Review: Harriet

Here it is, 2019, and we’re just getting our very first feature film biopic of civil rights legend Harriet Tubman. It’s just a shame that it isn’t a more inspired one. Cynthia Erivo is more than competent in the lead role, bringing a vibrancy and determination to Tubman’s heroism, but the rest of the film is a drab, paint-by-numbers biopic. Harriet was born a slave, under the name of Araminta Ross. When the film begins, she and her free husband John (Zackary Momoh) are unsuccessfully arguing the legality of her enslavement with her master. Their failure to negotiate Harriet’s freedom makes them so desperate that they discuss running away together, but circumstances transpire that force her to take the long, arduous journey north alone.

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Review: Midway

Year: 2019 Runtime: 138 Minutes Director: Roland Emmerich Writer: Wes Tooke Stars: Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Luke Evans, Mandy Moore By Caelyn O'Reilly Roland Emmerich makes two kinds of movies; films that are utterly stupid but buckets of fun (“Independence Day” and “White House Down”), and films that are just as stupid but... Continue Reading →

Review: “Doctor Sleep” (2019) Warner Bros.

In “DOCTOR SLEEP” little Danny Torrance is now a grown up Dan Torrance (Ewan McGregor), and is still understandably haunted by the things that happened to him at the Overlook Hotel as a small child. Most days he drinks his hours away to silence the voices in his head. After one drug-fueled drinking rampage, waking hungover and getting ready... Continue Reading →

Review: The Dark Red

A social worker happens upon a trailer home. In it she finds a dead woman who has presumably overdosed; her body is surrounded by various pill bottles and a half-consumed NyQuil. The social worker explores the home and finds a young girl in a wooden chest. This is a chilling start to a tale which portrays grief and guilt in such an engaging and fresh way. Although flawed in structure, it succeeds in delivering the hysterical mother trope in ways which are fresh, exciting, and haunting. "The Deep Red" demonstrates, vividly, that some clichés deserve to be demolished and rebuilt; that in a more adventurous movie environment undercutting these tropes wouldn’t feel as fresh as it does here.

Review: Jenny Slate’s Stage Fright

Netflix boasts its ability to release a number of comedy specials. If you have seen one special, you kind of get the gist of every other special. The material always differs but the presentation is the same. A comic stands alone, on stage, hoping their zingers land and their poignant messages get across. But when Jenny Slate’s “Stage Fright” landed on Netflix in October 2019, it redefined the comedy special.

Slate’s comedy is a certain brand. Watch her in 2014’s “Obvious Child,” and you will understand what you are getting in for. In the film, Slate plays, Donna, an underemployed, struggling comedienne who learns that she is pregnant after a one night stand. The jokes, and delivery, are killer. Slate adds heart to her humor and humor to her heart. The moments read different but all of the same elements are in play.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 42: The Love Witch

Anna Biller's 2016 film, "The Love Witch", is a magical, sensual exploration of female sexuality and empowerment. With stunning cinematography, set design and costume design, this film inspires praise for both it's undeniable style and thought-provoking messages. The film follows witch and burlesque dancer, Elaine on her quest to find true love. However, her outlook on men and their capability to love is concerning to her fellow witches, especially since many of Elaine's intense love potions do not result in a happy ending of any kind.

Review: Love is Blind

“I really don’t know what’s real anymore,” Bess says in “Love is Blind” (2019). Much of this film revolves around the audience figuring out what is real rather than in Bess's head. Andy Delaney and Monty Whitebloom direct this quirky romantic dramedy about loneliness, grief, and healing. It has a solid cast and is an imaginative film, making it always engaging despite its wacky and sometimes hard-to-follow plot.

“Love is Blind,” written by Jennifer Schuur, is about a girl named Bess (Shannon Tarbet) who cannot see her mother (Chloe Sevigny) and believes that she passed away a decade ago. Through the course of the film, the audience realizes that her mother is very much alive but that her ‘selective blindness’ is Bess’s way of coping with a traumatic event in the past.

Review: Dark Whispers – Vol. 1

Before this review can proceed, a few significant stigmas need to be pointed out. The first one is how short films are seen to be inferior to feature-length films just due to the fact that they are short. While the second one is how female filmmakers are thought to be averse to genre filmmaking; particularly the horror genre. Nothing could be further from the truth, as these statements are fatuous, demeaning and stupid.

Anthologies and short films have been calling cards for many renowned filmmakers regardless of genre eg. Andrea Arnold's Oscar-winning short film Wasp (2003); while female filmmakers have been making many stellar examples of genre filmmaking -- eg. Jennifer Kent's The Babadook (2014), Mary Harron's "American Psycho" (2000), Julia Ducournau's "Raw" (2017) and many, many more.

Review: “Marriage Story” (2019) Netflix

As with some of Bambach other films, “MARRIAGE STORY” is long on talk and short on cinema. While most are at least a good watch, this one tricks you into thinking you’re getting a marriage story for the first five minutes, but it’s got a little trick up its sleeve and you soon find out that what you almost fell for, is nothing of the sort. With its sorta jokey NY/LA rivalry theme, and in certain LA frames giving us the “Annie Hall” feels, (along with other films in the same vein appear to be evoked here) but the mere mention of these kinds films only highlights the weakness of this one.

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