‘Da 5 Bloods’ Review: A Potent, if Indulgent Affair from Spike Lee

✯✯✯✯½

After watching BlacKkKlansman, the images that Spike Lee brings you at the film’s end stick with you. In many ways, Da 5 Bloods is as perfect a follow-up to said film as one can imagine, now starting with the hard-hitting footage of history leading up to the Vietnam War. As these bits of history lead into a story about African American veterans coming back together, Da 5 Bloods makes itself out to be Spike Lee retaining that sense of urgency – even at the cost of some pretty evident self-indulgence on his own end. Yet there’s still something worth looking into as Spike Lee doesn’t ever let go of that same energy as he continuously finds ways to adapt it into the days coming by.

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The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

This whole experience almost feels like having walked through an art gallery, trying to deconstruct art that we observe – for we still listen to someone explaining the context. Raúl Ruiz’s The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting is an experience to say the least, but it’s the question that it brings to what we see in the art medium that ultimately defines what we are to estimate out of life in the very end. Maybe that was the mystery that was being posed through The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting, because it’s a film that begs us the question about what it is that we truly call “art” for are we being deceived into thinking something may fall under such category, or maybe not. I’m not even sure how exactly did Raúl Ruiz form anything like this because the only thing that was on my mind after this hour-long art gallery trip had ended was how he managed to conceptualize something like this in his head.

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Margaret – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret is a film that feels troubled at the center much like the history behind its release: going towards lawsuits that ultimately delayed its release until 2011 (it was scheduled for a 2007 release) along with several edits having been made, leaving no sense of a definitive vision behind. Yet with all this having been said, it still works beautifully and almost in a sense feels like a journey that mirrors its struggle to reach the big screen. But there’s something more to which it calls for by referencing a specific poem through its own title, through its final verse, “it is Margaret you mourn for.” The doom that Margaret would have almost found itself at the risk of facing is still present in hand, but to what degree is it paying off? In Kenneth Lonergan’s film, it could not ever be more affecting than what he shows us here. Perhaps it may be a mess, but it also reinforces what works so perfectly about Margaret.

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The Last Face – Review

½

Wasting talent is one thing, but associating all of that with something nearly half as unforgivable as The Last Face is a whole other level. Sean Penn’s first directorial effort after Into the Wild has found the actor-director sinking himself down to a new low, maybe even the lowest that he’s hit in his entire career. And somehow, the word “exploitative” isn’t even enough to describe what’s wrong with The Last Face on just about every level because even an element that would make itself to appear as slightly redeeming irrelevant when discussing the product as a whole. It’s been a long while since I’ve come across something of such a rare sort of ugliness on a screen of any sort – and I’ll be amazed if I find anything else of this kind come out within this year. Penn is clearly a wonderfully talented actor and maybe his directing isn’t on the same level, but this sort of thing is just baffling for someone of his own kind.

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Mission: Impossible – Review

✯✯½

One of the most notable roles in Tom Cruise’s career as well as one of the most successful box office hits of Brian De Palma’s filmography, both for reasons I never understood completely. That’s not to say Mission: Impossible is a bad film because it’s very far away from that, but the trademarked name seems to be from what I’m seeing is the only reason to remember it but what about it makes everything a standout? As a particularly big Brian De Palma apologist, I’ve always struggled with the reputation that Mission: Impossible had formed. At least given its success the fact it managed to spawn a franchise is understandable, but is the original really as special as some say so? Continue reading →