In Case You Missed It

Review: Saltburn

Official Synopsis: Oliver, a student at Oxford University (Barry Keoghan) finds himself drawn into the world of a charming and aristocratic classmate, Felix (Jacob Elordi), who invites him to his eccentric family's sprawling estate for a summer never to be forgotten. Emerald Fennell's follow up to Promising Young Woman is probably one of the most anticipated in the online film community. I had issues with how that film ended, but it was clear Fennell has a great eye for directing. It's no different in Saltburn , I felt like a spectator in the fucked up Olympics. You just can't shake the creep off of Barry Keoghan or Jacob Elordi and that's what makes both characters so compelling. The film starts off very by the books then takes a sharp right turn into the macabre. I cringed, I gasped, I laughed. It's just a lot. It doesn't say as much about the class divide as it thinks it does, and there is some very questionable dialogue, but Saltburn is so batshit cra

Review: War Pony

Official Synopsis: The interlocking stories of two young Oglala Lakota men, Bill (Jojo Bapteise Whiting) and Matho (LaDanian Crazy Thunder)  growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Director Riley Keough met Franklin Sioux Bob and Bill Reddy, two extras on the set of American Honey who shared their Rez stories, and in the years since came on as co-writers. Gina Gammell joins Keough in the director's chair and you can tell the women put a lot of work into working with the Lakota tribes and making sure Native voices shined through, despite having two white directors. You have to appreciate the effort The film itself is bound to draw comparisons to the popular and wonderful show Reservation Dogs. I thought of them too, especially during Matho's scenes. But aside from just being about day to day life on the Rez, that's where their similarities end. War Pony is bleak and slow moving. For a cast of nearly all first time actors, everyone was excellent. White and Crazy Thunder r

Review: Napoleon

Official synopsis: An epic that details the checkered rise and fall of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (Joaquin Phoenix) and his relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine. (Vanessa Kirby) I hadn't been paying too much attention to Napoleon , both the trailer or the reviews. It wasn't until a friend told me that some of the reviews were calling it "funny" did it pique my interest. I had to get to the bottom of that. I get it. Phoenix is playing Bonaparte like a weirdo simp. And he's the only one acting in that way. He doesn't even attempt an accent from the same continent his character lives on. He's just bizarre to watch, and that makes the film fun. Instead of being a straight up Wikipedia entry, Ridley Scott attempts to frame it through his volatile relationship with Josephine. I'm guessing a lot of Kirby's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor because their relationship

Review: Fingernails

Official Synopsis:  Anna (Jessie Buckley) and Ryan (Jeremy Allen White) have found true love, and it's proven by a controversial new technology. There's just one problem, as Anna still isn't sure. Then she takes a position at a love testing institute and meets Amir. (Riz Ahmed) This is a dream cast. A woman falling in love with both Riz Ahmed and Jeremy Allen White? I get it! Unfortunately the script doesn't live up to the actors' greatness. I immediately thought of another film I saw this year about how technology affects relationships, and that's The Pod Generation. That focused on having children rather than true love, but even with its faults I found it to be a more compelling watch than Fingernails.  This goes nowhere and feels underwritten, especially the back half of the film. I'm also puzzled by Anna's unwavering belief in this technology. She asks some questions, but never once wonders if the guy touting it is a fraud. I felt like we spent too

2023 Blind Spot Series: Lady Snowblood

  What I knew going in: This film inspired Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Immediately into starting this, I was embarassed at how little I knew of this film and just how much Tarantino pulled from it for my favorite movie of his. The scenes on the snow, the music, it's all from here. I'm sure in the back of my mind I knew some of this before. But it's the first time I thought of it. I was a little afraid to start watching this because I knew there was going to be a sexual assault scene in it and I'm not mentally in a space for that right now, but thankfully it's not shown. It's still very disturbing and I could've done without it, but everything else that came after was worth it. I will always love a film about a woman getting revenge on terrible people. (I'd say just men, but we've got a shitty woman thrown in there too) The violence was very stylized. The blood is candy red and the spurts are dramatic.  Meiko Kaji is beautiful and was perfectly

Review: The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Official synopsis:  Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blythe) mentors and develops feelings for the female District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) during the 10th Hunger Games. When it first came out that Suzanne Collins was writing a prequel to her hit Hunger Games series from President Snow's point of view, I balked at reading it. Why should I care what that guy has to say? Then the first trailer for this came out and it looked good, so I gently applied my clown makeup and got the book from the library. Much to my surprise, I loved the book. I thought it was fascinating and it didn't try to sympathize Snow like I thought. Sure, you do feel for him at times, but he's always self serving. Much of the book translates well to screen. Blythe perfectly captures Snow well. He is arrogant and power hungry and very caught off guard by the feelings he starts to develop for Lucy Gray. Rachel Zegler, our favorite theater kid feels like she was born to play this role. Like Lucy Gray, s

Review: The Holdovers

Official synopsis:  A cranky history teacher (Paul Giamatti) at a remote prep school is forced to remain on campus over the holidays with a troubled student (Dominic Sessa) who has no place to go. Alexander Payne is a filmmaker that I enjoy even if I don't always love his films. The one that spoke to me the most was The Descendants , but The Holdovers might just take that crown.  Without diving too deep into my personal life, the month of November has been full of stress and disappointment. I'm still struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but The Holdovers was the perfect escape I needed. A group of sad people coming together on Christmas and finding some unexpected happiness? This really came to me at the right time. Paul Giamatti has been stuck playing asshole managers for what feels like forever but here he's very complex. It might be my favorite performance ever from him. Mr. Hunham is a grouch, but he's clearly capable of getting past that. Angus m