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Reviews

Klaus
(2019)

A true selfless act always sparks another - 9/10 🎄
Netflix has produced yet another instant film ciassic, this time in the form of a Christmas movies, of all things. For a genre that you think you've seen it all, Klaus (2019) does the unique task of rewriting the origin story of "Klaus" and the result is a breathtaking, beautiful piece of animation. Wonderful hand-drawn 2D animation (that will surely bring any 90s kid back to their childhood), incredible music and top-notch voice acting. It's all executed incredibly well and is surely one of the best Christmas films ever made!

Marriage Story
(2019)

An incredibly raw and heart-rending story anchored by two wonderful lead performances - 9/10 ⭐
Sometimes two good people just aren't 'good' for each other. I learned this from my parents who separated albeit very amicably. Marriage Story (2019) shows us just how ugly a journey this can become when things become contested and compromising turns to competing. Noah Baumbach has crafted an extremely raw and poignant screenplay (based off of his experiences with Jennifer Jason Leigh) and both Scarlett Jo and Adam Driver give absolutely lights-out performances; career highs for both of them in my opinion. This one deserves all the awards it has coming - Don't miss it.

Paterson
(2016)

Life is in all the little moments where the minute details connect - 8/10 ⭐
Jim Jarmusch's Paterson (2016) is a meditative experience that so often borders on the realm of a dream. Through interesting overhead shots and soft bounced lighting, we see everyday life through a change of perspective and through the eyes of the titular man who fittingly shares a name with the city in which he resides. The city is almost a character in itself providing the backdrop to the mundane, humdrum existence of Paterson (played exquisitely by Adam Driver). Another quiet masterpiece by JJ.

Underground
(1995)

An out-of-control, surreal and relentless odyssey through 1940s Belgrade - 8/10 ⭐
This was an epic like I've never seen before; chronicling the journey of a group of people from the beginning of WWII all the way until the Yugoslaw wars, Underground (1995) is a 3-part story that features surrealistic imagery at every turn. Featuring some stellar performances and wonderful music, the viewer is taken along for a wild ride that makes 3 hours fly by. Don't miss this Palme d'Or winner!

Rectify
(2013)

One of TV's most underrated gems
Didn't know much about Rectify (2013) going in other than it was the story of a man, Daniel Holden, who is miraculously released from Death Row after serving 20 years and the struggles both he and his family endure thereafter as they try to adjust to life with their son on the outside. The cast is simply incredible; every performance is superb - and the writing hits at the core of what it means to be human as good as any show out there. The music is divine and really punctuates the film through its emotional moments and the direction is simply flawless. It is a slower show that demands your attention and one which focuses on characters and state of minds over action. But if you stick with it, you'll find this is one of most underrated TV shows out there. TV gem alert 🚨

The Irishman
(2019)

Those last 30 minutes or so...
...are some of Scorsese's most beautifully poignant moments ever put to film. Yet another gem to add to this legend's cinematic arsenal. Masterpiece!

Knives Out
(2019)

Bringing back the classic whoddunit in amazingly entertaining fashion - 8/10 ⭐
What an excellent film by Rian Johnson; definitely feels like the film he was destined to make. Writing that is slick as hell, sublime performances (most notably Daniel Craig who brings his A-game in a wonderfully charismatic turn), superb editing and wonderfully atmospheric music - all tied together by masterful direction. Will probably be among the most fun you have at a theatre this year and fans of Agatha Christie and old murder mystery stories will have plenty to love here - a nostalgically entertaining time!

Ford v Ferrari
(2019)

First half heats up the engine; second half steps firmly on the gas - 9/10 ⭐
After a slightly glacial exposition into the history of the stories behind motor companies Ford and Ferrari, the film goes into full on over-drive with one of the most pulsating second halves in a film you're sure to see all year. The film is a technical marvel with top-notch editing, sound design and direction - almost a lock to get nominations (and probably wins) in those categories and then some. Bale and Damon are simply stupendous, showing a real sensitivity in the more dramatic moments while showcasing their charisma and comedic chops in performances that rank among the year's best. F v. F is an exhilarating, exciting and emotional ride to be in the driver's seat for and undoubtedly one of this year's best.

