Posted in Film Reviews, 3½ Stars

Philadelphia – Review

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On some count it’s easy for me to say that Philadelphia isn’t really Jonathan Demme at the very best of his own ability because it feels like such a drastic change of pace to follow up from the comedies he was known for and the Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs. But in the late filmmaker’s memory, I have to admit that there’s another level where I’ve always found myself respecting Philadelphia by a good lot. Being one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to bring attention to AIDS and homophobia and its impact on society, considering how far we’ve come today it’s still interesting to look at how the world’s perspective has changed at least two decades later. Even if this is a lesser entry in the filmography of a director like Jonathan Demme, there’s still a special sort of recognition I believe Philadephia deserves for what it had done back on the day of its release.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Baby Driver – Review

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Of the more accessible filmmakers consistently working in the comedy genre, Edgar Wright is quite possibly the most exciting. But like Wes Anderson his own films establish their own quirks in such a manner it’s easy to embrace the universe in which they take place whether it be the Cornetto trilogy or Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. His latest film, Baby Driver, proves itself to be no different – riding in on Wright’s own love of pop culture but he always had an innovative use of music through every one of his films and right there is where the glory lies. Perhaps the most obvious thing that can be said is that the music is indeed very good, but moving away from the comedy genre with Baby Driver has only continued to prove why Edgar Wright was ever as exciting as he is, but in here there’s a greater comfort he found within himself that perhaps his own comedies haven’t fully embraced. But even if Baby Driver weren’t his best film, it has all the qualities to make it one of the most exciting wide releases of the decade.

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Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

Okja – Review

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Netflix’s feature films have never been particularly great ones at that but the idea that Bong Joon-ho was directing one to be distributed under their name only left me feeling optimistic. Bong Joon-ho only left behind a sign of promise when he transitioned towards directing English-language films with Snowpiercer and with his second Korean-American production, what has come by goes beyond just being exciting. It only wears that on the outside, but then comes by something far more thoughtful almost akin to the early work of Steven Spielberg, drawing upon something far more impactful. And as far as Netflix-distributed original features have gone, Okja is not only the most exciting one of the bunch but it also might very well be the best one by far. And by the standards of their original features, it says a lot for what Bong Joon-ho provided in Okja is a fantastic film as expected of him.

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Posted in 2½ Stars, Film Reviews

Cars 3 – Review

✯✯½

Despite my own love for Pixar’s work, the Cars films have always stood out to me as their least interesting films for I have never particularly been a big fan of the first and I also outright hate the second film (the only Pixar film I’ve held in such a strongly negative light). Now that they’ve come out with a third film, I’d only wonder how much more merchandise would they have wanted to produce from an elaborate universe that also manages to be one of the least imaginative that I’ve seen Pixar sink themselves down to. But at the very least it’s nice that in Cars 3 they didn’t go too far-fetched like they did with the second, yet it still reaffirms how I’ve always felt about the world of Cars from the first day. This doesn’t feel like the Pixar that I’ve loved on a consistent streak, it’s just them doing what’s typical of an animated film for the family out there, and I can’t find myself buying into it.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Moonrise Kingdom – Review

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As far as critical success is concerned, Moonrise Kingdom is Wes Anderson’s most popular and for fans of the director it would be easy to see why this has stood atop all the rest. Although Rushmore still remains my favourite of his own work, Moonrise Kingdom showcases his own talents in arguably the most accessible manners for audiences of all sorts, but nevertheless it seems as if this is where he has only found the quirkiness that defined his own films working at its very best. Perhaps I’ve already come to the point that I’ve watched so much of his films enough to consider myself an apologist, but they’ve always worked with the same charms as he tells stories of all sorts. In just how it captures the joys and quirks of being a child, Wes Anderson has struck gold once again with Moonrise Kingdom by telling a whole other story on the inside here.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Mädchen in Uniform – Review

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If this film had been made to be seen by a modern audience, something gives me a feeling it would only be ignored now just as it was considered to be taboo at the time of its release. Considering what Mädchen in Uniform did open its audiences to back in 1931, it would be easy to see why this was controversial (especially to the point where the Nazi party sought to burn every last copy remaining at the time) but there’s another level to where it’s also going to find a much greater significance in this day and age. And considering how it was among the earliest films to have explicitly portrayed homosexuality, the very best part about watching Mädchen in Uniform is a feeling that it still remains a concept that hasn’t aged a day because of how far we’ve come. Soon I realized why Mädchen in Uniform got to me as much as it did, because it felt so empathetic to the experience and presented it as universal rather than limiting.

