Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

The Florida Project – Review

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After Starlet and Tangerine, Sean Baker has only shown himself to be one of the most intriguing voices of his own generation. Knowing virtually nothing about The Florida Project other than the fact he was directing it, along with the casting of Willem Dafoe only got me all the more excited to see it and quickly enough I was swept away by the experience. But to say the least, The Florida Project was a film that hit home more than I would have expected, blending the childhood wonder with the harsh nature of the adult world – creating a beautiful portrait of an Americana lifestyle. But within how small it is it still speaks much greater volumes, something that Sean Baker has already proven with his previous directorial efforts.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

12 Angry Men – Review

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It still amazes me how within so little, Sidney Lumet has managed to create something nearly as mind blowing as 12 Angry Men – because what Lumet was able to do in a single room many other filmmakers can’t seem to capture within an entire city. But among many more things that one can come to say about 12 Angry Men, the most obvious comes to mind: it’s one of the best American films of the 1950’s, let alone all time. Because there’s a great sense of tension that can be felt just from being inside of a room because of how tight it remains all throughout, for it only leaves a feeling of being drained, even the smaller actions feel so big. Among many reasons that 12 Angry Men is one of the best films of the 1950’s, let alone all time – they only begin to shine from there. But many of these reasons are already covered in many better ways, and maybe at most all I can ever do is repeat them.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Lenny – Review

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I think it was only most fitting that Bob Fosse of all people was the man who went behind making a film about Lenny Bruce. But how exactly would a biopic be able to capture a sense of what the man was truly all about? Maybe it was the fact that Bob Fosse was already working himself up to the point he’s captured a sense of what the man was like on the inside, for he was editing this at the same time he was choreographing Chicago, something he went ahead and fictionalized eventually in All That Jazz, his own invitation to a glimpse at the creative process of an artist. And that’s only a fraction of what made me love Bob Fosse as much as I do, because like All That Jazz which came later, he didn’t want to take someone else’s story and turn it into any other disposable biopic. I’ve known the name of Lenny Bruce for a while already, and I’ve already found a newfound respect for him thanks to what Bob Fosse had painted of him in Lenny.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

The Apartment – Review

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I’m an especially reclusive individual. I don’t even know if I’ve ever managed to have a social life the way I wanted because, to say the least, I’ve lived my life as a hermit. I think this is a fairly known fact about me, and it isn’t surprising about the sort of person that I am, I’ve been living a lonely person. I’ve never been a particularly good communicator. I’m already nearing my 19th birthday as I’m writing this and I’m only getting unhappier about it by the minute because I’m about to start college later this year and I don’t even know if I’m ready for it. To say the least, if any other film ever managed to get down to the bone of what that experience was like for myself, Billy Wilder’s The Apartment has always been a perfect go-to. On one end, we see the comedies that remind us of the happiness of our lives, and what it looks like on a shallow surface. But what’s made The Apartment the pinnacle of Billy Wilder’s directorial career goes beyond what it looks like, because it’s already left me a mess thinking about how I live my own life.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters – Review

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I never knew anything about Yukio Mishima prior to my first watch of Paul Schrader’s biopic about him. What I did know about the film beforehand, it came from the Philip Glass score which I already had recognized from its use in Peter Weir’s wonderful The Truman Show – but I didn’t know it came out from here. When I watched this film, I did feel like I was growing closer to another process of a different person’s artistry. But I’m not even sure how Paul Schrader managed to form something like this out of the life story of Yukio Mishima, and thus what he has left us with is without a doubt one of the greatest biopics ever to have been made: it was the sort of experience that wasn’t placing you around oneself in order to get a taste of what the man was like. Because Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters isn’t so much a film entirely about Yukio Mishima, it was living and breathing in his culture.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

A Star is Born – Review

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Essentially the catalyst for success stories being made within Hollywood about an industry, but to talk about George Cukor’s A Star is Born in this manner only understates what more it is on the inside. And coming to think of what was already expected from the Academy at the time, one of their biggest crimes was giving the Best Actress award to Grace Kelly for The Country Girl. For not only is Judy Garland’s performance one to define her own career as her very best, it also signifies one of the very highest points that Hollywood’s classic era has ever managed to reach. I’m not even sure how it was possible to make something like this back in the day come out as perfectly, even at the hands of excessive editing from studio executives – there’s a greater tragedy being reflected in A Star is Born that only solidifies it as a musical to define both the era and cinema as a whole.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Margaret – Review

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Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret is a film that feels troubled at the center much like the history behind its release: going towards lawsuits that ultimately delayed its release until 2011 (it was scheduled for a 2007 release) along with several edits having been made, leaving no sense of a definitive vision behind. Yet with all this having been said, it still works beautifully and almost in a sense feels like a journey that mirrors its struggle to reach the big screen. But there’s something more to which it calls for by referencing a specific poem through its own title, through its final verse, “it is Margaret you mourn for.” The doom that Margaret would have almost found itself at the risk of facing is still present in hand, but to what degree is it paying off? In Kenneth Lonergan’s film, it could not ever be more affecting than what he shows us here. Perhaps it may be a mess, but it also reinforces what works so perfectly about Margaret.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

The Godfather – Review

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I think trying to deconstruct what it is that I love about The Godfather so much is already its greatest challenge when so much of the praise that it receives is well-deserved. The Godfather is truly one of the greatest films ever made, but trying to type up my own praises was already hard enough when I already have an ingrained fear inside of my head that what I had to say would indeed just be the same as what’s already been said prior. But having the opportunity to see The Godfather in theaters only opened my eyes to something greater as a whole, because it had been less than half a year since the last time I revisited such a dense piece of work, and rather quickly I only found my own appreciation growing – finding so many smaller details catching my attention far more, to that point I can only join in and regurgitate what I know has already been said: The Godfather is truly one of the greatest films ever to have been made.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Time of the Gypsies – Review

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This was only my second Emir Kusturica film, and there’s already an impression I’m watching the work of a madman. This four and a half hour long epic about the life of a boy living within his Romani family carries a sense of ambition that in itself seems so hard to replicate. What Emir Kusturica formed with Time of the Gypsies not only resulted in one of the most distinctive projects of its time but something so draining in its mammoth running time, yet always rewarding. These are only coming down to the outer layer of what’s most impressive about Time of the Gypsies, because I’m not even sure how exactly could any other filmmaker would even manage to put something like this on the screen. There’s far too much to deconstruct in Time of the Gypsies that allows it to work well, but it only sinks into my head all the more. Continue reading “Time of the Gypsies – Review”

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The Long Day Closes – Review

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I still remember that feeling of first discovery being made for myself at a young age. I came across Casablanca on Turner Classic Movies when I was 12 years old, and it was a moment that changed my life. And prior to getting into movies, I still found myself a sense of comfort from playing video games. It was a discovery of feeling that has only furthered where I wanted to go with my own life, being behind a shelter the whole time at the fear of what public perception would have brought upon myself. I was only discovering what films could speak large volumes for oneself, no matter what sort they were. And if any other film had spoken large volumes about what that sort of experience was like, there’s a reason I point to Terence Davies’s The Long Day Closes above all else: not only does it remain my favourite of the director’s work but an experience that came right at the perfect moment.

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