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STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN (2020) review

February 21, 2020

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written by: Peter Hoare
produced by: Chris Mangano, Matt Ratner, Rick Rosenthal, John Hermann and Gabrielle Nadig
directed
 by: Matt Ratner
rated: NR (Content equivalent of R)
runtime: 91 min.
U.S. release date: February 21, 2020

 

“Regret is the only thing that’s real.”

 

The term “dad movie” has become a pejorative for long, boring movies where people sit around and talk. Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have trafficked in the genre for years, but I think its parameters can be expanded to include any movie one could watch with their dad. “Standing Up, Falling Down” is the latest film to tick enough dad movie boxes for me to comfortably call it one, though the mere presence of Billy Crystal alone earned it a place in the genre. Read more…

A Historic Oscar night! “Parasite” wins Best International Feature Film & Best Picture!

February 9, 2020

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I had hoped, but I really didn’t think it would happen, yet there I was shocked and overjoyed that it did – Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece, “Parasite”, won both Best Picture AND Best International Feature Film award! History was made twice tonight, since no South Korean film has ever won in the Best International Feature Film category (formally called Best Foreign Language Film) and no winner in that category has ever gone on to win Best Picture in the ninety-two year history of the Oscars! That’s huge! The film also won in two other categories, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, which was equally great. There were also other surprises and historic wins in a ceremony which once again found viewers weighing the pros and cons of another year without a host. Read more…

WAITING FOR ANYA (2020) review

February 8, 2020

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written by: Michael Morpurgo (novel), Toby Torlesse and Ben Cookson (screenplay)
produced by: Phin Glynn and Alan Latham
directed by: Ben Cookson
rated: NR (Content equivalent of PG-13)
runtime: 109 min.
U.S. release date: February 7, 2020

 

“What did you see in the barn?”

 

Schmaltz is hardly a novel concept in cinematic attempts to soften the harder edges of World War II, everything from “Life is Beautiful” to Jerry Lewis’ infamously un-released “The Day the Clown Cried” positively trafficked in schmaltz. Even last year’s “Jojo Rabbit,” which was about 2/3 of a great movie, couldn’t escape schmaltz in its final scene. It’s the best way filmmakers have found to deal with such unfathomably inhuman deeds, and it works best when doled out in carefully measured doses. Read more…

THE LODGE (2020) review

February 7, 2020

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written by: Sergio Casci, Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
produced by: Simon Oakes, Aliza James and Aaron Ryder
directed by: Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala
rated: R (for disturbing violence, some bloody images, language and brief nudity)
runtime: 108 min.
U.S. release date: February 7, 2020

 

Premiering just over a year ago at Sundance 2019 as one of the Midnight selections, “The Lodge” is finally seeing a release date here in the States. Granted, it’s not a wide release, but that’s not surprising considering the marketing from Neon has been slim. However, the reports from the film’s debut there was relatively good, giving me hope for another bizarrely twisted horror flick from Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, the directing pair behind the creepy slow-burn of “Goodnight Mommy” from 2015. Like that film, the directors focus on the after effects of family trauma, this time in a wintry remote location during Christmas. Needless to say, unless your family is particularly twisted with a lean towards psychological madness and dread, this won’t be a holiday classic in the coming years.

Read more…

Top Ten Films of 2019

February 4, 2020

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2019 was definitely a different year at the movies for me. Maybe you noticed my written reviews had become sparse around June or maybe you didn’t – you never know who’s following this thing. Regardless of what I didn’t write about, movies still came out each week. That’s a constant. Another constant is how people often reflect on the year in film and complain for one reason or another, shrug it off and move on. Well, I may not have written about many movies for the second half of last year, but I’ve certainly seen enough to know that it was a great year of cinema – from indies to blockbusters there was definitely more than a handful that rose to the top. Read more…

Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts (2020) review

February 3, 2020

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I say it every year and I’ll say it again…the Oscar-Nominated Documentary Shorts collectively offer the best viewing experience of any category. Most of the them are heartbreaking and some of them are uncomfortable to watch, but all five nominees provide an important look at humanity, for better or worse. All of the real life stories told here are emotional and inspiring, yet some are definitely more frustrating than others. As usual for this category, all five nominees deal with timely (and often troubling) subject matter through personal dramas from around the world. Read more…

Oscar-Nominated Live-Action Shorts (2020) review

February 3, 2020

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A running theme amongst all the Live-Action Shorts this year is a longing for connection or to be connected with others. This theme is explored in various different settings and stories. There is one in which people are in conflict with each other and another where people are struggling to figure out life in the aftermath of war. One short focuses on one individual relying on another for survival without ever meeting in person and another wherein ignorance leads to an unexpected conclusion for the another individual. Another short examines how our lives can change when we become enraptured by the way in which others live. There’s something to be gleaned from each of these shorts, yet ultimately their are unique stories to experience here regardless of the situations characters are in here. Read more…