell seasons of the groundbreaking Emmy Award-winning Modern Family (ABC) on March 13 and the highly
Noah Hawley's feature film directorial debut fails to launch
Hey, did you hear about the new astronaut movie starring Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm directed by Noah Hawley, the guy who made the excellent Fargo and Legion TV shows? No, I didn’t either, until I happened to stumble across a mention of it by chance last month. It’s tempting to believe this Fox Searchlight film is yet another casualty of the Fox buyout by Disney, but at least in this case, the reality is that it almost certainly would have been buried even without the studio merger. So how did a film with such stellar talent fail to achieve
In which Pennywise, the shapeshifting killer clown, strikes back! And scares no one.
IT is back. The Losers Club, a tight-knit group of kids—good kids—with chips on their shoulders, humiliated Pennywise the dancing (and shapeshifting) killer clown (Bill Skarsgard), forcing him to hide in his hole. Now, 27 years later, Pennywise (he, she, “IT”) wakes from its slumber, hungry for flesh. Loser flesh. As conceived by director Andy Muschietti, Pennywise always looks and sounds demonic. But IT Chapter Two and its 2017 predecessor over-telegraph the evil. IT’s mouth drools. The head is bulbous, spider-like. The blood-tear makeup is sinister. Skarsgard goes all in to give us all kinds of creep. By contrast, the
A sluggish, limp and completely uninteresting Elmore Leonard adaptation.
More than half of Elmore Leonard’s novels have been turned into movies (and more than a few were adapted twice, not to mention television shows based on his work). It is easy to see why. Leonard writes like he’s got a movie in mind. His books are full of actions, his characters well-drawn, and he’s got an ear for dialogue. Sometimes, he’ll break long sections of dialogue down like a script with the character's name written out at the beginning of each line followed by what they say. He doesn’t spend a lot of time on a character’s inner dialogue
Mati Diop's directorial debut is a blissfully romantic ghost story that captivates the senses.
Atlantics, the Senegalese submission for the Best International Feature Oscar, walks a thin tightrope as it balances two genres rather seamlessly. It serves as a romantic ghost story that provides commentary on class division, resulting in a poetic package crafted by writer/director Mati Diop. Set in a suburb of Dakar, Atlantics feels as if it takes place in a ghost town. The decrepit buildings shown illustrate its disconnect from the tall, luxurious tower being owned by capitalists who haven’t paid the construction workers that are building it. One of them named Souleiman (Ibrahima Traore) tries starting a relationship with Ada
This jarring adventure has an endearing story of two individuals beneath.
There is something I'm concerned about and have to address it in this review considering its relevance with this film. With biggies like Netflix and Amazon jumping in, Over-The-Top media services are undoubtedly reshaping the way movies are consumed. But I wish I had seen this film on the big screen, but somehow I couldn't because Amazon opted for a direct streaming release in most parts of world, with an exception of some major markets, where the film received a limited theatrical release. I can certainly imagine how beautiful a giant balloon flying above the clouds would have looked stunning
Volume 3 of this ongoing collection features four lesser films from the Universal Horror archives which will thrill any fan.
Universal horror will always be synonymous with a handful of monsters and the dozens of films the studio made starring them. We’re talking Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and the Wolf Man. These are the enduring staples of a genre that lasted from the 1920s through the 1950s and whose legacy lasts even today. But Universal Studios made loads of other horror films staring dozens of other monsters, murderers, and villains. Most of these have long been forgotten, but now Scream Factory is bringing them back in high definition in their
This release showcases some of the medium's great talkers.
The Dick Cavett Show was a talk show that aired on different TV channels, broadcast and cable, from 1968 to 1996. S'More Entertainment is releasing The Dick Cavett Show on DVD, gathering episodes together under themes. New York Radio Pioneers showcases some of the medium's great talkers. Although the two disc's labels list all four men, they don't appear on both discs. Disc 1 presents two episodes featuring the comedy team Bob (Elliot) & Ray (Goulding). The June 1, 1972 show aired on ABC and the fellas do a routine where Bob interviews Ray, playing a government official. They were
A low budget, low frills, completely ridiculous, and totally awesome early '80s masterpiece.
I wonder if you could draw a line from the sword and sandal epics from the early 1960s to the post-apocalyptic movies of the 1980s. In other words, did movies like Spartacus and Hercules in the Haunted World influence films like Mad Max, The Beastmaster, and the movie I’m currently reviewing, She. All of these films feature both men and women in revealing costumes, whether it be form-fitting togas, short skirts with those feather-looking pterugas (and who says you don’t learn new words when writing movie reviews?), or general leg- and navel-bearing clothing. They do battle against hordes of evil