‘The Fabelmans’ TIFF Review: Steven Spielberg’s Bittersweet Ode to the Magic of Movies

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Over his long and incredibly prolific career, Steven Spielberg shows yet another side to his own filmmaking that only reaffirms his status as one of the greatest working American filmmakers. To a filmmaker like Steven Spielberg, merely watching the movies alone isn’t a magical experience, but the building blocks for making them are just as magical – and have shaped an entire world for him. But the greatest thrill about watching Spielberg taking his audience to his own childhood is that for those of us who have been watching his films for so long, he’s showing us where everything we loved about his works has come about, in a work that’s clearly an extension of himself in The Fabelmans.

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Jaime’s Film Diary: March 15, 2020

As expected, I’ve been keeping my Letterboxd up to date – so here’s yet another update for here in regards to what I have been watching as of late.

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12 Years a Slave, a Harrowing Confrontation of America’s Past Mistakes and One of Humanity’s Greatest Tragedies: Review

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Steve McQueen’s third feature film sees the British filmmaker returning back to the roots of adapting history to the screen, but much like Hunger, he only ever remains so uneasy yet his perspective can only make clearer what it really felt like to suffer at the hands of slavery in America. It’s one thing to note the very willingness that Steve McQueen has when it comes to bringing these stories to the big screen for as difficult as they may end up being, but as uncompromising his approach may be, his choice not to hold back already feels eye-opening. From watching 12 Years a Slave you’re made to see the very hell that Solomon Northup had been made to live through in a world that only tried to establish him as being of a lesser kind; but McQueen leaves you wondering the very extent to which we truly have moved further as a species. It’s one among many things that solidifies why Steve McQueen is among the best working filmmakers, but even at showing the most difficult atrocities that one can be made to endure there’s an incredible sense of empathy that his approach evokes that makes 12 Years a Slave a powerful experience.

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There Will Be Blood is a Crowning Achievement in the Highest Order

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Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood is a film of many great moments, but between each of the many sequences that we have com to recognize over the years comes rewarding buildup and those great moments end up feeling much greater. But how exactly do you cover something that appeals to every sense the same way that There Will Be Blood does? For one, it would already be easy enough to say that Paul Thomas Anderson is one of the best working American filmmakers, but it’s just amazing to think about how a director of his age can so smoothly transition between completely different points of time and settings and they still feel so distinct under his own vision. You can start off by saying that Paul Thomas Anderson is one of our best working filmmakers, because there’s no other working American filmmaker that has established this consistency of making films that always end up becoming the best of their own kind.

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Okja – Review

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Netflix’s feature films have never been particularly great ones at that but the idea that Bong Joon-ho was directing one to be distributed under their name only left me feeling optimistic. Bong Joon-ho only left behind a sign of promise when he transitioned towards directing English-language films with Snowpiercer and with his second Korean-American production, what has come by goes beyond just being exciting. It only wears that on the outside, but then comes by something far more thoughtful almost akin to the early work of Steven Spielberg, drawing upon something far more impactful. And as far as Netflix-distributed original features have gone, Okja is not only the most exciting one of the bunch but it also might very well be the best one by far. And by the standards of their original features, it says a lot for what Bong Joon-ho provided in Okja is a fantastic film as expected of him.

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Where the Wild Things Are – Review

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When I was much younger, Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are was a story I held so dear to my heart and I always wanted my parents reading it to me before heading into bed. In 2009, the time finally came when I was seeing something that defined my childhood coming to the screen. It’s hard enough translating a beloved piece of what helped me growing up onto the big screen in this manner but somehow, what Spike Jonze managed to provide had triumphed and brought back so many fond memories for myself. For not only was it those memories that came back to me which struck me in awe at Where the Wild Things Are, but Spike Jonze’s incredible understanding of childhood that only strike for more imagination.

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Swiss Army Man – Review

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If you saw an ad for Swiss Army Man, you would get a clear idea of how weird it all will play out to be but what you made of the ads will decide in the end what you think of the final product. I was never particularly expecting much because I found the trailers to be ridiculous (and not in the good manner at that) and who knew, my reaction to the actual film was no different. There’s a level to which I can appreciate weirdness and ridiculousness on film but the delivery presented by Swiss Army Man was so juvenile in the worst sense – it’s a case in which weirdness just fills up the entire hour and a half long running time but in the very end, it achieves nothing for it relishes inside its own quirkiness for no other reason than just to be quirky. Continue reading →

Knight and Day – Review

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Mismatched pairings aren’t particularly new for action-comedies, but it’s easy to do them just wrong and Knight of Day isn’t any different. It starts off from having Tom Cruise, an actor who can be extremely charismatic if he’s inside of a role that fits him, paired together with Cameron Diaz, who has always hit me as nothing more than a bland if pretty face. Those aren’t the least of my many problems that arise from Knight and Day, but with that factor out there, it’s already a bad sign. There are moments in Knight and Day that are funnier than all of the rest, but at best it’s only a light chuckle as opposed to what the film wished it could have brought out even more. Stuff really doesn’t get all that much worse from right down there though, but Knight and Day still never finds itself working even with the effort it tries to display. Continue reading →