In troubling times like these, we need a movie like Minari to get us through the bad patches. Lee Isaac Chung’s film is a series of emotions, ranging from humorous to touching, with a dose of hardship as we watch a Korean family struggle to make it in a new state with the resources they can. At its heart is a story about family, and it is that family that propels its emotional heft. Either way, you are going to be moved with a possible new perception of life as you leave the theater (Assuming yours is still open and this movie just happens to be showing for Oscar Season); It is the feeling I had when watching Minari as I assume the audience I was with had felt.
Nomadland has been getting quite the buzz lately in terms of awards season; it won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and has now been nominated for four Golden Globes, including ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’. I would not even be surprised if it won the Golden Globe, let alone be nominated for the prestigious ‘Best Picture’ Oscar. Nomadland is a gorgeous, fantastic, calming film. In a world filled with films that feel the need to be bombastic, showy, and loud, in comes a film that ignores all the noise in favor of a character’s journey through an all-too-real world. Nomadland may actually be the most peaceful movie I have ever seen, and I doubt there will ever be another movie that shares its quietness with such captivation. It truly is amazing.
When it comes to political and social issues, no one is less afraid to speak his mind than Spike Lee. As controversial as his viewpoints may be for some, it is clear that the messages he is trying to send resonate with most people, making him one of the most influential living directors. ‘Da 5 Bloods’ is his newest effort in making a statement about race in the form of four elderly war veterans who return to the jungles of Vietnam to work on some unfinished business left behind by one of their own as their journey threatens to tear them apart.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.