Paris Blues
(1961)

Lovely jazzy film full of elegance, style and fun - 7/10 ⭐
If you're a fan of either A) Jazz or B) Old Hollywood, this film is certainly one you should check off your list. Featuring great performances by both Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier (at such young ages too!), the story is a solid albeit not legendary one. I wouldn't say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts here (the individual subplots including romance and drug addiction don't come together quite as neatly as they should) but its a beautiful B&W film with a clear love for jazz and the era. Worth checking out for sure!

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
(2019)

A fitting conclusion to TV's Best Drama - 8/10 ⭐
It was great to be back in Breaking Bad territory and with El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019), it's clear Gilligan hasn't lost his touch 6 years after the final episode aired. Taking place literally seconds after the show's finale, El Camino's got everything we loved about the show (Great drama, hilarious black humour, POV shots, edge-of-the-seat suspense) and is a story with larger ideas at hand addressing the themes of trauma, regret, love and friendship. Paul is fantastic and gives the performance of a lifetime; an Oscar-calibre turn without a doubt. And with several great cameos I won't mention here, we get the cherry on top; weaving the past and the present beautifully, El Camino is the breaking bad film we didn't know we wanted but are sure happy that we got. Thank you Vince for this fitting conclusion <3

Gisaengchung
(2019)

A masterpiece as both a social commentary and cinematic experience...and one of this year's best! 9/10 ⭐
In the latest film of Bong Joon-Ho (Salinui chueok (2003), Snowpiercer (2013)), we are given a story that, in a brilliant turn of events, sees the day-to-day lives of two Korean families intertwined. These families couldn't be more dissimilar; one makes money from folding pizza boxes & steals the wifi of nearby cafes while the other lives like royalty, served by maids and taken around by drivers.

The income disparity is quickly made apparent to us and in a string of events I don't want to spoil here, the poorer family finds themselves usurping one role at a time of the richer family until they all find themselves employed by the rich. And yet they have to act like total strangers with one another. How this is all written, directed and acted plays off incredibly well.

"Parasite" really surprised me in that it takes you on a whirlwind of emotions. It's storytelling is ambitious and takes chances in veering off-tone and off-the-book, so to speak. I found myself dying of laughter at some parts, tense or sad at others and purely enchanted throughout. All of this while showcasing some of the most unique storytelling I've ever witnessed.

Certain to nab a Best Foreign Film nomination at the Academy Awards and perhaps even a Best Director & Best Picture nod, "Parasite" is certainly one of the year's best. Arguably even one the decade's best. It's all in the little details whether it's using a keen sense of lighting, composition or blocking to reveal something. Give this one a watch and you'll see what I mean. Masterpiece!

Joker
(2019)

Brilliant character study and goes to dark place most films wouldn't dare to - 9/10 🃏
I have so many thoughts on this film and it truly does take you to places most films wouldn't dare. It takes its time in developing a truly dark, brooding atmosphere and fleshes out the full extent it can take to truly push one to the edge. And those last twenty minutes or so... just speechless. Loved the direction by Phillips, the music, the homage to older Hollywood filmmaking and the brilliantly engrossing character study. Bravo Joaquin - I, and it seems like many people here on IMDb, will surely be rooting for you come Oscar season. It truly feels like his entire career has led to this moment - undoubtedly a performance for the ages!

The Lighthouse
(2019)

A fantastical blend of art cinema, nightmarish horror and surrealism that reels you in and hooks you right into its world - 10/10 ⭐
It's an exciting time to be fan of original storytelling in the movies and Robert Eggers is a huge reason why. Showing both a proclivity for mythology and understanding of suspense in his directional debut "The Witch", Eggers builds on this profoundly and puts to rest any chance of a sophomore slump (Though from the first glimpses of the film's trailer, I don't think there was ever any doubt.)

