The Addams Family Review

Arriving with the attitude that, well, there always has to be something new playing in theaters, The Addams Family ends up feeling like filler. That is, of course, the 2019 animated film The Addams Family, not entirely to be confused with the 1991 film of the same name or its 1993 sequel Addams Family Values. “Not entirely”, though, are the operative words to consider, because some aspects of this animated film are more indebted to Barry Sonnenfeld’s delightfully deadpan live-action comedies than they are the Charles Addams New Yorker cartoons that first introduced the world to this murderous family next door. No matter what the inspiration, this new Addams Family has the unmistakable, unavoidable whiff of cinematic leftovers.

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Sibyl Review

The title character in Sibyl (Viginie Efira) weaves herself a web of bedlam, not admitting that she has ensnared herself for the majority of the film. Her toxicity spills over into people’s lives. By willfully absorbing other people’s lives and allowing their troubles to fester her long existing issues, she’s in for a mess. Not to mention, said people ensnared in her web had already weaved their own toxic webs, now tangling in hers.

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To the Ends of the Earth Review

I’ve been in a spot where the young Yoko (Atsuko Maeda) was (or maybe still in it): an existential anxiety about your prospects. For anyone who has ever done film production before, you know that small filmmaking roles can be a gateway to your desired grander opportunity. At this point in her life, Yoko is disillusioned with her position as a host of a reality travel show trailed by a trifling all-male crew in Uzbekistan. At first, Yoko treats her position like an unwanted obligation since she has been pining for better—or something she calls “better.” Now she fears she may be in stasis rather than moving forward toward her desired destination.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s To the Ends of the Earth encapsulates one woman’s blossoming from a reserved drone into a willing participant with Maeda’s subtle dynamism from a perpetually placid and pouty countenance to a focused visage.

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gemini man review

“I’m having trouble looking in the mirror lately,” says Henry Brogan (Will Smith), one of the world’s best assassins. He’s spent a large chunk of his career bumping off bad guys for the government, but now he wants to hang up his guns and retire at the ripe old age of 51. He’s tired of killing people, and for the first time in his deadly career, he’s actually starting to grow what might be considered a conscience. But if Henry thought looking in the mirror was hard, just wait until he comes face to face with a new enemy: himself.

A younger, cloned Henry (played by a digitally de-aged Smith) has come calling, setting the stage for a big Will Smith vs. Will Smith action extravaganza wrapped-up in a package called Gemini Man. All the pieces are there, and those pieces rest in the able hands of director Ang Lee. So why is the end result so curiously lifeless? At some point, Lee got too caught up with the tech at work here and forgot to focus on a moving narrative. The end result is more video game than movie.

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Young Ahmed Review

Belgian neorealist master filmmakers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne make films that might focus primarily on individuals, but they always echo back to some larger trend occurring in society. Similarly, there’s usually a divide in their movies between what happens in the plot and what their stories are truly about. Until their latest film, Young Ahmed, the Dardennes always made film that did not feel like the themes were the starting point – they were an organic outgrowth of their deeply human tales.

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‘Joker’ Spoiler Discussion

joker trailer new

On the October 7, 2019 episode of /Film Daily, /Film editor-in-chief Peter Sciretta is joined by /Film managing editor Jacob Hall and writer Chris Evangelista to have a spoiler-filled discussion about Joker.

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new york film festival 2019 week 1

As we head into the second week of the 57th annual New York Film Festival, let’s look back at the best that week 1 of the festival had to offer us.

The prestigious film festival kicked off on a strong note with Martin Scorsese’s latest mob masterpiece, The Irishman, and only kept it up from there. Nadav Lapid‘s maddening Israeli-French immigrant drama Synonyms confused but impressed, while Kelly Reichardt’s offbeat and tender frontier drama First Cow has a very good cow. Dive into our New York Film Festival 2019 Week 1 recap.

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Joker Wins Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award

Reading around online, it would be easy to go into into Joker with a list of talking points in your head before you had even seen the movie. Since its unprecedented win last month of the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the latest comic book tentpole from Warner Bros. and DC Films has become highly politicized—to the point where the idea of it and what it represents is almost a separate thing from the movie itself. Film festival premieres take place in an online vacuum where larger cultural forces have not yet swept in to surround a movie and define it. On the other side of them comes the escalation (of movie opinions) that Commissioner Gordon warned about at the end of Batman Begins.

Whether it’s a case of critics comparing notes and/or the film telegraphing specific concepts, reviews of Joker have frequently invoked the same buzzwords, such as “incel” and “income inequality.” There’s a lot of hand-wringing, in negative reviews, about the movie’s lack of a clear message. Comparisons abound, across the boards, to the films of Martin Scorsese, while in the background, the shadow of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting hangs over everything.

To be clear, it’s not without good reason that some of these talking points are out there, but now Joker is in theaters and general audiences have had a chance to square their own cinema experience against the pre-release media chatter. Members of the insane clown posse that is the Internet should probably brace themselves for the backlash to the backlash. However, until such time as a #ReleaseThePhillipsCut petition materializes, let’s not forget that there’s an actual movie with Joker’s name on it to be discussed.

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Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters Review

A common complaint in film these days is that there is too much CGI. Computer graphics have not only diminished the effectiveness of monsters in genre films, but they have put practical effects and stop-motion artists out of work. While technological advancements have their perks and their place, many moviegoers believe that practical effects will always give off a more tangible viewing experience, arousing a deeper fear than any creature designed solely on a computer. Writer/director duo Gilles Penso and Alexandre Poncets documentary Phil Tippett: Mad Dreams and Monsters reintroduces audiences to a special effects legend while also spotlighting the impact stop-motion animation has had on the movie industry despite the emergence of CGI.

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I Was Home But Review

It takes a while before a human face appears in Angela Schanelec’s I Was At Home, But, which opens on a static scene of nature. When it begins to aim on human faces, the exact details of their lives are left vaguely clarified, leaving puzzle pieces for the audience to sort out. The movie wears its indefinite nature just as its deliberately incomplete title. 

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