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: Hook

Year: 1991 Runtime: 182 minutes Director: Steven Spielberg Writers: J.M. Barrie (book), James V. Hart, Nick Castle, Malia Scotch Marmo Actors: Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, Bob Hoskins, Maggie Smith, Caroline Goodall, Charlie Korsmo, Amber Scott, Phil Collins, Arthur Malet, Dante Basco By Joan Amenn Well, this was awkward. If there is a list somewhere (and there must be) of problematic films that kids … Continue reading Magical May Review: Hook

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

Anastasia Review: Animated April

For this Animated April, I decided to return to a few films that I adored as a child. In the past I have returned to the likes of “Thumbelina”, a film that I realised wasn’t as good as I had remembered it. I’ve always been wary about revisiting some of the other films that played a significant role in my childhood such as “The Little Mermaid” and “The Fox and the Hound” however I’ve decided to rewatch them both. I always felt very wary about re-watching “Anastasia” which had been a real favourite of mine. I really connected with Anya (voiced by Meg Ryan, with singer Liz Callaway doing the songs for Ms. Ryan) who was a spunky, no-nonsense young woman who just so happened to be a princess. I think a lot of girls secretly wish they were royalty even though they try to make out that they’re not ‘girly’. I was one of those types of girls. Continue reading Anastasia Review: Animated April

I Lost My Body Review: Animated April

Even for their comparable centrality to daily life, hands are rarely granted the same artistic fascination as eyes in terms of metaphorical and poetic consideration. Proverbs and clichés alike lean on ideas of sight. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Literature and cinema follow the same path, whether it’s horror stories fixating on visions and illusions or the very idea of voyeurism as a touchpoint for artists from Alfred Hitchcock to Gillian Flynn. Sight dominates sensory storytelling, yet it is eschewed in favor of the tactile significance of hands and touches in “I Lost My Body” (2019). Jérémy Clapin’s film offers the parallel narratives of Naoufel (Hakim Faris) as he yearns for Gabrielle (Victoire du Bois), and Naoufel’s hand which embarks on a perilous journey to reunite with its body. Continue reading I Lost My Body Review: Animated April

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: The African Queen

By Joan Amenn Not only a great film, but a great adventure in filmmaking, “The African Queen” (1951) is definitely not a conventional love story. John Huston packed up his cast and crew and headed off to deepest Africa to film his adaptation of the C.S. Forester novel and mayhem pretty much ruled from there. The many trials and tribulations nearly eclipse the film itself, … Continue reading Not So True Love Retrospective: The African Queen

Retrospective: The Fellowship of the Ring 20th Anniversary

By Joan Amenn “A wizard is never late… nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.” -Gandalf the Grey The twentieth anniversary of “The Fellowship of the Ring” (2001) arrives this weekend, precisely on time for its fans to start their annual viewing marathon of the trilogy as a whole. Evaluated on its own merits, “Fellowship” is a breathtaking achievement although at … Continue reading Retrospective: The Fellowship of the Ring 20th Anniversary