Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Man on the Moon – Review

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“Man on the Moon” has always been one of my favourite songs from R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People, because it was as beautiful a tribute to Andy Kaufman as one can create. It was only fitting that when Milos Forman were to direct a film based on Kaufman’s life, he wouldn’t only take the title from the R.E.M. song but he’d also have them score the film. And to play Andy Kaufman himself, he’d cast a comedic actor who’s already odd in his own ways, Jim Carrey. But as I’ve never known so much about Andy Kaufman prior to watching Man on the Moon for my first time as a younger kid who would look up to Jim Carrey’s comic persona, only to find myself appreciating the man all the more after looking into his performances and my appreciation for Man on the Moon had only grown stronger. And it still remains a side to Jim Carrey that I wish was more common.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

The Fountain – Review

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There was a point I remember having loved the films of Darren Aronofsky, and back then I remembered not liking The Fountain much. But now I’ve only found his films to be strenuous experiences aside from The Wrestler, and with all of this in mind I was not especially compelled to give The Fountain another go. To say the least, I’ve only found myself warming up to The Fountain more on rewatch, because it seems to be a case where Aronofsky is both maintaining his own style and telling a story that I’m not even sure can be repeated in the same manner. Aronofsky had always been a director who appears to do so much for the eyes yet his narratives are not quite the same level, oftentimes to the most excruciating results (Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan), but The Fountain is a story that only feels right being as showy as it is, it’s Aronofsky at his most expressive.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

My Life as a Zucchini – Review

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I knew nothing about My Life as a Zucchini up until it received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature, and when I finally got a chance to see it for myself, to say I was touched by this simple tale would only undersell it. I had already felt inside that something inside the story that it had been telling resonated with me, having grown up alienated from people around me, and finding it even more difficult to connect with family members. I knew this would be the sort of animated film for me, but I didn’t love it nearly as much as I was hoping. Yet to say I wasn’t moved would be a lie; this simple tale does within only a little over an hour what other animated films somehow can’t do within two hours. It carries the sort of heart and soul missing from many animated movies these days, even a live-action melodrama can’t find itself matching up.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

The Big Sick – Review

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I’m not even sure why this movie needed to be two hours long, that’s just one thing on my mind the moment I finished The Big Sick. On the other hand, knowing how personal of a tale this was for Kumail Nanjiani to tell, I already knew that I was in for something sweet. As expected of a Sundance drama it’d be rather cutesy (perhaps maybe a bit too much), but I was ultimately won over despite the occasional qualm. What could already make itself out to be any other conventional romantic comedy proves to be something sweeter and incredibly thoughtful, maybe that was all it needed to be in order to hit every mark in which it does with ease.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Step Brothers – Review

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I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched Step Brothers before I got into movies, for I’d always come out laughing at the silliness shown inside of a concept that revolves around 40-year-old man children still trying to acquire normal lives for themselves. But I was worried what coming back to Step Brothers for my first time in so long would do to my own opinion for my own taste in films has only grown within the many years, although to my own delight it didn’t only hold up. I’ve only found myself laughing even more from watching Step Brothers than I could remember having done so years back. And I’m not always a fan of Will Ferrell in the meantime, but with watching him in Adam McKay movies he makes this silliness work so perfectly, and that’s what I’ve always loved about Step Brothers, the manner in which it embraces how silly it is without pretending to be more.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Logan Lucky – Review

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Steven Soderbergh has always been one of the most interesting American filmmakers working today, and for good reason. After he was supposedly going to “retire” from directing films after the made-for-television Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, he comes back with another heist comedy along the lines of the Ocean’s films with Logan Lucky. But what made Soderbergh so fascinating among many other contemporaries was how he transitioned between making films for wider audiences and independent productions akin to Richard Linklater. And even when he made films for a more mainstream appeal, he still manages to retain the charm of his smaller productions – among many reasons Logan Lucky continues a streak of wonder from a diverse filmography. One end you’ll have a good time, another you’re finding some sort of odd experiment with his name on it – and Soderbergh somehow manages to remain intriguing with the many highs and lows of his own career.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Song to Song – Review

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I feel almost at a point where I’ve reached “peak Malick” in which I don’t enjoy his recent output as much as I know some of his most dedicated fans do. I’ve already found myself struggling to connect with To the Wonder and perhaps my own personal feelings about this style got in the way with my own experience of Knight of Cups, but I feel like it has become so difficult to even immerse with Malick anymore. These were among many fears that I had with Song to Song, being another film that takes upon this fractured narrative, but to my own surprise (and eventual delight), I found myself liking this style once again. Regardless of my feelings about how Malick has found himself playing out for me, I’ve always been able to appreciate him as a distinctive experimenter and Song to Song not only signifies my growing respect for his work, but it’s also the first of his I’ve found myself able to say I liked since The Tree of Life. Continue reading “Song to Song – Review”

Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Dunkirk – Review

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Christopher Nolan’s films are loved and hated in equal measure, for he’s already established a dedicated following that has blown him up to the heights of being one of the greatest filmmakers of his time – and at the same time he has also established a crowd of detractors who renounce the praises of his fans. Personally I’ve found myself in the middle, for he was once a filmmaker I loved as I was getting into movies although his work after The Dark Knight I have already found for myself had not held up nearly as well as I remembered. It was one among many reasons I was skeptical coming into Dunkirk, for I was only worried that I may have soured on Christopher Nolan far too much with his most recent films not doing particularly much for me as he once did – only to find myself in for a pleasant surprise. I saw another side of Nolan that I’d also want to continue in his future films, for it felt refreshing to watch as I was seated in the theater.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

War for the Planet of the Apes – Review

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I’m still unsure on what ground these new Planet of the Apes movies have any right to being nearly as good as they are. The first reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a pleasant surprise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had put good use to what had already been set in motion by its predecessor to create a broader canvas within its narrative, and now with War for the Planet of the Apes, it may very well be all coming to an end. With director Matt Reeves returning behind the camera, it was only fitting to expect more exciting results would come by and my expectations were met perfectly. Knowing that one story was already about to come and meet its own end, what Matt Reeves has formed in War for the Planet of the Apes was only the most fitting conclusion that this new Planet of the Apes franchise has received – enough for me even to say they might as well be a better series than the original films at that.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – Review

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Right after Rise of the Planet of the Apes one already knew that the story would continue, and that’s where Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has come by. And if Rise of the Planet of the Apes only had come by in the same manner that any superhero origin story would have played out by setting up the tone for films yet to come, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes already has found itself more room to create a more distinctive identity. But being as I’ve never particularly been the hugest fan of the original film franchise, it’s nice to see that these new films are able to form an identity of their own for it takes me by surprise how much I enjoy them. These aren’t just mindless, disposable blockbusters that only find themselves living within the moment, these films leave behind an impact that calls out for far more – among many reasons I’m glad these new Planet of the Apes movies are around.

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