February is the month of Valentine’s Day and of love, so it’s the perfect time to discuss romantic comedies. Over the past few years, Netflix has produced a plethora of original rom-coms. While not all of them are top-notch quality (yes, I’m thinking of the slew of Noah Centineo vehicles they made after the success of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (2018)), they’ve proven themselves to be the top studio for this sort of movie.
Can you recollect those moments from your life that become exceedingly significant for you and your memory, although they don't seem vital for your life path? I, for example, often think about that time when my wife and I got stuck on West Magnolia Boulevard and North Niagara Street. Her car broke down; hence we had to wait for a tow truck. It took a couple of hours to organize this. Not wanting to waste time, we went to buy a sandwich in a little Italian-styled restaurant and waited for a rescue.
This is a lean, mean, deadly beast of an indie film--at times it is unbearably tense and unlike anything I’ve seen from this genre. Elevated by a star-making performance from Bethany Anne Lind (whose IMDB page I’ve checked; I must say that I am appalled that it has taken this long for her to be seen!). It is a southern crime-thriller that is thematically and structurally reminiscent of films like “Blue Ruin”; yet it is made instantly more fresh with the decision to center the story on a complex woman.
“It’s done,” Céline Sciamma said through laughter, “I don’t need your approval!” Ten minutes earlier, a lengthy applause break punctuated the film screening and Sciamma was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation. Sitting in a folding director’s chair on-stage in the sold-out Music Box Theater in Chicago, IL, Sciamma shared insights on the filmmaking process during a question and answer session with the audience. The early pre-screening of “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (2019) was part of a press tour preceding the films wide release in the United States.
“The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019) was a breakout hit from writers and directors Tyler Nilson and Michael Schwartz. Before this, Nilson and Schwartz directed documentaries and short films, so this narrative feature debut is a departure from their typical formats. “The Peanut Butter Falcon” has been very successful thus far. It’s the highest grossest indie film of 2019 for good reason. This modern retelling of the classic tale of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is a joy to watch. The twangy soundtrack, picturesque setting, and stellar performances work together to set “Peanut Butter Falcon” apart as a film unlike others.
It's hard to fathom that an actress as talented as Knightley has no Oscars to her name and only two nominations. She deserved nominations and should have been considered for her performances in “Atonement” and “Colette,” amongst other performances throughout her varied career. Hopefully, she will receive her long-awaited and much deserved Oscar some day in the future.
Numa Perrier’s feature debut “Jezebel” (2019) is a deeply personal film that makes viewers feel like they’re a part of the action. Perrier, the writer director, and co-star of the film, based the film on her experiences as a cam girl. The film is an important step in humanizing sex workers, a group of people who are often looked down on and disrespected. At its heart, “Jezebel” is about sisterhood and grief through the lens of two sex workers struggling financially and emotionally.
In the opening scene of “Little Women” (2019), when we see Saoirse Ronan’s character entering a publisher’s office to try to sell her work and get herself taken seriously as a writer, we’re not just seeing the character of Jo March. We’re also seeing Louisa May Alcott, who wrote the novel that the film is adapted from, and perhaps even the film’s writer and director Greta Gerwig herself.
“Honey Boy” is a deeply sad, yet still hopeful story of a child, Otis, who essentially raised himself. That child’s story is largely based on the life of Shia LaBeouf, the writer and star of the film who plays his own abusive father. The film is raw and hard to watch at times as a young Otis (Noah Jupe) acts to support his parents while living in a motel with his father, James (Shia LaBeouf). Even with the upsetting events that take place, Otis finds joy in his work and through his friendship with a neighbor (FKA Twigs).