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

✯✯✯✯✯

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.

Continue reading →

“Avengers: Endgame” Review: Achieving a Sense of Finality Within the Marvel Cinematic Universe

✯✯✯✯

**SPOILER WARNING: This review does not spoil Endgame, but spoilers for Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, and Captain Marvel are also brought up. If you have not seen the aforementioned films, read this review at your own risk.**

Although I’ve never loved any of the films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe I’ve always admired the impact that they left behind on modern culture and with the latest Avengers film there’s already a sense of finality to the first phase as these films continue coming out over the years. But the biggest challenge that Infinity War had already faced was how it could still manage to mix the stories of nearly twenty films to come together for one big face-off, and with two more films having followed since, Endgame already has us awaiting something even grander now that the second Ant-Man film and Captain Marvel have already gotten out of the way. At a running time of a little bit over three hours, Marvel already promises something of such a grand scale and to say the least, they’ve accomplished a task that almost seemed near impossible. For Endgame isn’t only the best of the four Avengers films but it’s also a film that utilizes the legacy that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has accomplished in a little over ten years in order to give viewers who have followed suit for the longest time more than what would already make a memorable closer. It’s a film that was made out of love for everything that made the Marvel Cinematic Universe so grand, and the results may not be perfect but also provide a satisfying climax.

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.

Continue reading →

Rising from the Shallow, A Star is Born is a Triumph: TIFF Review

✯✯✯✯

A Star is Born is a story that has already been remade twice prior to this, with the first remake starring Judy Garland being seen as the definitive version of the story – and it’s also one that has stayed with us in our memories for many years since. But because it’s also a story that became representative of what it feels like to go ahead and put your name out in the entertainment industry for oneself to take note of, we’ve already familiarized ourselves with it so much and for good reason at that. So with a newer take on the story being set once again around the world of music after the Barbra Streisand version, what would first-time director Bradley Cooper bring out with him and Lady Gaga playing the leads? To say the very least, the results also turned out to be so much more than what one could hope for – even myself at that. As far as the remakes of A Star is Born have gone, this truly is the best take since the Judy Garland version.

Continue reading →

Guardians of the Galaxy – Review

✯✯✯✯

I think it would be clear enough that I’m not a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was perhaps a prime factor regarding why my own opinion of James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy had turned out more favourable than my general opinion of their output and after having gone without seeing it since its theatrical run, it was nice enough to find that it still remained as strong as it did. With this and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2014 has proven itself to be the strongest year for the MCU because their offerings then didn’t end up feeling like they were constricted by the grating formula to which Marvel has been sticking to over all the years, which was really refreshing to have found for films that have carried their name. This freedom was what the MCU had needed after all these years and James Gunn only utilizes it in the best manner.

Continue reading →

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Review

✯✯✯

For once I found myself skeptical of a Marvel Cinematic Universe film because the first Guardians of the Galaxy actually proved itself to be something that stood out amidst the rest of the crowd because it surprisingly happened to be one of only two films thus far from them that I really liked (the other being Captain America: The Winter Soldier). Naturally, the thought of a sequel would actually be met with warmth compared to the rest of their output but skepticism would also rise in regards to what it would end up turning the film into, and to some extent it’s what I got as always from the most typical MCU film. As promised from the return of James Gunn as writer and director another vibrant and colourful film would come back like the first but perhaps sticking to the same schtick that the first one carried only wore out the charm it had, at the film’s very worst moments.

Continue reading →

The Place Beyond the Pines – Review

✯✯½

The Place Beyond the Pines is a very interesting case for myself because it’s a film which I remember being extremely fond of back when I first saw it, and over time and many revisits I’ve found myself liking it less and less each time. That’s not to say that I’ve rewatched it enough to think of it as a bad film, because it’s very far away from such a distinction but it certainly feels as if after having worked so well once, it ended up losing its own way within another point and in the end, a film which I remembered as something I thought rather highly of chimes out as a film which only left me all the more disconnected from it. It feels rather disappointing seeing what Derek Cianfrance is capable of when he directed Blue Valentine. Continue reading →