Starring: Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Woody Harrelson
The 2022 film ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ is a black comedy that is presented from the perspective of a European director. The initial half of the film may seem like a joke being told by a foreigner, but as the narrative progresses, it becomes more engaging and meaningful.
The cast of ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ 2022 features an ensemble of talented actors, including Harris Dickinson, Charlbi Dean, Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Burić, Iris Berben, Vicki Berlin, Henrik Dorsin, Jean-Christophe Folly, Amanda Walker, Oliver Ford Davies, Sunnyi Melles, and Woody Harrelson. The actors deliver strong performances, bringing depth and nuance to their respective characters. Harris Dickinson, in particular, shines as the young and ambitious protagonist, while Charlbi Dean delivers a powerful portrayal of the objectified model. The supporting cast also impresses, with Zlatko Burić bringing a menacing presence to his role as the wealthy businessman and Woody Harrelson delivering a memorable turn as a jaded fashion photographer. Overall, the acting and characters in ‘Triangle of Sadness’ are a highlight of the film, contributing to its engaging and thought-provoking narrative.
In ‘Triangle of Sadness‘, Östlund employs an episodic structure to tell three interconnected stories that each center on a different group of characters. The first act follows fashion models Carl (Harris Dickinson) and Yaya (Charlbi Dean), as they navigate their tumultuous and manipulative relationship. In the second act, the story shifts to a luxury yacht, where Carl and Yaya are minor characters amongst a group of entitled passengers. The focus of this act is on the drunken mishandling of the boat by an incompetent captain (Woody Harrelson), as well as the breakdown of order during a violent storm. Despite the initial focus on Carl and Yaya, the second act centers more on the yacht’s passengers and their dynamics.
In the third act of ‘Triangle of Sadness’, some of the yacht’s passengers, including Carl and Yaya, find themselves stranded on a remote island with no knowledge of how to survive. Abigail, the yacht’s cleaner and “toilet manager”, emerges as the key to their survival, using her knowledge of fishing, fire-building, and foraging to take charge. However, as she becomes more powerful, Abigail becomes ruthless, asserting herself as the island’s captain and forcing the others to obey her. Östlund highlights the fragility of social order, demonstrating that the power structures that are often taken for granted in society can quickly unravel when actual skills, knowledge, and experience become the determining factors. This shift in power dynamics underscores the film’s critique of class and wealth, as well as the inherent instability of hierarchies that are based on superficial qualities such as beauty or fame.
Dolly de Leon’s performance as Abigail in ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ is a standout, despite her limited screen time in the first two acts. In the third act, Abigail emerges as a key player in the survival of the stranded passengers on the remote island, using her knowledge and skills to take charge and declare herself the captain. De Leon delivers a captivating performance, portraying Abigail as a complex and enigmatic figure who is both resourceful and ruthless. She dominates the screen, stealing every scene with her powerful presence and command of the situation. Her performance highlights the experiences of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), who are often marginalized and relegated to menial jobs, despite their education and skills. De Leon’s portrayal of Abigail is a powerful example of the shifting power dynamics that can occur in situations where actual skills and experience matter more than social hierarchies based on wealth, beauty, or fame.
The 2022 film ‘Triangle of Sadness‘ is a black comedy that explores a variety of themes, using narrative codes and conventions to construct meaning and offer a critique of modern society. The film represents class struggles through visual contrast and character archetypes, highlighting the stark differences between the wealthy and the disadvantaged. Rich influencers and rich people are portrayed through character development and dialogue, demonstrating their influence and power in modern society. The film also explores themes of sex, identity, and gender roles, using visual codes such as framing, lighting, and camera angles to reinforce patriarchal stereotypes. The portrayal of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) challenges traditional media representation, with a focus on their marginalization and invisibility. Overall, the film’s use of narrative codes and conventions serves to construct meaning and offer a thought-provoking critique of modern society, highlighting the power structures and struggles that exist within it.
Rear Admiral: The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction. Maverick: Maybe so, sir. But not today.
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Writer(s): Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Monica Barbaro, Glen Powell
Tom Cruise is one of my favourite actors and a true master of the action genre, with a long list of classic films to his name, including the Mission: Impossible series, Top Gun, Minority Report, and Jack Reacher. His success in the genre can be attributed to a number of factors, including his willingness to perform his own stunts, his physical fitness and athleticism, and his on-screen presence and charisma.
One of the most impressive aspects of Tom Cruise’s action movie career is his willingness to perform his own stunts. He is known for his fearlessness and dedication to creating authentic action scenes, often taking on dangerous and challenging stunts that other actors might shy away from. His willingness to put himself in harm’s way has earned him the respect of his peers and the admiration of audiences, adding an extra level of excitement and tension to his films.
Tom Cruise’s physicality is also a key factor in his success in the action genre. He is incredibly athletic and maintains a rigorous training regimen to stay in top shape. He has been known to do his own fight scenes, and in Top Gun, he even learned to fly fighter planes, further adding to the realism of his performances.
Another hallmark of Tom Cruise’s action films is his iconic running scenes. He is an impressive runner, often sprinting at incredible speeds for extended periods of time in his films. These running scenes have become a trademark of his action roles, adding an extra level of excitement and tension to the films.
Beyond his physicality, Tom Cruise’s on-screen presence and charisma are also key elements of his success in the genre. He exudes confidence and charm, and his characters often have a strong moral compass and a desire to do what is right. This combination of traits makes him easy to root for and helps audiences invest emotionally in his characters.
Cruise’s success at the box office cannot be ignored. He has made over a billion dollars globally for his hit films, proving that audiences are drawn to his films and his name alone can generate hype and excitement for a movie.
The 1986 film Top Gun was a massive success both critically and commercially, grossing over $350 million worldwide. There are several reasons why the film resonated so strongly with audiences.
The film was a technical marvel for its time. It featured groundbreaking aerial combat scenes that were shot with real aircraft and captured with stunning cinematography. The film’s use of practical effects and real planes rather than relying on computer-generated imagery made the action scenes feel more visceral and authentic, immersing audiences in the world of fighter pilots like never before.
The strong cast led by Tom Cruise in his breakout role as Maverick, a rebellious and talented fighter pilot. Cruise’s charisma and on-screen presence helped to anchor the film, with his character serving as the audience’s guide through the high-stakes world of aerial combat training. The supporting cast, including Val Kilmer as Iceman and Kelly McGillis as Charlie, also delivered memorable performances that helped to round out the film’s ensemble.
The film’s soundtrack was a massive success in its own right, with the song “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin becoming an instant classic. The soundtrack, which also featured songs by Kenny Loggins and Cheap Trick, helped to enhance the film’s emotional impact and further solidified the film’s place in popular culture.
The film tapped into a sense of national pride and nostalgia for the Cold War era, with the United States and the Soviet Union engaged in a high-stakes arms race. The film’s portrayal of American fighter pilots as the ultimate defenders of freedom and democracy struck a chord with audiences, particularly in the United States.
The film’s enduring popularity has cemented its place in cinematic history and helped to establish Tom Cruise as one of the greatest movie stars of all time.
Now he has returned over thirty years later to reprise the role of Maverick and Cruise has lost none of his shine. Tom Cruise had become synonymous with the Top Gun franchise. Fans had been eagerly anticipating the return of Maverick, and the film delivered on their expectations, showcasing his trademark charm, rebelliousness, and impressive flying skills.
The film introduced a new generation of fighter pilots, including Maverick’s protege, played by Miles Teller, and a diverse cast of up-and-coming actors. The inclusion of new characters added a fresh dynamic to the film, and the performances of the cast helped to make the new characters relatable and likable.
