Dallas Movie Screening
Dallas Movie Screenings started out as a mailing list on Yahoo Groups to facilitate finding free screening passes in the DFW area. When Yahoo Groups shut down, we are now posting screenings on our Facebook page at http://www..facebook.com/groups/dallasmoviescreenings
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Earlier Reesa's Reviews can also be found at:http://www.moviegeekfeed.com
Logo art by Steve Cruz http://www.mfagallery.com
Website and Group Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, October 29, 2021
After an incident at a mine, young, scrawny Lucas (Jeremy T. Thomas) is left living alone with an unseen beast confined to a room, locked up tight by multiple bolts, in his house. Lucas’s teacher, Julia (Keri Russell), suspects something is wrong after Lucas reads her class a story he wrote (and after she sees the grisly drawings that go with the story). Julia and her brother, Paul (Jesse Plemons), were subjected to abuse by their father as children. Suspecting the worst, she tries to convince Paul, now the sheriff, to aid her in helping Lucas. However, Julia finds that she and the town are caught up in something over their heads.
Director/cowriter Scott Cooper’s “Antlers” delves into dark themes – drugs, abuse, and neglect – that keep it from being breezy B-movie material. Viewers looking for an escapist horror movie need to look somewhere else. There’s no fun to be had here. “Antlers” is bleak and dreary. It’s obvious, things are not going to turn out ok for these characters.
Like many modern horror movies, “Antlers” uses its monster as a metaphor, but the metaphor of “Antlers” isn’t exactly clear. From the themes presented in the movie, it’s obvious that Cooper and company want the viewer to think deeper about what’s unfolding on the screen. What does the mythology of this creature have to say about the characters in the film? Was it attracted to this dying town and its desperate families?
As with multiple other horror movies, the film relies on its characters making dumb choices. For instance, Julia convinces her school’s principal (played by Amy Madigan) to go check on Lucas’s family. She’s already been warned something is wrong, and there is obviously something not right about the house when she gets there, but she still goes inside. It’s an event that caused the entire audience to groan in frustrated annoyance. Nothing good is going to come from this choice. While the sequence is moronic, it does help to propel the narrative forward.
Because of things like the aforementioned scene, Cooper’s film is probably going to be a divisive work. It’s not necessarily a bad movie but its individual elements don’t totally connect in a way that provide a coherent work. If you are able to ignore some of the dumber elements, “Antlers” is a fairly good movie. Those looking for something to analyze will probably be more satisfied than others.
(Review by Bret Oswald)
Friday, October 22, 2021
Chris (Vicky Krieps) and Tony (Tim Roth) are screenwriters who travel to Fårö, the island that served as writer/director Ingmar Bergman’s inspiration, to focus on their work in writer/director Mia Hansen-Løve’s film “Bergman Island.” For the most part, Hasen-Løve’s movie is a straight-forward examination of these two writers, delving into their personal lives and their artistic process, before attempting to trip up the audience with a blurring of fantasy and reality in the second half of the film.
Krieps’s Chris is the main focus. She’s insecure in the shadow of her partner’s success and unsure of her own work and her choices in life. As she tells Tony about her latest screenplay the character of Amy (Mia Wasikowska), the protagonist of her screenplay, is introduced to the audience. Here, we begin to see Chris’s inner workings and history. The Amy character is clearly Chris and Amy’s got issues, suggesting that so does Chris and implying that Chris is using her work as a method of dealing with some inner tension. While this reverie expands, it doesn’t feel altogether necessary, coming across as a way to increase the film’s run time.
One thing that kept bothering me – Chris’s and Tony’s relationship is purposefully kept vague. Yes, they are traveling together, which denotes a certain level of connection, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are 100% devoted. Early in the movie, we learn that they (Chris and Tony) have a child together. Soon after, Chris skips out on a planned outing to tour the island with a man she’s just met in a gift shop. When she meets this man, she refers to Tony as her “friend” providing more confusion to their relationship. How should we as viewers feel about this interaction? Is Chris flirting, does this encounter suggest that she’ll eventually cheat on Tony, maybe they have an open relationship?
There was really nothing I particularly enjoyed about this movie. The photography was pedestrian, lacking in any sort of cinematic style or appeal. This is especially disappointing considering the scenic vistas the crew had available to them. The characters were not interesting, and the later side story that weaves in and out doesn’t add much (as already stated) but confusion. It was a struggle to get invested enough in the story or the characters to care what was happening on screen. In short, “Bergman Island” plods dully along. You won’t miss much by skipping this one.
(Review by Bret Oswald)
Studio: Roadside Attractions
Review: Hard Luck Love Song
Love stories are something people can easily or hardly handle, but sometimes they’re hard to follow while exploring the recapture of the “boy” character who finds, loses, and gets the girl scenario. This film is spiritually inspired from the song “Just Like Old Times,” written by Todd Snider and serves as Justin Corsbie’s directorial debut as he wants to take any musical love song and turn it into a new form of entertainment for both teenagers and adults around the world. Having been directed by Corsbie himself, the film features the duet of Michael Dorman and Sophia Bush.
