Top 5 Favorite Films about Italian American Culture

By Joan Amenn I am a fourth generation Italian American. The stories of my ancestors that I grew up with both mirror and contrast with how my ethnicity have been depicted on screen, much like anyone else’s cultural heritage when subjected to dramatization. Here are some of the films that have special meaning to me. 1. The Godfather Parts 1 & 2 (1972, 1974): I’m … Continue reading Top 5 Favorite Films about Italian American Culture

Magical May Review: The Secret of Kells

Year: 2009 Runtime: 75 minutes Director: Tomm Moore Writers: Tomm Moore, Fabrice Ziolkowski Actors: Brendan Gleeson, Mick Lally, Evan McGuire, Christen Mooney, Liam Hourican, Paul Tylak, Paul Young By Joan Amenn Anyone who has taken drawing lessons knows that the first thing to master is basic shapes, like circles and triangles. “The Secret of Kells” (2009) is animated with that in mind as it tells … Continue reading Magical May Review: The Secret of Kells

Magical May Review: Matilda

I had always thought that the 1996 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda” had been a huge commercial hit. It wasn’t until I began researching into the film’s production that I discovered that this was not the case. In fact, the film only grossed $33.5 million in the United States on a $36 million budget. Of course, it shouldn’t matter whether or not “Matilda” was a box office hit, but in a way it makes the film feel even more special. “Matilda” is such a wonderfully delightful film that helped me on such a personal level that I’m so grateful for this film’s existence.  Continue reading Magical May Review: Matilda

Magical May Review: Legend

Year: 1985 Runtime: 90 minutes Director: Ridley Scott Writer: William Hjortsberg Actors: Mia Sara, Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, Billy Barty, Annabelle Lanyon, Alice Playten By Joan Amenn What is this thing that Ridley Scott has with unicorns? In “Legend” (1985) and “Blade Runner” (1982) they pop in to lend a convenient metaphor for the plot of each film to reference. In the former, they represent … Continue reading Magical May Review: Legend

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: How One Movie Revolutionized Animation Again

Since the dawn of movies, animation has been one of storytelling’s most essential mediums, from stitched photography to the first hand-drawn renderings of dwarves and fair women to digitally enhanced visual effects (which are, in effect, an animation unto themselves) to the movements of clay through any number of frames. Animation is even so essential to filmmaking as to render otherwise unfilmable stories accessible to a wide scope of audiences – such was the case with “Flee” (2021) during this past year’s awards season. But not since the days of “Toy Story” (1995) has this filmmaking medium taken such a gigantic leap as in December of 2018, when “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swung onto silver screens to chronicle the ascent of one Miles Morales from a semi-known comic book/video game character to the throne of all Spider-Man movies.  Continue reading Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: How One Movie Revolutionized Animation Again

Black History Month Review: Oscar Peterson: Black + White

Year: 2020 Runtime: 81 Minutes Director: Barry Avrich By Joan Amenn As a jazz lover, I had an Oscar Peterson shaped hole in my heart I never knew of. Thankfully, director Barry Avrich has contributed to my complete recovery with this beautiful “docu-concert” about the legendary pianist. Along with the commentary of friends, family and fellow musicians, we get to hear the astonishingly complex sound … Continue reading Black History Month Review: Oscar Peterson: Black + White

Retrospective Review: “Eagle Vs. Shark”

that we can take away from the film is that ‘love is blind’ and that we shouldn’t judge people solely on their appearance. In his usual quirky off-beat fashion, Waititi manages to bring us something rather unique and special with “Eagle Vs. Shark” and you will either ‘get it’ or you will find it all a bit too silly for your liking. Continue reading Retrospective Review: “Eagle Vs. Shark”

Not So True Love Retrospective: Mistress America

By Morgan Roberts Brooke Cardinas (Greta Gerwig) is the most intriguing person in the world.  As one of the central characters of 2015’s “Mistress America,” Brooke is alluring with her joie de vivre and exciting life.  Yet, this film is more than just two women at different stages trying to figure it out, but it is Brooke’s love story with life and people. In 2015, … Continue reading Not So True Love Retrospective: Mistress America

Pretty Woman Review

“You should totally watch Pretty Woman!” My aunt instructed me when we were recently discussing romantic films. Here’s the thing, I don’t do romantic films. I usually hate watching Rom Coms and find them so cliched and predictable. I explained all this to my aunt but she insisted that I would really like “Pretty Woman” if I gave it a chance. Well, what with it being Valentine’s Day coming up soon, there seemed to be no better time than now to check the film out. Continue reading Pretty Woman Review