System Crasher : Review

System Crasher 2019
★★★★½ Watched 12 Jul, 2020

System Crasher is a very sad movie. It is a film full of love and pain and about an institution that fails a flawed but beautiful child time and time again. My heart really broke for the kid. The way the film shows the failures of those who truly believe in her and support her really made me feel the greatest pain. When you do everything you can and throw all the love you can possibly afford towards a cause and still end up failing and disappointing them must hurt like hell. I don’t envy any person working in the child welfare system and hope this film allows others some sympathy for the institution and those involved. I highly recommend this film!

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Short Reviews on Films I’ve Watched Recently

As many of us have been stuck inside during this global pandemic, we have had a lot of time to enjoy some of our more introvert hobbies; One of mine being watching television shows and movies in my spare time. It feels like it has been ages since the last time I was able to experience a film in its fully intended format on the big silver screen. However my love for my hobby hasn’t died down in the slightest. I’ve watched many films since the last time I hit a legit cinema but I’d thought I share some of my thoughts on a small selection of these films I’ve experienced during this quarantine life we have found ourselves in.

Well without further ado here are my short and sweet thoughts:

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The Wolf House 2018
★★★ Watched 08 Jul, 2020

Artistically brilliant but lacking focus.

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I’m No Longer Here 2019
★★★★★ Watched 05 Jul, 2020

I loved this film. Equally a powerful tale of poverty/violence and an examination of what it means to be home.

Ya no estoy aqui (I'm no longer here) (en) | Cinelatino

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Almost Friends 2016
★★★★½ Added 03 Jul, 2020

This is straight garbage romcom with a real generic formula but shit was entertaining to watch, so whatever and that’s how imma rate it. One thing I noticed is that the side plots were distracting/uninteresting. This was a good popcorn flick to watch with a group of friends, significant other, or by yourself if you have some time to burn. If you/they don’t like Freddie Highmore though you might want to pass.

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The Vast of Night 2019
★★½ Watched 01 Jul, 2020

The beginning of this film has some fantastic world building but it sputters out for me at about the halfway mark.

The Vast of Night movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert

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Ingrid Goes West 2017
★★½ Watched 29 Jun, 2020

More comedy than drama which is a huge loss in my opinion.

Review: 'Ingrid Goes West,' and Social Media Is Her Road Map - The ...

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Waves 2019
★★★★★ Watched 16 Jun, 2020

Waves tells it’s story fully and without feeling drawn out. The film tells an expansive story of the lives touched by tragedy and the ripples that permeate their lives. I wish it lasted longer…

Waves (2019) by Trey Edward Shults

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Portrait of a Lady on Fire 2019
★★★★★ Watched 07 Jun, 2020

I was truly wowed by this film. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a remarkable tale of a fleeting but profound love, highlighted by amazing performances, beautiful costume design, and best in class cinematography.

portrait-of-a-lady-on-fire-trailer

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Millennium Mambo 2001
★ Watched 31 May, 2020

Art house bore. Beautifully shot but horrendous story and lifeless main character.

How Millennium Mambo set the blueprint for Moonlight

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The Hunt 2020
★★★★ Watched 21 Mar, 2020

This movie was pretty fun watching with the family.

Recension: The hunt (Film) | SvD

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The Invisible Man 2020
★★★½ Watched 29 Feb, 2020

Solid popcorn thriller film with solid production and an above average score. This film will be very popular. Go head out with your friends/dates for a very enjoyable theater experience.(Edit: These thoughts were before everything in the country was shut down)

The Invisible Man Scares Up $9.8 Million at Friday Box Office ...

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The Lodge 2019
★★★★★ Watched 22 Feb, 2020

I think this just became my favorite horror movie all time. The film is unsettling as hell and beautifully shot. The entire audience at the screening I attended were morbidly quiet and freaked out from this film. Can’t recommend enough!

The Lodge (2019)

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Jojo Rabbit 2019
★★★★★ Watched 22 Feb, 2020

Loved the uniqueness, simple but effective plot, and humor.

Jojo Rabbit' review: Taika Waititi goofs on Hitler in fab WWII satire

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Marriage Story 2019
★★★★★ Watched 08 Feb, 2020

Adam Driver is phenomenal here. He is a definite runner up for best actor if he doesn’t straight up steal it as the underdog. I abso-freaking-lutely loved this film. Perfectly illuminating the unfairness and brutal honesty of what divorce/separation does to a couple. And don’t let me start on the amazing home evaluation scene. This film is a damn near masterpiece. Please watch it! It’s on Netflix for Christ’s sake. You don’t have an excuse letterbox family.