Hard Luck Love Song follows the story of a young man named Jesse, a charismatic but down-on-his-luck troubadour living out of cheap motels and making bad decisions. His biggest problems arise when Jesse finds himself at an existential crossroads during a chance encounter with Carla, an old flame of his, as their complicated past and current troubles threaten to destroy their blissful relationship and reunion. Actor Michael Dorman (Apple’s For All Mankind) plays the protagonist as Jesse, a charming but hopeless man who enjoys gambling and playing billiards while spending nights at a dirty, cheap motel. Dorman really took his character role into a heist-pursuing adventurer just for the sake of the character development and the film’s plot. He looks like he is required to have some skills of playing billiards but whatever the cases to fit the film’s dynamics, even with the term “luck” for its title, Dorman is just having fun playing games and learns how to play his cards right. Here, we also have actress Sophia Bush (One Tree Hill, Chicago P.D., and Pixar's Incredibles 2) coming up as Carla, his old girlfriend from the past. Despite receiving her small acting cues and screentimes, she’s got some serious emotional acting as if she is here and there to help make things better for Dorman himself in person as a changed man as well as bringing some strong-fierce chemistry with each other, which adds some points to its film’s genre. She not only knows that this film is romantic, but she knows there’s a lot more than just a romantic movie, it’s filled with serious drama, but in the right way thanks to her acting commitment, the director, and Dorman.
The director of the Hard Luck Love Song is Justin Corsbie. This film marks his first time directing this movie but at least he’s living the dream of working in pictures. With the direction, Corsbie follows advice from several romantic films and drama films to craft his own funny-wacky adventure with Dorman and Bush altogether. He makes the chemistry interesting and intense to study on such love-hate loops for the story and their character developments. While the film is admirable, there are some scene cuts and skips on the third story arcs, giving me some confusing viewing senses to see and understand how the scene flows generously. In addition, there are some darken-drunken moments for both Dorman and Bush as the film’s third act of the story did not follow the simple steps of crafting the romantic film, it’s more like a crime-drama film based on my strong eyes and my sense of hearing. But moreover, he really tries his best to offer what is happening to see, putting his heart, mind, and soul to it.
Also appearing in the film are Dermont Mulroney (The Purge, Shameless), Golden Globe winner Eric Roberts (King of the Gypsies, Star 80, Runaway Train), and rapper RZA (Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films). They both portrayed Rollo, Skip, and Louis respectively. Actors Brian Sacca (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Melora Walters (HBO’s Big Love) also appear in the film as well, keeping their character as Officer Zach and Gypsy Sally.
Hard Luck Love Song is ok, lasting only 104 minutes of that lengthy time. While there’s not many colorful elements being shown in the film, Michael Dorman and Sophia Bush are what makes the film simple to enjoy and extremely brightful for my viewing pleasure despite all the bad language and drug addictions being scattered across the film. I think the director has put too much of those drunken reprobates all over Dorman’s central character. However, I enjoyed their gooey chemistry between Dorman and Bush entirely. I wouldn’t say it’s the best movie, but it’s a gamble between what’s good and bad. Hope when you come across this film, you should watch it if you like, but better proceed with caution when you are very nervous about selecting this flick.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Here's an Audio interview with Director Justin Corsbie in person at the Beeman Hotel in Dallas, TX at 4:30PM.
Studio: Amazon Studios/StudioCanal
Review: The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain
To those who are not familiar with who Louis Wain is, he was an English artist known for his drawings of anthropomorphized large-eyed cats and kittens. He, however, was later confined to mental institutions and was alleged to have suffered from schizophrenia. The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain has been showcased as part of the Telluride Film Festival, marking Will Sharpe’s first solo directorial debut after co-directing Black Pond and his British-comedy drama Flowers. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy, Andrea Riseborough, and Toby Jones.
The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is a biography-drama film that depicts the life of an English artist Louis Wain who rose to prominence for his surreal, artistic cat paintings in the late 19th century. English actor Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War) stars in the film as the English artist Louis Wain. His performance is reminiscent of The Imitation Game, released in 2014, as Cumberbatch's performance that really reminded me of his character as Alan Turing (from that said film). In addition, Cumberbatch’s acting performance perhaps is the one thing he can turn both Alan Turing's life and Louis Wain's life around, full of obstacles. He even provides some references from The Imitation Game and 2017’s Loving Vincent on and off, which gives the film some bonus points. His acting is so genuine and vulnerable, especially on the emotional, dramatic, and tragic scenes being shown in the film where the camera is mainly focusing on his face and not his entire body. Claire Foy (The Crown) stands in on Louis Wain’s side as Emily-Caroline Wain, Louis’ wife. Her acting as a supportive character to the titular character seems very nice and very subtle, compared to Cumberbatch’s performance in the film. She really knows how to act in a serious and timely manner, providing some strong chemistry with him on the set. The chemistry and the heartwarming scenes with Claire Foy and Benedict Cumberbatch are very cute together. My main thoughts about this film is that, out of all the leading English actresses who shared the screen time with Cumberbatch, Claire is the one he has the most brilliant chemistry towards.
