2018: Another Year of Cinema Come and Gone

This year was a real game changer for a person like myself. To kick things off, it was the first year in which I was able to attend TIFF as a press member rather than as any other audience member. It was a defining moment for myself, though I don’t want to brag a little too much about what happened there. It was just a good year for cinema in general. That’s all I can really say, and I want to bring more attention to the many films that I absolutely loved this year – and so many of them came around this year and so forth. We’re already nearing the end of a decade, and through the good and the bad, the cinema has always been able to provide nothing but the greatest pleasures through and through. Although as we look through the films that have come to define 2018 as a whole, there were many surprises that came along the way just as there were disappointments – all of which came in between the very best and the worst in cinema through the year. So without further ado, let us begin. 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.

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Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite is His Funniest, Most Beautiful, and Most Tragic Effort Yet: Review

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The Favourite marks another shift in pace for Yorgos Lanthimos, but it’s still one that feels every bit as absurd as one you would expect for him. But his style had always been an acquired taste and I’ve never exactly found it easy to get into his work, but the case with The Favourite is something else entirely. This is the sort of film that feels perfect for the sort of style that Yorgos Lanthimos has been known for over the years, for every moment of it that carries his distinctively dark sense of humour also finds itself in a perfect spot, by making fun of the monarchy – for their interactions only ever feel every bit as stinted and as awkward as one would ever expect them to be, trying to cope with how much power they have over the worlds in which they control. But The Favourite also may be a fitting enough title when talking about what Yorgos Lanthimos has accomplished here, for not only might it be my favourite of his filmography but it’s also the hardest that I’ve ever found myself laughing during a comedy in so long.

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Disobedience Review: Lelio’s First English Language Film is All For Freedom

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Sebastián Lelio’s Disobedience is a film that feels distant at the surface, but in that sense of distance you already find a greater connection between yourself and its characters is being made in how the two of them feel within this environment. In telling the story of a love triangle set within a world that leaves its characters feeling trapped, Lelio’s film feels disconnected from the world in which it is set in. But that’s only the least of what makes Lelio a filmmaker to look out for in recent memory, let alone for what would become the Chilean director’s first film in the English language. Yet for as much as I’m not exactly convinced that every aspect of Disobedience works, what I cannot deny is how taken in I was by this film’s empathy for the experience of living under a cover – a life of falsehood that one is forced to “obey” for their life.

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The Fountain – Review

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There was a point I remember having loved the films of Darren Aronofsky, and back then I remembered not liking The Fountain much. But now I’ve only found his films to be strenuous experiences aside from The Wrestler, and with all of this in mind I was not especially compelled to give The Fountain another go. To say the least, I’ve only found myself warming up to The Fountain more on rewatch, because it seems to be a case where Aronofsky is both maintaining his own style and telling a story that I’m not even sure can be repeated in the same manner. Aronofsky had always been a director who appears to do so much for the eyes yet his narratives are not quite the same level, oftentimes to the most excruciating results (Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan), but The Fountain is a story that only feels right being as showy as it is, it’s Aronofsky at his most expressive.

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The Lobster – Review

✯✯½

I think I find myself enjoying Yorgos Lanthimos more in theory rather than in storytelling. The first time I saw Dogtooth I remember having been so shaken by its satire to the point that I ended up feeling guilty about myself for having found it so darkly funny and I found Alps to be one that echoes that same sort of dryness although not with the same impact. Something about The Lobster just hits me in that manner but I can’t put my finger on it, because I just find myself at odds with how I end up feeling about the final effect it leaves behind. At times brilliant and other times maybe a tad too weird for its own sake, it’s easy to see why one would be put off. On first watch I remember having found myself extremely impressed but on a second watch, said effect seems to have faded.

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The Light Between Oceans – Review

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Ever since his debut, Blue Valentine, it seems as if I’m only finding Derek Cianfrance to be all the more difficult to go along with because it seems as if he tries to tackle much bigger ideas and within no time, he’s so consumed in them much to the point that he merely just gets lost in them. It was already apparent in The Place Beyond the Pines, but unfortunately given what more he is allowed to handle directing a period piece, it seems as if he continues to find himself swimming inside of a puddle without being able to put everything together properly. While I certainly have my admiration going out towards Derek Cianfrance and his ambition for what he wants to make out of the material that he is carrying, there’s only a certain level where it can also take him as he only ends up getting too caught up in all of it, and The Light Between Oceans is clear evidence. Continue reading →

The Lovely Bones – Review

½

The afterlife is one of many things but I’m not even sure Peter Jackson had the slightest idea of what he could do with the concept at hand. Yes, it’s visually very nice but that’s only what adds more in part about what I absolutely despise about The Lovely Bones. Sure, it’s visually attractive but under that veil is what I find to be one of the most abhorrent messages to be attached onto film in such a manner for it simply made me feel unclean in the very end for even having watched it. To think, how does Peter Jackson go from The Lord of the Rings all the way down to something as utterly despicable as this? Continue reading →