Month: September 2016

Moonlight 

Coming of Age films that can transcend generations or change the perception of how our generation can be perceived are hard to come by. Moonlight manages to give the world a fresh point of view of those who are struggling internally or physically attempting to change their way of life. This film is beautiful in its execution, it was very soft and innocent but impactful. It allowed the innocence of a child to speak volumes towards important social issues that this generation is plagued by. There was such purity within the dialogue and the frames that were captured. There was a tenderness that played within the frame for Chiron, the essence that was radiating from him was his innocence and it made audiences feel for him from the beginning of this film. The three part narrative structure went together seamlessly, the three key parts to the masculine path to adulthood was beautifully captured. 

Manchester By The Sea

Manchester By The Sea, is a film that presents the stages of grief no matter in what form they come in. In this beautifully structured narrative, Kenneth Lonergan captures the deepest sorrow from different perspectives and it’s incredible. The film is not only nicely framed shot by shot but the film as a whole is well rounded and the parallels of the meaning of the sea bookend it quite nicely.

Lonergan incorporates so many elements that result in the grieving process, it carries such weight as it progresses in each scene. The richness of the dialogue was well established within the first five minutes of Casey Affleck’s character Lee Chandler being developed as a janitor. The dark humorous tone was presented and it stuck throughout the entire film when it was necessary. Casey Affleck was fantastic, he has always been an underrated actor and in this film he truly shines. Even though his character was distant and closed off, the emotional undertones were powerful enough to radiate off of him to bring you to tears. He was very reserved and emotional traumatized, he didn’t even have to say anything and the darkness of his tragic past would fill the frame. Michelle Williams who played his ex-wife Randi, had a great performance in a supporting role. There was a moment exchanged between the both of them in the middle of the film that was incredibly heartbreaking, it is one of the most painful scenes to watch. The breakout performance was Patrick Chandler’s played by newcomer Lucas Hedges. He surprised me the most because of how he went toe to toe with Casey and he matched his intensity in every single scene. Casey and Lucas had excellent chemistry and the dialogue was so sharp and quick between them that it made for humorous moments.

Lonergan’s filmmaking was different, which I liked. His method of flashbacks were highly effective and allowed friction between past and present considering what the story was about. Manchester By The Sea is the most heart-wrenching film of the year, it is so deeply moving that you will feel your heartbreaking. Casey Affleck was terrific in this and I would be very surprised if it doesn’t get him that golden statue.

La La Land

They say that musicals are outdated and are only meant to stay on Broadway. Well, that’s because no one in the past 20 years has made anything as original and stunning like Damien Chazelle.

La La Land, exceeds expectations. It exceeds the criteria that movie musicals have been structured as for years. It is seamless and effortless, each frame allows the audience to feel something as the crossing of the dream state and reality are blurred. Chazelle never fails to play with the camera and give the audiences different perceptions of situations that we have seen hundreds of times in any other film. This film captivates you from the very first song, it makes you laugh, it makes you feel like your heart is about to burst because of how exquisite the visuals are. The score along with the musical numbers reinvents movie musicals but it also resonates deep within you as it is also nostalgic.

The highest compliment I can give La La Land is that it is a modern day version of Singin in the Rain. It is just as vibrant in aesthetics as it is with its characters. This is the musical of our generation, the songs are already stuck in my head and I can’t wait to watch this film over and over again.

