All posts filed under: Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Miss Sloane

Directed by: John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) Written by: Jonathan Perera (literally nothing else; this is his first writing credit ever) Starring: Jessica Chastain, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, John Lithgow, Mark Strong, Sam Waterson, Alison Pill I have seen a few movies without posting a review (Split, King Kong, Logan, Hidden Figures) because I am working on some other ideas. I figured I would follow the same protocol for Miss Sloane tonight: see the movie, jot down my thoughts, and save for later. That was before. After seeing what is undoubtedly the best movie I have seen in theaters in over a year, I feel compelled to write a review. I loved this movie. This is my first four-star review since…..I actually do not even know. It’s been well over a year, though. This review will not be good either. I just need to quickly spew how utterly, mind-boggling superb this movie is so that you all can see it and know what I’m talking about. I don’t even want to think about awards Miss Sloane did not receive. There are …

Movie Review: Silence

Star rating: 1.5/4 Directed by Martin Scorsese Written by Jay Cocks and Martin Scorsese (based on the 1966 historical fiction novel by Shūsaku Endō) Starring: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver Edited by Thelma Schoonmaker (my idol) I felt nothing after watching this movie. I saw it at 18:45 on a Friday night in one of Paris’ most popular movie spots in the underground shopping mall next to the Louvre museum. The entire theater was sold out. I still felt nothing. The story felt so phony. Was it the undoubtedly intentional lack of music (yet somehow two people were credited as score composers, what…)? The lack of intrigue? The lack of heart? All I knew walking out of the theater two hours and forty minutes later is that I did not want any part of it. Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, and Liam Neeson are some of the finest living actors. Yet, why did our leading man, Andrew Garfield, who normally puts in 110% into his roles and practically sweats pathos on-screen, leave me feeling nothing? As for Adam …

Movie Review: I, Daniel Blake

    Written by: Paul Laverty (The Wind That Shakes the Barley) Directed by: Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Kes) Starring: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires I saw La La Land for a second time last week. Escapism. It’s all we need on a gloomy day. But sometimes a movie forces us to pay attention, to experience reality as we experience it. Phone trees, being on hold for 45 minutes, being told “that’s not my decision to make,” and just the general frustration of running around in circles because no one seems to know what they are talking about. Imagine pitching a movie on the most horrid parts of human daily life. Enter Ken and Paul. I, Daniel Blake is little piece of nostalgic Italian neorealism that won the highest honor (the Palm D’Or) at the Cannes Film Festival last year. This being my only knowledge of the movie, I went to see it at 1pm on a Friday afternoon, in a old shoddy movie theater that definitely looked more like a carnival show room. There were two …

Movie Review: Paterson

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch (Broken Flowers, Dead Man) Starring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani Star rating: 3/4 Paterson is a movie where I am frighteningly tempted to look at reviews before forming any kind of opinion on it myself. There’s a lot of symbolism, motif, ambiguity in this movie—what is writer-director Jim Jarmusch trying to say? What is Adam Driver trying to convey in his performance of an everyday bus driver? Part of me thinks the relationship between Adam Driver’s character, Paterson, and Golshifteh Farahani’s character, Laura, is soul-sucking and depressing. Then I have to consider that maybe I feel that way because it’s realistic. And maybe not even so bad, all things considering. Paterson makes me wonder why we even read poetry, makes me want to ride the bus, makes me want to eavesdrop on strangers’ conversations more. Though I may not understand all of Jarmusch’s subtlety (why were twins a recurring motif?), he wrote Laura to perfection. I thought she was annoying. Then I thought she was wonderful. I often wanted to leave Paterson’s …

Movie Review: Jackie

Star rating: 3.5/4 I saw this movie about a month ago back in Tulsa with my mother. I am not entirely sure why I did not jot down my immediate thoughts, as I normally do after I see a film. However, this wonderful movie has stayed with me, compelling me to write a quick review. I am not normally a huge fan of the biopic in terms of entertainment value. But Jackie really kept me interested. Perhaps it was the haunting discordant score of string instruments. Or maybe it was Natalie Portman’s soft voice as the First Lady. I know that the jagged narrative, which jumped around sporadically from Jackie’s interview post assassination to her life preceding the tragedy, was compelling. Peter Sarsgaard is a personal favorite of mine, so I’m a little biased with everything he does. A month after viewing, I am struggling to give specifics for why I enjoyed it so much beyond what I just said. But since I still think of Jackie a month after viewing with awe, I recommend it is worth your …