Just letting the viewers know that this film is completely shot in the 4:3 aspect ratio, which is much too enjoyable to see. With Will Sharpe’s direction, the cinematography is magnificent and the film is visually stunning as the crews take many shots that look like actual paintings. Sometimes, this film feels like it’s a "Wes Anderson film" (or Loving Vincent to that effect) due to the narrative styles, the camera movements, the set designs, and the cinematography. Even Arthur Sharpe’s music adds much perspective on flavoring Wes Anderson's movies for inspiration. While the film and Sharpe’s direction are spontaneous and hilarious to watch, the story falls bland since there are some confusing, yet darker images that became the highlights the healthy buckets of grief, intolerance, PTSD, and mental illness being spilled all over the film, mostly on the second half (though, no CGI is used in the film). This is where we get to see the Louis Wain character being centered on the film's entirety.
Not only the acting cast did a terrific job, the costume design, set design, and hair and makeup styling are very well made throughout the film, which really surprised me into thinking about what struggling-human life can be while living in the 1800s and 1900s, especially at the end when all the characters grew old together in one, colorful drama feature film.
The rest of Wain’s family are portrayed by actresses: Andrea Riseborough (Birdman) as Caroline Wain, Aimee Lou Wood (Netflix’s Sex Education) as Claire Wain, Hayley Squires (I, Daniel Blake) as Marie Wain, Stacy Martin (Nymphomaniac) as Felicie Wain, and Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) as Josephine Wain. The film also features some familiar faces from their MCU films, including Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger) as Louis’ supervisor Sir William, Sophia Di Martino (Loki) as Judith, and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) as Max Kase. And lastly, other actors are present in the film: Adeel Akhtar as Dan Rider, Nick Cave as H.G. Wells, Jamie Demetriou as Richard Caton Woodville Jr., and Olivia Colman (The Favourite, The Father), who becomes the narrator of the film.
Clocking in at almost two hours, The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain is ok, though you need to be careful about this film as this is a bit harder and tougher to watch. Cumberbatch and Foy really outdid themselves and so does the director on choosing to work on this project about someone’s life in such a motivating biopic. However, this string of failures like this bland storytelling, the dark images being installed, and the whimsical-gritty writings prevented me from liking this movie. To be honest, this movie captures the eyes for Oscar or Golden Globe nomination, but let’s see how it turns out.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
The Anticipating Word of the Year: Dune!
Surely, lots of people don’t trust remakes or reboots no matter how good they are, but if you read the book or watched the 1984 version, you find it very difficult to look upon the eyes and minds of director Denis Villeneuve. Here, Villeneuve takes on a huge refreshing take on Frank Herbert's iconic story "Dune". While the 1984 version flopped at the box office, this recent 2021 version is something that had to be watched regardless of the looks, the colors, and the scales. Just letting you viewers know that this film serves as part one, but the question is does this film become a necessary remake? The answer is and remains anonymously unsolvable.
Based on Frank Herbert’s novel, Dune focuses on Paul Atreiedes, the son of the noble family whom they accepted the stewardship at Arrakis, is entrusted to protect the desert planet Arrakis, known as Dune, the only source for the most valuable substance called melange, or “spice,” a priceless drug consumption that extends human life and lifespan.
Academy-Award nominee Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) stars in the film as Paul Atreides, the ducal heir of House Atreides. His acting performance is highly admirable as he always sticks his neck up on screen along with the Dune family of actors, giving them some guidance on how his character and story elements follow through. His ways of acting kind of stands up to his game from being a drama actor to the action-packed-science-fiction actor, which is something lots of dedicated actors are meant to be as a good startup.
Denis Villeneuve, known for directing Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, takes the leadership role as director of the film under the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures banner. With his direction, this definitive version of Dune outshines the classical version dated back in 1984. This includes the prestigious performances from the cast, the writing, and outstanding special effects that look Oscar-worthy for anyone’s artistic opponents. And what is nice and clean is Hans Zimmer's score. His music compositions are well spot on as if he always puts his heart and soul like his previous films, even when he struggles piece by piece, he never gives up on himself and his fans.
While Villeneuve's ambitious production proved to be worthy at first rate, some pacing is a bit tricky to follow as well as small scenes that really threw me off. It's understandable to find that this film is kind of like a prologue like Avengers: Infinity War, given the fact that the ending leaves a little cliffhanger, and never lets up with a sense of urgency, by design lacking fun and smash-hitting action. The main messages of the story being provided by the cast are death, sacrifice, politics, religion, technology, and human emotion, as the setting sections of the empire confront each other in a desperate struggle for Arrakis and its melange (spice). Personal intimate fight and battle scenes are extremely (and highly) effective. This sci-fi atmosphere tops all over the set, but does not surpass the tangy-moody experience and the balancing sci-fi element-making equality compared to his own Blade Runner 2049.
