Thursday, November 25

Tag: Biography

Review: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
Movie Review

Review: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Judas and the Black Messiah recounts the real life saga involving young-and-rising Black Panthers leader, Fred Hampton, operating in Illinois, with his eventual betrayer, William "Bill" O'Neal. The story is framed to juxtapose the infamous biblical betrayal as it wears the hint as explicitly in the title as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The story of an eloquent Black revolutionist killed by the establishment after manipulating a fellow Black man inarguably exudes the #BlackLivesMatter message strongly. It's a provocative political biopic radiating that couldn't have been timelier. (more…)
Review: Shirley (2020)
Movie Review

Review: Shirley (2020)

In the recent years, Elisabeth Moss has transformed herself into a beast of an actor. Her sharp acting keeps pushing the boundaries and setting higher standards in each occasion. In the aftermath of Madmen, she quickly bounces with staggering performance in all seasons of The Handmaid's Tale before winning Palme D'Or in Ruben Östlund's The Square, and the unnerving acting in Her Smell. In 2020, she single-handedly leads Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man into its acclaimed status. Shirley, however, presents a challenge that she manages to overcome with scintillating details in portraying Shirley Jackson, quirky horror author who writes The Haunting in the Hill House. (more…)
Review: Mank (2020)
Featured, Movie Review

Review: Mank (2020)

David Fincher's new film, Mank, is a behind-the-scene drama about the sacred writing of Citizen Kane. Lauded as one of the finest movies ever made, which is nothing but the truth, the 1941 epic is also known for the series of disputes that follow—from the constant hassle and massive boycott by media mogul, William Randolph Hearst, after whom the movie is partially modeled; the long-lasting financial trouble for RKO Pictures, to the dispute over the writing credit split between director/star/producer, Orson Welles, and veteran screenwriter, Herman Mankiewicz. The film would go on receiving 9 Oscar nominations and only winning one for the rightful Best Writing (Original Screenplay)—to which Welles and Mankiewicz differ in opinions, originating the dispute that will last for decades. (mo...
Review: Judy (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Judy (2019)

In Rupert Goold's Judy, we have finally got to that somewhere over the rainbow, where Renée Zellweger takes the central stage in portraying the faded actress, Judy Garland, to showcase her return to prominence since her come-back in 2016. It's a deeply moving story as the faded star struggles with the opposite of fame and the dwindled health. While the narrative offers so much more than it's intended to be, in the end, it's Zellweger's performance which keeps it under character-study corridor. Judy Garland in her late forties is amidst a surreal, ironic situation where she's rendered penniless even when awhile ago, we are shown to the discussion about her singing talent at her young age. In a series of flashbacks, we learn that, as a teen, Judy was abused and driven up for unrelenting ...
Review: Bombshell (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Bombshell (2019)

First of all, Jay Roach's Bombshell reintroduces the villainous apparatus, FOX News, as a powerful entity—influencing the outcome of US presidential elections since Nixon's era. And yet, things are about to get changed approaching the 2016 election a.k.a. the rise of the Trumpian emperor. The truth is about to unravel and the timing cannot be more precise; and, when it finally does, it's an unprecedented bombshell for the industry. The truth is decades of power abuse that leads to sexual abuse and harrowing rape culture within the vein of FOX News. The perpetrator is no other than the founder, Roger Aelis (John Lithgow). The Promethean figures to tear down the concealed practice are the fed-up women who work or used to work in FOX, represented in this movie by controversial anchors, Me...
Review: The Irishman (2019)
Movie Review

Review: The Irishman (2019)

The Irishman is undoubtedly a Martin Scorsese cinema through and through. Clocking in at 209 minutes, this twilight piece de resistance funnels the director's trademarks and signature theme—making a league with Mean Streets, Goodfellas, and Casino. Extracted by Steven Zaillian from Charles Brandt's book, 'I Heard You Painted Houses', the film reunites Scorsese with Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci while gives the director the chance to collaborate with Al Pacino for the first time. This whole gangster cinema, however, is more than a mere reunion; it's a poignant victory lap for everyone involved. With a story that spans for five decades—going in and out from the 1950s to the 2000s, The Irishman follows the story of the titular man, Frank Sheeran (De Niro), a trucker turned a mafia hitman. ...
Review: Dark Waters (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Dark Waters (2019)

It's surprising that the New Queer Cinema pioneer, Todd Haynes' (Velvet Goldmine, Carol) new movie, Dark Waters, is a clinical legal thriller—a frigid whistleblowing drama in the fashion of Oscar-winner, Spotlight. Starring in it is Mark Ruffalo, portraying a real-life lawyer, Robert Billot, who became the nightmare for DuPont de Nemours, Inc., a chemical company mogul. Based on Nathaniel Rich's article published for The New York Times Magazine, the drama might remind us a bit of Erin Brokovich; but, there's something more about this movie that makes it more important and, most importantly, relevant. It's a 126-minute docudrama compressing a long and winding legal process, which has been going on for almost two decades. It all started with Billot's favor to return the call from Wilbur ...
Review: Ford v Ferrari (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Ford v Ferrari (2019)

