In order to have a meaningful conversation about cinema and grow as a cinephile and film critic one must become fluent in the history of the art. If I hadn’t watched the “40 Year Old Virgin” this year, I may have never understood the relevance of Judd Apatow and the type of comedy he helped usher in the mid-2000s. If I hadn’t watched Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother), I would continue to believe (wrongly, I may add) that as good a filmmaker as Pedro Almodovar has shown me he can be, he was incapable of crafting a story that was truly moving and personal. Instead, I learned that Almodovar is much more than a provocateur with a keen eye. At his best, as he proved in Todo Sobre Mi Madre, Almodovar can take the tale of a grieving single mother and make it both intimate and universally inspiring.
Continue reading Best Blind Spots of 2018
Continued from the previous post.
Below my thoughts on the films I watched in April.
I, TONYA (2017) [ 2.5/5 ]
After two hours of film, I could not assert whether I, Tonya is an empathetic reevaluation of Tonya Harding, or an exploitative character study. On the surface it seems to try to sympathize with the former Olympian, but every tragic and horrible moment of her early years is accompanied by a snarky attitude or a redneck generalization. So, for every bit of information that expands and dispels the tabloid image of Harding, there is a feeling that the film is having too much fun with the material at the expense of its subjects.
Continue reading Months in Review: March & April films (part 2)
The tail end of winter seems to have left us and, with it, the start of a new romance in my life. For that and other professional reasons, I have, once again, neglected this blog of mine. Even so, my appetite for movies remains unchanged even if life has a way of sneaking up on the time you thought you had.
In the last three months (February, March and April) I have watched a total of 24 films. The average rating for these has been a solid 3.34 out of 5. There have been a handful of highlights courtesy of a group of films from 2016 that sit among the best reviewed of the year. Such are Fences, Edge of Seventeen, Hidden Figures and Lion. However, I have also been disappointed with cinematic efforts that I was genuinely excited to see. Such are Florence Foster Jenkins, Ghost in the Shell and, to some extent, Hacksaw Ridge.
Continue reading Months in Review: February, March & April
In anticipation to the 89th Academy Awards, I have decided, unlike years prior, to post a list of my favorite films released in 2016. As it were, this is an ever-changing list which will shift and evolve as years pass, as both my tastes and my impressions on filmmaking continue to change. This is also, I presume, an incomplete list missing some highly praised bits of cinema like: The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Toni Erdmann, The Salesman, 20th Century Women, Paterson, Elle, Fences, Lion, and some others. With that in mind, I’m satisfied with the collection of more than 60 films I did manage to watch that were released in the US in 2016. The list of “favorites” adds up to 15 films, which represents the amount of movies that I gave at least a 4 out of 5 rating.
At the end of the post I will also offer some thoughts on the top categories for the Oscars, regarding who should win and who will likely be taking an statuette back home.
Continue reading Preview to the Academy Awards. Best Films of 2016
January is a month of cold weather, new year resolutions and catching up with films released in the latter part of the bygone year. It is also the month of the much-anticipated Academy Awards nominations, and a sleuth of other award shows where Hollywood practices a yearly ritual of congratulating itself.
January was a good and productive month in every respect for me. In terms of film, I managed to watch a total of 14 (more than my usual of 10 or 11) with a very high average score of 3.61 out of 5. January was also the first time in about two years that I felt compelled to give a film a perfect score (La La Land), while a couple of others received 4 out 5. This month came my discovery of SyFy’s series “The Expanse“, which is easily the best first season to a science fiction show since Battlestar Galactica.
Without further ado, below is the compendium of short reviews for films in the order in which they were watched. At the bottom you will find my impressions on The Expanse.
Continue reading Month in Review: January films and tv
Inspired by Ruth from Flixchatter, I decided to share my thoughts on some of my favorites romantic films on this pre-Valentine’s Day weekend.
I will be looking beyond rom-coms fearing I might not find many “favorites” and include anything that is mildly romantic, whether it’s on the dramatic side or even a musical, all of them are fair game.
Love in a foreign land: Lost in Translation
The enormously talented Bill Murray alongside a beautifully mysterious Scarlett Johansson in a story about two lost souls in the midst of life crises. A nuanced, well-crafted script that moves forward in unexpected ways crowned by a delightful ending.
In sickness or in health, at peace or at war: The Tiger and the Snow
Another beautiful and touching film by the genius of Roberto Benigni about the power of love and all of the incredible obstacles that it can overcome. Once again an over-the-top comedic performance by Benigni that is, however, balanced by a deeply moving drama.
Continue reading My dear Valentine: romance and film
My relationship with film this year has started in earnest. After a lackluster month of December in which I watched very few films, I decided to play catch-up and, at the same time, aim for some of the quality films I missed last year, with only a couple of exceptions and a few repeats.
Following is a list of all the films I have watched so far this year. I have written a small review for each film, with the exception of those I have already analyzed on this blog:
50/50 ( Jonathan Levine – 2011)
A well-written, efficient and heartfelt film about overcoming adversity and deepening relationships with the ones you love. A very compelling Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars alongside Seth Rogen playing his usual self with a bit more restrain and depth in a film that needed some of his warm comic relief.
50/50 handsomely balances comedy with drama, giving more room to the former until the final few scenes unfold.
I would have still liked a film that was a bit more personal and less lighthearted, yet still infused with some of the comedy that made it work so well.
Rating: 3.5/5 (good)
Continue reading Film Reviews Recap – January 2012