The film featured incredible action sequences, including aerial combat scenes that were shot with real aircraft and captured with stunning cinematography. The film’s use of practical effects and real planes rather than relying on computer-generated imagery made the action scenes feel more visceral and authentic, immersing audiences in the world of fighter pilots like never before.
Finally, the film had a strong emotional core, exploring themes of friendship, sacrifice, and redemption. The film’s focus on the relationships between the characters, both old and new, helped to elevate the film beyond just an action movie and gave audiences a reason to invest emotionally in the story.
Top Gun: Maverick was a success because of its return to the beloved character of Maverick, its introduction of a new generation of fighter pilots, its incredible action sequences, and its strong emotional core. The film paid tribute to the original Top Gun while also standing on its own as a thrilling and emotional action movie.
At first viewing, this Arthouse film may be challenging to sit through, but after careful analysis and reflection, it proves to be a fascinating and poignant work that offers insights into the contemporary art world of 2022. The film presents a searing drama that touches on various themes such as egos, sexual advances, and the impact of post-Covid on the society. With time, viewers can fully appreciate the complexities of the film’s narrative, and the tragedy that unfolds is a testament to the film’s depth and significance. Through its themes and imagery, the film paints a vivid and thought-provoking portrait of the contemporary art world, making it a valuable work of cinema.
The movie explores the notion of how excessive ego can lead to manipulation when a single individual receives disproportionate recognition in a collaborative field. Drawing parallels between an orchestra and a film set, the movie highlights how most collaborators are often relegated to the background, with their contributions receiving limited acknowledgement. Through its narrative, the movie delves into the dangers of unchecked egos, particularly in fields that require collective efforts to achieve success. The film’s message serves as a cautionary tale for individuals who may be prone to letting their egos get the better of them, reminding them of the importance of collaboration and mutual respect in achieving creative excellence.
Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Lydia Tár in the film is a tour de force. Blanchett, a Melbourne native, is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished actors of her generation. Her career has been characterized by a remarkable versatility, with performances that range from indie films to blockbuster productions and stage productions. Her extensive body of work has earned her a multitude of awards and accolades, including two Academy Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards.
Blanchett’s performances are consistently praised for their depth, nuance, and emotional resonance. Her commitment to her craft is evident in her ability to bring complex characters to life with an authenticity and depth that is unmatched. Her performances are marked by an unwavering dedication to her craft, a willingness to take risks, and an innate talent that shines through in every role.
Whether on stage or on screen, Blanchett’s performances are consistently captivating and transformative, earning her a reputation as one of the most respected and admired actors in the industry. Her contribution to the world of film and theater has been significant, and her legacy as an artist is one that will endure for generations to come.
Blanchett’s career began on the Australian stage after she graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art. However, it was her performance as Queen Elizabeth I in the 1998 film Elizabeth that thrust her into the international spotlight. Her portrayal earned her the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Actress, as well as her first Academy Award nomination. Blanchett’s transformative ability to embody historical figures continued with her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator (2004), which won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Blanchett’s acting range is vast and her talent is undeniable, as demonstrated by her Academy Award for Best Actress for Blue Jasmine (2013), where she portrayed a neurotic former socialite. Her numerous other Academy Award nominations include roles in Notes on a Scandal (2006), I’m Not There (2007), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), and Carol (2015), making her the most-nominated Australian actor.
Blanchett’s success is not limited to critical acclaim, as she has also appeared in a number of commercial hits. These include The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Cinderella (2015), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Ocean’s 8 (2018), and Don’t Look Up (2021). Her ability to captivate audiences with her performances in a variety of genres is a testament to her remarkable versatility and talent. Blanchett’s impressive body of work has solidified her status as one of the most accomplished actors of her generation, with a career that continues to inspire and impress.
In the film “Tár,” Cate Blanchett delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Lydia Tár, a world-renowned conductor and EGOT winner who also happens to be a lesbian. The movie opens with a scene on a private jet where someone is taking a live video of someone who looks like Lydia Tár in perfect 2020s fashion. The film then transitions to a voice-over biography of the extraordinary “Tár,” with snippets of the perfectionist herself going into suit fittings, looking at magazines, and writing music. Although it may seem that Lydia is a complex character who derives pleasure only through her heightened passion for composing and music, she is also highly charged with the need to be perceived as the best in front of those she cares for.
Throughout the film, Lydia’s complexity is portrayed through her manipulative actions and the consequences that follow. She is uptight, fierce, passionate, and intimidating, and she abuses her position of power, leading to her downfall. Lydia’s assistant, Francesca, sticks with her until the end, believing that Lydia would take her up the ladder indisputably. However, by the end of the movie, Francesca is left with nothing but being Lydia’s right-hand woman. Lydia’s downfall is triggered by Francesca’s absconding from her side, leaving Lydia vulnerable and alone.
Blanchett’s captivating performance keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, questioning their idea of good and bad. Lydia’s aura is almost narcotic in the manner in which it keeps the audience consuming more and more of her “innocence” until they start to question their perception of the character. Lydia is not a hero or an anti-hero; she is just an influential woman who ends up digging her own grave and losing everything she worked so hard to attain.
Overall, “Tár” is a character study that is watchable only because of Blanchett’s captivating performance. From the choices she makes to the clothes she wears and how quickly she switches from perfect to incredibly flawed, Blanchett keeps the audience hoping things will turn out alright for her character in the end, even when it may not be right. The film delves into the complexity of power and its abuse, leaving the audience with a lot to contemplate long after the devastating conclusion.
John Ford: When the horizon’s at the bottom, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s at the top, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s in the middle, it’s boring as shit. Now, good luck to you. And get the fuck out of my office!
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner
Starring: Michelle Williams, Gabriel LaBelle, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen
Synopsis: Growing up in post-World War II era Arizona, young Sammy Fabelman aspires to become a filmmaker as he reaches adolescence, but soon discovers a shattering family secret and explores how the power of films can help him see the truth.
This is a heartfelt tribute to Steven Spielberg’s youth, his legacy, and his contribution to the world of cinema. It is rare to have a biographical film made by the actual biographer, and this one is both beautifully shot and directed. Spielberg has always been one of my favorite directors, and I remember him being one of the first directors I became aware of as a child. I saw E.T. in theaters (it must have been a re-release because I can’t imagine watching it when I was born), and I was in awe of its mix of fantasy, science-fiction, and pure entertainment. As a young boy, I could never have imagined such a story until I saw it on the big screen.
E.T. was a critical and financial success worldwide, and Spielberg was destined to become one of the most recognized film directors of all time. As I grew up, he continued to create incredible films such as the non-stop thrills of the Indiana Jones trilogy, the grand science-fiction majesty and awe of 1994’s Jurassic Park and the heartbreak of Schindler’s List, the fun and campy sequel of 1997’s The Lost World, the brutal violence of 1998’s Saving Private Ryan, the loneliness of youth in 2001’s A.I., the futuristic sensation of 2002’s Minority Report and the fun and heartbreak of Catch Me If You Can, the sobering 2005’s War of the Worlds and Munich, 2012’s historic Lincoln, and 2015’s spy drama Bridge of Spies. All of these films are classic examples of mainstream blockbuster entertainment, often with a focus on value and wide appeal, with excellent actors, cinematography, and editing.
I remember watching his earlier films on video to catch up on his oeuvre, such as 1971’s Duel, 1975’s Jaws, and 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, all of which blew me away as a child. Spielberg inspired me to become a filmmaker and a film critic, and he has consistently made iconic films throughout his career.
“The Fabelmans” is a stunning tribute to the art of filmmaking, with every frame exquisitely shot. Watching this movie brings back memories of my own childhood, making home movies with my digital video camera. Spielberg was a true inspiration then, and watching this film reminds me of his influence on me.
