A Quiet Place (2018) Review

WITHIN THE SOUND OF SILENCE


 

Since the days of filmmaking began many, many years ago, motion pictures have flourished into a wide array of genres that tackle many moods, tone, and emotions to give its viewers an entertaining experience. Some makes us laugh, some make us, cry, some make us fascinated, and some, most notably within the horror genre, make us scared. The film genre of horror has been around for quite some time, creating a plenitude of feature films that scary, creep, and sometimes downright horrify its viewers, drawing up on the fears and dark imaginations that go “bump” in the night. Like many genres out there, horror movies have slightly different variations in their narrative and context, expanding upon many things from monster creature features like 1935’s Frankenstein, 1954’s Creature from the Black Lagoon, 1984’s Gremlins, to the teen slashers like 1978’s Halloween, 1984’s A Nightmare on Elm Street, and 1996’s Scream, to paranormal flicks like 1982’s Poltergeist, 2002’s The Ring, and 2013’s The Conjuring, and to even supernatural nightmarish tales like 1973’s The Exorcist, 1976’s Carrie, and 1980’s The Shining, Nowadays, the horror genre, much like a lot things, has to evolve, producing more features that had the heavy usage of “jump scare tactics” as well as bountiful disturbing sequences of bloody / gory within its cinematic context, trying to appease and cater to its more “modern” demographic of horror viewers. Still, the genre continues to grow and expand, creating some memorable recent hits like 2016’s The Witch and Spilt, and 2017’s IT being some of the prime examples. Now, Paramount Pictures and actor / director John Krasinki present the next intriguing tale from the horror genre with the film A Quiet Place. Does this movie truly find its “scares” in its suspenseful tale or does it fail to impress, relying too much on its “gimmicky” premise?  Read more

Blockers (2018) Review

SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW


 

Speaking in general terms, it’s a commonplace theme / mantra (almost a “rite of passage” to some) for teenagers to (or to simply attempt) in losing their virginity sometime before their high school years come to an end. Whether good or bad (depending on the circumstances of things in reality), its usually during this point when teenage individuals are “discovering themselves” and want to experience new things and becoming more acutely aware of the sexual identity and pleasures. Thus, before heading into their post-high school world (college, military service, job, etc.), it’s a ripe time (in a young adult’s mind) to experience such things before heading into their stage of life (i.e. adulthood). Of course, Hollywood has taken their stance with this many story / narrative premises over the years and (naturally) has touched upon this subject in several feature films. While some are a bit grounded and serious, most feature films that tackle teens seeking to lose their virginity have been played for laughs, making a somewhat lighthearted and / or comedic aspect of the situation. While many of these films were created back during the 80s and 90s, 1999’s American Pie and 2007’s Superbad are arguably some of the most memorable ones in this niche, playing up the teen sexual angst (broadly) in R-rated raunchy comedy playing field. Of late, however, Hollywood has somewhat moved beyond its premise (mostly like to the change in attitude towards the concept of virginity nowadays, refocusing on different topic / subject matters to poke fun at and / or perform satire parodies of with its new audience of moviegoers. Now, Universal Pictures and director Kay Cannon sees the return of the teen sex comedy niche with the film Blockers. Does new R-rated comedy stand on solid ground for this narrative to return to the big screen or does it outdated premise and subject material fail to connect with the current generation of viewers? Read more

Chappaquiddick (2018) Review

TRUTH IS STRANGER

(AND SCANDALOUS) THAN FICTION


 

There have been many things people have been fascinated with; a variety of peoples, places, things, and events that are “coveted” in talking, discussing, debating, or just simply to be intrigued about from the past to something prevalent in today’s world (and society). Perhaps one of the most “intriguing” in United States history is the allure / fascination of the legacy of the Kennedy family. The Kennedys, a powerful and famed family, have always been a subject to talk about and to marvel over, examining the highs and lows that they’ve faced over the years and that somewhat “guarded” history that the family keeps shrouded in mystified secrecy. Additionally, the family has had a “one foot” in US politics, including John F. Kennedy serving in the oval office as the 35th President of the United States. Even Jackie Kennedy, president JFK’s wife, coined the phrase “Camelot” (a reference to the mythical kingdom from Arthurian legend) for the Kennedys, a name referring to their glory and marking the family’s place on US history. It’s also been said that the Kennedy family has been cursed (the now infamous “Kennedy curse), with the family facing many tragedies (i.e. assassinations and unexpected deaths) that have stained and lined their legacy’s path. Of course, Hollywood has also taken a shine and fascination to the Kennedy’s legacy as well, producing a plethora of documentaries on the subject of the “Kennedys” as well as theatrical motion pictures, with most gravitating towards JFK’s presidency and his assassination (and its immediate aftermath). This includes movies like 1991’s JFK, 1993’s In the Line of Fire, 2011’s Lee Daniel’s The Butler, 2013’s Parkland, and 2016’s Jackie. Now, Hollywood gears up for a new cinematic tale on the subject of the Kennedys as Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures and director John Curran present the movie Chappaquiddick, the famous story revolving around Ted Kennedy. Does this latest bio-pic shed light on the 1969 incident or is just another run-of-the-mill Kennedy movie? Read more

All the Money in the World (2017) Review

TO BE A GETTY ….


