‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ Review: A Not-So-Grand Finale For the Skywalker Saga

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It’s finally over, the Skywalker saga that began in 1977 with George Lucas’s Star Wars (or otherwise known as A New Hope), has finally ended with J. J. Abrams returning behind the camera to bring forth The Rise of Skywalker. One would already find themselves wondering where could the saga have gone following Rian Johnson’s radical approach to the series with The Last Jedi, which had divided many fans for betraying their image of the characters or the approach after having been reintroduced to them in The Force Awakens. In an attempt to hand the series back to those fans following the reception of The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker concludes this long saga on a sour note.

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‘Marriage Story’ TIFF Review: Noah Baumbach at His Most Devastating, Complex, and Thoughtful

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Divorce is not an unfamiliar subject writer-director Noah Baumbach, as shown through his exploration of the psychological effect of joint custody on children in The Squid and the Whale. In Marriage Story, what Baumbach shows you is a different perspective of the divorce, rather one that takes the perspective of the adults in the situation as they are about to part their own ways. As one can imagine, it never would feel easy in any sense of the word and Noah Baumbach cuts really deep into where you really feel it hurts. These are people who know they can’t stick together any longer, but that uncertainty regarding how they feel about one another still rings so strongly. If there were anything else that best makes the film’s title fit so perfectly, it’s best described by what Baumbach shows about what we realize as something that seemed so meaningful finally must come to its own end.

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‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Review: Jarmusch’s Zombie Comedy is Dead on Arrival

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Jim Jarmusch is one among the most unique American filmmakers working today, for his deadpan sense of humour and otherwise outwardly visual style makes him stand out from many others. But even being too involved with that sense of being so distinctive can take a director like Jim Jarmusch somewhere, and in the case with The Dead Don’t Die it seems to have gotten the better of him. If anything, this almost feels like an actively lazy effort from Jarmusch which isn’t something that I would have expected from him, and even as a longtime fan of the filmmaker I was hoping that even for as messy as the results would have been, The Dead Don’t Die would at least be something I can find enjoyment from. And the joys are definitely present within the film after all, but there’s a point to which you also find yourself getting quite weary because Jarmusch isn’t really doing terribly much here that wouldn’t already feel as if it came out from a feature-length effort of an overeager student filmmaker. Which I suppose is the point, but it didn’t work at all for me.

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2018: Another Year of Cinema Come and Gone

This year was a real game changer for a person like myself. To kick things off, it was the first year in which I was able to attend TIFF as a press member rather than as any other audience member. It was a defining moment for myself, though I don’t want to brag a little too much about what happened there. It was just a good year for cinema in general. That’s all I can really say, and I want to bring more attention to the many films that I absolutely loved this year – and so many of them came around this year and so forth. We’re already nearing the end of a decade, and through the good and the bad, the cinema has always been able to provide nothing but the greatest pleasures through and through. Although as we look through the films that have come to define 2018 as a whole, there were many surprises that came along the way just as there were disappointments – all of which came in between the very best and the worst in cinema through the year. So without further ado, let us begin. Continue reading →

The 91st Academy Awards: Comments and Concerns

It has been an absolutely astonishing year for the cinema. But for as amazing a year as 2018 had been, we’re also left with facing one of the most insulting awards seasons to have come by in recent memory. You’d think that given last year’s set of nominees they actually would have been growing progressively better, especially having given a film like Moonlight the top honour for the 2016 ceremony (and a well-deserved one at that), but after the Golden Globes came by, I was already worried that we’d already be in store for one of the absolute worst in recent memory. To think that the Oscars would already have gone far beyond that “popular film” award in order to try and raise their viewership, as if the ceremonies themselves haven’t already been stale enough (i.e. overlong montages praising the industry and shallow activism that amounts to nothing), who knew that we’d be in store for one that was so out of touch – particularly in last year’s amazingly bad timing (with it being only barely ahead of the Olympics rather than in February like they usually were)? As a supposed celebration for the cinema comes by within the year, there are many things here to be concerned about.