Presently, this massive star-sterling orchestra of high-profile actors are all impressive and have done an outstanding job on their acting parts, including the likes and pros of Rebecca Ferguson (Doctor Sleep), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Josh Brolin (Milk, Avengers: Endgame), Stellan Skarsgård (Chernobyl), Zendaya (Spider-Man: Homecoming), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men). Out of all the casting performances, Jason Momoa, Stellan Skarsgård, and Zendaya really killed it as if they were actually having fun with the cast, the crews, and Timothée Chalamet.
Despite the pacing issues, the somewhat-unmoved storylines on small amounts of scenes, and the film being run for two-and-a-half hours, this version of Dune is worth the watch thanks to the genius loads of visual effects, the messages, Hans Zimmer’s music, the production designing set-ups. and the tremendous performances from the orchestrated ensemble cast. I would easily give my compliments to the director himself, Timothée Chalamet, the cast, Hans Zimmer, and the visual effects crew. Villeneuve really makes a vivid, riveting experience to both weaving fans and audiences out there. You really should watch this, it is a guaranteed must. This film is up in theaters and on HBO Max.
(Review by Henry Pham)
This one is brutal as all get out. “Halloween Kills” is a direct follow-up to John Carpenter’s amazing 1978 tale that essentially updated the serial killer genre for the past forty years.
Carpenter is not involved with anything behind the camera on this go around. With “Halloween Kills, he takes the composer route with son Cody, who contributes with father John.
Instead it is David Gordon Green who got the last subtle turn out of Nicolas Cage with “Joe,” a 2013 release his caregiver tale about an ex-con trying to go the straight and narrow path in his life. He becomes friends with youth Tye Sheridan and strike a strong bond with the young lad.
Jamie Lee Curtis returns as former babysitter and now grandmother Laurie Strode. She thinks she has defeated Michael Myers, the boogeyman of the small town of, subiurban IL.
Also mmaking an appearence as the elder Anthony Michael Hall as youth Tommy Doyle. His character was mentioned in the earlier movies, but now he is all grown up. Remember Hall from his time with the John Hughes directed "Sixteen Candles" (1983) and "The Breakfast Club" (1985).
Also of note is the Michael Myers mask. It is just an old William Shatner mask the prop department and directot John Carpenter picked up at their local drugstoire. Never in a million years did anyone think that such an odd choice would reasonate four decades lkater.
Also worth mentioning is the appearence of the Silver Shamrock masks that made an appearence in the one part of the "Halloween" universe with "Halloween III: Season the Witch." For some unknown reason, a lot of characters in this movie perish with various individuals sporting the mask. I think producer and co creator Jason Blum has the idea that this will be his next foray inmto the franchise with an update of that on his horizon.
(Review by Ricky Miller)
The world that the characters of “Ron’s Gone Wrong,” an animated movie from 20th Century Studios, inhabit is very similar to our own. Like many of us, they are obsessed with social media and obtaining the newest technological device. In this case, the device is a small ovoid-shaped robot called a B-Bot. B-Bot’s are basically like a smart phone except they follow their owners around serving as a “Best Friend Out of the Box.” In other words, social interaction is being replaced by interaction with a machine – sound familiar?
Our protagonist, middle schooler Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer), desires a B-Bot more than anything. All the other kids in school have one, except Barney, leaving him the odd one out. In fact, it appears only children own and interact with these bots, which is strange considering the demographics of the audience where the device is introduced at the beginning of the film. The devices are set-up to record and to know everything about their owner, not to mention the fact that the user has to activate the machine with their handprint.
All are troublesome plot points which leads to one of today’s biggest ethical questions – how much data about each individual do these tech companies need? It’s probably safe to say this is a theme co-directors Sarah Smith, Jean-Philippe Vine, and Octavio Rodriguez are venturing to explore. But, that’s beside the point. While older audience members may find it an interesting plot point, younger viewers, the movie’s target audience, aren’t going to care about ethics. Looking beyond that glaring issue, “Ron’s Gone Wrong” is a fairly cute animated movie about what friendship means.
Barney is a social pariah for not owning a B-Bot. Following some B-Bot related bullying from classmates, his father (Ed Helms) and his grandmother, aka Donka (Olivia Colman), speed to the Bubble store to purchase one. Barney’s family doesn’t have much money, and the store is closed, so dad and grandmother buy a damaged bot off a worker in the alley behind the store.
Enter Barney’s B-Bot, Ron (Zach Galifianakis). Ron does absolutely nothing right. He can’t get Barney’s name correct or connect to the Bubble network, and is missing code. Uh-oh. Of course, Ron causes a whirlwind of problems for Barney, the other students, and the residents of their town, leading them all to learn some valuable life lessons.
