Review – Ben Is Back

Ben Is Back, written and directed by Peter Hedges, has at its core a meaningful and powerfully explored set of central characters. Much of the first half of this film brilliantly follows a group of characters who are written and acted in a way that has them feeling authentic and raw in who they are. I found myself completely sucked in by their dysfunctional family, that from the outside seems to be coping but from the inside is barely holding on. I only wish the film had continued with it throughout, rather than straying off into a primarily plot driven experience where the meaning and the emotion seemed to take a back seat. So, let’s explore all that this film has to offer and see if its latter half does an amount of damage that makes it not worth watching. Onto the review. Read more

Review – Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel, co-written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck is a pretty unremarkable experience. It doesn’t really do anything that’s particularly memorable. The character of Carol Danvers is barely developed and I’m at a loss to find a reason to care about her or be excited about her inclusion in Avengers: Endgame. With Captain Marvel, it’s just a pretty bland, by the numbers Marvel movie that sure… made me laugh a couple of times and there were elements to its plot structure that I liked, but for the most part it’s a fairly forgettable film that I’m struggling to find the enthusiasm to write about. Anyway, let’s dive into the particulars of the movie and see why it didn’t really capture my excitement. Read more

Review – Fighting with My Family

Fighting with My Family, written and directed by Stephen Merchant, is brimming with a level of charm and sincerity, that despite its formulaic structure, does a significant amount to turn a possibly bland film into something that leaves a mark on your heart and memories of enjoyment in your mind. Let’s explore all that, Fighting with My Family has to offer in my review and see if its failings are enough to warrant passing on the film or if it’s one worth checking out. Read more

Review – Eighth Grade

Eighth Grade, written and directed by Bo Burnham, is perhaps one of the most realistic, genuine and moving explorations if what it is REALLY like to be a shy, introverted teenager who’s trying to find their place and who they are as a person in the big, unfair, scary world of not only reality, but social media. I related and connected to this film in so many ways, and I also was given a glimpse into what life is actually like for so many young teenage girls today. I’m so excited to talk about and explore not only this fantastic film, but also the brilliance of Bo Burnham, so let’s get on with it. Read more

Review – Capernaum

Capernaum, co-written and directed by Nadine Labaki, is something truly special! It’s more than just a film, it’s an experience unlike anything I can remember having. It’s one of the most emotionally overwhelming films I’ve had the pleasure to sit through. I don’t know if I can properly put into words how this film made me feel and how even at this very moment when writing the review, it’s causing me to well up. Join me, as I try to make it through this review without becoming a complete blubbering mess and hopefully explore in a semi-compotent way the magically turbulent journey of Capernaum. Read more

Review – Boy Erased

Boy ErasedBoy Erased, written for the screen and directed by Joel Edgerton, is a challenging and emotionally turbulent story that had me totally attentive from the beginning and throughout. There are some structural issues and some pacing issues that make Boy Erased not seem as effective as it could have been, but those were issues for me because I was so invested in the film and simply wanted more of it. So, let’s see if the issues that effect the film do an amount of harm that causes it to be a film you should pass on, or if there’s still something potent enough to warrant you making the trip to the cinema to see it. Read more

The 2019 Oscars: Best Picture Nominations – Watched, Reviewed and Ranked

So this without a doubt has to be one of the most embarrassing selection of best picture nominations I’ve seen in quite some time. When I look back at the piece I did last year on the 2018 nominations for the Oscars (click this link to check that out), I wish for a list as strong and full of such incredible films as that. I vividly remember struggling to rank those films, as almost all of them were full of something that was genuinely special; I struggled too not give them all the top spot for one reason or another.

However, this year, I find myself struggling to decide which one of these films is worse. Don’t get me wrong, a number of these films are good – and one in particular holds within it the same special magic that many of last year’s nominations had – but that’s the problem, most of them are only good films, while some actually outstanding films seems to have been ignored completely (‘First Man’ or ‘You Were Never Really Here’, for example). Minus a few of them, there’s nothing on this list that stands out to me as a film I remember having a significant impact on me. For most of these films, when I was writing the review for them, I remember how underwhelmed or how forgettably fine I was with them. To look at this list and see some of the films that are now being given a significant spotlight to shine makes me… sad.

Anyway, enough with my frustrated ramblings. Let’s get on with the ranking and find out where each film falls on the list. Read more

Review – Velvet Buzzsaw

Velvet Buzzsaw, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, felt more like a schlocky TV drama, rather than a delectably vicious dissection of some of the unbearable people who inhabit the art world. Filled to the brim with unlikable characters and a plot that feels pulled out of a ‘Goosebumps’ book, this film almost immediately had me switching off and wishing I hadn’t once again given a Netflix original another shot. It seems like Gilroy’s unavoidably exciting and unnerving feature debut, ‘Nightcrawler’, might have just been a successful flook, because if Velvet Buzzsaw is anything to go off of, then there’s very little excitement left in me for his future work. So, let’s make our way into the review and see what it is that makes this another Netflix exclusive film that isn’t worth clicking on. Read more

Review – If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Cold Talk, adapted for the screen and directed by Barry Jenkins, is a film that at times was overwhelmingly beautiful and captured my every ounce of care and attention. But it was also a film that felt bogged down by a plot that I hoped would pay off, but ultimately felt weak and pointless. There’s much to be said about Jenkins and his new film, so let’s not waste any more time with this intro, and instead get into all there is to write and talk about. Read more