What's Missing from the Brilliant “Marriage Story” | The New Yorker

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Terminator: Dark Fate 2019
★½ Watched 01 Feb, 2020

Legion flashbacks were interesting at least.

Biggest Unanswered Questions In Terminator: Dark Fate | Movier

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The Lighthouse 2019
★★★★½ Watched 29 Jan, 2020

Dafoe really shines here. I could listen to him berate someone all day.

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American Factory 2019
★★★★½ Watched 20 Jan, 2020

An eye opening look into globalization , American values, and efficiency. American factory is thoroughly entertaining and an equally depressing depiction of the direction the world is going.

American Factory' a tale of two blue collars: US and Chinese | 48 ...

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1917 : Review

I’ve always loved war movies even though they have been far and few between recently. Upon witnessing teasers of the film 1917, I put a great amount amount of restraint on myself and deliberately held back my excitement for the upcoming movie. All I knew for sure was that I desired to see this film in the biggest screen possible with the highest quality sound that I could find.

I’m certain that the film’s critics will confine the impact of this film into a small box. A box that says this film is simply spectacle and nothing else but after seeing what it had to offer I’d have to strongly argue against this. A strong parallel for this film would obviously be Nolan’s Dunkirk. That film housed solid performances similar to George McKay’s in 1917 but where 1917 really shines is its ability to create sympathy.

The lack of characterization for both of these films is present but felt much more so with Dunkirk. While Dunkirk somewhat frustrated me with its indistinguishable characters Roger Deakins and Sam Mendes overcomes these shortcomings with their direction and work.

Sam Mendes has gone on to say he wanted to convey a story that anyone could relate to despite their previous knowledge. This is a war film that puts its focus on the war itself and in turn successfully emphasizes the futility and horror of war. The film’s single shot approach adds an extra layer of immersion that allows you to engross yourself into the era and feel the harrowing consequences and effects of armed conflict first hand.

I would be disingenuous if I said this film didn’t lean heavily into its technical and awe-inspiring cinematography. I don’t reckon Deakins had a single bad shot in this entire film. Yet, I think he does it effectively and it gives us a film that is a blast to watch.

While I personally don’t believe that this film will have a broad appeal beyond war movie buffs it did something that Nolan’s Dunkirk failed to do for me. It kept me truly engaged. 1917 is truly stirring artistry and conveys Deakins prowess and Sam Mendes deft hand. These two are true leaders in their respective fields. This film soars beyond it’s simple plot and premise and lands into something surprisingly great.

Review: Do yourself a service and watch this while it still rolls in theaters.

 

 

Threads (1984) : Review

I’ve heard rumblings of this film through the most bizarre of places. I was in search of a horror film and came across an off-hand comment that swore by the statement that Threads was and continues to be, in his memory the scariest movie he had ever scene.

After a little research I discovered an avid fan-base for the movie with similar thoughts regarding the nuclear holocaust drama. Threads is a film that depicts the immediate aftermath and continuing effects that a nuclear war would have on city.

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I jumped into the film with a little hesitation. How could a film with these topics be considered essentially horror. The film portrays a world in political turmoil and on the brink of catastrophe. It takes an up close and personal look at a small group of people as they experience nuclear annihilation. The film displays a step by step thorough  documentary style and disturbing breakdown of the events with incredible effect.

Threads is a relentless depiction of societal breakdown. I found it particularly potent how the film illustrated the futility of keeping order in a world of destruction and chaos. One arc in the film follows a group of public servants responsible for administering aid and support during and after the event. You can almost taste the fear as they experience the same sense of dread as those outside their fortified bunker. Then as the audience you you have to witness the same ones responsible for allowing the world to continue to move forward meet their slow and painful deaths.

I can only fathom the way kids growing up during the cold war may have felt experiencing a film such as this. As the doomsday clock ticks closer and closer to the brink of annihilation, a drama style documentary releases, preying on everyone’s current fears. The imagery of the film is shocking but ultimately forces you to examine what an event of this magnitude would actually entail. One scene in the film is particularly striking as the bombs begin to fall and all hell breaks loose. A character in the film stares up at the looming mushroom cloud and says in the most defeated and fearful way, “Jesus Christ, they’ve done it.”

After the end of the film, I thought deeply of what I would do in a world like this. I thought of how unprepared personally and as as people we are for something like this. Where would I go? Where would I meet my loved ones?  How could anyone survive in a world where every scrap of food is the difference between life and death. How does a government decide who should live or die with massive food shortages? The tag line for the film is “The closest you’ll ever want to come to nuclear war”. This sentence is pretty much a spot on endorsement. What defines a “scary” film? Threads is a film that gnaws at our inner fears and exposes the ever-present depravity of human nature. If this realistic living nightmare brought to the screen isn’t horror, I don’t know what is.