The movie follows Steven Spielberg’s childhood as a Jewish boy growing up in America with a father who worked in engineering and loved to travel, and a mother who was passionate about the arts. Paul Dano and Michelle Williams play these roles perfectly. In the film, Spielberg changes his name to Sammy Fabelman, and the character is played brilliantly by both Gabriel LaBelle and Mateo Zoryan as the younger Sammy.
Sammy is a curious and wide-eyed boy who is fascinated by everything. When his parents take him to the cinema for the first time, he is scared, shocked, and inspired. Watching the trains violently collide in the Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Greatest Show on Earth,” he becomes inspired to film his toy trains and crash them. As he grows up, he discovers he has a real talent for making films with his sisters. His Uncle Bennie, played confidently by Seth Rogen, encourages him to make more movies. Sammy’s mother, Mitzi Fabelman, especially encourages him to pursue his love of the arts and believe in himself. Mitzi’s character is portrayed by Michelle Williams with a melancholy allure that is both heartbreaking and extraordinary to watch. She doesn’t want her son to experience the mundanity of life and have his artistic dreams go unrealized, like hers did.
As Sammy grows older, his family moves to a new town, leaving behind their friends and familiar surroundings. When Sammy learns a troubling secret, he decides to stop making films and focus on his studies, which pleases his father but causes inner turmoil for Sammy. Giving up on one’s dreams due to heartbreak is never worth it.
Throughout the film, Spielberg infuses his signature magical touch, with elements of drama, hope, excitement, and redemption.
Steven Spielberg is undeniably one of the greatest artists of my generation, and he is a true inspiration to me. I aspire to be like him in many ways. This film is a classic, and it is fascinating to see a living biographer tackle their own life story on screen. It is a beautiful and inspiring film, and without a doubt, my favorite movie of 2022.
I watched a lot of awesome movies in February. Most of them were catching up on the Oscar nominees. However I’m working on an Arnold Schwarznegger, Eddie Murphy and Sylvester Stallone retrospective which is really fun. Here is a snapshot of all the films and television I’ve watched in February.
In The Cut(2003) 3 Stars In The Cut, a 2003 film directed by Jane Campion, initially garnered intense backlash due to Meg Ryan’s departure from her traditional romantic comedy roles into a more erotic thriller genre. However, the film itself is not a typical erotic thriller, such as Basic Instinct or Fatal Attraction. Instead, it uses sex realistically to drive character development and dramatic tension. Despite the initial reception, both Ryan and Mark Ruffalo deliver outstanding performances in this disturbing thriller, which defies conventional genre tropes of its time. It is a true Arthouse film with a unique style that captivates and intrigues its audience. The movie’s oddness and individuality make it an interesting and memorable cinematic experience.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever(2022) 4 Stars The late Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of Black Panther/T’Challa receives a poignant and emotional tribute in this sequel, beautifully envisioned by the talented director Ryan Coogler. The movie’s stunning visuals and cinematic storytelling are comparable to James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water. The lead women, portrayed excellently by Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, and Angela Bassett, step up to defend Wakanda following T’Challa’s death, delivering moving and powerful performances. The absence of Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan is felt deeply throughout the film, leaving a significant void to fill. While the movie may be somewhat overlong, its style and grace make it an essential viewing experience. Tenoch Huerta delivers an awesome performance as the villain Namor, posing a genuine threat to the powerful Wakandans.
Glass Onion (2022) 3.5 Stars Glass Onion is a hilarious sequel to the 2019 mystery classic, Knives Out. This time, Daniel Craig’s Detective Benoit Blanc is embroiled in a post-COVID mystery, involving a fresh set of selfish and money-hungry suspects. The film leans more towards comedy than its predecessor, and although not as strong, it still delivers laughs and entertainment. Daniel Craig delivers another brilliant performance as the detective, adding to his impressive filmography.
The Fabelmans (2022) 5 Stars Steven Spielberg’s youth, legacy, and contributions to cinema are honoured in a touching tribute with this film, The Fabelmans. It is a rare treat to have a biographer make a movie about their subject and do it so masterfully, with beautiful direction and cinematography. Gabriel LaBelle delivers an excellent performance as the teenage Steven Spielberg, aka Sammy Fabelman, a young Jewish boy who is passionate about making movies. Paul Dano and Michelle Williams portray his parents wonderfully, adding depth and emotion to the film. The movie is a perfect blend of beauty, heartbreak, humour, and inspiration, much like Spielberg’s best films. He truly is one of the greatest artists of our generation, and this movie celebrates his contributions to the industry. The supporting cast, including Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch as legendary director John Ford, also deliver excellent performances.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance(2023) 1.5 Stars Magic Mike’s return to the big screen, portrayed by the talented and attractive Channing Tatum, starts with a bang but quickly falters with a mediocre plot. The story revolves around directing a stage play for a wealthy divorcee, played excellently by Salma Hayek. However, the movie plods along and lacks the excitement and entertainment value that one would expect from a collaboration between Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh. The movie has the potential to be much more engaging and captivating, but unfortunately falls short of expectations.
Tar (2022) 4.5 Stars On first viewing, this Arthouse film can be challenging to sit through, but upon reflection, it reveals itself as a fascinating and tragic piece that reflects the current state of the art world in 2022. Cate Blanchett’s performance is masterful and adds depth to the story, which touches on themes such as ego, sexual advances, and the impact of the post-COVID world. The movie is a searing drama that delves into the complexities and struggles of the art world, and its characters are forced to confront the harsh realities of the industry. While it may be difficult to watch at times, the movie ultimately delivers a thought-provoking and engaging experience for its audience.
All Quiet on the Western Front (2022) 4 Stars War films continue to be relevant in today’s society, exploring themes of brotherhood, sacrifice, and the futility of war. Despite the passage of time, the realities of war remain an ever-present aspect of human experience, and movies offer a powerful medium to explore its complexities. One of the most refreshing perspectives in recent years has been the portrayal of the German side, providing insight into the other side of the conflict. These films allow us to empathize with the soldiers and understand their motivations, hopes, and fears, humanizing both sides of the conflict. In short, war films remain a vital means of exploring human experiences and provide a crucial perspective on the realities of conflict.
Evil Dead II (1987) 3 Stars Sam Raimi’s horror masterpiece is an immersive and terrifying experience that feels like a literal haunted house ride from start to finish. The movie is bold, shocking, and endlessly entertaining, with every scene designed to elicit a visceral reaction from the audience. Raimi’s skillful direction and attention to detail make every moment feel deliberate and purposeful, building tension and suspense with each passing minute. The film is unapologetically gross and disturbing, making it a must-see for horror enthusiasts. Despite its age, it remains a classic and a testament to Raimi’s mastery of the genre.
Darkman (1990) 2 Stars This 90s superhero movie is a delightful romp that draws inspiration from 1989’s Batman but allows director Sam Raimi to put his own spin on the genre without relying on existing properties. Raimi’s eccentric flair, honed to perfection in his Evil Dead films, is on full display, making the movie a fun and playful experience. The film is extremely campy and should not be taken too seriously, but that’s part of its charm. Raimi’s experimentation and willingness to take risks result in an entertaining superhero flick that stands out from the crowd.
