Tag Archives: movie reviews

PULP FICTION Podcast – Films that changed cinema

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Today WILDsound Launches it’s Ten-part mini series on Ten Films That Shaped Cinematic History! Heads-up! This isn’t in chronological order! Pulp fiction falls somewhere right in the middle, but that’s no problem with us, we are stoked to share it with you!

THE POST (USA 2017) ****

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The Post Poster
Trailer

A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country’s first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events.

Director:

Steven Spielberg

 

An ideal time for a picture such as THE POST to be released is this day and time when the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the Trump Presidency.  No matter how much President Trump tries to make it right or criticize media, he is still made fun of every night on the talk shows, and especially on SNL by Alec Baldwin.  

The timing is also relevant for two reasons.  The film is Meryl Streep’s comeback at Trump after he made the remark of her being the most over-rated actress.  he demonstrates her acting prowess at taking down the Nixon Presidency or any other Presidency for that matter.  The second is the banding of critics and other publications to take down Disney when the studio decided to ban the L.A. Times in retaliation for a scathing article written against them. 

Spielberg, director of 50 or so films as of date, goes for theatrics, clearly from the start of the film to the end.  Meryl Streep is given the grand theatrical entrance in the bedroom scene where she coughs and papers get thrown on the floor.  The camera concentrates on the performances on both Hanks and Streep, as if it were begging them to be noticed for Oscar nods.  The actual crime, the incidents of the coverups of the four governments are only briefly mentioned, with hardly any details.  The opening sequence of one failure attack in Vietnam is supposed to do the trick.  

THE POST is the drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents.

The script goes on to push all the right buttons to give the audience a feel-good feeling of elation.  “The Government has lied about the Vietnam War for 30 years.  The way they lied has tone brought out into the open.” says  Bradley. The government is then pursuing the security breach.  The announcement of the result of the court as to whether the Washington Post would be acquitted is grandly staged.  Even the words of the judge are quoted as coming from there American fore-fathers.

It is interesting to compare Spielberg’s other political entry on American Presidents – LINCOLN.  In that film, President Abraham Lincoln was treated with respect and grandeur while in THE POST Nixon is considered nothing more than two-faced rat.  Nixon invites no Washington Post press for his daughter’s wedding as a result apart incident and later bans the Post from the White House showing him not only guilty of being a sore-loser but one craving for revenge.  His revenge is shown at the closing of the film as he Watergate scandal begins, as everyone knows.  But the scene is still a satisfying one.

THE POST and the upcoming THE GREATEST SHOWMAN are 20th Century Fox’s Oscar hopefuls, both opening at Christmas.  Both are crowd pleasers and it will be interesting to see what happens.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrXlY6gzTTM

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This week’s movie reviews: Hollywood and Indy

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Film Review: FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

The book contains the history of Magizoology and describes 85 magical species found around the world. To get into the spirit of Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts (not shown in the film), provides the Foreword and explains the purpose of the special edition of this book (the Comic Relief charity). At the end, he tells the reader, “…The amusing creatures described hereafter are fictional and cannot hurt you.” He repeats the Hogwarts motto: “Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus”, Latin for “Never tickle a sleeping dragon”.

Film Review: QUAND ON A 17 ANS (BEING 17) (France 2016) ****

Directed by Téchiné with a script he wrote in collaboration with Céline Sciamma, the film follows the romantic and sexual awakening of two seventeen year old boys as their initial animosity, expressed in violence, morphs into love. For the not-so French literate, Being 17 borrows its title from the second half-line of the first verse of Roman, (1870) by Arthur Rimbaud: On n’est pas sérieux quand on a dix-sept ans.

Film Review: AN EYE FOR AN EYE (Documentary)

Israeli filmmaker Ilan Ziv’s (SIX DAYS IN JUNE) documentary tells the story of death row inmate Mark Stroman and the friendship he forges with one of his surviving victims Rais Bhuiyan, who set about to save Stroman from death row as part of his Muslim faith beliefs.