I found this to be an enjoyable movie. The humor is mostly aimed at the younger crowd but there are some jokes that should land with an older audience. Pacing is an issue and I can see some growing restless while watching this. Running at 106 minutes, “Ron’s Gone Wrong” could use some trimming. Just when you think the film’s about over, the filmmakers set up another sequence that extends the runtime a bit longer. Still, this is one of the better animated movies to come out recently.
(Review by Bret Oswald)
Review: Cat Daddies
Just letting the audiences know, this film is part of the Dallas International Film Festival this year in 2021. Cat Daddies is a simple documentary that talks about a group of men who want to share their love for cats as they explain about how having a cat has really changed and impacted their lives. This film also focuses on a man named David Giovanni who is currently living on the streets of New York and is determined to stay together with his beloved cat, Lucky. As he is granted a home in the housing facility that accepts cats, the COVID-19 pandemic and his medical diagnosis of a tumor have put him at risk, leaving him uncertain about his future together with Lucky.
This documentary is directed by Mye Hoang who is a filmmaker directing short films and narrative feature films, including Man From Reno, released in 2015. She was also the founder and former director of Asian Film Festival in Dallas, TX and was the former artistic director for the San Diego Asian Film Festival. She is set to co-produced her on the upcoming documentary feature Ashima featuring acclaimed Japanese American rock climber Ashima Shiraishi, which will be released in 2022.
Under Hoang’s direction, she puts her camera-shooting skills into subtle but separate-balancing story structures for several cat lovers in their different occupations. This includes those who are actors, tech workers, truck drivers, firefighters, homeless folks, and others to see how they have changed their lives with cats. With her collaboration with editor Dave Boyle, Hoang herself manages to organize the screentimes for several cat dads on explaining the details and lifestyles, putting her camera-shooting and storytelling professionalism to the rightful direction. Her skills and expertise make me want to experience more by seeing and hearing people’s voices. Hoang even added some COVID-19 settings for an extra boost to their cat-loving experience.
Despite some good cat-living stories being shattered around and with this string of riveting cinematography, this film seems strenuous to look upon that prevented me from liking this movie given the fact that this film has been shot during the pandemic where people have been forced to stay home and not go anywhere. But despite going against the government's warnings about certain risks of going out, the documentary team tediously managed to commit themselves to editing, filming, and finding the right vessel for their scenes regardless of the arduous hard work and laborious dedication they put through.
I know I'm not a cat person, but I say Cat Daddies is a good documentary movie, maybe not as distinguishable as it should be. It clocks in at almost 90 minutes, which is an average time length of a plethora of documentary films. The director and the crew have outdid themselves full of confidence, not incompetence. Despite being a recipient for various film festivals, it is a must, especially for cat lovers out there. Of course, any documentary film or any indie film can be filled with less enthusiasm, but depending on how well you view any films, this documentary film is one of those films you need to consider. Trust me, if you noticed me, I have seen far greater and far worse when it comes to movies. Once the film is up in public, you will get a good, cute “aww” on your face.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Review: Bergman Island
Watching this film is like watching a bachelor show or an island-set reality show on television. Bergman Island is a simple French-drama film that focuses on a married, filmmaking couple who retreat to the Swedish island that was inspired by Ingmar Bergman to write screenplays for their upcoming, newer films. As they explore the island, they soon learn what lies between reality and fiction as they start to blur and discover new and interesting things.
English actors Tim Roth (The Incredible Hulk, Pulp Fiction) and Vicky Krisps (Phantom Thread) both portrayed Tony and Chris, the married couple and collaborating filmmaking duo. They both act well and score magnificent weaving pointers as their chemistry with each other gathers some crafting-filled arcs like any ordinary film that features conflicting or dysfunctional married couples. Of course, playing a hard couple is difficult, but they seem to like they’re getting used to it as this is a drama-romantic film for its themes of reality.
This film is directed by Mia Hansen-Løve who is famous for directing her French-drama film All is Forgiven, which was released in 2007 and won her the Louis Delluc Prize for Best Film in 2007. As director, Hansen-Løve brings the cultural themes in the film: Human relationships and art that become major climaxes of this film. She utilizes most of the single-camera usages to capture the perfect, yet vigorous chemistry of Tony and Chris as well as letting the characters roam to life on Fårö, which is an island in Sweden and the main setting of this film. However, there are some dark and non-colourful beauties that didn’t fit the scenery well of such profound landscapes the actors are trying to adjust emotionally. It’s a simple task focused on balancing the character development of all actors. While trying to avoid any conflicts and issues regarding the emotion and depth, no matter, Hansen-Løve tries her best to make a film as complex, filled with consistency. Hansen-Løve reminded us that not all boys get the girls at the end and call it a “happy ending.” The film’s end is put as it goes.
Actress Mia Wasikowska (Disney’s Alice in Wonderland remake) and actor Anders Danielsen Le also appeared in the second half of the film as the conflicting-character couple Amy and Joseph, whom Chris came up with the idea for the plot of their new film. Their acting together is consistent as they never bump into a hole of perilous journeys nor look at the recipes of disaster.