The Banshees of Inisherin (2022) 4 Stars Imagine if your best friend told you that they no longer wanted to be friends. That’s the premise of this movie, which features terrific performances from Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and especially Barry Keoghan. The stunning Irish scenery and gorgeous cinematography add to the bittersweet and laid-back tone of the film, which captures the essence of friendship and its complexities. The movie is a testament to the power of friendship and the impact it can have on our lives, even when it comes to an end. It is a beautiful and poignant reflection on the human experience, with outstanding performances and breathtaking scenery that will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Army of Darkness (1992) 2 Stars In the third instalment of the Evil Dead series, Ash is transported back in time, finding himself in a sword and sandals epic rather than a haunted house. Director Sam Raimi’s eccentric and playful style is still present, but some might argue that it goes a bit too far this time around. The movie is a fun and entertaining ride, but the tonal shift may not appeal to everyone. Despite this, the film still manages to capture the essence of the series, providing plenty of laughs, thrills, and action. If you’re a fan of the franchise or enjoy Raimi’s unique style, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Knock at the Cabin (2023) 4 Stars M. Night Shyamalan delivers a solid thriller, which centres around a gay couple and their adopted daughter who are held hostage by a group of people who believe they need to stop the apocalypse. Despite the couple’s love for each other and disbelief in the group’s claims, the ticking clock and a series of events cause tension to mount. As a natural disaster looms, Shyamalan’s masterful use of camera, sound, framing, and acting elevate the movie to another level. Dave Bautista delivers an excellent performance, proving himself to be a talented and interesting actor. The movie is a gripping and intense experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Triangle of Sadness (2022) 4 Stars Swedish writer and director, Ruben Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness is a hilarious satire told in three acts, each one more ridiculous than the last. The movie’s witty and irreverent take on modern society is sure to have audiences laughing from start to finish. The film’s clever writing and absurd humour make it an utterly enjoyable experience. It’s a refreshing break from serious dramas and action-packed blockbusters, offering a light-hearted and entertaining escape. Triangle of Sadness is a movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you.
Women Talking (2022) 4 Stars Writer and Director, Sarah Polley, adapts Miriam Toews novel Women Talking. This movie is gorgeously shot, with near-black-and-white visuals that add to the film’s emotional impact. The excellent acting from Clare Foy and the entire cast draws you into the story, which is a heartbreaking tale of hope and loss. The movie explores the complexities of the human experience, showing how even in the darkest moments, there can be a glimmer of hope. It’s a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the resilience of the human spirit. The film’s striking visuals and outstanding performances make it a must-see for anyone who appreciates powerful storytelling and masterful filmmaking.
Spider-Man (2002) 4 Stars Back in 2002, I absolutely loved this movie. It was a thrill to see my childhood favorite superhero brought to life on the big screen and stay true to the source material. Sam Raimi did a fantastic job creating a vivid comic book-inspired version of New York City, and all the beloved characters from the comic book were faithfully brought to life, including Uncle Ben and Aunt May, Mary-Jane, J. Jonah Jameson, the Green Goblin, Harry Osborne, and of course, Peter Parker. The nostalgia factor is high for me with this film, and it’s easy to see how it changed the cinema landscape. Nowadays, only Marvel movies are guaranteed box office hits, but this film paved the way for the superhero genre and set the bar high for all that followed.
You People (2023) 2 Stars This movie can be best described as a cross between “Meet the Parents” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”. When I heard that Jonah Hill, Eddie Murphy, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus were in it, I was excited and thought it would be the comedy of the year. Unfortunately, it falls short of expectations. The jokes are too obvious and the overall vibe doesn’t quite work. However, the movie is watchable thanks to excellent performances from Lauren London and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. While it may not be a laugh-out-loud comedy, it’s still worth watching for the talented cast and interesting premise.
Creed (2015) 4.5 Stars Ryan Coogler showcases his brilliance as a director in this film, transitioning seamlessly from indie projects to blockbuster hits. Michael B. Jordan delivers an excellent performance as the young boxer Adonis Creed, who is struggling to overcome the trauma of his childhood as well as his deceased father’s legacy and prove himself in the sport of Boxing. Sylvester Stallone returns as the iconic Rocky Balboa and is also outstanding as the old, grizzled boxer who has lost everyone he loves and is facing his own mortality with a cancer diagnosis. Despite the challenges, he proves that Rocky is always a fighter. The movie is well-directed, with excellent cinematography that captures many iconic scenes. Overall, it’s a powerful and emotionally charged film that showcases the talent of everyone involved.
The Terminator (1984) 4 Stars James Cameron’s legendary direction and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s breakout performance make this sci-fi masterpiece a must-see for fans of the genre. The film expertly blends time travel, horror, and action set pieces, delivering a thrilling and captivating experience. Schwarzenegger’s performance helped turn him into a megastar, and the plot is nothing short of awesome. The special effects, direction, and acting are all top-notch, coming together to create a film that is truly outstanding. Simply put, this movie is so good!
Conan The Barbarian (1982) 3 Stars Before he became known for his iconic role in The Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s breakout performance was actually as the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan, originally created by Robert E. Howard in 1932 for a series of fantasy stories. Directed by John Milius, this film is a true epic that is brutal and savage in its tone and style, similar to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and an inspiration for the mature fantasy of Game of Thrones. Despite Schwarzenegger’s struggles with the English dialogue, Milius wisely gives him minimal dialogue and plenty of action to showcase his strength. The action set pieces are spectacular, and Schwarzenegger’s physique is simply unbelievable. James Earl Jones is also great as the villain, adding another layer of depth to the film’s already rich storytelling. Overall, Conan the Barbarian is a must-see for fans of the fantasy genre, showcasing Schwarzenegger’s early talent and Milius’ masterful direction.
Conan The Destroyer (1984) 2 Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers plenty of horse and animal punches in this sequel that veers towards a more fantasy-based storyline than the original. The film is reminiscent of 80s cartoons like He-Man, with its abundance of monsters, castles, towers, and goblins. While it’s fun and visually interesting, it’s not as memorable as the original film. It’s more like Ridley Scott’s 1985 film Legend or George Lucas’s 1983 Return of the Jedi in terms of its fantastical elements and puppetry. The film was a hit and one thing’s for sure: Arnold is in peak physical form and delivers an impressive performance.
Red Sonja (1985) 2.5 Stars A really fun sword and sandals adventure with Arnold Schwarznegger’s Conan now taking a step back to let 80s female action star Brigitte Nielsen take the lead as Red Sonja. This is very similar to Conan The Destroyer in its style and campiness. However Brigitte Nielsen is really good in the role and it’s too bad we didn’t get more adventures. The He-Man and She-Ra comparisons are extremely visible and if I had discovered these films as a kid, I would have really been into them. However, in today’s film landscape the special effects and action scenes do not hold up as well as your latest Marvel blockbuster. I think this could be a great Netflix show with the right people behind the scenes and a Game of Thrones inspired brutal new vision. Bring back Schwarznegger’s Conan!
The Golden Child (1986) 2 Stars Eddie Murphy was at the peak of his popularity and was following up the hugely successful 1984 hit Beverly Hills Cop. Eddie followed the popular trend of the 80s and starred as a fish out of water Private Investigator who is tracking a missing child that leads him down a fantastical path. This is one of Eddie’s forgettable films and there isn’t anything memorable about it. Eddie is still funny but the hokey special effects and racist undertone of the film don’t hold up today.
Boomerang (1992) 4 Stars The 1992 film “Boomerang” marks Eddie Murphy’s return to the big screen after the underwhelming performances of his previous films, “Harlem Nights” (1989) and “Another 48 Hrs” (1990). In this movie, Murphy debuts a new persona as a sexy, suave leading man – a successful black man who effortlessly attracts women – in contrast to his earlier comedic roles. The film features a star-studded cast including Robin Givens and Halle Berry, whose performances add to the on-screen sizzle. Comedic greats Martin Lawrence, David Alan Grier, Chris Rock, and John Witherspoon also feature, alongside Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones, and Tisha Campbell, who deliver hilarious performances.
