‘Roma’ Film Review

Grade: A

Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf, Yalitza Aparicio, Daniela Demesa, Diego Cortina Autrey, and Carlos Peralta in Roma (2018)

Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’ has received tons of praise and hype prior to its Netflix release, with many saying that it will become an Oscar favorite, leading to its ‘Best Picture’ nomination. It has also received accolades for Director and Foreign Language Feature, which makes its chances of being recognized by the Academy that much likely. It is clear that more Awards events are recognizing Netflix films as more than at-home entertainment, but instead works of art. In fact, each moment in ‘Roma’ could be seen as art, from its first shot to the last. 

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‘The Other Side of the Wind’ Film Review

Grade: A

The Other Side of the Wind (2018)

Orson Welles’ final film ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ is many things; provocative, artsy, abstract, controversial, and a masterpiece. The ‘Citizen Kane’ director may have left us over 30 years ago, but his legacy lives on with the films he has made (he did more than just ‘Citizen Kane’). However, one of the films he had yet to complete was ‘The Other Side of the Wind’, which he had claimed to be his magnum opus. It is easy to see the parallels between the life of Welles and John Huston’s Jake Hannaford (whose film-within-a-film is also titled ‘The Other Side of the Wind’). They are both directors who see their work as masterpieces even when no one else seems to understand the work they put in.

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‘Wonder’ Special Film Review

Grade: A-

Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, and Jacob Tremblay in Wonder (2017)

I hate to say this, but I actually missed ‘Wonder’ when it was released in theaters. Now that I have finally watched it when it was held at my city’s park a few Fridays ago, I must say that I regret not going out and seeing this movie on the big screen. ‘Wonder’ is a movie that manages to balance hopefulness, emotion, and humor all through its near two hours. Though it almost feels sidetracked at times, and one moment could come off as manipulative, ‘Wonder’ is never dull.

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‘Love, Simon’ Film Review

Grade: A-

Nick Robinson in Love, Simon (2018)

I have never felt so much emotion watching a high school movie than I did after ‘Love, Simon’ – based on Becky Albertalli’s book ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’. It is one of the most realist, honest, sweetest, and heartbreaking films I have seen in a long time, even when it manages to feel cartoonish at times (No thanks to Tony Hale’s portrayal of a high school teacher looking to connect with his students). I still managed to see ‘Love, Simon’ for what it was; a walk in a closeted gay teenager’s shoes.

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‘The Titan’ Film Review

Grade: B

Sam Worthington and Taylor Schilling in The Titan (2018)

I checked out ‘The Titan’ not too long ago. Although science-fiction is not nearly my interest (especially content that looks released for DVD), I found it to be as engaging and endearing way more than I expected it to be. Netflix has been making great content lately, and the popular streaming site shows no sign of stopping. Every month, there is always a new show, or movie released with the hope that viewers will tune in. While I do not see many audiences watching ‘The Titan’, those who are into science-fiction or want to think will find themselves immersed.

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‘Okja’ Film Review

Grade: A-

Okja (2017)

Throughout my life, I have always wanted a pig of my own. However, after watching the Netflix original film ‘Okja’ – Directed by Joon-ho Bong (‘The Host’, ‘Snowpiercer’) – I want a super pig! At first glance it sounds like a ridiculous wish, but among the ranks of Gizmo from ‘Gremlins’, or E.T., Okja is a pet that anyone would want to have. From the moment we are introduced to the creature and her owner – a little girl named Mija (Seo-Hyun Ahn), to the dangerous experiences they both face, you see Okja as not just a beautiful visual effect, but a living, breathing creature with feelings and an emotional connection to her owner that touches you. 

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‘The Outsiders’ Classic Film Review

Grade: C-

Not seeing much about Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Outsiders’; based on the novel by S.E. Hinton, I expected this movie to be a drama about friendship. Do not get me wrong, this movie focuses on the aspect between the two characters; Ponyboy (C. Thomas Howell) and Johnny (Ralph Macchio), but for the rest of the characters, they barely have any screen time to share with each other, except during a climactic fight scene with a rival gang. The titular characters belong to a gang called “The Greasers”, with their rivals being “The Socs” (pronounced “Soh-Chuz”). I never expected this movie to be about gangs as much as I expected people who did not belong in the society they were living in. This movie is another example of not to judge a book by its cover.

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‘A Ghost Story’ Film Review

Grade: C

Never has a movie experience shook me more than David Lowery’s ‘A Ghost Story’. After this existentialist tragedy of a film, I walked out speechless, even disturbed on an emotional level. I still have questions. “What has this road led up to?” “What is the point of its existence?” “Why did I witness Rooney Mara eat a pie for 10 minutes?”. What Lowery does with ‘A Ghost Story’ is an example of great, yet thought-provoking film-making. The film is supposed to be a journey on the meaning of life through the point of view of a ghost. It is a tedious experience that could turn some audiences away, while leaving others experiencing something unconventional.

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‘The Big Sick’ Film Review

Grade: C+

‘The Big Sick’ – written by (and based on) the husband-and-wife team of Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani – is not your usual romantic comedy, let alone a pretty special one. Sure, it’s sweet, emotional, very funny, and sentimental; its problem comes from the fact that the first 15-20 minutes of this semi-biopic feel like a condensed version of the romantic comedies that have come before it. Add in a sort-of ‘While You Were Sleeping’ story-line, social commentary on race and our health system, and the likes of Holly Hunter and Ray Romano trying to get back to the acting game, and you have ‘The Big Sick’!

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‘Sergeant York’ Classic Film Review

Grade: A-

 

The year was 1941, and two films came out that year that changed film forever; ‘Citizen Kane’, and ‘Sergeant York’. Both films are considered to be not only “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films” by the American Film Institute (AFI, for short), but were also Oscar nominees running in nearly every one of the same category (Except ‘Supporting Actor and Actress’, which the latter was nominated for). Sadly, both films lost the ‘Best Picture’ Oscar to a lesser-known film called ‘How Green Was My Valley’. (I am still interested in viewing the film for that reason alone.) Despite both films being important to the film industry, only one received more box-office attention than the other. That film was ‘Sergeant York’. While ‘Citizen Kane’ went on to be shown in film schools (and high school classes) in later years as a tool for how to make a great film, ‘Sergeant York’ became the BIGGER deal. Not only was it a major Oscar nominee (winning only two for Gary Cooper’s performance as the real-life Alvin C. York, but for William Holmes’ editing as well.), it also became the highest-grossing film of that year. (Which, if adjusted for inflation, is still one of the highest grossing movies of all time) 

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