Bergman Island is okay, it clocks into almost two hours of drama, reality, and with a little seeds of romance blooming in Sweden. Roth, Krisps, Danielsen Le, and Wasikowska are what makes the film pleasant to watch. Although, there isn’t much of the excitement happening going on in the film, all I’m saying is this film is interesting to watch but it is somehow cheesy in any way. However, the film manages to weave together with two storylines, in which they manage to blend all together against the backgrounds of the iconic island landscape.
(Review by Henry Pham)
“Jockey,” the debut feature from director Clint Bentley, is a character study. In other words, it’s a movie that’s not story-driven. Instead, it’s focused on creating a mood and pulling the viewer into the world of horse jockeys, offering up a slice of life point of view as protagonist Jackson Silva (Clifton Collins Jr.) deals with some personal issues.
Bentley drops viewers into the world of Jackson, who has been a jockey for years, currently riding for Ruth Wilkes (Molly Parker). By this point, Jackson’s in the swan song of his career. He’s had multiple injuries, some so bad they’ve left lasting damage to his body. As a result, he is no longer in the best shape for riding. Collins gives a very physical performance, shifting his body (make sure to take a look at his hands) to showcase a man who’s desperately clinging to the life he knows despite warnings from those around him and signs from his own body. His performance is one of the main reasons to view this film.
This story isn’t solely about an aging jockey. A young jockey named Gabriel (Moises Arias) comes into Jackson’s life claiming to be his son. This revelation is first met with incredulity before Jackson begins to grow accustomed to the idea, taking the jockey under his wing and showing him the ropes. Bentley spends the majority of the film’s runtime examining this relationship. It’s used to show Jackson’s mental transformation as he comes to terms with the end of his career. There is also a side story featuring a relationship with Ruth that leads to its own troubles. Secrets can only be kept for so long, especially when Jackson is trying to keep them (his health problems) from his boss (Ruth) who is also a close friend.
The remainder of the cast is made up of first-time actors many of whom are from the world of horse racing. This helps add a sense of authenticity to the film as we see Jackson interact with his co-workers in the racing venue and in help groups that he attends devoted to injured jockeys. The world of “Jockey” is grounded in a harsh reality. Bentley gives “Jockey” a suitably melancholic tone. Everything from its acting to its cinematography works together to establish the mood. The photography contains multiple shots at the “magic hour,” highlighting silhouetted foregrounds with beautifully colored skies for backdrops.
“Jockey” isn’t going to win any awards for originality. It has a been there done that feel to it. We’ve all seen sports movies with similar themes. What makes this movie stand out, and make it worthy of a watch, is the performance from lead actor Clifton Collins Jr.
(Review by Bret Oswald)
Friday, October 8, 2021
The less said about “Lamb” the better. In multiple interpretations of the phrase. Those who will enjoy the film are going to want to know as little as possible before viewing it. As for everyone else, and I expect most people will fall into this camp, “Lamb” is one you’ll want to avoid. Then again, perhaps the more curious will want to Google the movie to discover its more absurd angles.
Director Valdimar Jóhannsson’s film defies genre classification. It’s part drama, part folk tale, and part horror movie. Although, none of those really describe what’s in store for the viewer. Maybe this is really a comedy, of sorts, and the joke is on the audience for viewing it.
So, how do I review this movie without spoiling anything? I don’t think any discussion of the plot (what little there is) would be appropriate. But, to give some background, Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason star as Maria and Ingvar, respectively. They are a young childless couple who run a farm in Iceland. There are a lot of sheep and Ingvar’s brother, Pétur (Björn Hlynur Haraldsson), enters the picture about halfway through. He, at least, vocalizes the audience’s reaction.
The whole affair feels rather pointless. “Lamb” plods along for most of its runtime with nothing to say, unless there is some deeper meaning that just went right over my head. I guess one could argue that there are themes about infertility, infidelity, and animal abuse. Any discussion of themes would be pure conjecture on the part of the viewer because there really isn’t enough to read between the lines. Ideas are presented but not sufficiently explored to be meaningful.
“Lamb” moves at an extremely slow pace, grinding nearly to a halt in the second half. The mood throughout is very foreboding including a lot of scenic shots laid over with deep, heavy breathing, implying that this is all going to build to some dark and twisted end. Well, it does; but if you were expecting a horrific moment that would make this watch worthwhile, prepare to be disappointed because it’s a pretty dumb ending.
The best thing I can say about “Lamb” is that it’s got some terrific photography from cinematographer Eli Arenson. In fact, that would be my sole reason for recommending that anyone see this movie. Arenson captures the foreboding atmosphere perfectly through the gloomy, fog-shrouded landscape. Too bad there is some questionable CGI.
Ultimately, “Lamb” goes nowhere and does nothing. It festers in its own ridiculousness and fails to keep the audience engaged.
