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Showing posts from May, 2024

Review: Back to Black

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Official Synopsis:  The life and music of Amy Winehouse (Marisa Abela), through the journey of adolescence to adulthood and the creation of one of the best-selling albums of our time. Amy Winehouse was a one of a kind talent who was gone far too soon. It was inevitable that we'd get a biopic about her. It was never going to be an easy feat. Think about it. Amy was a huge tabloid fixture in the 2000's. I for one, consumed a lot of that media back in those days. I can picture Amy Winehouse perfectly in my head because I've seen so many photos of her thanks to paparazzi desperately trying to capture her "train wreck" era (which was really her suffering from addiction, but no one allowed that type of grace in the mid aughts) Because of that, I can't see anyone truly getting immersed in this film and "seeing" Amy. I saw an uncanny valley version of her instead and I think that's going to be a bit of a hurdle. That said, I didn't find this film nea

Review: Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

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Official synopsis: The origin story of renegade warrior Furiosa (Anya Taylor-Joy) before her encounter and team up with Mad Max. I never cared for the Mad Max films until 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road came bursting on the scene. That ended up being one of my favorite films of that year. When a prequel was announced with Anya Taylor-Joy taking over for Charlize Theron, I was immediately intrigued, but I kept my expectations low. How do you top a stunning film like Fury Road? Well, you don't. But Furiosa is still a fun time at the movies. The stunt and VFX teams are the standout here. All of the fight scenes on the rigs were very well done and exciting to watch. Anya Taylor Joy spends the majority of the film silent, her glare is doing most of the work here. And I have to shout out Alyla Browne who played the younger version of her. They looked so much alike. You'd think they were sisters. Chris Hemsworth is the standout as the villain Dementus. He's both corny and brutal,

Review: The Coffee Table

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Official synopsis:  Jesus (David Pareja) and Maria (Estefanía de los Santos)  are a couple going through a difficult time in their relationship. Nevertheless, they have just become parents. To shape their new life, they decide to buy a new coffee table. A decision that will change their existence. Never have I been thrown off by a movie as much as I have been The Coffee Table.  I hadn't watched any trailers, nor read other reviews before hitting "play." I assumed I was in for a more Scenes from a Marriage type viewing type viewing experience where this couple will really have to access their commitment after a fight. Oh no. This film starts with the pettiest argument over a coffee table and ends with trauma that is probably going to last for generations for all involved. Watching this was like waiting to pull off a band aid. I wanted to just skip to the end and get it over with. To get to what I knew was coming, but who wants to miss an entire movie? As anxiety inducing

Review: Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes

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Official synopsis:  Many years after the reign of Caesar, a young ape, Noa (Owen Teague) goes on a journey that will lead him to question everything he's been taught about the past and make choices that will define a future for apes and humans alike. If you've been reading here for a while, you probably know what a huge fan I am of the most recent POTA trilogy. While I never felt strongly about the original movies, something about Caesar's journey really connected with me. So I was slightly apprehensive of this film when I found out it was going to be set several hundred years after the fact. But, the trailers looked interesting, and it became one of my most anticipated of the year. So how did it fare? Pretty good! Though I have some notes. What this film does very well is world building. It takes its time getting to know Noa and his Eagle clan. I expected it to move as a much faster pace than it did. Proximas Caesar (Kevin Durand) the main villain doesn't even show up

Review: Punishment (2024)

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Official synopsis: A soul-searching portrait of four inmates in a Norwegian prison. Director Øystein Mamen wants us to consider what prison is supposed to accomplish. Be a punishment? Yes, but what about rehabilitation? Can you truly come back from something horrible you've done? Can you repent? Could you ever forgive? By following four prisoners who are given the opportunity to take part in a silent spiritual retreat, that's what he sets out to explore. "Retreat" makes this ordeal sound more lavish than it is. These inmates aren't on vacation, and they talk in detail about how they've grown to like the "lock down" part of their day. It's quiet, they're alone, and they can control what's in their cell. The real world is like sensory overload. Here, there's not much speaking. While the exercise is religious, it was open to all faiths, not just Christians. By the end of it, you can make the judgement on how well this exercise worked for

Review: Nina is an Athlete

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Official synopsis:   Israeli badminton champion Nina Gorodetsky has her first and maybe last chance to compete in the Paralympics. On the cusp of turning 40, this documentary is an intimate look into her life.  Nina Gorodetsky was born in Georgia, immigrated to Israel when she was 11. Bullied and called a "Russian whore" by other kids, she fought them off and kept going. At the age of 17, she was paralyzed in a car accident. We start following Nina, now almost 40 in 2019 right before the pandemic cancelled the Paralympics and put everyone's lives on hold. Nina in particular struggles with her athletic pursuits and motherhood. She has a son, Naveh, but wants another. But her dream is also being an Olympic champion. When the pandemic comes, she has that second child she desired, and continues to work hard to qualify for the Paralympics.  This is a very intimate look at Nina's life. We see her at her most vulnerable, her most fired up after a match, lovely moments with h

Series Review: Baby Reindeer

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Official synopsis:  The story follows writer and performer Richard Gadd's warped relationship with a female stalker and the impact it has on him as he is ultimately forced to face a deep, dark buried trauma. I'll admit to not knowing a ton about Baby Reindeer before I hit play on Netflix. I knew it was about a man and his stalker, but I didn't realize just how much trauma we'd eventually get into. Because of my ignorance, episode 4, the one dedicated to solely to a very traumatic series of events that happened to Donny Dunn (Gadd's name in the series) felt very jarring. I think Gadd is brave for sharing his story, but I probably should've done more research because I do not like to be caught off guard when it comes to sexual  assault in media.  It felt jarring because up until you get into Donny's past trauma, you're essentially watching "cringe cinema." Donny's stand up sucks, he doesn't set proper boundaries with Martha (Jessica Gunni

Review: The Idea Of You

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Official Synopsis : Solène, (Anne Hathaway) a 40-year-old single mom, begins an unexpected romance with 24-year-old Hayes Campbell(Nicholas Galitzine), the lead singer of August Moon, the hottest boy band on the planet. I can't say romance stories that are not so subtle Harry Styles fanfiction are my thing, but considering this is the 4th or 5th film made from one, there's clearly a demo for this, and that's great. Let the 1D fan fic girlies feast. I didn't have time to get to the theater this weekend, but I did have time to turn on Amazon Prime and watch two actors, one I've enjoyed for years in Hathaway, and one who I've only recently been exposed to - but has been killing it - in Galitzine. It played out about exactly as I thought it would. Lots of "we can...no we can't" so on, and so forth, but I did appreciate how sincere the relationship was from Hayes point of view. I liked Solène and found it easy to relate to her. Hathaway is great in this