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 →

Neil Armstrong Biopic First Man is One Giant Leap for Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling: TIFF Review

✯✯✯✯½

I’ll be perfectly honest, the idea of a biopic being made about Neil Armstrong was not something I could so easily be sold on but of course expectations would have been made higher with the fact that Damien Chazelle would be set to direct. Following up on La La Land, Chazelle doesn’t solely focus only on the trip to the moon and back, but the journey right from Earth all about what it would have taken to ensure that the moon landing would be as perfect as it was. But in capturing the life-threatening journey that would have ensured the safety of one man in order to make a giant leap for mankind through as much as a small step on the moon, what Damien Chazelle has created in First Man celebrates how far humanity can go if they really strive to remain together to achieve something that would come to define history.

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Blade Runner 2049 – Review

✯✯✯✯✯

The mere idea of a sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was always going to be troubling to me because the original is one of my favourite science fiction films, let alone one of my all-time favourite films. Seeing what Denis Villeneuve had done for the science fiction genre with his recent Arrival had only left me raising my hopes, and to say they were met is an understatement when talking about Blade Runner 2049. For not only is Blade Runner 2049 a sequel that expands beautifully upon the creativity that was shown in its predecessor but one built with the same thought and care which made the original as remarkable as it is. It isn’t a sequel that merely retreads a path that people are familiar with, but one that expands upon the ideas its predecessor had established forming not only a worthy sequel after a long period of time, yet also one destined to become a landmark of its generation in the same way the original film is.

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Song to Song – Review

✯✯✯✯

I feel almost at a point where I’ve reached “peak Malick” in which I don’t enjoy his recent output as much as I know some of his most dedicated fans do. I’ve already found myself struggling to connect with To the Wonder and perhaps my own personal feelings about this style got in the way with my own experience of Knight of Cups, but I feel like it has become so difficult to even immerse with Malick anymore. These were among many fears that I had with Song to Song, being another film that takes upon this fractured narrative, but to my own surprise (and eventual delight), I found myself liking this style once again. Regardless of my feelings about how Malick has found himself playing out for me, I’ve always been able to appreciate him as a distinctive experimenter and Song to Song not only signifies my growing respect for his work, but it’s also the first of his I’ve found myself able to say I liked since The Tree of Life. Continue reading →

Blue Valentine – Review

✯✯✯✯

I’ve seen Blue Valentine only two times in my life but I don’t suppose it’s the sort of film I’d really rush to revisit, resulting in this review coming straight from memory. Nevertheless it still remains what I believe to be Derek Cianfrance at his best, and so far, the only one that seems to have done anything much for me. Though I’ve been indifferent towards The Place Beyond the Pines and The Light Between Oceans, Blue Valentine is as close as I’ve gotten to finding something absolutely wonderful arising from him. Yet for the strong dedication I find inside of the craft I’ve always struggled finding compulsion to revisit it and none of it has anything to do with the film being bad at all, but because the film’s subject matter and how it has been approached always had been so troubling for myself. Nevertheless I’d imagine that was the intent and for what it is, it was a triumph.

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2016: The Standouts

It’s inevitable that after a passing year one must go about with talking upon what they’ve witnessed while time had gone on and with 2016 gone, a great year of cinema has indeed passed upon us and we’re only hoping for even more with a new one. In this blog entry, what I wish to cover are some of the best and worst films that I caught all throughout 2016 as of February 25, 2017. Continue reading →

La La Land – Review

✯✯✯½

Damien Chazelle’s ode to the classical era of Hollywood’s musicals in La La Land takes his viewers on a nostalgic trip for a good two hours – and while it runs, the pleasantness can be felt all the way through as if there were anything much more to ask. Where it needs to succeed, La La Land certainly manages to achieve its goal for Damien Chazelle’s aspiration to bring his own viewers back to such an era for Hollywood comes in with its own share of schmaltz and warmth – like films of said era. It’s nice to see one’s ode to something they love most in La La Land and maybe that was what was most important about the experience.

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Stay – Review

✯½

I’m not going to deny how a certain amount of concentration is required for films in order to get a grasp of their ideas, but when I think of a film like Stay, the way I see it is that it feels more like a film that wants you to concentrate without necessarily earning any of it because it just presents emptiness all around. All I can ever pick up from every oddity arising from the manner to which Stay had been made only went on to annoy me more, because it never seemed justified. Instead, it struck me as Marc Forster attempting to ape on David Lynch’s style, and doing it so poorly to the point I’m just sitting there for every minute while it lasts reminding myself I would much rather be spending that time watching Mulholland Drive. Continue reading →

The Big Short – Review

✯✯✯½

It’s interesting to see how Adam McKay would go from directing silly Will Ferrell comedies like Anchorman and The Other Guys to what would go to an Oscar contender much like this. It’s a rather impressive transition, because it just surprised me how effectively Adam McKay pulled off telling a story as important as this one. Granted, The Big Short is rather flawed but I found it to be a nonetheless rather enjoyable ride, yet it wasn’t such an easy film to piece together. It’s enjoyable in the sense that when the film is funny, it works quite well, but given the true story that the film is based on, the mannerisms to which it blends comedy and drama within the lead characters does not seem to feel as consistent as it should be. Continue reading →

The Place Beyond the Pines – Review

✯✯½

The Place Beyond the Pines is a very interesting case for myself because it’s a film which I remember being extremely fond of back when I first saw it, and over time and many revisits I’ve found myself liking it less and less each time. That’s not to say that I’ve rewatched it enough to think of it as a bad film, because it’s very far away from such a distinction but it certainly feels as if after having worked so well once, it ended up losing its own way within another point and in the end, a film which I remembered as something I thought rather highly of chimes out as a film which only left me all the more disconnected from it. It feels rather disappointing seeing what Derek Cianfrance is capable of when he directed Blue Valentine. Continue reading →