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BlacKkKlansman is A Frightening Tale of How Hatred is Bred Into Our Society: A Review

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For as inconsistent as his filmography has ever been, Spike Lee has never been anything less than one of the most interesting American filmmakers working today. But even if he has struggled to find the same success today as he did during his prime with Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, he’s never left – he’s always remained so angry and it’s a defining aspect of his filmmaking. And for all the misses that he’s had recently, I’m happy to say that BlacKkKlansman is indeed Spike Lee’s best film to come out in quite some time. It’s a film that takes on the form of a past identity only to remind you that things haven’t changed as much as we would like to think, and for all we know Lee had been shouting this in the years since Do the Right Thing had come out. And of course Spike Lee isn’t showing everything to be nearly as comfortable as we would like to think it could be thanks to the way we would like to think it is, but it’s only one among many reasons his films hit every bit as hard as they do.

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Frances Ha – Review

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I remember the first viewing of Frances Ha well enough and how it treated me then. At the time, I was unfamiliar with Greta Gerwig and my first impression only had me thinking that what I was watching was cute and funny. The more I watch Greta Gerwig, I slowly realize what it is about the way she writes her characters that keeps me watching them as their stories are being told for us on the screen, and what I think about from then onward is the state of her own life in which she is living in. Frances Halladay is old enough to own an apartment, find a job for herself, but she spends her days living in Brooklyn as if she were younger. But it isn’t her own fault either, rather instead she lives the way that she does because it’s the result of her own environment as Gerwig and Baumbach write her to be. It is the very feeling that you know the circumstances of such a lifestyle so well enough that pulls yourself closer to Frances Ha.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Review

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Rian Johnson’s latest film, a Star Wars film for the matter – isn’t the sort that one would expect him to pull off, but even for those who have stuck so closely with the Star Wars franchise, they didn’t get the same story that they would have wanted. If The Force Awakens only was the welcoming return for the franchise to the big screen after George Lucas’s prequel trilogy has come to an end, through the reintroduction of nostalgia – then what Rian Johnson has set his audience in store for is more possibility, all from the fact that he of all people had went behind what we would want to recognize on the surface as a Star Wars film. But nevertheless if this film were proof of anything, it would be that Star Wars finds its way of speaking to many generations over the years.

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Logan Lucky – Review

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Steven Soderbergh has always been one of the most interesting American filmmakers working today, and for good reason. After he was supposedly going to “retire” from directing films after the made-for-television Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, he comes back with another heist comedy along the lines of the Ocean’s films with Logan Lucky. But what made Soderbergh so fascinating among many other contemporaries was how he transitioned between making films for wider audiences and independent productions akin to Richard Linklater. And even when he made films for a more mainstream appeal, he still manages to retain the charm of his smaller productions – among many reasons Logan Lucky continues a streak of wonder from a diverse filmography. One end you’ll have a good time, another you’re finding some sort of odd experiment with his name on it – and Soderbergh somehow manages to remain intriguing with the many highs and lows of his own career.

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Silence (2016) – Review

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Growing up in a Catholic family, there’s a part of Silence that would have spoken towards my own experience. But I’ve grown up later with a lack of sureness in my faith and soon it became clear to me why Martin Scorsese’s most recent effort only were set to have grabbed me as much as it did. After Casino, Scorsese seems to have gone from a consistent track record to a more hit-and-miss run with an occasional gem like Bringing Out the Dead or The Wolf of Wall Street and then come disappointments like Shutter Island or The Departed. I feel happy enough to say that with Silence, Scorsese has indeed made his best film in the 21st century and thus his best film since Casino. Regrettably I was unable to have seen it in theaters and after having finally seen it, the wait was more than worth it. With Silence, what we have on the spot may be the closest thing we’ll ever get to a modern day Ingmar Bergman film in a sense.

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