Movie Review: Moonlight

Star rating: 3/4 Writer/director: Barry Jenkins Starring: Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes   The weird thing is I thought I was seeing Silence tomorrow… Ha Ha Ha Moonlight had a lot to live up to, I’ll give it that. I will. I’ll also throw in some things that were wonderful: the colorful lighting, the bold and unconventional camera movement, the single violin score (for most of the movie, anyway), the wonderful acting of Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes, the wonderful supporting acting of Janelle Monae. Yet, I am trying to figure something out about this movie, which tells the story of Chiron in three different phases of life as a young boy, high schooler, and adult, that does not totally sit right with me: the silence. The movie had so much air I could have float back to Los Angeles if I knew how to harness it. I swear 50% of this movie is people looking at each other, no score, no words. Just looking. Staring. That’s a fact. You either love it or …

Movie Review: Elle

Star rating: 3/4 Seeing Elle with my dear friend since sixth grade, Greer, is the only reason I got through this movie in one piece. Huddled in the smallest theater at Circle Cinema, Greer and I sat amongst fifteen 60 year-olds married folks, for this dark piece of cinema by acclaimed director, Paul Verhoeven. Isabelle Huppert already won a Golden Globe for playing Michèle Leblanc, a seductive and successful woman who is obsessed with catching the man who has been attacking her–I mean, who wouldn’t??? The movie opens up on the sound of her rape, except the screen is black before simply showing her cat standing there, observing the horrific crime. When the masked intruder leaves, we expect her to cry, shriek, move out of her home–at least call the police. Michéle does no such thing. She sweeps up the broken glass from the window, changes clothes, and carries on.  If you think that’s the weirdest part, then you are in for a treat. That is just the first five minutes. David Birke’s screenplay, based off …

Movie Review: Hacksaw Ridge

Star rating: 3/4 Director: Mel Gibson Writer: Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight Starring: Andrew Garfield, Hugo Weaving, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington I don’t know about you, but when I saw that a movie called Hacksaw Ridge was nominated for three Golden Globes, my eyes rolled back into my head. Though being completely unaware of the story, the testosterone-heavy name of Hacksaw Ridge just sounded like a 2 hour 40 minute movie about a bunch of buff dudes fighting each other for no apparent reason. I’m not accustomed to revealing my biases before seeing a movie, but I only do it in this case of being proved so miraculously wrong. This isn’t a dude movie. It’s a religious war drama with an incredibly interesting subject. Though the religiosity is not surprising since it comes from Mel Gibson, a heavily decorated Hollywood film almost always exclude spiritual stories, characters, or themes. I am happy to have been proven wrong. Apparently Hacksaw Ridge is a place in Okinawa, Japan where an important World War II battle took place. One of the …

Movie Review: Fences

Star rating: 3.5/4 Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis Directed by Denzel Washington Written by August Wilson It is not easy to adapt a play. Especially when almost the entire play takes place in one house. Nevertheless, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were brilliant as husband and wife in this cinematic adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by August Wilson. The screenplay, I’m assuming, very similar to the play in that it is very, very wordy. Especially in the beginning of the movie, I felt some of the dialogue could have been cut. Never mind the verbose dialogue, though. That’s about the only complaint I have for this near-perfect film. To start, Denzel Washington was utter perfection. His performance absolutely broke my heart and took me to a new planet. Viola Davis is one of my favorite actresses. She did a fantastic job as Troy’s devoted wife, Rose. I think that Denzel out shined her, however. I am also angry that she is up for all the supporting category awards. She was a leading lady. I think her performance will …

Movie Review: Lion

Star rating: 3/4 Starring: Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman Directed by Garth Davis (Top of the Lake) Written by Luke Davies (Candy, Life) based on the book “A Long Way Home” by Saroo Brierley Lion is the movie to take your mother to see. It’s the movie to take your grandpa to see. Need to take your little cousin out for some quality bonding time? Go see Lion. Some critics have described it as the “feel-good movie of the year” but I prefer calling it “a very good movie that you can actually see with other members of your family.” Good thing I saw it alone, a theater full of 60 year-old couples, who I could hear sobbing behind me during the movie. Not a Manchester-by-the-Sea-level of sobbing, but tears of happiness. Lion has a heartwarming ending. If you are like me, then you have no idea what Lion is about. You saw it was nominated for some Golden Globes, but what does that even mean? I’m going to do you a favor and …