Chappaquiddick review

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters,” declared then-candidate Donald Trump in the middle of the 2016 Republican primaries. Perhaps he was well acquainted with the chapter in the life of Ted Kennedy, the legendary “lion of the Senate,” chronicled in John Curran’s Chappaquiddick – and how it ultimately failed to move the needle among his constituents. Despite lies, misrepresentations and cover-ups, Kennedy’s involvement in the death of a political aide now serves as little more than a footnote on his Wikipedia page.

Curran, with stone-faced intent and brutal focus, makes the case that such an incident cannot help but illuminate the true character of a man. People may not need to reconcile Kennedy’s deficient response to a tragedy of his own creation with his legacy of championing liberal causes. But Chappaquiddick provides a sobering, non-ideological reminder that if such deeds do not become a part of a public figure’s narrative, then a frightening impunity for elected officials can reign.

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Breathe Review

As an innovator in the field of motion capture technology, Andy Serkis might possess a greater understanding of the nuances and capabilities of the human face than anyone working in cinema. The knowledge shows early on in Breathe, Serkis’ directorial debut, as Andrew Garfield’s protagonist Robin Cavendish begins to succumb to paralysis from polio. Serkis shoots his affliction primarily in extreme close-up, a camera length at which Garfield is more than capable at conveying nuance. With just the slightest shift of his glance or the quiver of his lip, Garfield conveys as much as his grandest gestures in other films.

Unsurprisingly, Garfield nails the immediate micro-level specificity necessitated by portraying someone with such a debilitating condition. He’s robbed of so many key acting tools: the scope to take in an entire scene, the ability to react in full, the emphasis in his extremities. Yet within this tightly proscribed frame, Garfield still manages the full expressive capabilities for which has garnered great acclaim. In Breathe, he captures that same moving range from elation to depression.

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Roman J. Israel, Esq. Review

Writer Dan Gilroy made an exciting directorial debut with 2014’s excellent Nightcrawler, a Los Angeles-based character study with a strong lead performance. Now Gilroy is back with yet another character study set in L/A. Sadly, lightning doesn’t strike twice for Gilroy – his new film, Roman J. Israel, Esq. is a mess.

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amc black lives matter series

Black Lives Matter is not going away. And as more cases of police brutality are unveiled each day, Hollywood begins to take more notice.

Television was the first to address the ongoing movement calling for less police violence targeting African Americans, with episodes of ScandalBlack-ish, and Dear White People setting aside their sleek or comedic facades to candidly tackle the topic head-on. And now AMC is developing a prestige drama about the topic, based on Washington Post journalist Wesley Lowery’s nonfiction book They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice

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Wayne's World - Mike Myers Joins Bohemian Rhapsody

It’s almost impossible to think of Queen’s signature tune “Bohemian Rhapsody” from their album A Night at the Opera without thinking of the sequence in Wayne’s World where Saturday Night Live veterans Mike Myers and Dana Carvey lip sync and head bang to their heart’s content. Therefore, it only makes sense that Mike Myers is currently in talks to take a role in the biopic about Freddie Mercury, the frontman of the aforementioned rock band. Read More »

the shape of water

Thank the movie gods for Guillermo del Toro. One of our best living filmmakers, del Toro crafts gorgeous, poetic films that combine genres to great effect. No one working today is making movies like the Crimson Peak filmmaker, and with The Shape of Water, del Toro may have made his masterpiece.

The Shape of Water is a poetic love story set during the Cold War, after John F. Kennedy’s Camelot has come to a tragic close. “The end of Camelot [was] the peak of the promise of the future,” del Toro said, “jet-fin cars, super fast kitchens, television, everything that if you’re white, Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual, you’re good. But if you’re anything else, you’re not so good. Then when Kennedy is shot and Vietnam escalates, and the disillusionment of that dream occurs, I don’t think that has healed.”

This is a love story, yes, but it’s about so much more. As is his custom, del Toro builds an entire world, and populates it with memorable, believable characters. The Shape of Water is also a fairy tale, and all good fairy tales need a princess.

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Downsizing Trailer

After playing the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival this month, Alexander Payne‘s latest film Downsizing has debuted a full theatrical trailer, giving us a glimpse at the director’s first sci-fi film as only he can deliver.

Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig star in the film as a couple who decide to abandon their lives in the normal-sized world in the innovative and planet-saving “downsized” community of Leisureland, New Mexico, a society created in the future to deal with overpopulation of the world. Watch the first Downsizing trailer below to see what this new movie looks like. Read More »

Daniel Dae Kim Hellboy

Now, this is more like it. After actor Ed Skrein stepped away from Lionsgate’s Hellboy reboot following controversy over whitewashing a Japanese-American character, a new report says that the studio is currently in talks with Lost and Hawaii Five-0 star Daniel Dae Kim to play the role of Major Ben Daimio.
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Wong Kar-Wai TV Series Heading to Amazon

Wong Kar-Wai has made an indelible mark on the cinema, helming foreign film classics like In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express. But even for a well-regarded director like Wong, the grass is starting to look a little greener on the TV side. And not only TV, but TV streaming.

That’s right, Wong Kar-Wai is the next auteur director to strike a deal with Amazon for a historical crime drama series called The Tong Wars, following filmmakers like Woody Allen, Barry Jenkins, and others who have made the leap from film to streaming.

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darkest hour review

It’s been a surprisingly big year for Dunkirk. Earlier this year, Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest and Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk both told stories about the evacuation of British troops from the beach at Dunkirk during World War II. Now Joe Wright, who also chronicled the events of Dunkirk in Atonement, tells yet another version of this story with Darkest Hour.

Darkest Hour is the behind-the-scenes look at not so much the evacuation itself, but the events leading up the evacuation. The film’s main focus is British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Like Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, Darkest Hour isn’t so much a biopic of a famous politician but rather a week-in-the-life type tale. As the film opens, parliament has lost faith in Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (Ronald Pickup) for underestimating the nazi threat.

Chamberlain is forced to resign, and the only man the parties seem to be willing to back is Churchill. But while he may have party support, Churchill will soon find his new position is even more challenging than he could’ve imagined.

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