(Review by Bret Oswald)
Studio:Breaking Glass Pictures
Review: On the Fringe of Wild
LGBT films have a huge effect on LGBTQ+ audiences. On the Fringe of Wild serves as the directorial debut for diretor Emma Catalfamo as she wants to explore gender roles on how they affect family relationships and dealing with toxic relationships with them. This is something one can fully understand how anyone can go deeper to broaden their horizons. This film features the main cast of Harrison Browne, Cameron Stewart, and Mikael Melo.
On the Fringe of Wild takes place somewhere around 2000s in the "Romeo and Juliet" type romance between two teenage boys, set in a small-rural Ontario town, where love does not win, but the surviving players grow to learn and to accept themselves as members of the LGBTQ+ society.
Actor Harrison Browne portrays Peter, a teenager who’s an artist on drawing wildlife and animals while Cameron Stewart, another teenager who ran away from his toxic, abusive relationship with his father. Mikael Melo, on the other hand, stands on their way as Miles, the teenage bully who torments Peter and Jack.
Under Emma Catalfamo’s direction, On the Fringe of Wild somehow felt like it’s a suspense-thriller film with a side of buddy-comedy antics being installed to the addition. The director is really scoping the tropes on the main three actors experiencing harsh, dysfunctional realities on their families. Even with the suspense music coming from Lora Bidner and the cringeworthy script-writing from Sorelle Doucet, this film and her direction meet the criteria of being a teenage-thriller flick anyone has ever seen. Though what’s criticizable is the supportive characters that do not show any character development but discover shocking revelations reserved for the main characters.
On the Fringe of Wild do shine some moments thanks to the main trio’s performances and the camera moving pieces in that order, taking advantage of different environments, but mainly, the white rabbit shown in the film steals the show as the rabbit deeply serves as a direct message of love, life, and worth of living. It’s a powerful story where one can express love and good taste when it comes to building the blocks of human relationships based on gender and their social paths of community. Also, let this be a warning that this movie is tough to watch as this contains darker images that may frighten young teenagers.
Also appearing are Andrew Bee, Bernadette Medhurst, Audrey Nesbitt, and Adam Jenner. They played as Peter’s father, Beccy, Diane, and Harry. And lastly, Andrea Pavlovic plays the role of Miles’ girlfriend Candace.
Over the top, On the Fringe of Wild is ok to watch, but I will caution you when you choose this film as this contains frightening and darker images. Still, I say this is a bold move to learn something new everyday with a unique twist along the way. This film taught me a powerful lesson about social acceptances. The director and the main cast outdid themselves. I really want to like this film, but unfortunately, nothing too colorful is presented in the film which prevents me from giving this film a higher grade. The film will be released on October 12th on Apple TV, Amazon, and other streaming services.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Studio:Eon Productions/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Attention James Bond fans, there is No Time To Die on Daniel Craig’s final-epic Bond outing.
After multiple theatrical delays due to COVID-19, No Time To Die has finally been released in general public, marking this the 25th James Bond feature film in the franchise. It was one of first films that have largely been affected by this increasingly-massive COVID pandemic, which caused the Hollywood movie industries to push the films’ theatrical release dates back or have them released on their separate streaming services at home. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga is onboard, grabbing the steering wheel as director of this latest James Bond installment, with Craig reprising his role as James Bond.
The story of No Time To Die centers on the British MI6 secret agent James Bond who has recently retired from active service. However, his retirement is short-lived when a pair of CIA agents, Felix Leiter and Logan Ash, ask Bond for help to rescue the kidnapped scientist, forcing him to hit the road again onto the high seas of danger to face the mysterious villain named Lyutsifer Safin, armed with a new dangerous technology.
Daniel Craig reprises his role as James Bond in this film, marking his final James Bond role to date after playing the role for fifteen years since his first onscreen appearance in Casino Royale. As an actor, Craig really killed it in his bestie role, giving the film some proper boost on the character development and showing how vulnerable his acting profession as a secret agent can be compared to his previous James Bond films he tackled. Even with a lot of action, the exercises, and his desperate attempts to act perfectly on camera without messing about, Daniel Craig did such an awesome [and emotional] job playing his part as the greatest James Bond ever, trailing next to Sean Connery. He certainly knows the drill of portraying a character in such a spy-drama (or a spy-comedy) film like this and he never fails to screw things up. Aside from Craig doing all the work, actors Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Colour) steal the show as the film’s main villain Lyutsifer Safina and the Bond girl Madeleine respectively.
Newer cast is here on the set, we have Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel) as newcomer Nomi, Billy Magnussen (HBO Max’s Made For Love) as CIA agent Logan Ash, Ana de Armas (Knives Out) as Paloma, David Dencik (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) as the disappearing-scientist Valdo Obruchuv, and Lisa-Dorah Sonnet as Mathilde who later reveals be James Bond and Madeleine's daughter.
