Category: Emotional Rantings

Hamilton: The revolution has begun

This is how capturing live theater experiences needs to be done. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s game-changing, revolutionary stage musical “Hamilton” arrives in cinematic form with a pitch-perfect ability to harness a moment in American pop culture history and preserve it for the annals of time. Filmed in June 2016 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, this nearly three-hour extravaganza is a compilation of several performances of the … Read More Hamilton: The revolution has begun

Portrait of a Lady on Fire: Subtlety in romance

Desire is all about delay. The anticipation, the angst, the longing all cascading towards a moment of passion. It’s a difficult trick to pull off in the world of cinema, but Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” builds from embers into a raging inferno of emotion in one of the best romance films in ten years. The French filmmaker progresses from a … Read More Portrait of a Lady on Fire: Subtlety in romance

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Dear Basketball: Preserving the legacy of a man, not just a legend

I never liked Kobe Bryant growing up. To me, a life-long Dallas Mavericks fan, he was a smug, self-indulgent rival who wasn’t as good as everyone else thought he was. As a film aficionado and budding critic, it bothered me even more that one of my most-disliked sports antagonists won an Academy Award. It reeked of the bravado that annoyed me watching him dunk … Read More Dear Basketball: Preserving the legacy of a man, not just a legend

Good Boys: Super bad on a sixth grade reading level

Why is “South Park” an animated series? Couldn’t creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker have made their crude and frequently violent show about prepubescent boys a live action series just as easily, if not cheaper? The reason they don’t is simple: an animated overweight boy using expletives every other sentence while making sex jokes is funny because the animation separates the joke from reality. … Read More Good Boys: Super bad on a sixth grade reading level

Hobbs And Shaw: 2 Fast 2 Furious 2 Care

Remember that small dramatic action flick from 2001 about boosting cars? Seven movies later, it’s harder and harder to remember that “The Fast and the Furious” was about a Los Angeles cop going undercover to infiltrate a gang of automobile thieves. A prime victim of the money-hungry quest of studios to franchise everything, a small crime drama has become an international box office sensation … Read More Hobbs And Shaw: 2 Fast 2 Furious 2 Care

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: Tinseltown fantasy

“Once Upon A Time In Hollywood” is everything one might come to expect from a Quentin Tarantino film and yet somehow, it’s also nothing like what one might expect from Quentin Tarantino. Reflective of a man who grew up in the movies engrossed in every aspect of filmmaking, Tarantino’s ninth feature ramps up the dialogue and nonlinear storytelling while tempering down his trademark rampages … Read More Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: Tinseltown fantasy

Murder Mystery: An unnecessary whodunit?

Perhaps the biggest saving grace about “Murder Mystery,” the latest movie partnership between Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions and Netflix, is that no one will have to pay money to sit in a movie theater to endure 100-plus minutes of subpar cinema. It isn’t just that the production design is simplified to a level that almost none of the crime comedy’s supposedly luxurious foreign … Read More Murder Mystery: An unnecessary whodunit?

Booksmart: Fresh perspective

Once or twice a year, a comedy will come out that has something more on its mind beyond just a quest for cheap laughs. In 2019, that film is “Booksmart,” a nuanced and insightful feature that elevates high school movie tropes to new heights. Written by four women and helmed by veteran actress turned first time director Olivia Wilde, “Booksmart” doesn’t seek to revolutionize … Read More Booksmart: Fresh perspective

The Hustle: Remake robs audience of classic comedy

Reboot: the act of taking an original property and reimagining it in a different context. Remake: taking an original property and making the same film over again with minor alterations. It’s important to clarify the difference between reboot and remake at the outset because these two words seem like synonyms, but the distance between them could not be vaster. Take for example movies like … Read More The Hustle: Remake robs audience of classic comedy

Dumbo: Just an ordinary elephant

A film about a flying elephant should not work, but it did once. Remaking an iconic Disney animated film about a flying elephant definitely shouldn’t work and certainly doesn’t here as director Tim Burton stumbles about the circus world for two hours in a clumsy, largely lackluster iteration of the 1941 film “Dumbo.” To be clear, this retelling of a Disney classic compartmentalizes the … Read More Dumbo: Just an ordinary elephant

Triple Frontier: The price of being a soldier

Filmmaker J.C. Chandor is at his best making intimate, dialogue-heavy films about man’s unrelenting quest for the almighty dollar at any price. His 2011 debut “Margin Call” was an intense, diabolical examination of the New York financial services industry that earned him an Oscar nomination for the film’s screenplay. Three years later, Chandor returned with “A Most Violent Year,” a subtle and nuanced crime … Read More Triple Frontier: The price of being a soldier

Thunder Road: Fortune favors the bold

A static camera slowly presses in. It never moves – only zooms deliberately – for what feels like an eternity but is only six or seven minutes as the protagonist mourns the loss of his mother during a chaotic, frantic eulogy at her funeral. Over the course of a brisk hour-and-a-half, writer/director/star Jim Cummings delivers a film equally as manic as the character he … Read More Thunder Road: Fortune favors the bold