Posts in 5 STARS
MOVIE REVIEW: Roma

That unfortunate fate could not be farther away from a film like Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma. For all of those possible extrapolations of commitment and dedication taking place within the craft of filmmaking, you may never, not this year and maybe several more after, see a more intimate artistic expression than this powerful and personal film. To the man making Roma, this film is special. To those viewing it, this film is important. To the art it serves, this film could be a potential masterpiece.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Beautiful Boy

This is not your typical feel-good factory product. Beautiful Boy is bracingly honest with its turns and barriers built by emotional whallup. The remarkable performances of Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet deserve the credit for that impact, fashioning a touchingly stout drama that is braver than most films on the subject. One of the best films you will ever see examining the breadth of drug addiction

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MOVIE REVIEW: First Man

Unlike the popular space race films that have come before it, not a millisecond of First Man feels like typical hero worship celebrating astronaut and aeronautical engineer Neil Armstrong.  The music or soundtrack doesn't announce his entrances or achievements. The camera doesn't bathe Armstrong in light and genuflect in his presence to make him seem larger than he really is.  What is not trumpeted as heaps of grandiose praise by Academy Award-winning La La Land director Damien Chazelle is instead honed into a poignant and resolute testament of honor.

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MOVIE REVIEW: A Star is Born

Cooper simmers with swagger before Gaga’s vocal force boils the cauldron over, taking everything to another level.  Songs emerge and what was cauterized by charged passion is now frozen in alluring amazement of the talent on display.  With this fourth version of A Star is Born, you will find yourself captivated watching the expressive performances, both sung and unsung, no matter if it is for an audience of thousands or just merely one.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Searching

The entirety of this daring film is presented through the layers of screens across computer desktops, video streams, and a mouse pointer that moves like a scalpel over those pixelated surfaces. The effect is addictively scintillating to create harrowing emotional triggers. Call it a gimmick all you want, but be prepared to be dazzled and proven wrong by the astonishing narrative construction and visual storytelling conduits. True to both the lurid intensity and exceeding excellence of the dictionary definition, Searching is downright sensational

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MOVIE REVIEW: Eighth Grade

Dropped jaws, bashfulness, winces, worries, and all, this dynamite film needs to be required viewing for the teens out there, especially girls, of these complicated and confusing present times. And the people that should be joining them in the next closest seats are their parents who need their eyes and hearts opened as well. Adults, this Eighth Grade may not be your plight or a mirror to your own middle school experience, but you can engage and empathize easily with its challenges.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud

One winning quality of many that makes the Sundance darling Hearts Beat Loud so perfectly endearing is fleshed out by its very title. The deeply personal pulse that makes this movie tick is nourishment to the soul. Emotive and approachable relationship challenges and a stirring soundtrack combine to make this shiniest of indie gems the anti-blockbuster of this summer. Absorb this film, with your eyes and ears open, and let its essence revitalize you the way it does its own characters.

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DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? presents the core of that incomparable man with an impenetrable reputation of tolerance, even against criticism and cynical parody of his message.  Fred Rogers’ lasting achievement wasn’t years of fame or fortune. It was the mission to mold others that could share the same.  Morgan Neville’s film nails that without fail. What that man did to love cannot quantified, but this film can sure try with shattering emotional sentiment.

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VINTAGE REVIEW: Shane

Atypical to the big-talking hot heads and inflated anti-hero personalities common of the genre, Alan Ladd’s cowboy and director George Stevens’ Shane operates with a code and a compass that is idyllic and pure.  Ranked the #3 western of all-time by the American Film Institute and their #45 overall American film, Shane is an anointed classic and masterpiece.  Why? It’s because Shane carries itself with equal parts heroic grandeur and hardscrabble ethics that can still resonate and draw audience appreciation today, 65 years later.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War

The post-credits cameo of the big bad Thanos in The Avengers set into motion an even greater arc of ambition that catapulted two more phases, twelve more films, and dozens of new major players since.  Now at the ten-year mark of this endeavor, all of the patience, enthusiasm, and success pays off with Avengers: Infinity War.  Thriving with a symmetry of captivating gravitas and heroic thrill on many levels, this saga’s newest peak is an expanse of scorched earth that stings, shocks, lingers, and satisfies.