“Boomerang” is a mix of laugh-out-loud humor, steamy romantic moments, and dramatic twists. It is an underrated hit from the 90s, with Eddie Murphy in top form. The film also boasts an awesome soundtrack featuring R&B greats such as Boyz II Men and Toni Braxton.
Rocky (1976) 4.5 Stars Despite its association with boxing, Sylvester Stallone’s iconic film, “Rocky,” is actually a heartwarming low-budget character drama. The film follows the story of a struggling boxer who is given the chance to prove himself in a city where he is seen as nothing more than a bum. “Rocky” is an inspiring and charming film that I find myself watching every year for a pick-me-up.
Stallone is joined by Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, and Burt Young, all of whom deliver excellent performances. The film is grittily directed by John G. Avildsen, who expertly captures the struggles and triumphs of the characters on screen. Overall, “Rocky” is a film that goes beyond its boxing theme to deliver a touching and uplifting story of perseverance and redemption.
Coming to America (1988) 5 Stars
During the late 1980s, the African American culture experienced a surge in popularity. Arsenio Hall hosted a highly acclaimed tonight show, Michael Jackson dominated the music industry, Whitney Houston was regarded as a pop princess, Prince’s album “Sign of the times” enjoyed great success, Michael Jordan dominated basketball, and Eddie Murphy released his biggest hit yet.
Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” features Prince Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy), a wealthy African prince who lacks nothing except a wife who loves him for who he is, rather than his title. In order to avoid an arranged marriage, Akeem and his fastidious sidekick, Semmi (played by Arsenio Hall), escape to America to find his queen. Disguised as a foreign student working at a fast-food restaurant, Akeem falls for Lisa (played by Shari Headley) but struggles with revealing his true identity to her and his father, the king (played by James Earl Jones).
This film combines all of Eddie Murphy’s best elements, from his charm as a leading man to his comedic prowess, honed during his time on “Saturday Night Live,” showcased in his various characters. The sweet love story is hilarious throughout, making “Coming to America” a true comedy classic.
Seinfeld: Season 1(1989) 3 Stars The classic sitcom Seinfeld started with just five episodes, which were not its finest but not the worst either. Right from the beginning, the easygoing camaraderie between comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander’s iconic George Costanza was spot-on. Their banter about relationships, superheroes, and the mundane aspects of daily life in New York laid the groundwork for the show’s eventual success. Julia Louis-Dreyfus shines as Elaine Benes, Jerry’s ex-girlfriend who frequently joins them, and she makes a fantastic first impression in “The Stake Out,” which is the season’s best episode.
Seinfeld Season 2 (1991) 4 Stars Seinfeld returned for its second season with a larger amount of seventeen episodes which allowed the show to flesh its characters to become the iconic New York four. Jerry has a great return with his sarcastic and neurotic flair on showcase in the second episode ‘The Pony Remark.’ All four get episodes to shine in, Jason Alexander’s classic George Costanza shines in ‘The Phone Message’, ‘The Statue’, and ‘The Revenge’. Julia Louis-Dreyfus hilarious female lead shines in episodes such as ‘The Deal’, ‘The Apartment,’ and ‘The Chinese Restaurant.’ Michael Richard’s iconic Kramer begins to take form into the hipster doofus who would eventually dominate the comedy of the show in episodes such as ‘The Revenge’, ‘The Heart-Attack’ and ‘The Statue’. The series mix of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s neurotic vision of the world is becoming to take shape in this great season of the 90s classic sitcom. In its second season, Seinfeld returned with a larger episode count of seventeen, which allowed the show to further develop its characters into the iconic New York foursome. Jerry made a strong comeback with his signature sarcasm and neuroticism on full display in the second episode, “The Pony Remark.” Each of the four main characters had their moments to shine, with Jason Alexander’s unforgettable George Costanza delivering memorable performances in “The Phone Message,” “The Statue,” and “The Revenge.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus’s hilarious portrayal of Elaine Benes, the leading lady of comedy, also stood out in episodes like “The Deal,” “The Apartment,” and “The Chinese Restaurant.” Meanwhile, Michael Richards’s classic character, Kramer, began to take shape as the lovable goofball who would eventually dominate the show’s humour, particularly in episodes like “The Revenge,” “The Heart-Attack,” and “The Statue.” This great season of the ’90s classic sitcom saw the series’ signature mix of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David’s neurotic worldview beginning to take shape.
Seinfeld Season 3 (1991) 4 Stars The third season of Seinfeld reached new heights of comedy. Jerry Seinfeld returned in top form in the opening episode “The Note,” where his inappropriate comment to a masseuse leads to hilarious consequences. George Costanza also shone in “The Note,” as he becomes uncomfortable with a male masseuse. Jason Alexander’s iconic performance continued to improve with episodes such as “The Truth,” “The Library,” and “The Nose Job.” Julia Louis-Dreyfus also delivered standout performances as Elaine Benes in episodes like “The Pen,” “The Dog,” and “The Suicide.” Michael Richards’s hilarious portrayal of Kramer stood out in episodes such as “The Letter,” “The Parking Garage,” and “The Keys,” where he travels to Los Angeles.
Furthermore, several episodes in the season were inspired by the writers’ personal experiences. For instance, “The Pen” drew inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld’s discomfort with his mother’s sofa bed, while “The Tape” was based on something Larry David had tried in New York. In “The Letter,” Larry David’s experience at a baseball game in Anaheim inspired Elaine’s story. Finally, the character Mr. West was named after one of the show’s executive producers, who had provided Larry David with access to the seats in the owners’ box.
Seinfeld’s third season solidified the show’s reputation as a comedy about nothing. The humour is derived from the everyday, mundane situations that the characters encounter. The comedy arises from their neuroses, quirks, and unique perspectives on the world. The dialogue is rapid-fire and clever, full of witty wordplay and puns.
The show’s creators, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, have a clear comedic vision that involves attention to detail and boundary-pushing. The show tackles taboo topics, like sex and death, in a humorous way that is both irreverent and insightful. The characters are flawed and often self-centered, but their antics are always entertaining. Overall, Seinfeld is a show that turns the ordinary into something extraordinary, a beloved classic that continues to captivate audiences today.
Overall, Seinfeld is a show that takes an unconventional approach to comedy, focusing on the humour in the mundane and elevating it to an art form. Its unique style and approach have made it a beloved classic that continues to be relevant to this day.
Breaking Bad Season 4 5 Stars The fourth season of Breaking Bad is the epitome of tense, action-packed television, elevating the show to classic status. The epic battle between Walt and Gus Fring is a game of cat and mouse like no other. Aaron Paul’s performance as Jesse Pinkman, suffering from PTSD after his fateful decision in season three, is exceptional. His shifting allegiances between Walter White, Mike, and Gus provide ample drama and unforgettable scenes throughout the season. Giancarlo Esposito shines as the ruthless drug kingpin Gustavo “Gus” Fring, blending brutal violence with a disarming friendly demeanor. Jonathan Banks also delivers a standout performance as the gruff but highly skilled hitman, Mike Ehrmantraut. Additionally, Bob Odenkirk’s comedic turn as Saul Goodman provides much-needed relief amidst the season’s relentless tension.
Watching this season back in 2011, I was convinced it was the best season of television, and more than a decade later, it still holds that distinction.
Waymond Wang: So, even though you have broken my heart yet again, I wanted to say, in another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.
Directors: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Writers: Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, James Hong
Synopsis: A middle-aged Chinese immigrant is swept up into an insane adventure in which she alone can save existence by exploring other universes and connecting with the lives she could have led.
The question of “Who are you?” is a complex one that has been pondered by philosophers, scientists, and individuals alike for centuries. It encompasses one’s identity, personality, beliefs, and experiences, among other things. However, the question of what life could have been is equally intriguing. In the realm of multi-dimensions, we can explore the various paths we could have taken and the different lives we could have lived if we made different choices.
