Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
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(3 1/2 out of 4 stars) Fishing with John is among the most comfortable shows I have ever watched. It is a parody of those boring fishing shows that have the potential to cure a case of insomnia. The humor is dry and often lands effectively. The characters are bizarre, and are definitely pleasurable to watch as John and his guest go on exotic adventures catching fish, despite the fact they really know next to nothing about it.
(4 out of 4) Three Billboards was one of 2017's most critically acclaimed films and I can agree with the praise it has received. The film centers around an angry mother dealing with the loss of her daughter who was murdered months ago. She is frustrated with the police's inadequacy with how they are handling the situation, so she decides to take matters in her own hands by renting out three billboards that send a message to the chief of police to do their job. It causes an uproar in the city. The billboards act is at the start of the film and movie focuses on a series of events that unfold that occur after the act. The first praise goes towards it having one of the finest casts of 2017. It stars Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, as well as other recognizable faces. No characters feels out of place and they all act accordingly with the films tone. I will say that the character with the most moving performance is from Rockwell as a corrupt cop who undergoes a character arc that is at times devastating. It's always a challenge for a filmmaker to get you to feel for an unpleasant person, but the movie pulls it off by letting you spend extra time with the character and allowing you to witness his redemption. When it comes to what the movie is about (not the plot, but the themes), there has been debating about it. From my perspective, the movie seems to be about redemption, justice, and having the guts to take action. At the beginning, It seemed like it may go a police brutality route because of some things said by characters at the beginning, and adding on the fact that it is a topic discussed profusely in our culture. There may be something in there about the idea, but to be honest, I don't think it's about that. If there's anything else, I may have to look harder. Despite my confusion, I can say that the drama is always riveting and I was always curious to see how the movie unfolded. I love when a film transcends traditional narrative structure and avoiding falling under one genre. It's mostly dramatic, but offers dark comedy as well. It's among my Top 5 of the year.
(0.5 out of 4 stars) There is a scene in this thing where the main characters go to a McDonalds, and not long after they arrive, a random dance number starts up inside and outside the building. This sequence is pointless and makes no sense (which could be said about the rest of the movie), but the reason I truly dislike this scene in particular is because of how misleading it is. How is it misleading? Well, despite the oddity of the scene, the kids dancing are at least pretty talented, but the only talent I've personally ever encountered at a McDonalds is the talent of finding new ways to screw up your meal order. I really should just read a book......
(3.5/4 Stars) I'm not going to lie, this is one of my favorites. For various reasons, this film strongly resonates with me. I enjoy the looks of the characters, the way they talk, their mannerisms, and especially their style. There's this millennial liveliness that they seem to project that I personally love to get absorbed into.
I discovered Dolan through the attention he received at Cannes with his film Mommy. After seeing Mommy, I sought out his other works which of course eventually led me to this. For me, I think this film centers around young love and how it can sometimes simply be ridiculous. Sometimes, the reasoning for their attraction towards others is less about legitimate love and more about lust. That's a folly for many.
There's much slow motion in this as well. I could see some complaining about it, but I find it appealing to the eye. Witnessing the film's slow motion reminds me of the feeling of finding a beautiful person in a crowded room. When that happens in real life, time can seem to slow down as you become entranced by the person you see. It's like that feeling. In those slow moments, the movie is taking time to focus on those flourishing emotions felt by the characters. In fact, that's what I found the film as a whole to focus around. The feelings of love, or at least what the characters think is love.
I could also see some people complaining about the story being overdone and unoriginal, but I think Dolan breathes new life into it. He is doing what many other talented filmmakers are doing, especially in this current era of film. He's breathing new life into tired formulas. The story sounds simple, but he focuses on the characters and the feelings/emotions they go through which can be great if handled well.
I find it easy to get absorbed into the three leads and to be interested in their lives. They have this exuberant style that is somewhat alluring and even hypnotic in a way.
