Category: Oscar Contenders

The Irishman: Legacy of a cinematic Don

At the end of the day, what’s it all about? It’s a question that continuously lingers under the surface of celebrated auteur Martin Scorsese’s latest feature, a melancholy retrospective that acts almost like a career summation filled with riddles of bullets and dynamically vulgar dialogue. For the premier filmmaker in the gangster genre, Scorsese’s “The Irishman” definitively closes the book on how crime dramas … Read More The Irishman: Legacy of a cinematic Don

Jojo Rabbit: A funny thing about Adolf Hitler

Comedy is the ultimate playground for escapism, for letting the worries and cares of daily life fade away in order to decompress and unwind. The best comedies, though, usually have unexpectedly a little bit more to say on their minds than first glance might suggest. There’s a hysterical new comedy hitting theaters this fall that combines a stellar, side-splitting screenplay and award-worthy performances. It’s … Read More Jojo Rabbit: A funny thing about Adolf Hitler

Parasite: South Korean masterpiece one of decade’s best films

Spoiler alert: The best film of 2019 doesn’t star Leonardo DiCaprio and isn’t directed by Martin Scorsese. Average American audiences probably haven’t heard of filmmaker Bong Joon Ho or his frequent collaborator Kang-ho Song, but their latest feature together is the best South Korean film of all time and a top five movie of the last decade by any measure. “Parasite,” a haunting and … Read More Parasite: South Korean masterpiece one of decade’s best films

Dolemite Is My Name: Return of a comedy legend

From the moment he begins a verbal diatribe that drowns out Marvin Gaye, it’s apparent that Eddie Murphy has a special passion for his latest role. It’s evident in the way he carries himself, in the timbre of his voice and the cadence with which he recite lyrical tongue-twisters with effortless repetition. Murphy melts into his homage to one of his mentors and heroes, … Read More Dolemite Is My Name: Return of a comedy legend

Judy: There’s only one true Garland

When the term “Oscar bait” gets thrown around in film criticism, it’s usually in reference to a film like “Judy.” Typically a movie with one central performance based on true events featuring showy, clip-worthy monologues destined for an awards season reel, “Oscar bait” is a film cliché used to describe movies that wouldn’t exist if studios couldn’t buy their way to winning accolades. The … Read More Judy: There’s only one true Garland

Joker: Origins of psychosis and villainy

It can be said that there’s no true originality left in cinema. Everything seems pulled from pieces of movie history, homages or outright rip-offs of films gone by. Audacious and transgressive, Todd Phillips’ “Joker” is clearly influenced by the work of cinematic legend Martin Scorsese, particularly his 1976 classic “Taxi Driver” and the 1983 cult of celebrity dramedy “The King of Comedy.” It also … Read More Joker: Origins of psychosis and villainy

Ad Astra: Hello darkness, my old friend

In space, no one can feel your pain. At least, that’s the conceit of the latest space odyssey to hit the big screen, writer/director James Gray’s “Ad Astra.” Melancholy and malaise abound in a slow-burning film ripe with wistful soliloquies delivered as a character-informing score for Gray’s expressionless short story drawn out over two hours. Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride, an astronaut tasked … Read More Ad Astra: Hello darkness, my old friend

Hustlers: Economics of the stripper pole

Sometimes a good movie is all about the performance, not the content. Once adrift on an endless cycle of middling romantic comedies and voice-over work, Jennifer Lopez delivers her best work in more than two decades as a stripper looking to swindle rich men at any cost. “Hustlers” provides the talented former Golden Globe nominee her most challenging role in years and is the … Read More Hustlers: Economics of the stripper pole

American Factory: The price of globalization

There have been a number of exceptional documentaries released in 2019 covering a range of political, historical and pop culture topics. Perhaps none sits quite on the threshold of where the United States stands currently in an everchanging global economy than the latest Netflix release, “American Factory.” A top non-fiction film and award winner to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival, this … Read More American Factory: The price of globalization

The Souvenir: Love and other drugs

Joanna Hogg doesn’t make life easy on her audience. Subtlety and layers of hidden context abound in her latest feature, “The Souvenir,” a semi-autobiographical drama she wrote and directed about a young film student’s destructive love affair with an older man set in the 1980s. Audiences are shown bits of Julie and Anthony’s time together in a piecemeal, fragmented way that’s part slice of … Read More The Souvenir: Love and other drugs

The Farewell: The value of a good lie

Many of the best films are personal, whether they be exact recreations of past events in the lives of those making them or simple adaptations of real life. Writer/director Lulu Wang took a unique cultural moment from her own life for her second feature film, “The Farewell.” “Based on an actual lie” as the film’s title card states, “The Farewell” fictionalizes a pivotal moment … Read More The Farewell: The value of a good lie

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