Review: Threads is a profound film that shouldn’t be missed.

 

 

John Wick 3: Parabellum: Review

John Wick returns for another action packed and fun sequel. The gun-fu series now sees John Wick on the outs from his previous masters. The film hosts some very beautiful aesthetics as we see John evading harm on the gritty streets of New York. The fight scenes and shootouts are still a blast to watch. Well choreographed and filmed martial arts is hard to come by and continues to be a front and center staple for this entry. John Wick’s mastery of close quarters combat is a delight to watch and I don’t see myself ever growing tired of. New notable characters played by Halle Berry and the Asia Kate Dillon (Billions) are a welcome addition.

Yet one of my favorite entries had to be from the introduction of a tag team duo of killer dogs being commanded by Sofia(Berry). Bringing into the fold a genre I didn’t even think was possible– Dog-fu? The series itself seems to have begun developing an ever expanding lore of its own. The John Wick series never seems to rest on it laurels. A growing number of antagonists and allies continue to give myself and audiences a reason to cheer. With the impressive ability to make me root for foes just as easily as friends; John Wick still has a lot of gas in its tanks.

9/10 – Good old fun.

Fallen Angels(1995): Review

Just when I’d gotten somewhat bored with movies , a deep dive into my backlog of forgotten films brought me across Fallen Angels. Fallen Angels is movie that has to be seen to understand its magic. The story runs the gambit from a coming of age tale all the way to a burnt out hit-man looking to get out. One of the most surprisingly impactful thread is in the romantic elements of this film. Pessimism and cynicism somewhat pervade all throughout the story and these characters as we follow them in the film. This sense of dread seemingly even bleeds visually into almost every frame. The relationships contained in the film are as broken as they come but through them we also get hope and genuine optimism that really ties it all together.

You wouldn’t think you would get such touching moments from the characters in the film. One such character in the film is a complete mute who hijacks businesses at night while they are closed and physically forces pedestrians to pay him. Another is an assassin who is torn and divided on the idea of real human companionship. These two main actors are accompanied by a truly authentic couple of convincing and polar opposite supporting actresses that compliment the cast greatly. However the real standout is Takeshi Kaneshiro who plays the role of the mute He Zhiwu. A pure performance piece for him as he never utters a line of dialogue. The overall arching narrative in Fallen Angels never stretches itself too thin and leads to a fantastic climax and very satisfying wrap up resolution. Character arcs don’t lead to complete transformations or existential epiphanies . Instead we get a more developed and subtle character progression but it is more potent. In all the chaos of their lives it is the smaller human things that spoke the most to me in this film, such as He Zhiwu’s relationship to his father.

Fallen Angels is a hyper stylized film that is truly a visual feast. Scene by scene we are dazzled and treated to masterclass cinematography through some of the best camera work I’ve seen in a very long time. On a technical perspective I don’t think any Asian film has ever impressed me as much as this. I’m unsure what element of the cinematography impressed me the most. Was it the unorthodox angles, film distortion, or bombardment of color frame by frame? It could have also been the downright nostalgic and superior look of non digital film in the 90s with all it’s “flaws”. I’ll be sure to take a look at Christopher Doyles other works.

Fallen AngelsImage result for fallen angels 1995

Image result for fallen angels 1995

I can’t recommend this film more for movie buffs out there. Fallen Angels has an effective musical score, unforgettable visuals, and truly authentic ensemble of convincing and supporting actors.

Although my romantic relationship with cinema can even lead me to becoming altogether estranged from the medium once in awhile, all it takes is that one special film to show me that i’m always In The Mood For Love. This is that film. Go watch it folks.

Self/Less: Review

Self/Less is a film which reminds you constantly not to suspend belief. The plot in Self/Less isn’t bad in itself but paired with bad writing/dialogue and a flat performance from Ryan Reynolds it pushes the film from being a promising B-  film to a soulless cash in on tried formulas. An over reliance on action movie tropes ,such as exaggerated military training capabilities, makes Self/Less fall into the category of outright silliness at times.

Characters behave and react to events in illogical and absurd manners. We are treated with a relatively disappointing and weakly written female supporting roles in a post-Mad Max society. A thoroughly unscientific plot attempts to prove that it is grounded but falls painstakingly short and expounds the gullible nature of Ryan’s on-screen “wife” even further. What could have been embraced as a distant undiscovered possibility is squandered by unconvincing narrative.

This movie had an intriguing premise which would be better suited to relish in its obscurity. It focuses on tried and overused devices in Hollywood filmmaking. With a lack of rational characters and motives, Self/Less fumbles while searching for it’s identity. While there is an obvious protagonist and antagonist, there really shouldn’t be. The audience is essentially forced into an opinion which would be fine if there was some sort of reasonable payoff.