 

English film director and producer Ridley Scott has taken moviegoers on a variety of cinematic adventures throughout his career. With a platform in the world of filmmaking, Scott has boasted a career of directing twenty-four theatrical motion pictures, embracing a wide range of variety of genres and film settings as well as signature of atmospheric, high concentrated visual style and having strong female characters in many of his films. While his directorial debut began back 1977 with the film The Duelist, Scott make his mark in Hollywood with the commercial breakthrough success of the science-fiction horror film Alien in 1979. From there, Scott’s directorial work shine within the catalogue of movies, with some becoming iconic. This includes his neo-noir dystopian sci-fi film Blade Runner in 1982, his historical 2nd Century Rome drama Gladiator in 2000 (which one an Academy Award for Best Picture), his military war / action feature Black Hawk Down in 2001, his sweeping 12th Century Jerusalem epic Kingdom of Heaven in 2005, and his adaptation of Andy Weir’s bestselling sci-fi book The Martian in 2015. Scott even revisited his Alien movie, which became a movie franchise series and produce several more films by different directors, returning to the sci-fi world by means of Prometheus in 2012 and Alien: Covenant in 2017 (both of which were set as prequels to the original Alien film). Now, director Ridley Scott along with Tristar Pictures (and Scott Free Productions) prepare to examine the lives of the Getty family and the infamous kidnapping of John Paul Getty III with the film All the Money in the World. Does this “based on a true story” feature prove to be cinematically memorable or does it fail to bring the film’s evidence to light, floundering under the somewhat scandal surrounding the movie? Read more

The Greatest Showman (2017) Review

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE


 

While the genres of action, drama, comedy, horror, sci-fi, and fantasy are some of the main staples in motion pictures (then and now), the film genres of musicals have been a strong contender in history of cinematic filmmaking. While not uncommon in today’s world, musicals (for the most part) utilizes the vocal talents of singing songs (and sometimes dancing numbers) to tell much of the film’s story; most of which are pivotal scenes in the narrative. The height of musical feature films occurred during the Hollywood’s yestyears (some taking place during Hollywood’s “golden age”, sharing the limelight of all the glitz and glamour that studio had to offer in both acting talents and in the talents behind the camera. Some of the movies have become both iconic within this movie genre as well as timeless classic in the history of movies. These include films like the technicolor marvel of The Wizard of Oz in 1939, the sweeping tale of The Sound of Music in 1965, the memorable Gene Kelly feature Singin’ in the Rain in 1952, the horror-comedy styles of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975, and the lighthearted romantic comedy of Grease in 1978. Even at the start of the new millennium in 2000 began and other genre were becoming more popular and prevalent in patron moviegoers, the musical genre still produced hits with movies like the colorful jukebox pop-song filled Moulin Rouge! in 2001, the weirdly macabre Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2007, and theatrically bold Les Miserable in 2012, and the whimsical fairy tale Into the Woods in 2014 just to name a few. Additionally, musicals haven’t been just limited to live-action as many animated cartoon theatrical pictures get their chance to take center stage with musical notes and showstoppers, finding Disney Studios as a prime source for this lyrical entertainment spotlight with such memorable ones as The Little Mermaid in 1989, Beauty and the Beast in 1991, The Lion King in 1994, and Frozen in 2013. Hollywood’s most recent musical hit surface at the end of 2016 with Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. The film, which starred Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, was essentially a “love letter” to the old Hollywood musical and garnished much praise (from both fans and critics); proving that this film genre was still appreciated and value by current viewers and that no one could resist that special “x” factor of singing and dancing in a musical. Now, the latest musical theatrical film from Hollywood makes its way to the silver screen as 20th Century Fox and director Michael Gracey present the movie The Greatest Showman; loosely based on the real-life tale of renowned circus creator P.T. Barnum. Is it lights, camera, and “sing” for this musical showstopper or is it all song and dance and no show? Read more

Ready Player One (2018) Review

ABSOLUTE PURE MOVIE

ESCAPISM AT ITS BEST


 

Throughout the years, Hollywood has seen many famed directors rise to become legendary within the filmmaking industry; ascending on their own meticulous directorial merits when approaching a motion picture. Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, Cecil B. DeMille, and Francis Ford Coppola are just some of the names of the great ones that have made their mark in Hollywood and etched their names in the illustrious tapestry of movies. While a new generation of directors have emerged in modern times (i.e. Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson, and Guillermo Del Toro, etc.), these legendary directors have been both respected by their peers and the entire Hollywood community as well as moviegoers everywhere. Such is the cases with director Steven Spielberg, who is among the noteworthy ranks of these “great directors”, becoming a classic household name that many (cinephiles and causal movie watchers) have come to known and the feature films he’s directed. His films, including such iconic movies like Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, and Raiders of the Lost Ark, have become cinematic staples in not just in the realm of Hollywood, but in the history of movies. Spielberg has even delved into theatrical motions pictures that draw inspiration from very humanistic issues (war, terrorism, civil rights, identity, etc.), with films like Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Amistad, Lincoln, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, and most recently in The Post. Beyond the directorial chair, Spielberg has done (on several occasions) acted as a producer, executive producer, and even as a screenplay writer. He was also the co-founders of the movie studio DreamWorks Studio. Thus, with his fame growing and his film reputation amongst many being palpable (and celebrated) it’s no reason why Spielberg is considered one of the most powerful directors in Hollywood’s film history. Now, Warner Bros. Pictures and director Steven Spielberg gear up and head to the virtual world of gaming in the new film Ready Player One, based on the book of the same name by author Ernest Cline. Does Spielberg’s latest endeavor make a splash with today’s modern audience or is truly “game over” for this theatrical virtual video game world? Read more

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