The concept of multi-dimensions is rooted in physics and the study of space and time. It suggests that there are other universes or realities that exist alongside our own, each with its own set of possibilities and outcomes. In these alternate dimensions, we could have taken a different path in life and ended up in a completely different place than where we are now.
For instance, imagine you decided to take a different career path after graduating from high school. Instead of going to University to study business, you decided to pursue your passion for acting and became a professional actor. This decision could have led you down a completely different life path than the one you are currently on. You might have traveled the world, entertained millions of people, and experienced a different kind of success than the one you currently have.
In another dimension, you could have chosen to stay in a relationship that you ended years ago. You might have gotten married, had children, and built a life together. Alternatively, you could have chosen a different partner and created a different family altogether. The possibilities are endless, and the only limit is our imagination.
The idea of multi-dimensions invites us to consider the role of choice in shaping our lives. Every decision we make has the potential to set us on a different path and lead us to a different outcome. The consequences of our choices can be significant, and the alternate dimensions remind us that there are no right or wrong choices, only different ones.
The question of “Who are you?” and what life could have been are intriguing and interconnected. In the realm of multi-dimensions, we can explore the various paths we could have taken and the different lives we could have lived if we made different choices. It reminds us that life is a journey of discovery, and our choices are the compass that guides us along the way. This is the main plot of Everything Everywhere All At Once and it is brilliant, innovative and completely different from any other film from the past few years.
Everything Everywhere All at Once, directed and written by Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert is reminiscent of other innovative works of cinema such as “Being John Malkovich,” “The Matrix,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and Pixar’s “Inside Out.” These films have earned a reputation for their originality and thought-provoking themes, and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is no exception.
The film centers around a woman named Ling, exceptionally played by Michelle Yeoh, who discovers that she is connected to a multiverse of alternate realities. As she navigates this new reality, she encounters different versions of herself, each with their own unique experiences and perspectives. The film explores themes of identity, memory, and the interconnectedness of all things.
Like “The Matrix,” and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” challenges the conventions of storytelling and filmmaking. It defies categorization and blurs the lines between different genres. It is a film that invites the audience to think deeply about the nature of existence and the possibilities of the multiverse.
In addition, like Pixar’s “Inside Out,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once” explores the inner workings of the human mind. It delves into the complexities of memory and emotion, and the impact they have on our perceptions of reality.
The film’s originality and innovative approach have garnered critical acclaim and are likely to make it a staple of media classes and film schools for years to come. It is a testament to the power of creativity and imagination in the arts, and a reminder that there is still room for innovation and originality in the world of cinema.
In addition to its groundbreaking approach to storytelling and filmmaking, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” features an exceptional cast that brings the film’s characters to life. Stephanie Hsu, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ke Huy Quan, and James Hong all deliver outstanding performances that add depth and nuance to the film.
Stephanie Hsu plays Jodie, Ling’s daughter, who finds herself drawn into the world of the multiverse. Hsu brings a natural charisma and vulnerability to the role, making Jodie a relatable and sympathetic character.
Jamie Lee Curtis, an accomplished actress known for her iconic roles in films like “Halloween” and “True Lies,” brings her talent to “Everything Everywhere All at Once” in a key supporting role. Her performance as an IRS inspector who helps Ling understand the nature of the multiverse is wild and crazy, providing a strong villain for the film’s protagonist.
Ke Huy Quan, known for his roles in “The Goonies” and “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” brings a sense of humor and energy to his role as a wise-cracking guide who helps Ling navigate the multiverse.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a remarkable film that pushes the boundaries of what we expect from cinema. It challenges our perceptions of reality and invites us to think deeply about the nature of existence. It is a film that will undoubtedly be studied and referenced for years to come, and a testament to the power of creativity and innovation in the arts.
Elvis Presley: A reverend once told me, “When things that are too dangerous to say, ‘sing’.”
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Writer(s): Baz Luhrmann, Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce, Jeremy Doner
Starring: Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge
Synopsis: The life of American music icon Elvis Presley, from his childhood to becoming a rock and movie star in the 1950s while maintaining a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Baz Luhrmann, an Australian film director, has a visually stunning aesthetic style that distinguishes him as one of the most captivating filmmakers globally. As an auteur, he is one of my favorites. Luhrmann’s approach is characterized by excess, color, energy, music, and a bombastic tone that can be polarizing. His style is both unmistakable and unparalleled among contemporary filmmakers. Lightning-fast editing and cinematography, complex romantic subplots, and plots that move at a breakneck pace are features of every Luhrmann film. His use of camera, music, and flamboyant characters adds to the uniqueness of his vision.
I especially love his first trilogy titled ‘The Red Curtain Trilogy,’ which explores themes of heartbreak, music, melancholy, and tragedy. Luhrmann’s technique of incorporating theatrical conventions to elevate films to spectacular and dizzying heights is referred to as “red curtain cinema.” This method is evident in the trilogy’s three films: Strictly Ballroom (1993), William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996), and Moulin Rouge (2001). Luhrmann’s trademark use of bright colors, fast-paced camera cuts and zooms, and bold costumes are all essential elements of his films. They help to underscore the themes and motifs that Luhrmann considers crucial in each of his works.
Growing up being a film enthusiast living in Melbourne, I instinctively identified Baz Luhrmann as a director worth keeping an eye on. Luhrmann, an Australian film director, producer, writer, and actor, has worked across various mediums, including film, television, opera, theatre, and music. He is known by many as a contemporary auteur due to his distinct style and extensive involvement in the writing, directing, design, and musical aspects of his projects. As the most commercially successful Australian director, four of his films are included in the top ten highest-grossing Australian films worldwide.
As soon as I heard that Baz Luhrmann was directing an ‘Elvis’ biopic, I was thrilled. In early 2020, renowned actor Tom Hanks revealed that he had contracted COVID-19 while filming ‘Elvis’ in Australia, which was one of the first mainstream news stories about the virus that would go on to affect everyone’s lives that year. Despite this setback, filming continued, and Luhrmann’s vision came to fruition when he released ‘Elvis‘ to the world last year.
Like other musical biopics such as 2018’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘ and 2019’s ‘Rocketman,’ ‘Elvis‘ was a huge box office hit and went on to gross more than $276 million in theaters.
‘Elvis‘ is a biographical film that centers around the illustrious career of the iconic American singer and actor, Elvis Presley. The movie portrays Presley’s life, from his childhood to his rise to fame as a rock and movie star in the 1950s, all while navigating a complex relationship with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (portrayed in a campy, over-the-top performance by the great Tom Hanks).
Austin Butler delivers a tour de force performance as Elvis Presley in the biographical film. Butler flawlessly transforms into the music legend, earning widespread praise from critics and audiences alike. He expertly captures Presley’s signature swagger, flamboyant stage presence, powerful vocals, and vulnerable, introspective moments.
Butler worked extensively with Luhrmann to perfect Presley’s iconic strut and movements, and underwent rigorous vocal training to master his singing style. The result is a truly impressive and authentic portrayal of one of the most iconic musicians of all time.
Beyond his physical transformation, Butler effectively conveyed the emotional complexity of Presley’s life, delving into his struggles with his manager, drug use, and complicated relationships. He brought a depth and nuance to the character that made him feel like a fully realized human being rather than a mere caricature.
By skillfully navigating Presley’s personal demons, Butler’s performance adds a layer of realism to the portrayal of this beloved cultural icon. It is a testament to his talent as an actor and his dedication to the role.
