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Showing posts from November, 2016

Rapid Reviews: Nocturnal Animals and Jackie

Winning a Silver Lion Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival is a crowning achievement for any filmmaker, let alone one who only has two works to his name. Tom Ford burst onto the scene in 2009 with his warmly received debut, A Single Man. The effort landed lead star Colin Firth an Oscar Nomination and left everyone in the industry wondering what Ford would be doing next. It took quite a while to get here but Ford returns with Nocturnal Animals, a taut thriller that far surpasses his admired debut.

Susan Morrow is an art gallery owner who receives an unexpected package from her ex-husband of many years, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). Inside she discovers a manuscript of his new novel which Edward dedicates solely to her. As Susan becomes engrossed in this violent and sinister novel she begins to reflect on the torment she caused her former lover.

Everything from the film's trailer to its detailed premise would lead you to envision Nocturnal Animals as a mind-bending and brutal thri…

MOANA (2016) REVIEW : Film Animasi Penuh Misi yang Tak Termakan Ambisi

Disney di era yang baru ini memiliki misi di dalam film-film miliknya. Sehingga, filmnya tak sekedar menjadi film animasi pelipur lara biasa tetapi ada nilai-nilai yang berusaha disematkan lewat karakter-karakternya, terutama karakter-karakter putri yang biasa mereka buat. Disney berusaha merombak segala identitas Princess yang kadang kelewat putih dan terlihat sempurna. Mulai dari Princess and The Frog, Tangled, dan Frozen, Disney berusaha untuk mengontruksi ulang identitas dari sosok Princess.
Tak berhenti di ketiga film tersebut, Disney kembali berusaha mengonstruksi identitas karakter-karakter Princess-nya dalam film teranyarnya berjudul Moana. Film ini ditangani oleh orang-orang lama Disney yang pernah berkecimpung lewat Aladdin dan The Little Mermaid yaitu Ron Clements. Sehingga mungkin proyek Moana ini sudah berada di tangan yang tepat karena rekam jejak sang sutradaranya yang sudah terbiasa berkecimpung di karakter-karakter tuan puteri.
Di era sekarang di mana ilmu pengetahuan…

Silence and The Comedian Trailers

Martin Scorsese has given us all something to be very thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday. The first official trailer for the legendary filmmaker's upcoming release, Silence, has officially landed and it provides a story and perspective of Scorsese that we haven't seen in quite some time. Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver star as a pair of 17th century Jesuit priests who venture to Japan and face persecution as they try to find their religious mentor (Liam Neeson) and restore his faith in God. Word has it we're in for another marathon as Silence pushes towards 160 minutes of screen time, but we should still expect a gripping story and phenomenal direction from this assumed Best Picture contender.

Like many great pairings in this this world, it wouldn't feel right mentioning Martin Scorsese without his long time collaborative partner, Robert De Niro. The all-time great performer has chosen some questionable roles of late, and early word isn't too favorable for his u…

Oscar Talk - 11/22/2016

With Golden Globe nominations less than 3 weeks out, the Awards season is just starting to heat up. Both Ben Affleck's Live by Night and Denzel Washington's Fences have recently screened for the first time while Martin Scorsese's Silence will premiere later this month, leaving the Oscar picture a bit cloudy at the moment. However, there's still enough buzz floating around to mold together an idea of how the major races appear to be shaping up. Let's take a look.

Best Supporting Actress

Likely Nominees: Hindsight is 20/20 and, although I even felt it at the time, it's impossible not to look back and acknowledge that Viola Davis should have won the Best Actress Oscar for her work in 2011's The Help (Meryl Streep won for Iron Lady). Yet, history has a funny way of correcting itself as Davis could be in line for some Oscar glory for her work in Fences. Other safer bets to land in the final five include Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) and Naomie Harris (

Rapid Reviews: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and Doctor Strange

A lot can change in the matter of a few months. Prior to its October premiere at the New York Film Festival, many penciled-in Ang Lee's new adapted feature, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, as a viable Best Picture candidate. Lee's well-documented success with the Academy, mixed together with a war-time drama, the film checked-off all the necessary boxes. Yet, now, having watched Billy Lynn for myself, Lee's latest work is far from the Oscar-player we all expected and, sadly, it's one of the year's most disappointing entries.

This non-chronological adaption follows its title character (Joe Alwyn) and the other members of his Bravo squad who are home from Iraq on a victory tour. And as Billy prepares to be honored during the halftime show of an NFL football game for one of the worst days of his life. he recalls the harrowing events of the battle and contemplates his future as a soldier altogether.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk stands as a rare fatally flawed…

Live by Night (NEW) and Hidden Figures (NEW) Trailers

Ben Affleck is quickly climbing the ranks as one of Hollywood's most prominent filmmakers. After his last effort, Argo, won Best Picture, all eyes are shifting to Affleck's upcoming release, Live by Night. Affleck stars as a prohibition era gangster who learns that getting out of the racket is far more difficult than it appears. Live by Night will receive a late-year qualifying run, but don't expect to see it in theaters until January. Some things are definitely worth the wait, catch the film's final trailer below and see for yourself.

