Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2016


Film: Silence

Starring: Andrew Garfield (Hacksaw Ridge), Adam Driver (The Force Awakens) and Liam Neeson (Taken)

Director: Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)

U.S. Release: December 23rd, 2016 (Limited Release - Rated R)

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 161 minutes

In many ways, the "passion project" is the backbone of all artistic expression. Surely, filmmakers and musical artists combat a "give and take" dynamic within their industries to advance their careers, but these special artistic endeavors are what fan the flames of creativity. In 2016, our cinematic year closes with a rare passion project from one of Hollywood's most iconic figures, Martin Scorsese. Silence stands as a religious tale that finally comes together after more than two decades in the making, and it's as polarizing a film as ever.

Father Rodrigues and Father Garrpe (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) are a pair of 17th century Jesuit priests who learn of their mentor's (Liam Neeson) repudiation …

Oscar Talk - 12/29/2016

Now that Golden Globe and SAG Nominations are behind us and most of the major races are starting to settle into position, the road to the Oscars is beginning to look a little clearer. Therefore, let's take a look at the current state of the major categories.

Best Supporting Actress

Likely Nominees: Not much has changed atop the Best Supporting Actress race. Fences co-star, Viola Davis, holds a firm advantage over the field despite a small faction of rebellious voters who believe the size of her role warrants a shift into the Best Actress category. Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) has been fairly successful among critics voting groups and stands as the most likely to upset Davis. Other safe bets for nominations at this point include Naomie Harris (Moonlight) and Nicole Kidman (Lion).
Additional Contenders:Hidden Figures co-star and Academy Award Winner, Octavia Spencer, rounded out the top 5 with both the Globes and SAG, nearly solidifying her hold over the fifth and final sp…

2016's Most Underrated Movies

Just yesterday I broke down the year's most Overrated Films and now I want to to turn my attention to the more surprising and lesser known titles that proved to be worthwhile watches. As always, when you conjure up a list of this kind, it's important to outline the specific criteria that's used to determine the rankings. Below is a description of the factors I use to measure and classify a movie as underrated:
Criteria: The two most heavily weighted components I use are awards season recognition and box office totals. If a movie sneaks a Globe or SAG Nomination, sorry but it won't be on this list (i.e. Captain Fantastic and The Edge of Seventeen). Also, I try to identify movies that struggle to push $10 million at the box office. And although it's rare, my final assessing tool is recognizing a film that's been undeservedly panned by critics.

#5. Green Room

Jeremy Saulnier delivered a gem of a debut effort with the revenge thriller Blue Ruin. His mildly anticipated…

2016's Most Overrated Films

Christmas day has arrived and as the new year inches its way around the corner, now becomes an appropriate time to look back on 2016's cinematic offerings. I had tempered expectations coming into the year, yet very few surprises and a narrow collection of upper echelon films leaves 2016 as less than impressionable. First up on the docket for the many year-end lists, let's examine the most overrated films of the past year.

Criteria: To classify a film as "overrated" it needs to be prevalent in at least two of three distinct areas. I take into account the film's critical reception, its box-office showing and awards season recognition.

Honorable Mention:Deepwater Horizon, The Lobster and Love & Friendship

#5. Doctor Strange

I left the theater at the end of Civil War completely pleased with the current state of the Marvel film universe. Therefore, once Scott Derrickson's dimension-shattering effort, Doctor Strange, opened to rave reviews that all it to currently …

Rapid Reviews: Hidden Figures and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The last few years have brought an endless supply of Civil Rights and Civil War era films, making it more and more difficult for writers and directors to keep their subject matter fresh with each subsequent release. St. Vincent helmer, Theodore Melfi, faces this exact quandary with his 2016 late-year effort, Hidden Figures. Thankfully, this remarkable true story incorporates the unique backdrop of science and mathematics to provide the necessary originality needed to stand out amongst a crowded field of similarly-themed stories.