Overall, Butler’s performance in “Elvis” stands out as one of the best performances of 2022, showcasing his exceptional skill as an actor and his unwavering dedication to the role. He not only expertly captured the spirit of one of the most iconic musicians of all time but also brought new insights and perspectives to his life and legacy.
By bringing Presley to life on the big screen with such authenticity and nuance, Butler’s portrayal will undoubtedly go down in cinematic history as one of the most memorable and impactful performances of our time.
The film delves into the life and music of Elvis Presley, offering a fresh perspective on the music legend through the lens of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker. The film explores the complex dynamic between Presley and Parker over two decades, spanning from Presley’s initial rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, set against the backdrop of America’s evolving cultural landscape and the loss of its innocence.
At the heart of Presley’s journey is one of the most influential and significant people in his life, Priscilla Presley (portrayed by Olivia DeJonge). Through her character, the film offers a unique insight into Presley’s personal life and the effect it had on his career and legacy.
The film’s most compelling storyline explores the tumultuous relationship between Elvis and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. Parker began managing Presley in the mid-1950s and played a significant role in his rise to fame. However, their relationship was far from a typical business arrangement, and behind the scenes, things were often less than perfect.
Parker, an illegal immigrant who had changed his name and may not have even held a U.S. passport, had a mysterious tendency to reject numerous concert and tour offers for Elvis worldwide. Some speculate that this may have been the reason for his shady background. Furthermore, Parker meddled in Elvis’s personal life, including his marriage, family affairs, and film career, all in the pursuit of profit. Unfortunately, this behavior took a significant toll on Elvis’s mental state and ultimately led to his downfall.
The combination of Luhrmann’s visually stunning aesthetic and Butler’s exceptional performance elevates this music biopic into a timeless classic that transcends the genre.
Pádraic Súilleabháin: You used to be nice. Or did you never used to be? Oh, God. Maybe you never used to be.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Writer: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan
Synopsis: Two lifelong friends find themselves at an impasse when one abruptly ends their relationship, with alarming consequences for both of them.
Friendship is an essential part of our lives as humans. We all desire to have meaningful connections with others and create long-lasting relationships. While it is relatively easy to make friends, keeping them can be challenging, especially as we grow older and our lives take different directions. In this film set against the backdrop of 1920’s Ireland, our main protagonist, Pádraic Súilleabháin, must deal with this existential question.
The central theme of the movie prompts introspection about the definition of friendship and the means to maintain it. Colin Farrell delivers an impressive performance as Pádraic Súilleabháin, whose biggest concern is how to preserve his friendship with his longtime friend, Colm Doherty (portrayed with remarkable gravitas by Brendan Gleeson). One morning he visits Colm only to be rejected without any explanation. Pádraic is a kind-hearted individual who finds solace in enjoying a drink with his mate. As the movie unfolds, viewers are compelled to reflect on their own relationships and the significance of maintaining them. One of the critical factors in maintaining friendships is communication. Communication helps to build trust, understanding, and respect between friends. It is essential to regularly check in with friends, listen actively, and respond to their needs. Regular communication ensures that you remain connected and informed about what is happening in each other’s lives. Additionally, it allows you to discuss challenges or conflicts that arise in the friendship, leading to a stronger bond. Colm disregards Pádraic with no explanation which is puzzling to him and makes the audience wonder what is going on too.
Martin McDonagh, the writer and director of the film, delivers a beautiful narrative with his calm and laid-back script. The movie features breathtaking Irish landscapes, with lush mountains and verdant greenery captured in stunning detail. The visual spectacle is a treat to watch and adds to the overall charm of the film.
In addition to exploring Pádraic’s friendship with Colm, the film delves into his relationship with his sister, Siobhán Súilleabháin, portrayed with heart-wrenching emotion by Kerry Condon. Siobhán is a meek, single Irish woman who yearns for a more exciting life. Despite her tough and straightforward demeanor, she deeply cares for her brother and empathizes with his situation. Furthermore, Pádraic and Siobhán take in Dominic Kearney, played brilliantly by Barry Keoghan. Initially introduced as the village fool, Dominic soon becomes a sympathetic friend to Pádraic during his moments of solitude.
As the film nears its conclusion, it takes a dark and introspective turn as Pádraic must come to terms with the loss of his friendship and the impact it has had on their community. Throughout the movie, we receive fragmented information about the Irish Civil War, a frequent topic of conversation among the islanders who hear the distant sound of rifles and canons. At one point, Pádraic admits to not knowing what the war is about, hinting at the film’s ultimate message. In the final scene, McDonagh draws a comparison between the war and Pádraic and Colm’s falling out. Colm tries to reconcile, discussing the war’s end and the cessation of fighting between him and his best friend. However, Pádraic, simmering with anger, cannot move on, and his gaze reveals his thoughts. The scene ends with Mrs. McCormick’s presence, draped in black, symbolizing the end of their friendship.
The film’s final moments, with a Banshee watching them from afar, provides a stark visual reminder of the rift between Pádraic and Colm, and the consequences of their lost friendship. The film leaves us pondering the value of friendship, the cost of losing it, and the tragedy of wars that cause irreparable harm, long after the fighting has stopped.
Jake Sully: I know one thing: wherever we go, this family… is our fortress.
Director: James Cameron
Writer(s): James Cameron, Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver
Starring: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis
Synopsis: Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their home.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge admirer of the film director James Cameron. He’s responsible for creating some of the highest-grossing and most beloved movies of all time, including the likes of Titanic (1997), The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986), and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). He’s a true visionary in the industry, and his latest offering, Avatar: The Way of Water, is no exception. The film is a stunning follow-up to his 2009 blockbuster Avatar, and it once again showcases Cameron’s signature themes of environmentalism, family, the power and beauty of water, overcoming adversity, technology and its impact on humanity, self-discovery and personal growth. His ability to seamlessly weave these themes into his storytelling is one of the reasons he’s widely regarded as one of the most talented and accomplished directors of his generation.
In 2009, I had the pleasure of watching the original Avatar in 3D Imax, and I was completely mesmerized by its stunning visuals and use of 3D technology. Recently, I watched Avatar: The Way of Water in 3D at a Gold Class cinema, and I was once again captivated by the breathtaking scenery and immersive audio. It’s clear that James Cameron is a master filmmaker with an incredible vision that is truly amazing to behold. Avatar: TWOW takes place ten years after the original film with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington delivers a commanding performance in the role), now the Chief of the Omaticaya Clan, leading a peaceful life with his wife Neytiri (Zoe Saldana portrays the role with striking beauty and an exotic allure). and their children, including adopted daughter Kiri (73 year old Sigourney Weaver portrays the character with a youthful and playful energy, befitting of a teenager), sons Neteyam (played by Jamie Flatters) and Lo’ak (Britain Dalton delivers a lively and spirited performance, imbuing the role with playful energy), and a human boy named Spider (Jack Champion portrays the character with animalistic qualities, adding depth and nuance to the performance) who was unable to be transported to Earth as an infant. Despite Neytiri’s distrust, the children get along well and enjoy each other’s company, with Spider embracing Na’vi culture over his human heritage. However, their idyllic existence is disrupted when they notice an RDA spaceship, carrying humans who plan to colonize Pandora once again, causing destruction in their wake. One of the new arrivals is Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang’s return to the role is marked by his commanding and brutal performance), now cloned into a Na’vi body and with his memories of his death erased. Despite his inability to recall his defeat at the hands of Jake, he remains determined to eliminate him as part of his vengeful mission.
To prevent the RDA from exploiting Pandora once again, Jake takes charge and leads a strategic guerrilla operation to weaken the RDA’s supply lines. During one of the operations, Lo’ak disobeys Neteyam and tries to assist Jake in battle, resulting in him getting wounded. Jake rescues and disciplines him to prevent him from endangering himself by being reckless. Later that night, while tending to Lo’ak’s wounds, Neytiri reminds Jake to not be too hard on their son, to which Jake expresses his concern for the safety of their children. Meanwhile, Quaritch initiates a search mission to kill Jake in retaliation for the attacks on their supply lines.
