REVIEW: Wild Rose [2019]

“What do you need to say?” These movies usually start with the music and attempt to find happiness afterwards. That’s the order you need for the fantasy of artistic superstardom to work—that talent is enough to earn everything you’ve ever wanted and therefore the foundation for what’s still to come. That’s not the real world, […]

REVIEW: Leto [2018]

“Laziness has kept me out of trouble many times” We only recognize it through hindsight, but Americans are spoiled by cultural freedom. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s meant having the opportunity to listen to radio stations, records, and cassettes of music spanning multiple genres and eras. It was all at our fingertips and […]

REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

“I’ll take care of the rest” When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while […]

REVIEW: Her Smell [2019]

“I see the void of eternity” The public loves a good train wreck when it comes to rockstars. That notion of burning your candle on both ends to create music that lasts forever at the expense of a life snuffed out too soon carries the sort of romanticism you must give pause to in hindsight, […]

REVIEW: Amazing Grace [2019]

“We want you to let the folks know you’re here” Released in 1972, Aretha Franklin‘s live album with Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir entitled Amazing Grace took the country by storm selling over two million copies in America alone on its way to double platinum certification. Knowing it was going to […]

REVIEW: Climax [2018]

“Anything” What would you do for the chance to work with the illustrious choreographer Selva (Sofia Boutella) and her DJ Daddy (Kiddy Smile)? According to the group of young dancers they interviewed: “Anything.” Some are coy when asking for context to the question with a smile and others are quick to pretty much say they’d […]

REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

“Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya” You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their […]

REVIEW: Vox Lux [2018]

“Simply put: it was a hit” America lost its innocence on 9/11. It wasn’t an overnight thing, though. The gradual degradation of humanity on an ever-shrinking global landscape stewarded us there as school shootings and terrorist attacks grew with their weak links towards violent videogames rather than an otherwise Puritan sense of sex being worse […]

REVIEW: Zimna wojna [Cold War] [2018]

“Time doesn’t matter when you are in love” It’s critical to know that writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based his main characters in Zimna wojna [Cold War] on their namesakes: his parents. To know he acknowledges the fact that they were destructive together and lovesick apart makes the way in which the fictional Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) […]

REVIEW: リズと青い鳥 [Rizu to Aoi tori] [Liz and the Blue Bird] [2018]

“I hope that day never comes” The filmmakers behind リズと青い鳥 [Rizu to Aoi tori] [Liz and the Blue Bird] did a smart thing: they took an existing property (Ayano Takeda‘s novel series Sound! Euphonium which has subsequently become a manga, anime series, and film) and expanded upon two of its secondary characters by allowing them […]

REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody [2018]

“Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds.” There’s the story of Freddie Mercury and the story of his band Queen. One deals with complicated topics spanning fractured identity, the excess of fame, and AIDS while the other is apparently straightforward with little conflict besides creative squabbles that get ironed out before the argument is even finished. […]