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MOVIE REVIEW: I Kill Giants

For the YA film demographic, I would trade the dozens of run-of-the-mill repetitive and mindless roller coaster rides for more stories and movies that engage and matter like I Kill Giants.  Following in the footsteps of the likes of Pete’s Dragon and A Monster Calls in recent years, we have a more adult fairy tale that is not shy about heavy themes and strong emotions and enlightens them with a level of imagination that is fragile and brutal with its beauty at the same time. 

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting With Classics" Episode #3: "All About Eve"

March is Women’s History Month, so for Episode 3, Aaron White of Feelin' Film and I researched some of the best female performances of all-time and found the perfect film to discuss on the AFI's Top 100 10th Anniversary list.  We didn’t have to go far because slotted at #16 on their original list and #28 on their anniversary the list is Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s All About Eve.  Before this podcast, this was a “blind spot” for both of us.  That’s the beauty of this “Connecting With Classics” series. We all can find new greats to enjoy, even the hosts.  

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SHORT FILM REVIEW: The Photographer

Underneath the on-screen actions in director Mark Sobol’s dynamic short film The Photographer, the motif of voyeurism is dissected from a presented theory.  A male narrator orates an internal monologue opening on the notion “a subject is so much more beautiful when it doesn’t know its being watched.”  Assigning beauty to a moment that is not the observer’s to share in begs a few life lessons.

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MEDIA APPEARANCE: "Connecting With Classics" Episode #2: "Casablanca"

Here in Episode 2 of “Connecting With Classics”, Feelin' Film's Aaron White, guest host Josh Effengee from LSG Media’s Science Fiction Film Podcast, and myself celebrate Valentine’s Day by discussing a film that is considered one of the greatest love stories ever told. Casablanca checks in at #3, NUMBER THREE!, on the AFI Top 100 10th Anniversary list. This is definitely a beloved classic, my own #1 all-time favorite movie, and we have a great conversation about its quality as a film and all of the ways it has resonated with us emotionally.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Black Panther

For any MCU film to do this leader and his civilization justice, it has to capture the traits of dominance.  Ryan Coogler’s film accomplished that and then some with a stature and ferocity fitting of the comic book legend.  Pushing aside the proclivity to have a empowered science nerd or a plucky quipster as its heroic lead, a Marvel film hasn’t been this brawny, righteous, and tough since Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  Black Panther strides proudly and powerfully with every progressive step as one of the best MCU films we’ve ever seen.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Paddington 2

Brimming with cinematic and family-themed amusement and timeless with the effectiveness of that lead lesson no matter the audience, Paddington 2 is an genuine delight on multiple levels.  With the origin story out of the way, the sequel expands and improves on the cheeky magic of its 2014 predecessor to dive into greater merriment, adventure, and emotional satisfaction.  Add this on the short list of sequels that are better than their predecessors.  

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MOVIE REVIEW: I, Tonya

For anyone who thinks Suicide Squad star and The Wolf of Wall Street vamp Margot Robbie is just a hot bod and a pretty face, watch I, Tonya.  The 27-year-old Aussie’s ferocious and zealous performance riding the peaks and valleys of disgraced former champion figure skater Tonya Harding will erase those old notions centered solely on attractiveness.  Brimming with depravity and teaming with talent, I, Tonya may be the brashest film you will see seen this year

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MOVIE REVIEW: Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread is a exquisite film of elevated aesthetics that drape over a scintillating story of tumultuous potential discord.  There is infinite richness within the despair, spun by Daniel Day-Lewis re-teaming with his There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson, as the fictional 1950s tailor of status.  Mundane in some moments and mysterious in others, the sum of the literal and figurative details within the stitches and seams of this film make it one of the year’s best.

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