In the 1960s, the deteriorating Ford Motor was desperate to boost their car sales to the first-generation boomers. In their effort, Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) had an epiphany to propose participation in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, which leads to Henry Ford II's (Tracy Letts) direct order to manufacture a built-for-speed car to defeat the mogul, Ferrari. There's where the poster guys, Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale) make an entrance to this formulaic ambitious story and rev up the engine to make this one of the finest racing movies ever made. Just like Le Mans, Ford v Ferrari (also titled Le Mans '66) is never an ordinary race. Le Mans requires participating teams to race for a full 24 hours using the same car in the same racetrack. The movie, clocking in at ...
Review: Dolemite is My Name (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Dolemite is My Name (2019)

Eddie Murphy makes a fascinating comeback with his new Netflix production, Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic of an Afro-American comedian, Rudy Ray Moore, whose life's journey is like a joyride. From a record store employee, the comedian paved his way up to become a famous comic and, eventually, a movie star of a cult blaxploitation franchise. Directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow, Black Snake Moan) whose works are highly influenced by blaxploitation movies, Murphy's return to prominence is inevitable. Dolemite Is My Name begins when struggling Moore had an epiphany to reinvent his career. Reinventing himself using 'Dolemite' name as his moniker, Moore created an onstage persona of a pimp and started to involve in stand-up routines. Soon he would be traveling on a comic tour to the D...
Review: Susi Susanti: Love All (2019)
Focus: Indonesia, Movie Review

Review: Susi Susanti: Love All (2019)

The term 'love all' refers to the zero scores from which all competitors begin a badminton game. In Sim F's directorial debut, Susi Susanti - Love All, the term is also redefined as a credo in which all badminton players must always love all—the whole game including the crowds and the opponents—to win the game. In Susi Susanti's case, everything goes back to the beginning—to the love of her country. After all, it's a complex biopic that transcends the episodic moments in the subject's triumphant career. Transcending the usual zero-to-hero narrative, Susi Susanti: Love All tells beyond the struggle of the legendary badminton player to finally become one of the world's bests. It works as a reflective social commentary about the life of Chinese-descent people in Indonesia—a country with a...
BALINALE Review: The King (2019)
Movie Review

BALINALE Review: The King (2019)

Director David Michôd (Animal Kingdom, The Rover) distills Shakespeare's historical epic, Henriad, into a 140-minute, star-studded movie. Michôd co-writes the scripts with Joel Edgerton (also stars and produces) concocting elements from at least three plays, namely Henry IV, Part 1, Henry IV, Part 2 and Henry V as a tragicomic retelling of King Henry V's life. The result is The King, a simplified, character-driven story of leadership built upon a sense of reluctance and ineptness. The King follows the rise of Hal (Timothée Chalamet)—the wayward prince and heir to King Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn), the tyrannical king of England—to the throne. Enraged by his father's deed, the estranged teenage prince has forsaken the royal court to live in a tavern and befriend John Falstaff (Edgerton). ...
Review: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)
Movie Review

Review: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

In 2019 alone, documentary director, Joe Berlinger—whose passion has always been true crime documentaries and Metallica documentaries—has spawned two works related to the life of the serial killer, Ted Bundy. Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes, a 4-episode documentary covering taped conversation with the killer, was released on Netflix earlier this year. The second one is Extemely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile which marks the director’s return to narrative feature (after the lambasted Book of Shadow: Blair Witch, which attempts to exploit his raw documentary style). In any way, the movie is controversial. Firstly, it looks as if it attempts to romanticize the “heart-throbbing” serial killer and the movie goes as far as casting another heartthrob, Zac Efron. You’ll be s...
Review The Dirt (2019)
Movie Review

Review The Dirt (2019)

For every soulless Bohemian Rhapsody, we are granted an even soul-corrupted The Dirt, a biopic of an iconic band – who claims to “drink, snort and fuck everything in sight” - Mötley fuckin’ Crüe. Undergoing years of inferno from Paramount and MTV Films to Focus Feature before ending up in development hell, the biopic – eventually picked up by Netlix – ends up doing what every other biopic couldn’t bear to do: debauching the subject but proudly and deliberately. It’s campy, sleazy, nasty, dumb, offensive, but, nonetheless, fun. (more…)
Breathe (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Breathe (2017) – Review

Review: Breathe, directorial debut from Andy Serkis—the man who should’ve gotten lifetime achievement for dedication to performance capture, is surprisingly a grounded, imperfect but breathtaking love story inspired by  Robin Cavendish, a responaut who survived from paralyzing polio, and his loving wife, Diana. Andrew Garfield, as per his recent standard, is astonishing as Robin, an energetic British tea-broker who ventures in Africa. His social fluidness helps him winning over Diana Blacker’s (Claire Foy, The Crown) heart, despite her reputation as a professional heartbreaker. Love blooms quickly and, before long, Robin marries Diana before his tenure in Kenya began. Yet, life gives as quickly as it takes. During Diana’s pregnancy with Jonathan Cavendish (who apparently becomes the film’s...
Only the Brave (2017) – Review
Movie Review

Only the Brave (2017) – Review

Review: Behind the heavy testosterone-laden drama, Only the Brave highlights true act of heroism in the most respectful way. It might look like a show-off of masculinity, but who knows that it’s never really about muscles. It’s the story of hearts. Director Joseph Kosinski (Tron: Legacy, Oblivion) assembles a combination of veteran actors and rising ones, ranging from Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin and Jennifer Connelly to Miles Teller and Taylor Kitsch, in telling a real story of Granite Mountain Hotshots, sub-group of Prescott Fire Department. Only the Brave covers how the group rose into prominence, saved thousands of acres from forest fire, and culminated the devastating event of Yarnell Hill fire. (more…)

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