The Lighthouse (2019) is, to recycle a hackneyed phrase, something that you've never seen before... but seriously. It's a nightmare set in motion from the very first frame where unknown figures in the shadowy distance slowly emerge amid a screen full of murky sea fog. Like a classic Bergman film, the introduction is devoid of dialogue and set only to the ambient sounds of its ambiguous setting.

I was hooked from the first frame; there is little explanation as to who the two protagonists are, where they are or why they are there but an acute sense of foreboding is immediately felt thanks to the superb cinematography (shot on hundred-year-old lenses and black-and-white 35mm film stock with a tight square aspect ratio 1.19:1 used all the way back in the silent era) and incredibly atmospheric sound design. Technically, it's a marvel.

As for the 3 performances (if we're counting the seagull), they were absolutely spot on. Dafoe and Pattinson take this material and totally lose themselves in it, showing the full emotional extent one can go through in such a claustrophobic maddening. I can't seem them not at least garnering nominations for their extraordinary commitment and manic turns on display here; they're both sublime.

There's twists at every turn and all the while establishing an increasing sense of dread and claustrophobia that never lets up. Even in the moments of dark humour (and there are certainly a few), there's an unsettling energy growing that's constantly brewing beneath the surface and one that's able to gets under your skin in ways few films are able to do. The direction, cinematography, score, production design, sound design all combine here to create a psychologically draining film of the highest art form conceivable. Now, when did I start writing this review... Five weeks? Two days? Help me to recollect.

Paris, Texas
(1984)

A sublime cinematic experience - 8/10 ⭐
A wonderful film that boasts a faultlessly atmospheric soundtrack and some of the most eye-catching cinematography you're sure to ever see in a film. Wim Wenders creates a fascinating story here about a purposeless man who is brought back into civilization and seeks to repair the mysterious problems of his past. Featuring a beautifully restrained performance by the late Harry Dean Stanton, this is a film that can quite simply change your perspective on life if you can find a way to totally give yourself to it.

Training Day
(2001)

"You gotta be a wolf to catch a wolf" - 8/10 ⭐
Denzel and Ethan are great as the two leads in a day-in-the-life of training for the narcotics division of the L.A.P.D. Great action, dialogue and drama while testing the limits of morality and ethics. Denzel has never been more electric and the story keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout. Antoine Fuqua's undisputed masterpiece!

Dolemite Is My Name
(2019)

Entertaining from start to finish and wonderful performances make "Dolemite" one of the year's best - 8/10 ⭐
Based on the true story of Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite Is My Name pays a wonderful homage to both the time period and era of films in which Moore resided while also providing a wonderfully entertaining story from start to finish. Eddie Murphy carries the film beautifully and his versatility as both a comedic and dramatic shines through in one his best performances in years. Similar to Ed Wood (1994), this story shows the hard work and persistence put in by an individual facing a whole heap of adversity and how, against all odds, they are able to find some semblance of success against all odds. Great stuff Netflix!

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
(2008)

An ambitious and beautiful piece of storytelling from Fincher - 8/10 ⭐
Wow, this was such a breath of fresh air and such a different vibe than we're used to getting from Fincher. The visual effects and production design were incredible; no surprise the film picked up the Oscar for both categories. Brad Pitt is just sublime in the role, displaying a sensitivity and vulnerability well beyond his years (no pun intended). Every performance is wonderful and the message at its core of seizing opportunities while we still can surely resonated. Wonderfully atmospheric music as well... it might be a taaad too long but overall I genuinely loved the story and if you check it out, you might just too. Well done to everyone involved here!