Theodore Melfi impressed audiences with his 2014 directorial debut, St. Vincent. Melfi returns in 2016 with another crowd-pleasing story, but this one's of the factual variety. Hidden Figures tells the true story of three African American women who were pivotal in launching the United States' first successful space mission during the 1960s. Academy Award Winner Octavia Spencer and co-stars Taraji Henson and Janelle Monae help brin…

The Best Amy Adams Performances

Amy Adams has become somewhat of an awards season staple with Oscar Nominations in 4 of the last 8 years. She makes a huge return in 2016 with a pair of vastly different films in the sci-fi drama, Arrival, and the mind-bending psychological thriller, Nocturnal Animals. Therefore, since Adams could be primed for another Oscar run for her role in this month's science fiction release, November's Movie List of the Month examines the finest work of her career (October's list).

Honorable Mention:Big Eyes, DoubtEnchanted, and The Muppets

#5. Junebug (2005)

Phil Morrison's original indie drama, Junebug, proved to be a catalyst for Amy Adams' career. The film follows an art dealer (Embeth Davidtz) and her new husband (Alessandro Nivola) as they travel back to his home southern town where she meets his family and pregnant sister-in-law (Adams). Amy Adams knocks her southern accent out of the park and shines in her wholesome, albeit it talkative, role. The film is decent enoug…

Rapid Reviews: Bleed for This and Christine

It isn't difficult to pinpoint the turning point in Miles Teller's young career. Fresh off a strong showing in the indie success, The Spectacular Now, Teller gained immense notoriety as the lead actor in the critically acclaimed Best Picture Nominee, Whiplash. And the artist isn't afraid to talk about one of his biggest influences in Hollywood, the great Robert De Niro. Therefore, when word broke of Teller's upcoming role in the true story of boxer Vinny Paz, it felt as if the youngster was longing for his Raging Bull moment. But let me be abundantly clear, Ben Younger's Bleed for This is no Raging Bull.

Despite struggling to cut weight throughout his career, Vinny Paz (Teller) eventually becomes the Middleweight Champion in 1991. But just as the fighter reaches the pinnacle of his success, Vinny's forced to relinquish his belt after suffering a broken neck in a near-fatal car accident. Against the doctor's wishes, Vinny continues secretly working out with h…

Manchester by the Sea

Film: Manchester by the Sea

Starring: Casey Affleck (Interstellar), Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine) and Lucas Hedges (Kill the Messenger)

Director: Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me)

U.S. Release: November 18th, 2016 (Limited - Rated R)

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 137 minutes

As usual, the Philadelphia Film Festival debuted numerous Oscar contenders in my hometown this past October. One such film destined for the big-time and right near the top of my wish-list was Kenneth Lonergan's heavy drama, Manchester by the Sea. As a longtime fan of both Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, the buzz around their performances left me more than eager to ride along this emotional roller coaster.

Lee Chandler (Affleck) is an embittered apartment complex handyman living in the Boston area. But after receiving word that his brother has passed away from heart complications, Lee travels back to his hometown of Manchester and soon learns that he's been willed as the new legal guardian to his teenage ne…


Film: Moonlight

Starring: Mahershala Ali (Free State of Jones), Ashton Sanders and Naomie Harris (Skyfall)

Director: Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy)

U.S. Release: October 21st, 2016 (Limited Release - Rated R)

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 110 minutes

There are certain things in this world that just can't be explained. On the surface, Barry Jenkins' profound new feature, Moonlight, focuses on a familiar premise using many unknown actors and actresses, but somehow it manages to transcend the superficial sum of its parts. Being able to pull off that rare feat is nothing to take lightly. And for that reason, Barry Jenkins and his entire collection of writers, actors and crew appear to be in line for a huge awards season run.

Moonlight tells the gripping story of an impoverished youth named Chiron growing up during the heart of "The War on Drugs" in the projects of Miami. Chiron is taken under the wings of a local drug dealer (Mahershala Ali) and his girlfriend (Janelle Monae) …

The Best of the 2016 Philadelphia Film Festival

Sadly, the 25th annual Philadelphia Film Festival has come and gone. One of my favorite yearly events produced an amazing film lineup throughout its 11-day span of uninterrupted movie-watching, making 2016 the city's most impressive festival to date. I was only able to catch 17 films in total, a slightly lower figure than usual, but I'm thrilled to look back and recognize my "Best of the Fest" selections (here's a look back at the 2015 festival). Keep an eye out for these picks in the upcoming months, because many of them are guaranteed to garner acclaim during this year's Oscar run.

Best Supporting Actress
Honorable Mention: Greta Gerwig (Jackie) and Janelle Monae (Moonlight)
#3. Naomie Harris (Moonlight)
#2. Haley Squires (I, Daniel Blake)
And the winner is ...

Michelle Williams - Manchester by the Sea
Williams has always been a personal favorite of mine. And although her screen time is somewhat limited in this over two-hour drama, she most the most of every oppor…

DVD Outlook: November 2016

Just as the theatrical releases begin to heat up, this month's crop of new DVD and Blu-Ray releases offer a strong alternative (October's suggestions). November boasts a couple of my favorite films of 2016 so far, as well as plenty of other diverse and stellar options. So here are my top picks of the month:

Hell or High Water - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my rapid review here)

In one of the year's most complete packages, David Mackenzie's Hell or High Water delivers a classic Western feel despite its present day setting. Brothers Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) embark on a well-orchestrated bank-robbing spree in order to save their family's ranch from auction, all while an aging Sheriff (Jeff Bridges) gets hot on their trail. A tremendous script and taut story are captured wonderfully by top flight performances and David Mackenzie's keen vision. Ben Foster shines in a well-suited and edgy role while Chris Pine's timid character connects deeply with the…