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.

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Flatliners (2017) – Review

½

The original Flatliners from 1990 always had carried nothing more than an absolutely ridiculous premise, so it’s among many of the reasons the existence of this new film is baffling. Being a sequel to said film, it was already hard enough distinguishing it as such when it barely even feels like such and more along the lines of a lazy remake – and even if it were said to be a remake, it wouldn’t change just how cheap everything feels on its own. But among many more reasons I’m absolutely baffled at the existence of Flatliners is the extent to which it will be gathering any of its appeal because many theater trips I’ve made within the past few months have shown at least one trailer (to quite an annoying degree) – only to find here I’m unsure what Niels Arden Oplev even wanted to make.

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The Bad Batch – Review

✯½

Although I wasn’t so much a fan of Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night I had a great feeling from the style that she would only build up to become something more but from her second feature, The Bad Batch, I’ve only found myself growing increasingly cautious in approaching her future work now. For as much as I found myself able to admire A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as a form of visual experimentation, there seemed to be something far more restrictive coming in regards to what The Bad Batchwas trying to do with its own narrative – for at its worst it either becomes needlessly disgusting or outright boring, yet at its best we have a charismatic performance or two. If anything felt more fitting in describing what The Bad Batch felt like, it was an exploitation film that seemed to overreach beyond what it really was at its core.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Review

✯✯½

Gareth Edwards seems to have come a long way from his debut, the minimalist Monsters soon going on to directing a new American reboot of Godzilla, which had its moments but ultimately proved itself a move too risky for a big name franchise, for what was provided from a director only known for a minimalist science fiction film would present something expository in the end. Now, he goes behind Rogue One, the first ever spin-off for the Star Wars franchise and the best one could ever hope for is something new to learn about how the prequels and the original trilogy have come to link together, but afterwards I was left pondering what significance did a new story even have on the rest of the films because amidst the enjoyable moments we have to trudge through exposition.

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