The Joys of Spider-Man’s Long Lasting Legacy with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: A Review

✯✯✯✯½

I’ve never been the biggest Spider-Man fan growing up, even to the point I find Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy quite overrated minus Spider-Man 2. Yet watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse I never found myself watching Spider-Man in the same way that I’ve always done so for way too long. As a matter of fact, this is also the first time in which I’d actually felt I was watching a take on Spider-Man that I’ve been waiting on for way too long, one that feels like the sort of superhero film I’d wanted to see all my life. It’s a superhero film that embraces everything that made the subgenre resonate so perfectly in our minds, because of how much it embraces its comic book roots. And for being the perfect throwback in that sense, not only does Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse make for an incredibly satisfying viewing experience, but it also feels like a film that reaches out to best carry the spirit of what makes its comic book roots so distinctive – and one that even utilizes its own medium to become something far more in the end. It’s only fitting enough to admit that this is the most excited I’ve been for a sequel to a superhero film in a while, if they were ever going to make one at that.

Continue reading →

Barry Jenkins Gives a New Life to James Baldwin’s Legacy with If Beale Street Could Talk: TIFF Review

✯✯✯✯✯

If there’s anything to be said about Barry Jenkins, his track record is already setting himself up to become one of this generation’s best working filmmakers after his Academy Award-winning second film Moonlight, so how does he manage to follow up with his third film? Adapting the words of James Baldwin onto the screen shouldn’t seem like such an easy task for just about any writer-director, yet Barry Jenkins shows himself to be the perfect choice with relative ease. But as every small detail starts to come together in order to form what Barry Jenkins manages to bring to life in his own adaptation of If Beale Street Could Talk, you already start to feel that this film was so clearly made out of love for the text of Baldwin. This is a romance story on the surface, but Jenkins also takes that template to make something more meditative, just as Baldwin’s own social critiques would have inspired from American society back in his time – for watching this film we only find his message is still alive. There’s no better way to put how fully realized an effort like this is, and for all I know it may very well be one of the decade’s most beautiful films.

Continue reading →

Widows is the Most Captivating Heist Film in Years and Stretches Beyond Genre Conventions: TIFF Review

✯✯✯✯✯

Steve McQueen’s fourth feature film marks the British filmmaker’s first foray into genre filmmaking fresh off his Best Picture win for 12 Years a Slave, and arguably a case for what may also be his best film yet. Based on the ITV miniseries of the same name created by Lynda La Plante, what McQueen and Gone Girl writer Gillian Flynn have created is not just any other thriller but a very special one indeed – one where it feels every position carries a sense of power over one another. It’s a thriller that carries all the best elements of the genre, but also something so much more thoughtful in its presentation it feels outright irresistible. Yet this is only a fraction of where Widows’s greatness comes by, if more needed to be said about why Steve McQueen is one of this generation’s best working filmmakers. But knowing that a filmmaker like Steve McQueen and a writer like Gillian Flynn can join forces in creating what also happens to be one of the most emotionally visceral thriller films to be released in recent memory.

Continue reading →