The director of this latest James Bond film is Cary Joji Fukunaga. His startup as a filmmaker includes 2011’s film Jane Eyre, based on the book written by Charlotte Bronte, as director and the first season of HBO’s True Detective as director and executive producer. He recently directed his critically-acclaimed war-drama film Beasts of No Nation and was a writer for 2017 film It. Under his direction of this film, the story starts off nicely before reaching the anticipation for the inevitable when the James Bond character is recruited for one last mission, which is very hard to follow. The film largely uses heavy IMAX cameras in many scenes since the filmmakers want this film to be as realistic as ever, much like other sequels like Marvel Cinematic Universe and the recent Star Wars trilogy.
While most of the scenes have been shot beautifully, some thrilling aspects and some onscreen chemistry between Craig and Ana de Armas need work. My wish is for Armas to get more screen time as this would add more bonus points on the film’s spectacle, but sadly, her acting gig is cut short. The hard not-so-fast pacing is okay, but it’s somewhat overkill, and as mentioned before, there are some greater, fun-filled moments that need work additionally, cutting most of the good stuff out due to time-consuming constraints. However, what is so best about this film is Hans Zimmer’s score composition, which is very bombastic and intense with a side of melodic measures displayed throughout the film. It seems that when it comes to scoring, Zimmer never seems to disappoint his fans and himself on crafting such high-altitude music-writing skills.
All of the cast is well acted from newer casts and so does the returning cast from the previous James Bond films whom they also made their appearance in this film. The returning cast includes Ben Whishaw as Q, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Jeffery Wright as Felix Leiter, Christoph Waltz as James Bond’s nemesis Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Rory Kinnear as Bill Tanner, and Ralph Fiennes as M, the head of MI6.
Well James Bond fans, this is it! No Time To Die is a good movie, but not as great as I thought it would be, it’s a total epic conclusion for Craig’s James Bond performance. But no matter despite some flaws, Daniel Craig manages to do well and is emotional on his part. I’m feeling a bit sad and sorry for Craig to leave the role, but I’m looking forward to seeing what more Daniel Craig has to offer in the future. The film is nearly three hours long, but with time and commitment on filming his final Bond movie thanks to the massive filming and acting team, this film certainly gives and ends with a final farewell to Craig himself. Until then, if Craig chooses to return, he is more welcome to come back as James Bond. So, with that, you should come and see his final James Bond adventure in theaters.
(Review by Henry Pham)
Studio:Blue Door Films/Wow Films
Pieces of Us picks up the slack for the LGBTQ+ community.
Part of the Dallas Videofest 2021 as a worldwide premiere, Pieces of Us is a documentary tale that takes the audiences through the cosmic journeys of LGBTQ+ hate survivors who share their inspirational stories and interviews throughout the film. These interviews include some LGBTQ+ individuals whom they all have tolerated and the Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil of India himself. As the film progresses, it also tells how speaking the truth can be quite difficult for those who are listeners and to learn how to build a support community that sparks global-phenomenal change. As people try to avoid violating their rights but want to have their lives changed forever, their main goals from those experiences are fighting the hate, standing against hate, giving voice to the voiceless, and giving hope to the hopeless.
The director of this film is Cheryl Allison who recently produced her own 2019 film Shatter the Silence, which won her various awards including Impact Doc Awards and USA Film Festival. As director, Allison is scoping the ropes on filming by operating camera movements all over each scene from interviews to love-hate relationships, family issues to school intolerance, and from intolerance to community support. Allison, whilst guiding the cast, crews, and those touching interviews from the LGBTQ+ individuals, takes a lot of effort to gather some stories and their horrifying pasts to collide each other into one, big shattering silence.
The film’s somewhat-pitiful plot seems to be full of love, power, and dignity. Really captures the poignant voice and craftsmanship with a side of disturbing contents along the way despite some smallest sloppy editing cuts that eat up the good stuff. The story gives me some oozing tender moments on how this film makes it easier to learn how to spread one’s own voice. One of the most powerful messages is “love is love,” it’s a medicine for people’s hearts and lives while hate is the disease. Hate is never the answer just as violence is never the answer as well. All she knows is, she loves looking out for other people and wants everyone who is suffering or has been bullied to let their voices come out towards this whole wide world. This is something people need to take action upon hearing what's going on to the public. She, along with her cast, know that letting out a voice is tougher to do so, but it’s okay to speak up if anyone has been through lots of pain and suffering. As aforementioned from my first paragraph, Allison’s biggest take is “enough is enough.”
Pieces of Us is one of the most inspiring documentary films of all-time. The director really put her heart and mind into making this film as interesting as ever, along with the cast and crews. I have seen a lot of films that evolve LGBTQ+ characters’ whose voices affect their community, but it’s the best way to understand and to nurture what it means to be loved, what it means to have freedom in their own right. If you come across this flick, you really, really should watch it. This sentimental documentary film is a must, predominantly for LGBTQ+ audiences out there. So, for the love of God, go see it. You’ll find this very heartwarming and filled with pride.
(Review by Henry Pham)