Jojo Rabbit
(2019)

Inventive, hilarious and original - "Jojo" is a ballsy film that works because of its wit and heart - 8/10 ⭐
I was fortunate enough to catch Taika Waititi's latest film at the 2019 TIFF People's Choice Screening and what an absolute treat it was. In this "anti-hate satire", we follow the trials and tribulations of a German boy who finds a Jewish girl living in his attic and is confronted with a clash of his conditioned values as a little nazi boy. If you think the synopsis sounds crazy, you have no idea what you're in for...

Though seemingly taking inspiration from the works of Wes Anderson and Mel Brooks, "Jojo" manages to create something in an entirely new ball park pulling off a spoof that manages to be hilarious while not disrespecting its touchy subject matter, a feat that only the wonderful Taika (who directed, wrote and acted as Imaginary Hitler in) could pull off so well. The film also boasts some killer cinematography as well as a wonderful soundtrack, both of which punctuate some of the films quieter moments to ground us in the era and atmosphere of the film.

As mentioned above, Taiki plays the titular boy's imaginary Hitler friend and leaves you weak in the stomach from laughing so much - he's, quite simply, hilarious. And yet, he doesn't manage to overpower the rest of the cast which includes Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Jo and Rebel Wilson all of whom are wonderful. But most notably, it's the child performances that take center stage. The two little leads are incredible, making us laugh at times, shed a tear at others and just feel for the two of them. Their comedic timing, range and overall performances are done to a T - it's because of them the film works as well as it does.

In today's day and age, more than ever, people need a reason to just sit back and smile and this makes "Jojo Rabbit" a truly timely film. Leave it to Mr. Waititi to take one of the most gruesome periods in human history and, believe it or not, find both a humour and beauty in its telling. It's also entirely original in its execution and is perhaps the perfect example of the kind of film Hollywood could use more of. All that's left to say is thanks for the laughs Taika; and for your brilliantly twisted mind!

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
(2019)

Well... it's official ol buddy... we got an instant frickin' classic on our hands! 10/10 ⭐
Believe the hype. Believe the 10 star reviews. OUATIH exceeds every expectation with its mind-blowing attention to detail, superb dialogue, incredible performances and, most of all, its overwhelming love for the movies. Tarantino's illustrious career has culminated in this stylishly nostalgic journey that takes us back to everything great about the 60s. Every detail of this period is done to a tee; and it's in all the most minute aspects, whether it be a can of dog food or a radio station, where this film is elevated to masterpiece status.

Remember when Jules and Vincent instantly became one of cinemas classic duos in Pulp Fiction? You can now confidently say the same thing about Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth - Leo and Brad give performances of a lifetime as these endearing, hilarious and, at times, even heart-rending characters. They're joined by a beyond stellar supporting group that's filled beautifully by the likes of Margot Robbie, Timothy Oliphant, Al Pacino, (the late) Luke Perry, Emile Hirsch and many more who all breathe life into this wonderfully unique and engaging story.

All in all, it's a fantastic dive into the Golden Age that's fulls of twists at every turn and shines even brighter in its quieter moments when it's love for everything old cinema is at the forefront of its telling. At its core, it's invigorated by a guy whose talent as a storyteller is exceeded only by his sheer love for film and that is Mr. Quentin Tarantino. And for anyone who thinks the runtime could/should have been shorter, remember that QT was trying to make many of us who had never grown up/experienced that era (like myself) feel close to it. This meant every seemingly trivial scene/moment's sole purpose was to create as authentic an atmosphere as he could've conjured up.

It's as ambitious a vision as one could muster and he truly nailed it with flying colors, creating a fairytale that enthrals you in ways you never knew were possible. I hope he's lying when he says he's ready to call it quits but I'll be damned if this isn't the best way possible to go out. It's official ol buddy... we got a darn frickin classic on our hands!

