Category: Oscar Contenders

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Don’t Worry Darling: Down the rabbit hole

There’s a fantastic film hiding somewhere deep within Don’t Worry Darling, Olivia Wilde’s follow-up to her surprise hit directorial debut in 2019 with “Booksmart.” In an idyllic world, Darling takes an incredible Florence Pugh performance and elevates it with exceptional cinematography and production design as well as an ensemble cast that can help create a larger world and bring an intriguing concept to life. … Read More Don’t Worry Darling: Down the rabbit hole

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Elvis: All shook up

When a film is titled after one of its characters, 99 times out of 100, that movie is almost entirely about that person. (Save for Private Ryan, of course.) This is even more true when it comes to biopics, especially when the titular character happens to be one of the most iconic musicians of all time, the King of Rock and Roll himself. But … Read More Elvis: All shook up

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Cha Cha Real Smooth: All the right moves

The best movie characters, ones audiences take to and see themselves in, aren’t always idyllic. Filmmakers find genuine beauty in flaws and imperfections in their personalities and psyches that allows viewers to naturally respond and become more fully transported into another world. Cooper Raiff’s second feature film – an audience award winner earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival – screened this past … Read More Cha Cha Real Smooth: All the right moves

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Top Gun Maverick: Cruising at higher altitudes

There’s a moment early in Tom Cruise’s first film in four years where his character must lay everything on the line and push himself beyond all the limits to save his team. It’s a constant theme in the nearly 60-year-old actor’s latter career as Cruise constantly strives to top himself for the sake of blockbuster cinema, attempting to save theatrical releases by dangling from … Read More Top Gun Maverick: Cruising at higher altitudes

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Everything Everywhere All At Once: Cinematic beauty in weirdness

The directing duo of Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, collectively known as Daniels, have created a brand of cinema flavored with creative ingenuity blended with the bizarre and outlandish that have seen them mystify viewers with flatulent corpses and dark humor with films like 2016’s Swiss Army Man and 2019’s The Death of Dick Long. Their third feature together, Everything Everywhere All At Once, … Read More Everything Everywhere All At Once: Cinematic beauty in weirdness

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CODA: Winning with heart

Fourteen months ago, a small independent film with a largely unknown cast and an Oscar winner in a smaller supporting role debuted to critical acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, winning top prizes and a hefty payday from Apple. The grand jury prize winner was expected to help launch the second wave of subscriptions to AppleTV+, a burgeoning streaming service fighting an uphill battle … Read More CODA: Winning with heart

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Nightmare Alley: Beautiful noir for small crowd

Acclaimed auteur Guillermo del Toro hasn’t made a new film since winning both best director and best picture in 2018 for his eccentric feature The Shape of Water. del Toro is known as a master of the avantgarde, relishing in the eccentricities of life and the oddities of horror for decades with everything from Pan’s Labyrinth to a pair of Hellboy films to an … Read More Nightmare Alley: Beautiful noir for small crowd

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Mass: Big drama in small spaces

Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival has always been the premiere way for independent filmmakers to debut their work and kick off a full year of promotion to find an audience. This year’s festival has gone digital due to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 preventing cinephiles from catching the best 2022 has to offer so far in person, but 2021 Sundance entries are making their … Read More Mass: Big drama in small spaces

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The Tragedy of Macbeth: The weight of language

Adapting the works of William Shakespeare from the stage to the screen is a time-honored tradition of prestige filmmakers. Bringing the bard’s words to life in a way that casual audiences can understand and appreciate is perhaps the most difficult task of any director, theater or film. Shakespeare’s complicated lyrical prose uses far too many metaphors and overly floral language for the lay person … Read More The Tragedy of Macbeth: The weight of language

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Don’t Look Up: Stop worrying and love the comet

Stanley Kubrick made Dr. Strangelove, a quintessential black comedy of the 1960s starring Peter Sellers as a treatise against the uneasy relationship between America and Russia’s nuclear arms race. It’s one of the driest modern comedic films with a biting screenplay and pitch-perfect acting that fully realizes its auteur’s vision and works on numerous levels for casual as well as fully engaged audiences. Adam … Read More Don’t Look Up: Stop worrying and love the comet

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Being The Ricardos: Sorkin’s big swing

Always the most cunning and captivating wordsmith, Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin grows increasingly sure-handed behind the director’s chair with each new project he takes on. Much like his writing, Sorkin becomes more daring as his confidence grows in his third feature film released last week in theaters and on Amazon Prime reflects both his drive and ambition to make prestige cinematic drama. Being the … Read More Being The Ricardos: Sorkin’s big swing

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Spider-Man No Way Home: Superhero movies are back

Marvel Studios has had a problem for the better part of two years now.  Ever since the release of Avengers: Endgame in 2019, the Disney-owned franchise has been wallowing in a dilemma partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and partially due to their own making.  With most of their Avengers core retiring from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, producer Kevin Feige has had to start … Read More Spider-Man No Way Home: Superhero movies are back