One day, Jake’s children, along with Spider, venture deeper into the rainforest. Unbeknownst to them, Quaritch and his team are in the area, exploring the site where Quaritch discovers his human remains. An observant Lo’ak notices their presence and quickly informs Jake. A skirmish ensues, and Quaritch’s squad captures Jake’s children. Although Jake and Neytiri manage to free most of them, Spider is taken by Quaritch, who recognizes him as his son. On the ship, the RDA attempts to extract information about Jake from Spider, who refuses to cooperate. In a change of strategy, Quaritch addresses Spider as his son and offers to explain more about the Na’vi in exchange for his freedom. Although uncooperative and unaware of Quaritch’s actual mission, Spider teaches him about Na’vi culture, and Quaritch is even able to successfully tame an Ikran flying creature as his vehicle.
To protect themselves from the danger posed by Spider’s knowledge of their whereabouts and to prevent another catastrophe, Jake persuades a hesitant Neytiri and his family to exile themselves from the Omaticaya Clan and seek refuge in Metkayina, a coral reef island inhabited by a clan that has adapted to Pandora’s aquatic environment. Jake passes on his role as chief to his successor and departs with his family to Metkayina. Upon arrival, they are met by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis delivers a performance that is both compassionate and commanding), the clan chief, and his initially skeptical wife Ronal (Kate Winslet delivers a standout performance in the role, seamlessly disappearing into the character’s ethnicity while bringing a brilliant level of nuance and depth to the portrayal). Jake explains their predicament, and they are granted permission to stay and provided with shelter. Although some of the tribesmen ridicule Jake and his children for their human heritage, the family assimilates into the reef people’s way of life and earns their respect. Kiri is captivated by the aquatic life of Metkayina and establishes a spiritual connection with the sea and its inhabitants, while Lo’ak becomes friends with Tsireya (played with stunning beauty and captivating gaze by Bailey Bass), the daughter of Tonowari and Ronal.
As Lo’ak adjusts to life in his new environment, he becomes embroiled in a conflict with Tsireya’s brother, Aonung, who makes a crude joke about Lo’ak and Kiri’s mixed human lineage. Jake scolds Lo’ak for his behavior and encourages him to apologize to Aonung and his friends. However, Aonung and his companions trick Lo’ak into venturing into the territory of a dangerous sea predator, the akula, and leave him stranded as revenge. The akula attacks Lo’ak, but he is saved and befriended by Payakan, a tulkun, a cetacean species revered as spiritual family by the Metkayina. Lo’ak communicates with Payakan through signing and removes an old harpoon head from the beast’s fin. Upon his return to Metkayina, Chief Tonowari discovers Aonung’s deceit and insists that he apologize to Lo’ak, but Lo’ak takes the blame himself and earns Aonung’s friendship. He also learns that Payakan is an outcast among his kind.
The film is visually stunning, and I highly recommend watching it in IMAX 3D or Gold Class 3D if possible. Cameron transports you to another world and immerses you in the beauty of Pandora. Each frame is a masterpiece, from the vibrant Pandoran forest to the breathtaking water world of Awa’atlu, the Metkayina Clan’s village off the coast of the Eastern Sea. The film’s stunning creatures and landscapes are portrayed with Cameron’s eye for majesty, making it difficult to look away. While the film’s characters and dialogue can be clumsy at times, which is typical of a James Cameron film, the film’s action and beauty make up for it. In my opinion, this film surpasses the original and opens up new possibilities for the world of Pandora, making it a potential science-fiction fantasy franchise on par with Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. I’m excited to see what comes next.
General Friedrichs: What is a soldier without war?
Director: Edward Berger
Writer(s): Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell and based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque
Starring: Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Brühl
Synopsis: A young German soldier’s terrifying experiences and distress on the western front during World War I.
As a teen I remember watching ‘Saving Private Ryan‘ in theaters and the traumatic impact of its opening scene remains vivid. The film’s opening is permeated with shocking and disturbing imagery that further intensifies the experience. I was shocked at the brutality but also enthralled with Steven Spielberg’s vision. This was the first time I saw the war depicted on screen in such a horrific way. During my childhood, I was exposed to a variety of war movies that were equally disturbing. Films such as Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July, Apocalypse Now, and Full Metal Jacket provided a shocking portrayal of the brutalities of war. These movies instilled in me a deep sense of fear about the prospect of being drafted and experiencing a future as bleak as the protagonists in those films. As a child, I was drawn to war films, and Saving Private Ryan was the pinnacle of that genre for me. I loved the movie, but I don’t remember ever experiencing a war film as intense and immersive as that until now. The film’s visceral depiction of the brutality and chaos of war was unparalleled, and it left a lasting impression on me. The movie conveyed a sense of realism and authenticity that I had not seen before, and it was as if I was right there alongside the soldiers, experiencing their struggles and triumphs firsthand. Even now, as an adult, I continue to be captivated by the power of Saving Private Ryan, and it remains one of my all-time favorite war films. Over the years, there have been many great war films that have left a significant impact on me, including Downfall and Inglourious Basterds (more for it’s ambition). However, none of them had the same emotional impact as Saving Private Ryan, until now.
All Quiet on the Western Front is a new war film that was able to match the intensity and realism of Saving Private Ryan. The film depicted the horrors of war in a way that was both raw and authentic, and it was as if I was transported to the battlefield, experiencing the events alongside the soldiers. The movie was a stark reminder of the senselessness and tragedy of war, and it left me feeling shaken and reflective. Although Saving Private Ryan will always hold a special place in my heart, this new war film proved to be just as powerful and thought-provoking.
The film follows a German soldier named, Paul Bäumer, (played intensely by Felix Kammerer) in World War I, the experience of battle was both grueling and harrowing. He was part of a generation of young men who had been trained to believe that war was an honorable endeavor, a duty to one’s country. But the reality was far different from the patriotic propaganda they had been fed. The trenches were dark and damp, and the soldiers were constantly under the threat of bombardment from the enemy. The smell of death and decay was ever present, and disease was rampant. Paul will see comrades fall beside him, their bodies ripped apart by bullets or blown to pieces by explosives. The horrors of war are etched into his memory forever. Despite the hardships, however, there was a sense of camaraderie amongst his fellow soldiers, and a belief that they were fighting for something greater than themselves. But as the war dragged on, and the casualties mounted, it became increasingly difficult to maintain that sense of purpose and the film takes its time to vividly illustrate just how far a soldier can fall in the face of war. The audience is given a raw and unflinching glimpse into the harrowing experiences and emotional toll that combat takes on a soldier. The film exposes the physical and psychological trauma that soldiers endure, as well as the mental and emotional challenges of being away from loved ones for extended periods. It shows how the brutal realities of war can change a person, often leaving them feeling broken and disillusioned. The film’s attention to detail and commitment to realism make it a poignant and sobering reminder of the sacrifices made by soldiers in times of conflict.
It’s unfortunate that the themes depicted in this film continue to be relevant today. As of 2023, conflicts and wars around the world are ongoing, and many people are experiencing the same harrowing situations depicted in these films. The ongoing Russian bombing of Ukraine and the Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan are just a couple of examples of the continued violence and instability in many parts of the world. It’s important to remember that war and conflict have devastating consequences, affecting the lives of innocent civilians and causing long-lasting damage to communities and societies. It’s a sobering reminder of the ongoing need for peace and diplomacy, as well as the importance of supporting those who are affected by war and its aftermath.