‘The Fabelmans’ TIFF Review: Steven Spielberg’s Bittersweet Ode to the Magic of Movies

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Over his long and incredibly prolific career, Steven Spielberg shows yet another side to his own filmmaking that only reaffirms his status as one of the greatest working American filmmakers. To a filmmaker like Steven Spielberg, merely watching the movies alone isn’t a magical experience, but the building blocks for making them are just as magical – and have shaped an entire world for him. But the greatest thrill about watching Spielberg taking his audience to his own childhood is that for those of us who have been watching his films for so long, he’s showing us where everything we loved about his works has come about, in a work that’s clearly an extension of himself in The Fabelmans.

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‘Decision to Leave’ TIFF Review: A Seductive, Erotic Mind Game from Park Chan-wook

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No one makes thrillers like Park Chan-wook does, whether you’re watching a film like Oldboy, Lady Vengeance, or The Handmaiden, they always feel like there’s much more going on beyond the usual mystery at hand. This is where now, with Decision to Leave, Park Chan-wook goes forth with making a film clearly echoing the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the like, and he shows himself to be the closest thing we have to a modern-day equivalent. Like The Handmaiden, it’s very evidently romantic, but also just deeply twisted in ways that tap into the darkest desires of those around you, to the point that the central mystery isn’t the entire thrill as much as it is the whole world that Park builds to surround it.

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‘The Whale’ TIFF Review: A Shattering Comeback for Brendan Fraser

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When you look at the premise for a film like The Whale, one can only imagine how this premise could be difficult to pull off successfully. In the hands of a filmmaker like Darren Aronofsky, much suspicions could be raised, but he manages to pull off what might be his most hopeful film thus far. Perhaps that’s not to say he doesn’t find himself potentially dragging his viewers back into a territory of simple misery porn when the central focus is Brendan Fraser’s character and his deathly obesity, yet the case being presented is far more thoughtful. And like Requiem for a Dream was for many, The Whale can be tough – but when Darren Aronofsky is at his best, he shows himself to be a wholly thoughtful filmmaker. This is where I find The Whale lands.

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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Review: A Gentle Giant

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What is there to say about a film that for many years was the highest grossing film ever? A film that is universally beloved? A film that has been covered and studied and dissected endlessly?

Well I saw E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial this week in IMAX so I’m going to try. But I’m not going to add much new to the discussion of a film that’s exactly correctly rated in our culture. It’s a timeless classic. And I have no issue with it.

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‘RRR’ Review: Radical, Revolutionary, and it comes highly Recommended

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Rise, Roar, Revolt: these are the three R’s that make up the acronymous title of S. S. Rajamouli’s RRR, a Telugu blockbuster now catching the eyes of viewers in the west. As the film made waves around said viewers, it’s hard to go ignore how people have been talking about the film compared to western blockbusters: but that also shuts out talking of this Tollywood (not Bollywood!) film on its own terms, where it’s just a great time all around. I certainly am not the first to admit my experience with Indian cinema happens to be very limited, but nonetheless I can’t help but be taken aback by the scale of RRR.

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‘The Northman’ Review: Valhalla Arises in Robert Eggers’s New Epic

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The third feature film of writer-director Robert Eggers isn’t a horror film much like The Witch or The Lighthouse were, but the way in which Eggers brings you into his worlds whether it be through the usage of old age English or the elaborate sets – when considering the historical settings of his films, is nothing short of impressive. It was easy enough to see that from The Lighthouse onward, Eggers certainly would have found himself growing to become more ambitious as a filmmaker and it’s perhaps best reflected by what you’re seeing in The Northman, which may just as well be his most visually stunning film to date. Yet to Eggers, it’s not simply about mere aesthetic, it’s all about transporting the audience back through time, which I believe he succeeds at beautifully in here.

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‘West Side Story’ Review: The Perfect Reintroduction of a Classic Musical

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Over his decades long career, Steven Spielberg has made his very first musical. Nonetheless, Spielberg has also established that he had always wanted to try his hands at bringing a musical to the big screen with a second cinematic adaptation of West Side Story, following the 1961 film. It’d be easy enough to express skepticism to the need for a new West Side Story film, but Spielberg establishes that the material is a perfect match for him. Spielberg doesn’t work with creating a pastiche of the 1961 film as much as he does create a new screen life for one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. In doing so, Spielberg has made what may be his best film in at least fifteen years.

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‘Licorice Pizza’ Review: Tomorrow May Not be the Day According to Paul Thomas Anderson

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Over the years, Paul Thomas Anderson has made a name for himself as one of the best American filmmakers working today, with films like There Will Be Blood, Phantom Thread, and The Master all under his belt within recent memory. With Licorice Pizza, Anderson finds himself returning to familiar territory as he brings audiences a coming-of-age comedy set within an era of Los Angeles that he grew up within. Perhaps the labelling of a “nostalgic love letter” to the 1970’s would be the first way of describing the concept of a movie all about growing up in this era of Los Angeles, but the picture being painted here is a much darker and more brilliant one than what meets the eye.

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‘Drive My Car’ Review: A Testament to Art’s Impact on Life, Sorrows, and Connections

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One of the most talked-about films in the awards circuit this year is none other than Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car. In the past, Ryusuke Hamaguchi has made a name for himself through beautifully understated, albeit lengthy character studies through films like Happy Hour and Asako I & II, but through this adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s story he creates what may be his best work yet. I find this to be his best because it’s a film that finds unity in something that we all love, with how it intertwines with how we live our own lives. But that’s only the least of what makes Drive My Car so special.

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‘The Power of the Dog’ Review: Beautiful and Rugged on the Outside, Layered and Complex on the Inside

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For her third feature film, The Piano, Jane Campion became the first female filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, for very good reason. With The Power of the Dog being her first feature film in over a decade, it is more than just a triumphant return to the screen for her. Throughout her career, Campion has been known for making films that delve into the psychology that fuels desire, spanning many periods of time – but with The Power of the Dog comes one of her most beautiful and highly sensual efforts to date. It’s a statement that I think can only ever be put lightly, but in The Power of the Dog, you’re seeing the more externalized emotions coming forth in what would be one of her most beautiful films to date.

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