Film Review: NOCTURNAL ANIMALS. Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal

The protagonist of the piece is a successful Los Angeles arts gallery owner and designer by the name of Susan (Amy Adams). Susan often has sleepless nights and could thus be classified as a nocturnal animal. Her ex-husband Tony (Jake Gyllenhaal) has recently completed a book titled NOCTURNAL ANIMALS, about three redneck thugs who prey on a family after carjacking them. Tony sends Susan a copy of his manuscript to read as a privileged reader.

Movie Review: TENGU: BIRDMAN OF THE MOUNTAINS (2016)

Tengu: Birdman of the Mountains,  is a film that will delight you with its symbology, its imagery and it’s excellent fight sequences, but it goes far beyond that. This film represents of genre-hybrid that should be welcomed into cinema with open arms. It is highly commendable thing to be able to successfully blend genres together, and this film is able to do that. With effortless ease a viewer can watch this film and find something in it to enjoy even if they are not conventionally a viewer of action.

Movie Review: THE TRAP (2016)

Subtle and steamy, with mounting tension in every scene, The Trap is a suspense film, turned mystery film, turned action film. Cleverly designed with red-herrings and hidden details, there must be a special nod of appreciation to the film’s editor.

Movie Review: MOTEL MOTEL (2016)

This film makes nods to several well established cult classics, such as Pulp Fiction to name one of many. The unreliable narrator, the highly subjective non-lateral plot and the avant-garde supernatural air, make the film a cultural cinematic work of art. Think Wes Anderson, if Wes Anderson was dark and perturbed and less whimsical.

 

This week’s Movie Reviews:

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Film Review: BLEED FOR THIS (USA 2014) ***1/2

As the title of the film suggests, the success of a boxer depends also on how well he can receive hard punishment in the ring. For real-life Rhode Island boxer Vinnie Paz, the biggest hit he was dealt with was not in the ring, but in life, getting into a car accident that left him almost paralysed.

Film Review: THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN (USA 2016)

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN is writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s debut feature. It is a coming-of-age story of a very awkward high-school junior, Nadine (played by Oscar Nominee Hailee Steinfeld from TRUE GRIT) who cannot get along with anyone including her own family – except for her father who dies early in the film and one best friend that she loses. Nadine mopes about the entire film till she finally grows up. For a film about such a loser, Craig’s film is surprisingly edge, funny and feel-good, though her script can be quite manipulative at times. But manipulative in a good way, one could also argue.

Film Review: ALMOST CHRISTMAS (USA 2016)

The premise is the patriarch praying for his family to get along. If they can honour that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle. And somewhat of a miracle that a film with this well-worn plot would turn out any good.

Film Review: ARRIVAL (USA 2016) ****

The Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve has never failed to impress. From his early French Canadian films UN 32 AOUT SUR TERRE and MAELSTROM to his English Hollywood films SICARIO, PRISONERS and ENEMY, Villenueve has transcended different genres though his films share one common trait. There is the human angst mixed into a thriller/mystery story. The same can be said in his latest, most ambitious and biggest production to date – ARRIVAL. The ARRIVAL here could refer ever to the first contact of the aliens or the birth of the baby girl to the film’s protagonist, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams).

Film Review: TROLLS (USA 2016) ***

The TROLLS are colourful figurine-sized doll characters who are known to be happy all the time. They sing, dance and hug constantly. But the happiness is now under threat as creatures known as Bergens have discovered the trolls and eating them up. They do so in order to be happy as Bergens do not know how to dance or sing or be happy. The name Bergens is likely derived from the coastal city of Bergen in Norway, the only country in the world known for trolls.

Film Review: DOCTOR STRANGE (USA 2016) ***

It also helps that the film is directed by a horror film director Scott Derrickson rather than an action director. Derrickson directed the two SINISTER films, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE including the Hollywood version of DELIVER US FROM EVIL, the latter of which contained a lot of dead-pan humour, repeated in DOCTOR STRANGE. Those who have watched Benedict Cumberbatch in real-life know that this actor is prefect for deadpan straight face comedy.

