Film & TV

‘Elvis’ Is a Cinematic Wonder, but Does It Shed Light on the Icon’s Real Life Story?

Forrest Hartman

For those who don’t know much about Elvis, the film may also play as an unexpected tragedy. Presley did, after all, die at the age of 42, ravaged by drugs and abused by handlers, both preventing him from reaching his true artistic potential. Although Elvis’s pipes, groundbreaking dance moves and guitar playing landed him the moniker “King of Rock ’n’ Roll,” it’s nearly certain he would have done even more had he overcome the demons.

‘The Book Keepers’ Shows a Husband’s Journey to Promote His Late Wife’s Memoirs

Ulises Duenas

Wall and Giles became friends and through gardening, he taught her how to remain optimistic and appreciative of life even when she knew she didn’t have much time left. That became the foundation for Wall memoir Mister Owita’s Guide to Gardening. One drawback of the documentary is that it seems like it glosses over Owita’s involvement in all this, and while it does provide background on him, I would have liked to learn more about the man that inspired Wall so deeply. 

Fascinating Characters, Plots Make ‘The Boys’ a Must-Watch Show, Despite Gratuitous Gore

Forrest Hartman

If The Boys has a flaw, it’s the franchise’s much-celebrated violence and gore. Because the show prides itself on the sort of hyperrealism that is generally avoided in superhero flicks (how, after all, can Flash punch someone at super speed without dismembering them) a few characters meet a tremendously bloody end in every show. Obviously, some fans relish this. I find the gore self-indulgent and believe it distracts from the generally fantastic plotting that punctuates each season.

‘Who Killed Vincent Chin?’ Explores a Murder Case Steeped in Injustice

Ulises Duenas

If one were to look at the case details on paper, it would look like a random act of violence caused by unchecked rage. The initial case’s ruling drew a lot of outrage from Asian-Americans and activists across the country and beyond. It appeared as though the judge was trying to sweep it under the rug since key witnesses and even the police officers who were at the scene weren’t present for the trial and weren’t even aware it happened until after the verdict.

‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 Delivers Horror, Excitement, and Compelling Story Lines

Forrest Hartman

The new season of Stranger Things is really like a series of short movies, each running just long enough to get the story told. The shortest episode checks in at 64 minutes, the longest at 98. This trend of editing programming to the “right” length rather than a prescribed advertising outline, may be the greatest benefit of streaming, as it simply allows content creators to tell their stories. With Stranger Things Season 4, those stories are well told.

Why ‘Jurassic Park’s’ Special Effects Look Much Better Than ‘Jurassic World’s’

Ben Friedman

“Welcome to Jurassic Park.” The four words that usher in a new generation of visual filmmaking. In that moment, when Richard Attenborough’s character welcomes the cast, and consequently, the viewer, into the park, the impossible becomes possible. For 126 minutes, we, the audience believed that dinosaurs once again walked the earth. They were as real as Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neil, and Laura Dern, who stood beside them.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Offers Great Flight Scenes and Bad Characters

Ulises Duenas

The parts where Maverick is training the new students are the highlight of the movie because the scenes in the jets are a visual spectacle. That all leads up to the climax of the mission itself, which is well done. It’s just a shame that the scenes that don’t involve someone flying a jet are of flat characters and a by-the-numbers romantic subplot. I don’t blame them for trying to turn Maverick into a more complicated character who is still wrestling with his grief, but in doing so, the writers show their over-reliance on the original movie for references.

‘Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Is a Nostalgia Cash-Grab Done Right

Ulises Duenas

The way that this movie satirizes modern Hollywood is great. After growing tired of playing the dumb sidekick, Dale tries to go solo and eventually gets a procedure done to make him look like a modern CG animated 3-D character with textured fur. His reasoning is that he needed it in order to be cast in modern animated shows and movies. The plot also ties in the aspect of bootleg rip-offs with a chop-shop-like warehouse that turns beloved animated characters into ugly bootlegs used to make cheap movie rip-offs. 

‘Montana Story’ Is a Mellow, Lyrical Family Drama

D.M. Palmer

Cal and Erin struggle to meet the past on their own terms: Cal approaches life from a position of anxiety, while Erin projects tenacity; but they are equally grasping for purchase against the upheavals that have warped what was once familiar. Both performances reveal a slow seething to the surface: Richardson has a severity to her demeanor, which articulates Erin’s determination to rectify old wounds and pay off a karmic debt; while Teague is tortured by his inaction.

‘Doctor Strange’ Brings Lots of Flash but Little Substance

Ulises Duenas

When Disney began promoting the film, there were some who thought it would have a horror edge to it and that idea was only emboldened when Raimi was announced as the director. While Raimi’s unique touch is visible in various parts of the film, I wouldn’t say it goes far enough to truly separate it from all the Marvel movies. At this point in the Marvel cycle, there should be more chances being taken, not just with the plot but with the whole tone and dialogue of the movies.

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