We are given a glimpse about a debate on who is really right and wrong but ultimately do not care due to lack of execution. Self/Less isn’t a terrible movie but it certainly isn’t one that treats its audience as though they are remotely intelligent.

Verdict: 4/10 (Skip)

 

Dark Editorial: Jurassic World | Review

With all the mayhem and death that was going on in this film, they failed to show any on-screen kids getting eaten or hurt by dinosaurs. They showed plenty of adults getting eaten alive, though. The best they could show on-screen was the aftermath of kids with scratches getting treated. I suppose this can’t be helped. Our world has extremely weird taboos and standards. Being that violence and murder is fine but when it comes to anything sexual with nudity, then it’s too much for television/movies.

Another thing that I found amusing was Hoskins, head of InGen security, trying to persuade people to use the dinosaurs for military use. None of his arguments brought up our current use of canines overseas and how this would just be the evolution of military uses of animals. I guess that would be too real for audience and would make them feel guilty. People would like to forget that that there are actual animals dying in wars who are trained to sniff out IEDs. They had to paint this guy as a bad guy, so you can’t really blame them.

In the end, this movie was a good popcorn movie. If you are looking for a fun movie to watch, you won’t be disappointed.

Gone Girl: Review

“Did you kill your wife?” This is the slogan for the movie and the most important question asked in this film, but all is not what it seems in this mysterious drama. Ignoring misogynistic claims from the community, which are actually  sort of legitimate, I’m going to just focus on whether this film is good or bad. Gone Girl is a thriller that absorbs you in its story. The adaptation from the best selling novel from Gillian Flynn, translates relatively nice onto the big screen.

Thanks to the great directing from David Fincher and the source material. Major plot devices and elements aren’t sprung on you at the last possible moment for shock purposes. Rosamund Pike’s performance as the alleged killer’s wife Amy will certainly be receiving some nods come awards time. Ben Affleck portrayed the alleged killer’s role with a level of charisma and skill that is really great to watch. His performance up to and including the trial is really a a strong and pleasant reminder of what we could possibly be receiving when he masks himself as the caped crusader.

Gone Girl is  considerably dark; a theme and mood that Fincher is becoming synonymous with. Fincher flourishes in this adaptation of this mysterious and gloomy story. He somehow manages to invoke sympathy from multiple angles in this story, a difficult task considering this particular narrative. There are limitations to what can be done with adaptations, such as these. I couldn’t really comment on the faithfulness of the film to the source material but I was left wanting more at the conclusion of the movie.  We are given a fantastic build up and a relatively anticlimactic ending. This I must reiterate has no impact or takes away from the overall film in any way.

I was left satisfied and was thoroughly engrossed throughout. Affleck is truly on a great streak right now. We can only hope that his involvement in the Batman film does not force him out of roles like this. This might be on the last films we see before we can only see him as the Bat. I highly recommend going out to the theater and seeing this or pick it up on Blu-ray!

Fish Tank(2009): Review

In an ocean of independent films about troubled teenagers, Fish Tank truly sets itself apart from the pack. This a movie that I fell in love with progressively as it went on. Fish tank is a film I’m going to shower with praise because I really just can’t any faults in it.The best word to describe certain aspects of the film Fish Tank is authentic.

I sat there watching certain parts of the film, simply admiring how grounded the world seemed. It felt like I was looking outside of a window in  East London and spectating the lives of these characters.Camera work is phenomenal in this film.  The imagery isn’t the usual pretentious indie affair. There’s actual meaning for what the audience is allowed to see. The way the cinematographer selected what he should focus on was genius and allows for some great symbolism.

The director did a great job with the pacing in Fish Tank. A lot of independent movies end abstractly and almost feel completely detached from the rest of film. Fish Tank starts, progresses, and ends in a satisfying manner. It’s helped even further with fantastic writing.  The characters in Fish Tank are extremely well done. The performance by Katie Jarvis as the character Mia was really gripping.The dialogue was very well thought out for all of the characters. The dialogue almost seemed to give off the vibe that it was improvised for some sections of Mia’s scenes. That statement isn’t a criticism though; it’s just a testament to how absorbed I was in the world that Andrea Arnold had directed and penned.

Fish Tank is a forceful  drama that mesmerizes you by doing everything right. It’s a moving  piece of British cinema that works because its characters are convincing. It boasts a fantastic supporting cast and a real winner with a break out performance and debut from Katie Jarvis. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more work from Andrea Arnold. I recommend this film if you like your heart strings being played on.