It's the early 1960s and the United States are in a fragile race to space against Soviet Russia. And after falling behind, the folks at NASA are forced to double-down on their efforts to get astronaut John Glenn into space and orbiting our planet. Yet, as racial tensions divide our nation, a trio of hardworking and sophisticated African American women (Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae) lead a united charge to help ensure that the United Stat…

Emma Stone's Best Performances

Emma Stone has enjoyed an upward-trending career ever since her big screen debut in 2007's comedy classic, Superbad. That mountainous climb continues with this year's awards season musical juggernaut, La La Land. Stone's onscreen achievements, both past and present, are enough to devote December's Movie List of the Month to her finest performances (November's List).

Honorable Mention: Superbad and Zombieland

#5. Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011)

Directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John Requa delivered one of the decade's finest romantic comedies with Crazy, Stupid, Love. Lead stars Steve Carell and Julianne Moore consume an enormity of the film's running time, but Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone displayed an undeniable onscreen chemistry that made their side-stepping love story an absolute joy to experience. It wasn't the grandest platform to showcase her talents, but Stone seized the opportunity with another career-propelling performance.

#4. The Help (2011)

Within the sa…

Rapid Reviews: Miss Sloane and Office Christmas Party

There was a brief stretch of recent history between 2011 and 2014 where Jessica Chastain stood as one of the most accomplished actresses in the industry. During that time she tallied a pair of Oscar nominations and a Golden Globe win for her role in the Kathryn Bigelow's hunt for Bin Laden, Zero Dark Thirty. Since then, it's fair to say that Chastain's chosen a few questionable roles. But with John Madden's political lobbying thriller, Miss Sloane, Chastain returns to her previous Oscar-caliber heights.

Elizabeth Sloane (Chastain) is the most desirable lobbyist in our nation's capital. And when an influential gun rights supporter seeks her services to sway the female public opinion surrounding an upcoming gun-law vote, Elizabeth Sloane's personal views push her to leave her firm and work on the opposite side of the issue. However, she finally recognizes that winning against the most powerful opponent in Washington will require lofty sacrifices.

In this politicall…

Dunkirk (NEW) and War for the Planet of the Apes Trailers

Christopher Nolan has become the type of filmmaker that commands the attention of the entire industry. And after the wildly ambitious sci-fi effort, Interstellar, Nolan is taking aim at a drastically different subject with his 2017 release, Dunkirk. The film focuses on the early stretches of World War II where Allied soldiers are completely surrounded by German forces on the harbor of Dunkirk, France, and their only hope is a successful evacuation mission. Starring Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy and Kenneth Branagh, the footage in Dunkirk looks amazing and, even with a July release date lined up, perhaps Nolan will be able to capture that elusive Oscar win.

As this return to the Planet of the Apes franchise continues to improve, director Matt Reeves returns for the another installment. After the last film, it seemed hard-pressed to find another valuable chapter in the saga, but it appears the may have one with War of the Planet of the Apes. Once again, Caesar returns to lead h…

Oscar Talk - 12/13/2016

A lot of surprising twists and turns have materialized since our last look at the road to the Oscars in November. The Critics Choice Awards announced their winners and Golden Globe Nominations were handed out yesterday morning (Golden Globe Snubs and Surprises). With all of the new developments in mind, let's examine the current state of the 6 major Oscar races.

Best Supporting Actress

Likely Nominees: After another precursor tipped in her favor, especially the Critics Choice Award, Viola Davis still holds claim to the frontrunner status for her role in Fences. Both Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) have solidified themselves as the likeliest to upset Davis, creating a three-headed monster atop the race. 
Additional Contenders: Following Golden Globe Nominations to round out the top five, Nicole Kidman (Lion) and Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) are certainly in the mix as well. Spencer could suffer from splitting votes with her co-star Janelle M…

2017 Golden Globe Snubs and Surprises

While the Academy Awards carry the biggest cachet of the awards season, no one can argue that the Golden Globes provide the funnest atmosphere and viewing pleasure for recognized performers and the at home audience. Early this morning the Golden Globe Nominees were officially announced, informally kicking off the annual awards season hunt, and , as always, there were plenty of snubs and surprises. Let's break down the official crop of nominees.


