Film & TV

With the Best Picture Nominations, the Oscars Unleashed the Monsters’ Journey

Neil Gordon

In examining the daunting reality we face every day, we consider the journey of the monster who perpetuates it. And when we consider the journey of this monster from beginning to end, we see how the nightmare unfolds. It’s common for us to see someone like a psychopath (Jojo Rabbit) or a sociopath (The Irishmanand trace their history back to a point or a series of points of trauma. Without this confluence of events, they may not have turned out to be as destructive as they are. They experience hardship at an early, tender time, and thus their worldview is tainted from then on.

The 2020 Academy Awards: And the Oscar Goes To…

Christopher Karr

Parasite is the best movie of the year, and Joker is a close second. Still, it’s hard to imagine the Academy resisting Quentin Tarantino’s exquisite plunge into 1969 Hollywood. The movie is catnip for voters. Plus, Parasite is destined to get its due in other categories. The screenplay for Parasite is one of the greatest original scripts in recent memory. It has a dazzling, Shakespearean depth. Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay is flawed (especially that unacceptable ending, which flirts with canceling out the significance of everything that leads up to it), but the vision he expressed on the page merits recognition. 

‘Bombshell’ Is a Hit-and-Miss Attempt at Depicting Corrupt Newsroom Culture

Christopher Karr

The film never settles on a protagonist, and the storytelling mimics The Big Short, which was itself a poor aesthetic rip-off of the seminal movie of the decade, The Wolf of Wall Street. The screenplay relies heavily on telling instead of showing; the info-dumps pile up into a mountainous heap of superfluous details. Charlize Theron’s impressive transformation into Megyn Kelly notwithstanding, Bombshell ultimately doesn’t live up to its title because of Roach’s lack of style, perspective, and insight.

Welcome to the World of Crime and Punishment

Adam Gravano

Although of an earlier vintage, the scene is reminiscent of one of the final scenes in Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street, in which the FBI agent sits alone on a sad subway ride home. A shallow read of this type of scene describes it as a glorification of the life of the criminal: as if to say you'll find real family there, not in the hollow accolades and awards that come alongside a life of privation. Of course, a more fictional portrayal of an undercover operation, The Departed, makes no effort to be ambivalent on the nature of membership in a criminal organization.

Film Legends De Niro, Pacino, Pesci Aren’t Enough to Save ‘The Irishman’ From Itself

Christopher Karr

The shortsightedness of the filmmakers is on display in an unsettling way; they didn’t take into account two fundamental aspects of acting that make all the difference: eyes and physicality. Scorsese expressed concerns about how the de-aging affected the eyes of the performers earlier this year on A24’s “A Bigger Canvas” podcast, saying, “Certain shots need more work on the eyes.” But an even bigger problem is the fact that the actors, now in their mid-70s or older, don’t have the physicality of their younger selves.

Joaquin Phoenix’s Mesmerizing, Haunting Turn as ‘The Joker’

Christopher Karr

Todd Phillips, the co-writer and director of Road TripOld School, and the Hangover trilogy, is the mastermind behind Joker, which is by far the greatest comic book movie ever made. And it’s a comic book movie in the purest possible sense because it perfectly replicates the experience of reading comics as a kid — specifically Batman comics involving the Joker. Joker is an anti-hero horror comedy. It’s genuinely funny and completely unsettling. Think Re-AnimatorGet Out, or Very Bad Things — but better. Much better.

'Fleabag,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ Dominate 2019 Emmy Awards

Jill Serjeant

The Emmys are Hollywood’s top honors in television, and the night belonged to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the star and creator of Amazon Studios’ “Fleabag” who also created “Killing Eve.” Waller-Bridge took the trophy for best comedy actress, beating out six-time “Veep” actress winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus as well as last year’s Emmy champ Rachel Brosnahan for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Waller-Bridge also won an Emmy for comedy writing.

Exploring the Bizarre Cult of Ink in ‘Tattoo Uprising’

Christopher Karr

But Tattoo Uprising doesn’t really cater to viewers who aren’t already tatted — and perhaps it shouldn’t be. I would imagine, although I can’t say for sure, that anyone with a heavy interest in tattoos will find depth and significance in this film, but for me, the spine of the narrative is inert. There’s no narrative progression or innate rhythm to the storytelling, and as a result the movie feels more like a casual exploration punctuated by historical tidbits that range from valid to questionable.

Tarantino Delivers a Genius – and Peculiar – Masterpiece in ‘Once Upon a Time…’

Christopher Karr

The ending notwithstanding, there are times when the movie soars: The opening sequence that accompanies the credits is a breathtaking collage that plunges you completely into the headspace and milieu a different totally time. Brad Pitt gives the coolest performance of his career, and I mean “coolest” in the purest possible sense: cooler than Brando at his coolest, cooler than Steve McQueen (who appears as a character in the film long enough to give a monologue before disappearing completely). Pitt’s rapport with his dog is one of the more touching elements. 

A Day in the Life of a Film Critic

Tara Taghizadeh

There have been other changes as well, and I ultimately see most as neutral. It’s easy to say, “Films used to be better,” or, “They don’t make ’em like Gone With the Wind anymore.” But it’s important to remember that we tend to view film history with rose-colored glasses. We remember the gems and forget all the trash. Today, we have more content than ever before and — accordingly — more garbage. But we also see a number of really fantastic movies released every year. 

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