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Posted in Blog Entries

Letterboxd: Everything and Nothing All At Once

Among many reasons my blogging has come to find itself at a fairly slow pace, but I’ve already found a greater comfort in an audience that I built up over on social networking site Letterboxd. But the past few days of having established a following for myself over the course of two years has even left me thinking about what exactly am I set to gain just from the active readers that have come along. What am I gaining, just from having about 2000 followers, the eventual “like” for anything I write that I even consider to be of worth, unfortunately this is where a darker part of what could possibly be such a loving community has only begun to show its true colours to my own eyes.

I’ve already considered it fairly frustrating on my own end when people who only write joke reviews or one-liners get the most attention: there’s another point I reached where I just decided holding grudges against these sorts of reviewers was just worthless and stupid. There are a number of these people on the site, but they’ve opened my own eyes to a less cynical light. I read through these one-liners and then I get a good laugh from some of these people. I decided I’d interact with more of these people on social media, and what I found from interacting with some of them, they’re nice people.

At the hands of nice people, though, it’s also saddening to me that there comes a fair share of petty drama. It doesn’t matter the sort of person that they are or what exactly is the source of why such unnecessary tensions have arisen, but among many things I’ve come to see are just fights over some of the smallest things: some of which just go between popularity over writing styles, or even certain users and their own political orientations. Not that I’m going to name any names, but the experiences of being within the community also have left me feeling quite moody. But because it’s a social networking site, one like Twitter, where anyone can follow you based on your own movie tastes or their own writing style. Maybe for some, it could only be a start for building up one’s own style of critique – and then that’s where the best can come for certain users. They find themselves able to build up a following in this way, and it’s one of many reasons I came over.

Then to talk about the more frustrating experiences, it sort of comes down to what it is that people use the site for. But I’m not one to jump at people for saying they’re wrong for what it is they do, it’s just that there’s an extent to where it only becomes everything for some. Personally, my own experiences with Letterboxd and interacting with the many types of users have even managed to teach me about how I can manage a good image. I’ve been able to get along with people on all sides of the spectrum when it comes down to the community itself, but there are only a select few I tend to chat with so actively. It’s just that at the hands of petty drama that ultimately wouldn’t mean anything, sometimes everything turns so black and white.

But maybe it’s just that there was a point I realized how frustrating everything had become with numerous unfollows-refollows/blocks that I’ve suffered from many of the most vital voices that are present in the community. I like using these times as moments to reflect upon what I’ve done, but because of my lack of interest in wanting to engage within petty drama only resulted in me, unintentionally and inevitably, being a part of it. It’s perhaps engaged from my own oblivion to what’s set to come forth after what could only have come out so simply. Sometimes I know when something someone says is going to be exploding into greater tensions, but other times I can’t tell when it’d end up becoming a big deal.

There’s a reason I barely ever follow back anymore, it’s because this drama only forms aliens out of what people see in other friendly users within such a diverse community. For every friendly, supportive, and frequent reader you find yourself coming on good terms with, at the same time you’ll end up meeting someone who’s radical and snobby, others who are really passionate and willing to share with others and yet write as much as a single sentence or line – they just go everywhere. Why even bother, but why am I writing this blog entry about drama if this is probably going to inevitably feed into more as it develops?