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Best of Hollywood and Indy Movie Reviews from around the word. CLICK the links and read the reviews. 

Film Review: TROLLS (USA 2016) ***

The new Dreamworks animation released by 20th Century Fox, TROLLS is a happy enough 3D computer-animated musical buddy comedy film based on the dolls of the same name created by Dane Thomas Dam way back in 1959.

Film Review: DOCTOR STRANGE (USA 2016) ***

The Marvel superhero DOCTOR STRANGE gets his first debut on the big screen complete with 3D. Though the character has appeared in a TV movie and animated film before, he is given a fresh treatment which is a good thing considering that there are already too many super hero action movies each year.

HACKSAW RIDGE (USA/Australia 2016) ***** Top 10

After about a decade absence from the director’s chair (his last film was the misunderstood APOCALYPTO in 2006), the director of BRAVEHEART and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST returns in top form as if redeem in himself of all the bad press he had garnered since he said and did some foolish things. It’s another situation in this 21st century social media era where the outside events of the director “tarnish” the actual film itself. Think “Birth of the Nation”. Two films that should potentially receive multiple Oscar nominations. But will they? And should they?

Film Review: THE DAVID DANCE

The film tackles quite a few issues. At the film start, David listens and calls a rival radio show in which an Anita Byrant type woman, June Hendley (Jordan Baker) makes her stance against homosexuals. She is against gay marriage, gay sex and almost everything gay just like the original Byrant. An easy target no doubt, David through his show gets the better of her. David then meets his new technician Chris (Guy Adkins) who pines for him.

Film Review: THE VIOLIN TEACHER (Brazil 2016) ***

THE VIOLIN TEACHER, which opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, serves both as an art house film and a crowd pleaser. From the film’s very first frame, the audience sees the protagonist, a talented but tortured soul named Laerte (Lazaro Ramos) unable to fulfil his promise during an important violin audition for the famous São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra.

Movie Review: TENGU: BIRDMAN OF THE MOUNTAINS (2016)

This poetic fantasy action film, hailing from the United Kingdom and coming to us from director Samuel Smith, is a study in genre splicing. Tengu: Birdman of the Mountains has the poetic elements of a romance, the luxurious visuals of a fantasy, the tension and suspense of a thriller, and the fight scenes of a high-concept action film. Told through the eyes of a child, our hero watches as his highly skilled father, endowed with supernatural natural strength from his Chi, fights off terrifying bird-like villains from this family’s mountain home. Packed with stunning fight sequences that highlight the filmmakers’ excellent technical skills, this piece is a must-see for anyone who enjoys action.

Movie Review: BARROW (2016)

The crime mystery science-fiction short Barrow, coming to us from Australia courtesy director Wade Savage, is a powerful, efficient, masterful piece of cinema. It makes nods to a wide variety of genre motifs including mystery, crime, science fiction and horror, among others, and integrates them seamlessly. The story is rich and engaging, following the story of a young forensic scientist on her quest to understand the mystery forces that saved her life during a brutal and horrifying attack on her family years before.

Movie Review: BLACKWELL SUMMERS MYSTERY (2016)

Blackwell Summers Mystery, a 12 minute American short from director Emily Dell, focuses on Grace Blackwell and Raven Summers, two sexy detectives with their own private investigation company in the heart of the 1970s. Smart, cunning and sexy, both ladies use their strengths and skills to take down the villain while leaving space for the audience to laugh the whole time.

Movie Review: MOTEL MOTEL (2016)

Rich in symbology and complex layering, Motel Motel this crime mystery film by Belgian director Ellen J. Babeliowsky. It follows our hero, Hjalmar, finds himself sharing an old motel room with an unpleasant partner- a severed human ear. This ear disturbs him, erodes him, and ultimately drives him to act by reaching the motel’s owner to change his room. Curiously, no one believes his story- that his room is occupied by a human ear.

Film Review: INFERNO (Da Vinci Code 3!)