Bleed For This 

Bleed for This may appear to be another boxing biopic but the powerful, heartfelt true story of Vinny Pazienza adds much more to this genre. Miles Teller and Aaron Eckhart gave such effortless performances, as if these roles were made for them. As many know a boxer is only as good as his trainer and how their dynamic flourishes throughout each aspect of their lives. Bleed For This allows this relationship to be tested and grow with each match. From director and writer Ben Younger comes a boxing film and true underdog story that reinvents the sports genre. Every aspect of this film was refreshing and in the end rewarding to not only the filmmakers but to the audience as well. 
This film allows the audience to empathize with Vinny because he is such a likeable character and because Miles Teller gave one of the best performances of his career. Miles Teller embodied every single aspect of a boxer, especially the mentality which made his performance stronger. His cockiness and his ambition was remarkable, his drive and perseverance with the help of his trainer Kevin Rooney played by the the unrecognizable Aaron Eckhart carried the heart of the story. 
The film played off of it’s subtleties and repetition throughout his life, much like his boxing career, he went through a routine, which instantly made the atmosphere more comforting. However, when Vinny was out of his routine, the feeling was quite the opposite and the contrast was evident but the mentality of his perseverance held his sanity together. 
Younger brought a refreshing take on the boxing world and added so much originality within the frame. Due to the fact that this is a true story, the integration of actual footage from Pazz’s matches as well as interviews were done quite nicely and transitioned from present film footage to original footage quite seamlessly. This is a unique boxing film, from the characters to the score to the footage and perseverance in the ring. Miles Teller captivated you with his performance and had a beautiful heartfelt dynamic with his family as well as his love for boxing. 

A United Kingdom 

A film of love and devotion to one mans country and the heartfelt unity of a man and his wife. Amma Asante delivers a remarkable narrative, in its execution and seamless integration of social and political issues. This well rounded film captivates audiences through the subject matter of racial segregation and the determination of a couple willing to change the hierarchy. A United Kingdom is a beautiful piece of artistry, a wonderful spell-binding story with so much power, with so much heart and perseverance. 
This emotional narrative based on a true story brought forward a remarkable performance from David Oyelowo and a responsive subtle yet powerful performance by Rosamund Pike. These two powerful forces together on screen was a dream to watch. They played each other’s equals, it was incredibly moving and they were a match made in film heaven. David Oyelowo had such passion for this story and it came through on screen. 
This film was executed with such grace and power, every frame was a progression of their love for each other. Amma Asante is truly a visionary and what she has done with this film will speak volumes for future filmmakers as a pivotal piece. A United Kingdom is more than just a love story, it is more than a role reversal, it is more than just a political statement. This film encapsulates every aspect of social change that we as a people and as a community should strive for, a sense of ultimate acceptance no matter the race. 

Before the Flood 

What do we know about our planet Earth? We know that we have been blessed to live on it. We know that we have beautiful creations all around us but what we do not know or understand in this matter is how impactful the human race is on this planet. Before the Flood is an educational documentary about Climate Change and how serious a subject it is. 
Academy Award winning Documentary Director Fisher Stevens along with Academy Award Winner and Environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio present us with the utmost knowledge and facts about the terrifying thought of our world ending in disaster, if we as humans do not take action. The documentary is extremely well done, the structured narrative was thought provoking and heartfelt. Although DiCaprio’s views are a bit pessimistic, his determination to advise audiences about Clinate Change is the driving force of this documentary. Along with stunning visuals by Antonio Rossi that captured the terror and the beauty that our planet beholds. 
This documentary allows audiences to collect their own perceptions of how conglomerates and political business tactics come to fruition in regards to our natural resources and the destruction that fossil fuels create, not only in North America but in countries around the world. This piece of filmmaking can change anyone’s views on this subject matter and I advise everyone to tune in on October 30th on National Geographic. Listen to these filmmakers, they are trying to make a difference and so can we. 

Loving Film Review

 

A simplistic true story that allowed audiences to understand the civil rights movement in all its hardship, Loving brings together a touching and heartfelt story. Ruth Negga had captured Mildred’s spirit and determination. Her strength and maternal energy had a calmness that filled the atmosphere of the film. However, the film itself lacked in the structured narrative, it was extremely slow and nothing had escalated. I expected some sort of climax or any confrontation from either of them but there was nothing. It was just a waiting game but nothing ended up happening. The film depicts their home life as normal and loving just as any family but the struggle was unseen and it felt like it was just known. There was little to no dialogue and it just lacked in anything relevant enough to progress the story. In the end they decided to explain in text format what happened to the family later on which was more tragic than the actual struggle for them to remain married. I had high hopes for this film to be rounded and emotional but sadly it did not reach it.