In anticipation of the ceremony for the Academy Awards, I thought it would be as good a time as any to share my impressions on the 2018 crop of movie making.
The thoughts I am about to share are an ever-shifting compendium that may look different in a week, a month, or a year from now.
Continue reading Academy Awards preview: best films released in 2018
Summer has come and gone. September greets us in Chicago with the wettest Labor Day weekend in memory. It rained Saturday, Sunday and it stormed on Labor Day. I have had a view of the lake for the last 2-3 years and it looked as if a monsoon had passed. It was quite a spectacle.
Summer has been very interesting from a cinematic point of view. I finally found time to watch Asif Kapadia’s moving 2011 documentary on Amy Winehouse. This was a film that was on my radar for a long time after the very emotional experience I had watching Senna, his previous documentary feature. The majority of my time though was put into catching up with a string of wonderful films released this year, a highlight of which was You Were Never Really Here by Lynne Ramsay.
Continue reading Months in Review: Films of July & August 2018 (part 1)
How quickly do months fly by when you are busy. It seems like only a week ago I posted my last review. As quickly as my newfound motivation to blog a bit more came to me on January 1st, as quickly it evaporated not from a lack of desire, but from a lack of energy.
With a bit of a delay, I share with you my brief thoughts on the films I had the chance to watch in the last month of 2015 and the first of 2016. A total of 21 films were watched, 12 in December and 9 in January. The average rating was a very good 3.35 out of 5. The following are ordered in the way they were seen:
Continue reading Months in Review: December & January (2016)
It’s been just over a month since my last post on this blog of mine. Though my attempt was to continue to keep it flowing with new reviews and monthly round-ups, there was this mammoth-size event looming on the horizon: the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Continue reading Catching up after the World Cup. 2014 in review
After a forced long hiatus, I’m back at blogging about some of my favorite things. In an effort to make this blog more representative of my interests, my monthly round-ups will now include short reviews of books read and videogames played (even if not completed) in addition to my usual run-down of films.
Below, the first part of a set of short reviews on anything I have had the pleasure to watch in the previous months.
Continue reading Months in Review: March & April (part I)
Now that we have arrived to the beginning of May and I haven’t been able to post in over two weeks, I thought I would summarize my film watching of the last two months with a mammoth list of mini-reviews. 22 films in 61 days. Not a great number, but I’ve done worse. Here it goes:
A terribly uninspiring story line masked by awesome special effects and handsome set designs. Oblivion is one more nail in the coffin for the career of Tom Cruise, the former world’s biggest movie star. Though he may still prove his worth at the box office, his performance is easily forgettable, never once allowing us to forget his very bizarre off camera persona, nor making us empathize with his character.
Rating: 2/5 (poor)
Continue reading Month in Review: March & April films
During the past 3 slow months worth of blogging, I have seen many different films that have not enjoyed the benefit of a review. To try to catch up I offer a long collection of small reviews of most of the films I have watched in the last three months that did not get a review until now. A total of 24 films, a couple of which will get longer in-depth reviews. The highlights of the list are Weekend and Sunshine, both very different but very pleasant surprises.
I apologize in advance if this gets a little long. Enjoy:
The French Connection (1971)
Cast: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey
Director: William Friedkin
Writers: Ernest Tidyman, Robin Moore (original novel), Howard Hanks
Rating: 3.5/5 (good)
Starring Gene Hackman in a now famous role as tough cop Jimmy Doyle, The French Connection is an intense thriller that takes place in the harsh New York winter of 1970.
Most of the success of the film is due to its intensity and realism, displaying some of the most exciting chase sequences ever put on film. These have surprisingly lost little of their power over time, feeling current even today (minus antiquated vehicles and fashion). The cast is also excellent, further enriching the well-crafted dynamic between cops, informants, low-lives and criminals. I just wish the film had focused less on the details and intricacies of case-solving and criminal chasing and more on character-building.
Continue reading Film Round-up: May, June & July
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
I find myself back at my IMDB top 250 challenge after a couple of months without a single post. Magnolia, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, marks only my 14th review since I began this series in March, which tells me I need to pick up the pace if I am ever going to finish.
Released in 1999 to critical acclaim, Magnolia is not only engrossing, but it is the sort of movie that lends itself to analysis for its purpose does not easily come across. In fact, there are sequences of the film which are downright odd, though imbedded with symbolic meaning.
Magnolia is a poem written and produced in cinematic form. It comes across as a tragedy filled with tender, highly emotional moments where lives either get significantly and permanently altered, or they meet their unavoidable end.
Continue reading IMDB Top 250: Magnolia (1999)