Review – The Mule

The Mule, directed by Clint Eastwood, is an awkward, confusing experience that somewhere beyond the uncomfortable scenes and odd directorial decisions in a somewhat charming little film that I think I enjoyed. Genuinely, I am going to struggle with this review, because even at this very moment, having had a decent amount of time to try to evaluate what exactly I sat through, I’m still conflicted and confused as to what The Mule was supposed to be and some of the decisions that made it into the film. So, join me on this journey, as I try to figure out what it was, I watched and if it was any good. Read more

Review – Roma

Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a delicately personal, astounding beautiful piece of cinema that I now think stands as the directors most wonderful work to grace the screen. I’ll admit, I’m a little intimidated by this review. Roma is a beautiful film that I just don’t think I have the ability to properly explore and talk about. I’m certainly excited to have the chance to think more about this film and get lost in all that Cuarón achieves… I just hope I can do it justice. Here we go. Read more

Review – Green Book

Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly, is exactly what I thought it would be; a safe, comfortable, crowd pleasing film that fails to meaningfully explore the lofty themes at its disposal. It relies on jokes and plot points that go nowhere and ultimately tries to wrap everything in a neat, comfortable bow that has you leaving the cinema without a worry or a care. Green Book is in no way a bad film; I found it quite enjoyable and I was fully endeared to the relationship between the film’s two lead characters… but I was just hoping for so much more. This will be an interesting and challenging review to work through, but I’m looking forward to doing it. So, let’s make our way into the review and see just how Green Book shapes up. Read more

Review – Destroyer

Destroyer, directed by Karyn Kusama, isn’t able to salvage what it a dower, cliché revenge drama, despite having two scenes near the very end of the film that do a lot of work to try and evolve the film into something more than what it primarily is. To be honest, my enthusiasm for this review is low, as when it comes to Destroyer, there’s very little to talk about that doesn’t feel like me rehashing things I’ve said about plenty of other films that are exactly like this one. Anyway, let’s drop ourselves down into the review and see what to make of Destroyer. Read more

Review – Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Can You Ever Forgive Me, directed by Marielle Heller, with its morose, nihilistic view, there’s a wit and a charm… and even the tiniest little hint of heart, offers an experience that speaks to you and in its own unique way, endears you to its characters. So, let’s explore all of those qualities and more in my review and see if this is a film you might want to see. Read more

Review – Glass

Glass, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, might possibly be the filmmakers best work to date (with Unbreakable or Signs being its primary competition). With a meaningful focus on characters, a competency with the camera that hasn’t always been there, and a noticeable cinematic growth by Shyamalan; Glass ends up being one of the most compelling films and experience from a director who has often struggled to deliver on the vision he seems to have in his head. For the first time in a very long time, I’m excited to be talking about and reviewing an M. Night Shyamalan film, so let’s get to it. Read more

Review – Mary Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots, directed by Josie Rourke is a film that feels as if it’s constantly going around in circles; never achieving anything impactful, never feeling like a film that’s finding a purpose or drive that results in something meaningful. Sadly, there’s not much I was ever able to find compelling about this film… but maybe there’s something in it that makes it worth seeing; maybe there’s something that makes it worth seeing. So, let’s get into the review and see if there’s anything that makes it worthwhile. Read more

Review – Vice

Vice, written and directed by Adam McKay, is a film that always felt on the verge of ascending into something truly incredible; something that completely captivated you – and that’s all because of the film’s primary focus (Dick Cheney and the tornado of people around him) and the actors that perfectly embody some of history’s most defining politicians. But… there is one massive and obtrusive obstacle in the way of this really good film from being something truly great, and that is Adam McKay’s ‘shock and awe’ style directing, and frankly… his ego. So, the question is: does this film’s incredibly rich characters and its monumentally important story break through all the nonsense of Adam McKay’s writing and directing and deliver something worth seeing? Well, let’s figure that out together in this review, shall we? Read more

Review – Stan & Ollie

Stan & Ollie, directed by Jon S. Baird, is a pleasantly endearing film. It makes you smile, it draws you into a bond and a friendship that is sweet and funny. It all makes for an experience I sat through and… happily enjoyed. But… with Stan & Ollie, I always got the sense that it was struggling to find a driving force that was overly compelling. While I liked my time with the film, it was never one that fully grasped my attention; I drifted from it a few times. My time spent with Stan & Ollie was mixed, and much like it, my path through this review will also be mixed. So, let’s get on with the review and see if those mixed opinions add up to a film worth seeing. Read more

Review – The Favourite

The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, was a delightfully self-indulgent film that I gleefully grinned throughout its bitingly clever dialogue and its incredibly nuanced characters. Watching as the film’s three main characters battled one another in the most deceptively sinister ways was something that… to put it bluntly: I gorged myself on every dark, comedically brilliant moment of. And now, I’m very excited to dive deep into all it has to offer. So, let’s stop with all the adjectives (in this intro, there’s about to be a whole lot of adjectives thrown your way throughout this review) and get on with things. Read more

Review – Aquaman

Aquaman, directed by James Wan, in all its flashy camera moves, vibrant landscapes and somewhat entertaining action, is a big, dumb, empty film that I found myself inevitably checking out of and forever having to mentally try to keep up with an experience that genuinely seemed confused by what it wanted to be. With this review, I’m going to try to not be totally negative, but I must stress that Aquaman doesn’t make that an easy thing to do. Read more