In the Best Picture - Drama hunt, many pronounced Denzel Washington's adapted film, Fences, as a "sure-thing". However, much like the Hollywood Foreign Press, my review of the film labeled it as little more than a showcase for its performers. The Globes seemed to agree and surprisingly omitted the presumed Oscar contender from its Best Picture field.

In the Best Supporting Actor race momentum has been building for Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals) and deservedly so. Shannon gives an exceptional supporting turn and it was …

Rapid Reviews: Lion and I, Daniel Blake

It feels like the "based on a true story" tag exists on just about every movie nowadays. This alarming frequency tends to dilute any semblance of realism meant to be injected into the story. But in rare real-life instances, the truth is just too amazing to discredit, and that certainly exists in the debut drama from Garth Davis, Lion.

As a five year-old boy living in the slums of India, Saroo (Sunny Pawar/Dev Patel) is accidentally separated from his brother and mistakenly travels 1,600 km across the country. Lost from his family, the young boy is left to fend for himself on the devilish streets of Calcutta until he is taken in and adopted by a couple living abroad in Australia. But as Saroo grows up under the roof of wealth and privilege in his new home, a memory from his childhood is triggered and prompts him to venture back to India in search of his lost family.

Lion possesses a far greater appeal in retrospect than as it unfolds on the big screen in real time. And once the…

Spider-Man: Homecoming and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (NEW) Trailers

Marvel has unveiled a pair of trailers for two of their major 2017 releases. First up is the newest venture into the iconic superhero, Spider-Man. This time around it's The Impossible's Tom Holland who reprises his role (from brief appearances in Civil War) as a young Peter Parker who's forced to navigate his way through this surprising new powers. With the typical Marvel formula we can expect plenty of humor and action as the comic universe continues branching out in support of their next "phase". Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives in July of 2017.

If you're like me then the gang of misfit anti-heroes that make up the "Guardians of the Galaxy" captured your heart and your funny bone. They return next year with a second installment centered around Peter Quill's (Chris Pratt) search to uncover the identity of his father. The film also features a baby Groot and a whole lot of laughs as Marvel continues churning out entries in their ever-expanding unive…


Film: Fences

Starring: Denzel Washington (Flight), Viola Davis (The Help) and Mykelti Williamson (Forrest Gump)

Director: Denzel Washington (The Great Debaters)

U.S. Release: December 25th, 2016 (Rated PG-13)

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 139 minutes

Originally a Tony Award winning play from the late August Wilson, Fences receives the big screen treatment courtesy of director and star, Denzel Washington. The film debuted in early November to the highest of praises from countless members of the Screen Actors Guild, which instantly solidified Fences as a legitimate Oscar contender. Despite its inability to entertain quite as effectively as other awards season hopefuls, you should still expect to hear the film's name called on Oscar night.

Set in 1950s Pittsburgh, Troy (Washington) is a former baseball star who finds himself unsatisfied as a 53 year-old garbage man. But as Troy's resentment trickles down to his star-athlete son, Cory (Jovan Adepo), they two battle over Cory's desire to play…

HEADSHOT (2016) REVIEW : Kolaborasi Dua Genre Yang Memikat

Kebrutalan dalam film Martial Arts adalah sebuah indikator baru dari kualitas sebuah film milik perfilman nasional. Di poin inilah, ada sebuah titik balik yang muncul di dalam perfilman nasional. Diawali oleh film The Raid yang disutradarai oleh Gareth Evans, film ini menjadi sorotan banyak orang dan juga perfilman Internasional. Kedigdayaannya diakui oleh banyak pihak membuat perfilman nasional setidaknya mendapat citra baru baik domestik maupun mancanegara.
Dengan adanya poin itu, keragaman genre di perfilman nasional pun semakin bertambah. Film-film Indonesia berusaha mengekor keberhasilan The Raid dan film-film sadis menjadi sorotan banyak orang. Sebelum The Raid menjadi tersohor, ada The Mo Brothers yang terdiri dari Timo dan Kimo yang pernah membuat genre horor thriller yang tak kalah seru yaitu Rumah Dara. The Mo Brothers pun memiliki banyak penggemar karena setidaknya pada waktu itu berhasil membuat alternatif tontonan, apalagi dalam genre horor yang pada kala itu minim akan p…