The only complaint I can think of at the moment would be some of the camerawork in a few scenes and I think some extra tweaks with the editing would helped some moments, but these are small quibbles in an overall attractive-looking film. I recommend this, especially to hipsters.
(2.5 out of 4 Stars) Many people have an issue with the style and tone of the film, and I see where they're coming from. It has that traditional British bio-pic style to it that isn't daring, but safe. It bothers some, but I'm fine with it if it works. The issue I had with this movie was the screenplay. There were some scenes that left me scratching my head wondering what just happened. The technical and production aspects as well as the performances are predictably good as you would expect from a film such as this, but it doesn't hit the same heights of inspiration as other bio-pics like The Kings Speech and The Imitation Game did. It's clearly trying to hit on a similar emotional level, but falls a little short. Still worth a viewing though.
(4 out of 4 stars) United 93 is one of the most intense films that I've ever seen. Paul Greengrass has a talent for displaying tense moments on screen that can draw you into what's going on. When many directors handle "shaky cam" to display the intensity on screen, they are not able to pull it off for various reasons, but Greengrass is the master of handling that technique when it's used in various scenes. In this film, he not only does what he typically does best, but he also has made a film that stupendously honors the lives of the people that were on the flight. Making a film about this situation (especially during the time it was released) can be risky, but thankfully, it pulls off the unsettling content to show a true story about heroes standing up to stop pure evil. I don't think this could've been handled better than it was.
Like other movies from John Hughes like The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller, it playfully captures the awkward teenage years through its main characters and makes humor out of it. There are a few bizarre moments that occur in the film, but they are mostly overshadowed by the humor that the film contains. The humor is funny and smart in many areas! It goes for more of that dumb edge than his other features, like how the woman is created makes no sense, but when you get on the movies level and understand what it's going for, you can have a great time!
The movie is not very good. I thought the first half of the film was atrocious and I was becoming afraid it would be as horrible as God's Not Dead, but instead of carrying its unpleasantness throughout the rest of the film, it instead falls into romance film cliches that are mostly bland. I will admit there are a few touching moments in that latter portion, but it's overall nothing new. Anyways, It does what many romance films do, which is create some kind of concept that sounds unique, and (spoilers) has the characters eventually fall in love. They of course eventually get to a point where a problem develops and they break up, only to make up by the end (end spoiler). Also, the editing is bizarre. Won't go into details, but there are a variety of techniques used that are odd and somewhat confusing.
Overall, I'm a person who prefers blandness over anger-inducing senseless storytelling, and luckily, the blandness of the second half kept this from being as worse as it could've been.
This film Is a true masterpiece. Is it a film that you can get absorbed into due to its mesmerizing atmosphere. It's haunting and instead of going for the traditional horror jump scares, the film features a terror that creeps you out and makes you feel uncomfortable throughout, yet you can't take your eyes off of it. It reminded me of Kubrick (4 out of 4)
One of my favorites from this past decade, a masterpiece of cinematic art.
Powerful documentary. With the rotoscoping animation along with the interviews of those who fully encountered the event, as well as actual footage of the event; it all blends together in a powerful way. Masterfully edited. Highly recommend this powerful film!
It has issues for sure. For a movie that highlights slaves rebelling, there is very little time in the film dedicated to it. Regardless, there is much to admire about it, such as Nate Parker's acting, costume designing, as well as the imagery. 12 Years a Slave was better at examining how treacherous slavery must have been in the past, but this film is only a minor stop down from 12 Years. I still recommend it, especially since it's not a sequel or a remake like many movies that have been highlighted this year.
I watched this twice in one weekend. It's Monday and I want to watch it again. I come to like this movie the same way I've come to love some of my all-time favorite movies. They grow on me overtime becuase I spend much time thinking about it after viewing it. It's just a charming movie that was entertaining throughout.
A shocking masterpiece. I'm tempted to claim it to be one of the most impressive films I've ever seen.