In a few years time, you can argue, no one will even remember Ron Howard’s INFERNO, based on Dan Brown’s 2013 novel of the same name. It will open around the world, make a little money for the studios and talent, and then it will just disappear.

 

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AMERICAN PASTORAL (USA 2016) ***

Ewan McGregor makes his directing debut and stars alongside Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly and Dakota Fanning in this ambitious adaptation of Philip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, about a “perfect” American family that is torn apart by the social and political upheavals of the 1960s. One must give the actor credit for choosing such a dauntless task as a adapting a Roth novel for his directorial debut.

JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK (USA/China 2016) ***

The plot is nothing spectacular. Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever. The story contains a few forgettable plot twists.

THE HANDMAIDEN (South Korea 2016) ***

Park’s film is told in three chapter’s from the points of view of the story’s three characters. The film contains lots of flashbacks, with each flashback containing possibly a different meaning to the story than when the scene first appears. It is tight and clever editing, but too many of these lend to a bit of confusion. A few parts at the end are also confusing like the one in which Fujiwara rows a boat in a misty lake with the two women in it.

TOWER (USA 2016) ****

When father and son order a bottle of SAINT AMOUR in a restaurant, the film starts to bubble as the pair take off on an educational wine tour around the wine regions of France. Surprisingly, the education comes in a different form, as the two discover more about life, women and their relationship towards each other, rather than in the wines they savour.

THE ACCOUNTANT (USA 2016) ***

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) is a mathematics savant (autistic) with more affinity for numbers than people. His childhood is traced, in flashback till the present. As a child, Christian’s military father believes that difference is perceived as a threat to most people. To protect his son, he forces Christian to better himself in martial-arts.

Read the best of SHORT FILM Movie Reviews – by Kierston Drier.

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Today’s TIFF Reviews – Sept. 18th

Read the best of reviews from films at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016: https://festivalreviews.org/category/tiff-2016-movie-reviews/

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: CARRIE PILBY (USA 2016) ***

Being too smart might be detrimental to ones life. Based on Caren Lissner’s best-selling 2003 novel, CARRIE PILBY is a story of a awkward teen who graduated Harvard at the age of 19 and lives in a small NYC apartment paid for by her London-based father (Gabriel Byrne).

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: BOYS IN THE TREES (Australia 2016)

BOYS UNDER TREES contains an exciting premise – a coming-of-age story with gay overtones set in a small Australian town where the protagonist seeks to leave for the big city. The action takes place during Halloween where goals and Aborigine black magic exists.

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: AQUARIUS (Brazil/France 2016) ****

Filho’s AQUARIUS is again set in Recife, the seaside neighbourhood that he made famous in his last film NEIGHBOURING SOUNDS.

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: ARRIVAL (USA 2016) ****

Finally arrives a sci-fi futuristic alien film without the blow ups, collapsing buildings and end of the world scenario. Well, all of the above might still happen but it is up to theoretical physicist, Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and linguistics expert, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams0 to find out the purpose of the landings.

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: SNOWDEN (USA/Germany 2015) ***1/2

Renegade filmmaker Oliver Stone knows how to get the blood of an audience flowing. He demonstrated this ability in the Oscar Winning PLATOON, political JFK and the controversial NATURAL BORN KILLERS. One can expect the same from his new film about whistleblower, Edward SNOWDEN (Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: WITHOUT NAME (Ireland 2016) ***

Low budget and rather slow moving suspense thriller by first time director Lorcan Finnegan is a moody atmospheric piece set in a dense forest where some secret lies. A land surveyor, Eric (Alan McKenna) is in the throes of a midlife crisis.

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: UNA (UK 2016) ***|

Though UNA is based on the David Harrower play and directed by stage director Benedict Andrews, the film does not feel like a play. But it does remind one of the plot of Mamet’s OLEANA, a two handler where a student accuses her professor of sexual assault.

TIFF 2016 Movie Review: SEARCHERS (Canada 2016) ***

Director Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) returns with this Arctic epic inspired by the classic John Ford western, THE SEARCHERS. though it feels at times like an Inuit version of TAKEN.