Film & TV

Fine Acting, Wit, and Stunning Visuals Make ‘Umbrella Men’ a Fond Addition to the Heist Film Genre

Ben Friedman

Everyone knows the filmmaking conventions that make a good heist movie: a mismatch of eccentric characters each with their own skill set, speeches about how the impossible task is actually possible, and the execution. Heist movies always feature the debonair hero, the hothead, the uneasy alliance, the romantic interest, and a villain. A heist film lives and dies on its storyteller’s ability to overcome the derivative and craft something exciting. John Barker’s The Umbrella Men represents the highs and lows of the genre.

‘Carmen’: A Maltese Film That Pays Homage to an Age-Old Tradition

Sandra Bertrand

Buhagiar can be forgiven for adding a bit of magic realism to shore up the storyline, or maybe it’s just God’s intervention. Take your pick.While the cathedral is closed for masses until further notice, the parishioners are welcome to confess. Concealing herself in the confessional, with “a voice like the Virgin Mary,” Carmen counsels the abused and forlorn women of the town. Even a young girl with the voice of an angel is advised to take money from the collection box and escape to Rome where her talent will be recognized.

‘Becoming Iconic’ Tells Confusing, Messy Stories About Film Directing

Ulises Duenas

The biggest problem with this documentary is the sporadic way that it’s edited – which veers from interviews with Baker to interviews with other directors to old photos and footage of people associated with Baker at a confusing pace with hardly any understandable transition. What’s worse is that the film uses various weird camera angles and visual effects like random bright lights, dark vignetting, random zoom-ins in footage of Baker just walking around or talking on the phone.

‘Breaking’ Offers a Gripping Real-Life Story of Injustice

Ben Friedman

Breaking tells the true-life story of Easley, a former marine in financial trouble. On the brink of homelessness and an inability to pay for his daughter’s child support, Easley decides to hold a Wells Fargo Bank hostage and make his voice heard through live news coverage. Breaking is a harrowing look into the hardships that veterans face, told through the vehicle of one man, portrayed by Star Wars actor John Boyega.

The Best Japanese Anime Shows to Watch

Darius Taghizadeh

Hunter x Hunter is an extremely enjoyable series from start to finish. All of the narrative arcs are appealing and executed beautifully. The characters are one of the main factors that make this story so enjoyable. Gon, Kurapika, Leorio, Killua, Hisoka, and others make the show a must-watch and have interesting characteristics and backgrounds. The show excels at strategy as well, as Togashi brings innovative ways for characters to defeat their opponents. Yoshihiro Togashi made what is considered to be his most famous project.

‘Fall’ Is a Great, Modern Thriller

Ulises Duenas

The director does a great job of using certain shots and sounds to sell the danger of climbing the tower. It comes off as rickety and on the verge of collapse to really build tension. There are numerous close calls that put them in mortal danger and the script does a great job of setting small things up to pay them off later. There was one revelation later in the movie that is telegraphed obviously, but there’s a great twist towards the end that’s well done.

New Film Shows the Rise and Fall of Will Vinton’s Claymation Dream

Ulises Duenas

Vinton caught his next big break when his production studio started making the “California Raisins” commercials, which became a pop-culture phenomenon in the 1980s. The problem is that Vinton Studios never expected the commercials to take off and didn’t have a share of the merchandising. So while the California Raisin Advisory was raking almost half a billion in merchandise sales, Vinton Studios didn’t see a dime of it.

‘A Silent Party’ Tackles Patriarchy, Sexual Assault and Victim Blaming, Yet Misses the Mark

Ulises Duenas

The way the story comments on Laura’s standing in her relationship and family is the only poignant aspect of the movie. You feel sympathy for her from early on and can tell she feels constrained in a relationship that’s lost its spark. Once she tells David what happened to her, he quickly takes on the responsibility of revenge as a way of proving his masculinity, and Laura’s father soon does the same. While the movie tries to do something different with an old cliché, the way it’s executed stills seems a tad exploitative .

“Thor: Love and Thunder” Brings Abundant Summer Superhero Fatigue

Ulises Duenas

Taika Waititi’s script comes as desperate for laughs. Every scene has to have some kind of gag or quip in it, and by now, that’s become a common complaint of a lot of Marvel movies. It’s particularly bad in this one, with characters like Korg and Thor himself feeling the need to attempt humor at every turn. There are some jokes that work, but the ones that don’t are far greater.

‘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.

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