Life According to Sam
(2013)

The Greatest Superhero Movie I've Ever Seen
Because ever single person in this story is as much a superhero as any character I've ever seen on-screen before. Whether it's Sam, his parents, all of the children we meet, their parents; there's a fervent focus and persistence to living life to the fullest and finding lemonade in the sourest of lemons life has to offer, moving you in inexplicable ways. Scott and Leslie, the parents of Sam, are truly saints and the latter's dedication to finding a cure is simply breathtaking. Above all, it really just infuriates you how something so cruel like progeria could ever exist.

I wish I had the opportunity to meet Sam, who sadly passed away a year after the film's release. He seemed like a genuinely awesome person who just wanted to enjoy life and all of its simplest pleasures. He inspires me to want to live everyday to the fullest and I hope anyone who hasn't seen this documentary does, if just to get to know this wonderful human being.

The Newsroom
(2012)

Brilliantly written, directed and acted; a tour-de-force of Television that is as relevant as any show out there
This is far and away one of the best written and paced shows I have ever seen. Aaron Sorkin, known for his characteristically rapid-fire dialogue and snappy characters, reaches the pinnacle of his abilities in this show that follows the trials and tribulations of American TV Network "ACN" (also known as "Atlantis Cable News") as they struggle to deliver honesty and substance to a viewership amidst a competitive industry. So many incredible acting performances; seriously, every single person was absolutely lights out. Jeff Daniels is just magnificent from the very first episode, with the now famous "America is not the greatest country in the world anymore" monologue instantly hooking you to his Will McAvoy. Mortimer, Munn, Waterston, Patel, Sadoski, Pill, Gallagher Jr. are all likewise perfect. I'm simply baffled by the 59% approval rating on Rotten 🍅 It really digs deep into what the news is (or should be) all about while just being damn good television. It's become an instant favorite of mine and should be seen by anyone who wants good entertainment. Thank you Sorkin! 👏

When They See Us
(2019)

Nothing can prepare you for these 5 hours - Outstanding beyond belief.
5 of some of the best hours of TV I've ever witnessed. The acting from everyone is incredible, especially the child actors who give the performance of a lifetime. This mini-series has it all; it's at times infuriating, hard to watch and other times poignantly beautiful. Above all, it truly frustrates you to think a system could be (and was) this corrupt and heartless. And not much has changed today; Ava DuVernay has created a masterpiece with this story. Deserves all the Awards recognition it can muster... this is about as intense and perfect as TV can get.

Louie
(2010)

Unique, hilarious, touching and true-to-life; "Louie" is a masterpiece that mixes comedy, drama and tragedy seamlessly
Say what you will about Louis C.K. but his talents as a director, writer and actor are truly incredible. The writing in "Louie" is at times hilariously vulgar and other times touching and sad; there are moments of sincere honesty and other times of complete bizarreness. That is one of the ways the show is truly one-of-a-kind - you simply don't know what you'll get in any particular episode. Aside from that, the acting, directing and cinematography are all fantastic in their own right. If you're not ready to commit to the show, watch Horace and Pete (2016) and you'll be running to see more from this man shortly after. Masterpiece Television. 👏

Death Proof
(2007)

Moments of brilliance are stunted by a frustrating lack of direction and momentum
I haven't seen too many exploitation films but Death Proof (2007) is a film that was inspired by a slew of them. It mentions films like Vanishing Point, Coffy and Faster, Pussycat! in the film's dialogue and clearly takes inspiration from these parts of cinema history. Unfortunately, the film is very uneven in its execution; a promising first half filled with wonderful music, atmosphere and style turns bland quickly in the second half (where did Stuntman Mike go for that entire time?!) I love QT and his filmography but this was unfortunately the least enjoyable cinematic experience he's dished up. I just expect a lot more.

Fired Up!
(2009)

Watch this with friends and you won't regret it; what a riot 😂😂
Hilarious from start to finish - if you're a fan of Blue Mountain State (2010), The American Pie (1999) films or Not Another Teen Movie (2001), you'll love this movie. Every moment is hilarious and the chemistry between the two guys are killer. What a blast - And forget about the low ratings; this one ain't for the critics! 👍

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