My work as a screenwriter, filmmaker, movie critic, gamer, and all-around nerd.
Once in a while a foreign film comes along that gets massive American appeal, praise, and Oscar buzz. Before “Parasite,” no foreign film has done that for me since “El Laberinto del Fauno” (Pan’s Labyrinth) in 2006. That movie went on to be nominated for six Oscars and win three…
I’m just saying.
“Parasite” starts off as a fascinating and poignant look at two very different families in South Korea and how they are brought together by circumstance, luck, and deception. One family is devastatingly poor, the other is exceedingly wealthy. The story is about how both these families end up working in tandem with presumed common goals only to end up entangled in lies from both sides. (more…)
Fred Rogers, most commonly known simply as Mr. Rogers, was a PBS television host whose program was created for young kids with the simple and pure but oftentimes complex notion of understanding and coping with feelings. As a child of the 1980s, I watched Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. My brother being a child or the 1990s also watched his show; a program that came (and remained) true from its humble beginnings throughout its 31 season tenure between 1968 and 2001. “A Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood” is a biopic of Fred Rogers that takes place in the late 90s and is just as much about Fred as it is about Lloyd Vogel, a cynical journalist for Esquire Magazine, on assignment to write a puff piece about a hero.
Robert Eggers is at it again with a very ambiguous and dark story. This time, about two lighthouse workers forced to cope with the confined space and each other. Willem Dafoe plays Thomas Wake, an experienced sailor-turned lighthouse keeper who is extremely protective to the point of obsessed with the light. Robert Pattinson plays Ephraim Winslow, a former timber worker new to the job, the climate, the isolation, basically everything that comes with the job of being a lighthouse keeper.
Both characters have a very mysterious past that I’m still unclear as to what to make of it. I’m all for leaving certain part of stories or characters open to interpretation, but “The Lighthouse” felt more like an unclear time lapse over which character can act the craziest or have the craziest hallucinations and the audience is asked to figure out why without much context.
The overall cinematography of the film was lacking. The black and white film, while I understand was meant to make the characters appear morally grey, also had certain shot compositions unnecessarily tight-even the outdoor shots. Certain shots were also out of focus, and I’m certain it wasn’t to add to the intrigue because there was nothing in those elements that helped the story. If it were meant to, the cinematographer failed to guide the audience in that direction. The whole “Don’t tell me, show me” mantra of filmmaking was left with much to be desired.
The acting overall was few and far between. With not much dialogue the first 15 minutes of the film, when Pattinson’s character did start speaking, I couldn’t tell if he was supposed to be Irish, British, or turn-of-the-century American. Needless to say, he doesn’t even hold a candle to Willem Dafoe.
Though Dafoe’s performance was much more impressive, I struggled to figure out how much of what was coming out of his mouth was truly how his character was, from delusions of his own, or just intentionally trying to make Pattinson’s character crazy.
There was plenty of allegory and metaphor to this film that unless you’re up to date with your British folklore and Greek mythology, you’re going to miss a lot of it.
While “The Lighthouse” is ambitious, I believe the director is still inexperienced in telling the kind of story the audience is expecting (or at least hoping) to see.
It was just over ten years ago that I (and the rest of the world) were wowed over Christopher Nolan’s interpretation of the character of the Joker immortalized forever by Heath Ledger. The punctuation of that performance sealed in the acting pantheon with Ledger winning a posthumous Oscar. Since then the character of the Joker has been portrayed on both television and film since, by Cameron Monaghan and Jared Leto respectively, with varying results and levels of acceptance & dismissal by critics and fanboys alike. But this is the first time that a movie has been done with a singular comic book villain serving as the darkest of antiheroes in a standalone origin story.
The true origin of the character known to all as the Joker (more…)
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24 years after Pixar’s inaugural film and introduction into our lives, the “Toy Story” franchise has come to its conclusion with “Toy Story 4.” All of our favorites from the original film are back with a few new amazing characters. We pick up essentially shortly after we left “Toy Story 3,” when Andy gave his toys to a little girl named Bonnie. Like Andy, Bonnie is a very imaginative little girl who loves and takes good care of all of her toys.
The story starts with Bonnie being nervous about her Kindergarten orientation. (more…)
Now that I’ve had my wedding and am officially on summer vacation, I can focus on more important things. Things like nerding out the way I used to. Catch up on some reading, playing video games, lounge by the pool; you know, “summer vacation stuff.” But I would be remiss if I didn’t start out my summer by watching and reviewing a movie combining my two favorite childhood (and adulthood) properties.
So light the bat signal and warm up your sashimi pizza because it’s gonna be a good one. (more…)