Maybe that’s because it’s a part of the community I’m frustrated with. It’s easy to get so reactionary over small things, it only results in insults being thrown back at one another. And what good even comes out of that? I’ve come to Letterboxd only with the intention of sharing my own love of film with a wider community. But they can’t be the only ones who so actively hear about it from my own mouth. After having acquired a large following, I, the uncertain and generally nervous pessimist that I am, don’t find too much meaning out of how many fans I’ve acquired. I’m in it for the many friends I know I’ll be glad to make, because I’m still trying to work my way around the community so things would be much easier at least for my own future.

And for any of my own readers, I’d like to also say that it’s a wonderful place to be. I’ve used it to keep track of what I watch on any day, and to see other people just sharing their own experience with others, what more could anyone ask for on a platform like Letterboxd? For every joke review you’ll find a serious one, but then there comes a point to which this just turns into a game with writing styles – which it really shouldn’t be, and that there is my honest opinion. I run a Facebook group dedicated to seeing these people come and go, with a site like Letterboxd. And it’s only gotten me to appreciate my experience on the site all the more, just the feeling that people of all sorts can find attention in the mutual passion for films. I don’t understand why it all has to be some sort of a game, where people turn so vicious, self-centered and elitist. And maybe the writing can’t always be great, but is that really the most important thing?

I’ve taken the title from a Green Day lyric I thought would only be fitting, because Letterboxd can be exactly that, but continuing on with the song of my choice, “Do you have the time to listen to me whine?” And now with the program comes another song by theirs, “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right: I hope you had the time of your life.” And from my ability to share with others who do care, it certainly was for how unpredictable it all can be.

Posted in 4 Stars, Film Reviews

It Comes at Night – Review

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The title alone would give a clear idea of the sort of mood that It Comes at Night would try to evoke, something that director Trey Edward Schultz had only successfully raised questions about from his own audiences with his new outing. But It Comes at Night isn’t so much a horror film, rather instead just something wearing the genre as a disguise for something smaller: maybe it could be within there something even more terrifying on the inside. The past few years have only proven themselves to be fantastic for the horror genre, and now with Trey Edward Schultz bringing out It Comes at Night, that’s perhaps all one needs in order to find a perfect experience with such a work, adding my own decision just to walk in blind – I’ve only avoided marketing and apparently after hearing about how misleading it was. What came by in It Comes at Night, what I can safely say, was yet another horror film adding to a streak of success that the genre has been encountering recently.

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Posted in 3 Stars, Film Reviews

The Mummy (2017) – Review

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It already seems as if we’re getting cinematic universes after another at this rate that stretch outside the likes of Marvel and DC, for now we also have Legendary’s MonsterVerse and now Universal is chiming in by reviving classic horror movie icons for the Dark Universe. To say they’ve started things off interestingly is one thing, because I’m still struggling with trying to deconstruct what it is that I’m really feeling about The Mummy right after having seen it because it only seems like this new cinematic universe will probably not go the way it was planned to be; and yet somehow that’s a part of why The Mummy only resulted in such a baffling experience. I was far too busy laughing at the stupidity of where it was going to the point I couldn’t say I was ever finding myself getting bored, yet at the same time that’s a part of why it’s difficult enough for me to even say it allows the Dark Universe to show promise.

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Posted in 5 Stars, Film Reviews

Inherent Vice – Review

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice will certainly leave the most common moviegoer baffled with their own experience although given the source material that won’t turn out surprising at all. But it’s hard enough for me trying to describe what Inherent Vice will leave behind just from a single viewing because it almost feels like a hallucination as it moves by. Yet at the same time, we’re caught up inside of a web of lies almost like a Philip Marlowe story. Inherent Vice is a blend of eras and it’s the sort of experiment that only a filmmaker like Paul Thomas Anderson himself could bring to the table in such a manner. But in this indulgence, Paul Thomas Anderson also manages to summarize on the spot what exactly Inherent Vice is about, because of how much we can take in from one go to that point it’s so baffling yet it still keeps us watching. It keeps us watching because it’s absolutely wonderful in that sense, because it’s Paul Thomas Anderson at his craziest, and if that doesn’t signify something good I don’t know what will.

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