Giant Little Ones (Behrman, 2018)

Following on the heels of LGBTQ+ coming-of-age stories like Love, Simon from last year, Giant Little Ones is another film that highlights the struggles queer teenagers face in toxic environments like high school, where latent homophobia and bullying make coming out an almost Herculean task. And so some choose to hide in fear, pretending to be people they’re not…

Dumbo (Burton, 2019)

These Disney live-action remakes are threatening to create more cynics than converts, as we haven’t yet seen one that can stand on its own and make a case for itself. Worse yet, 2019 is going to be inundated with them, and there’s no telling if any will succeed in having artistic merit. Tim Burton’s take…

The Upside (Burger, 2017)

I have a dim recollection of The Intouchables, the original film on which The Upside is based. I remember liking it for being both heartwarming and funny, but after many years and several hundreds of films later, I would probably look at it more critically if I were to watch it again. Which I won’t, because The Upside is more…

Ready Player One (Spielberg, 2018)

Sorry Spielbergers. I’m not sure I’m the audience for this kind of stuff. I do admire the thoroughness of the VFX work and how wonderfully the different avatars are rendered, and the whole sequence inside The Shining was kind of mind-blowing in how accurately it was all reproduced. We’ve come so far technologically, and as long as…

Predicting the 91st Academy Awards: The Winners

Oh, reader, I am tired. Awards seasons are always draining, but this one has taken the cake. Most of the blame has to go to the Academy’s board and the producers of Sunday’s show for showering us with a wealth of hare-brained stupidity. Vox’s Alissa Wilkinson does a fantastic job of giving you a comprehensive rundown of…

Ralph Breaks the Internet (Moore & Johnston, 2018)

There is a lot going on in Ralph Breaks the Internet outside of its family-friendly messaging about learning to let go of your insecurities and, by extension, the people you’re close to when it’s time for them to move on. In and of itself, that messaging is astute and worth championing in a film like this. The fact that…

The 2019 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Live Action (Various, 2017-2018)

Detainment (Lambe, 2018) Good Lord, how am I supposed to review this thing? Tasteless as it is aesthetically, it also seems callous to force people to relive a national tragedy as the Jamie Bulger killing all over again. I get there are still unanswered questions and all, but is that really enough reason to reenact…

Border (Abbasi, 2018)

This is quite the mish-mash. A heaping of Scandinavian folklore here, a sprinkle of gritty police procedural there. It ping-pongs between the two genres with intriguing results. Its feet are firmly planted in reality, but the folklore elements give it a sense of atemporality. It seems to exist in one time and in no time,…

Free Solo (Vasarhelyi & Chin, 2018)

I spent a good portion of Free Solo loudly swearing at my walls. Not a heights guy, I’m afraid. Watching someone scale a rock formation without a rope or harness is the kind of cinematic event I can’t put myself through more than once, even if I know the outcome in advance. Not good for the blood…

The 2019 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Documentary (Various, 2017-2018)

Black Sheep (Perkins, 2018) I could definitely feel the Moonlight influences in this short documentary about a black boy’s desperate drive to survive after moving to a racist neighbourhood in Essex. The direct address to the camera, and the sustained close-up of his face is one noticeable feature, as is the shot of his younger self in…

The 2019 Oscar-Nominated Shorts: Animated (Various, 2017-2018)

Animal Behaviour (Snowden & Fine, 2018) This starts off cute enough, as much as the pairing of disorders with animals is painfully on-the-nose. The leech has separation anxiety! The praying mantis is bad at relationships! Et cetera. There’s not much of an attempt to be clever, which is what I was hoping for. Unfortunately, the…

Of Fathers and Sons (Derki, 2017)

Kudos to the Academy’s documentary branch for plucking this lesser-known choice out of its shortlist and giving it a top five berth over something more mainstream like Won’t You Be My Neighbor? I’m sure it pissed off a mighty contingent of moviegoers (and maybe even the Academy at large, who I’m sure would have coasted Neville’s film…

Mirai (Mamoru, 2018)

This is quite the shocking development for me, since I truly thought Mirai was going to be my deserving underdog for the Oscar this year. It’s hard not to root for Japanese anime whenever it’s nominated. It’s usually of much better quality than what the American studios have to offer. But all those nominees were from Studio…

RBG (West & Cohen, 2018)

I shall play the role of sober judge while writing this review, because Ruth Bader Ginsburg would want me to do nothing less. And so, while I admit RBG is highly entertaining and teeming with warmth for its subject, it’s also one of those documentaries that turns a Wikipedia entry into an audiovisual presentation. When it’s done…