EDITORIALS

Cannes 2022: I Go to Festivals for the Films, Not for the Celebrities

Cannes 2022

Reading some of the Letterboxd reviews of the films at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, I'm noticing that a growing number of people will mention the celebrity or famous person or actor/actress they were in the same room as, giddy at being near them. Yes, that's how film festivals work - the talented people involved, and tons of other talented people also attending the festival, go see films. If you're not in the same screening as them, you'll probably pass them in the street or in the hallway or catch them dining at a restaurant. But I'm worried we've entered a new era where some people are more obsessed with celebrities they are with the art or cinema they create. I'm here in Cannes for the films. I used to do some interviews, but now I don't do many unless I really, really want to talk to someone I admire. All I want to do is kick back and watch as many film as I can during these two weeks - let's see what these talented filmmakers have been working on.

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 Posted on May 30 in Cannes 22, Editorial | Comments

What is 'The Batman' Really Getting At? Maybe We Need to Reflect

The Batman

"I wish I could say I'm making a difference, but I don't know." Is he making a positive difference or making everything worse? I've seen Matt Reeves' dark, gritty Gotham City noir thriller The Batman three times already. I've been thinking plenty about the movie over the last few weeks, but specifically about the plot, all three hours of it. What does it mean, what is the script trying to say? What is it really getting at? It's a story about the first years of DC's iconic superhero Batman, yes, but it's also deeper than that. By the third time I watched, there were a few key scenes that really stuck out to me that I didn't necessarily pick up on the first times around. On the surface, The Batman is about his "early years" in Gotham City as he's figuring himself out, trying to make sense of the crime in Gotham City, and whether or not he's helping stop all the crime as a masked vigilante. Similar to The Daily Bugle always hating Spider-Man, at the start most of the city seems to be against him, seeing him as a menace more than a hero. Which is an important lesson for him to learn.

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 Posted on April 5 in DC Movies, Discuss, Editorial | 2 Comments

Editorial: The Academy's Obsession with Popularity is Utterly Pathetic

Academy Awards

What the heck is going on with The Academy?! They've lost all sense of direction. With the live broadcast of the Academy Awards Ceremony losing viewers consistently year after year, The Academy has started to freak out and lose their minds. Instead of making smart choices to redevelop what the awards mean, who they're (really) for, and why they (still) matter, they've gone entirely the other way - chasing popularity and desperately trying to figure out how to remain hip and valuable to younger generations. In doing so, they've started to sacrifice everything they stand for, including bringing extra attention to the craftspeople who are also a key part of movie-making and are often forgotten or ignored by most audiences. I adore the Academy Awards, I always have and always will, because they're an iconic institute that has always been about quality and professionalism. But this obsession with popularity and ratings is utterly pathetic and I'm so tired of it.

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 Posted on March 25 in Awards, Discuss, Editorial | 2 Comments

Editorial: 'The Batman' is a Triumph of Matt Reeves' Dark Vision

The Batman

"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown." That final line of dialogue from 1974's Chinatown summarizes the film's theme incredibly succinctly. Jake Gittes (played by Jack Nicholson), a private detective, is investigating a series of crimes that unravel the level of high corruption prevalent in Los Angeles. The investigation leads Gittes down a deflating and tragic path, as he eventually realizes there's simply nothing he can do to curb the pervasion of corruption in his own city. Matt Reeves' new Gotham City noir, The Batman, has a similar thematic throughline, even if the ending is a bit more optimistic. What it shares with Chinatown, and other street-level, grounded crime films of the 1970's, is a singular and clear vision. The Batman is a triumph of an auteur's artistic vision, a film that feels deeply personal amidst the occasionally bland and dispassionate studio blockbusters that Warner Bros (and other Hollywood studios) has been known to churn out as of late.

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 Posted on March 4 in DC Movies, Discuss, Editorial | 5 Comments

Editorial: How The Multiverse Helps Spider-Man Find His Way Home

Spider-Man

"Where there is great power, there is great responsibility…" The Multiverse is real. In Spider-Man: No Way Home, playing in theaters worldwide, the Multiverse finally reveals itself in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland's Spider-Man faces his most nefarious threats yet in the third chapter of this trilogy for this popular webslinger. What's more is that while No Way Home pays homage to the last three cinematic incarnations of the superhero, it also finally allows Holland's Peter Parker to become the Spider-Man we know & love. Like any good Spider-Man story, that means with great power comes great responsibility to tell a gripping story full of sacrifice and hard choices. Writer's Note: This contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home. If you haven't seen it yet and prefer to hold on, read no further.

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 Posted on December 22 in Discuss, Editorial, Marvel | Comments

Hey Critics - STOP Running Best of the Year Lists in Early December

Best of the Year Lists

It happens year after year, always right at the end of November. Weeks before whatever year we're currently in is over, websites and magazines and newspapers and critics groups start publishing their Best of the Year lists. But, why? Why at the start of December? Is this really necessary? These lists can't rightfully be called "Best of the Year" when the year isn't even over. When there are still more films to be seen. It's more like The Best Films That Publicists Decided to Show Us in the Last 11 Months. What about the next 4 weeks? This year there's at least two BIG releases that haven't been shown yet: Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Matrix Resurrections. Sure, the typical argument is "oh, well these probably won't make the best of the year lists anyway." But why not give them a chance? Why not just wait, you know, until the END of the actual year? Then once you've seen everything, once you take time to catch up with other films you might've missed, go ahead & start publishing the lists. That makes way more sense than what everyone is doing now.

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 Posted on December 13 in Discuss, Editorial | 1 Comment

The 2021 Venice Film Festival Roars On - This Year's Line-Up Rocks

Venice 2021

Back down to the beautiful country of Italy. Back into the world of cinema. Back into the city of canals. It's time for to kick off the 78th Venice Film Festival, which continues in 2021 as the only festival that never once took a break during the COVID-19 pandemic. I stopped by Venice last year during the 2020 edition, which was a more low key event with strict pandemic restrictions in place in. The 2021 edition also includes these same rules – masks required, 50% capacity venues with reserved seats, vaccination proof required or negative tests every day – but with much more anticipation as they are following in the footsteps of Cannes trying to return to business as usual. Most importantly, the festival's fanastic selection of films is the reason we're all here, and it's as promising as ever. New films from Edgar Wright, Jane Campion, Paolo Sorrentino, Denis Villeneuve, Ana Lily Amirpour, Paul Schrader, Pablo Larrain, Ridley Scott, and many others. Let's go.

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 Posted on September 1 in Editorial, Venice 21 | 1 Comment

The Return of Festivals - Cannes 2021 Was All About Films & Friends

Cannes 2021

"Cinema is not dead," proclaimed Thierry Frémaux during the announcement of the official selection for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival a few months ago. He was right, of course, but we already knew that. Cinema will never die! It just took a little break during the 2020 pandemic year, with cinemas closed worldwide. But filmmakers were still working on films - finishing up post-production from their homes, or even filming new projects when they were finally allowed to resume production (with masks required along with extensive safety protocols). Aside from the 2020 Venice Film Festival held last September, which still took place in-person despite no vaccines available yet, the 2021 Cannes Film Festival is technically the second major film festival to resume "normal operation" following years of shut downs and pandemic restrictions worldwide. They wanted to get back to how it used to be, with 100% full cinemas, and thankfully nothing bad happened.

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 Posted on July 19 in Cannes 21, Editorial, Feat | 1 Comment

Here We Go! Back to the Croisette for the 2021 Cannes Film Festival

Cannes 2021

We're back again in the South of France for the glorious and grand 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The fest reluctantly cancelled last year due to the pandemic and due to an inability to figure out how to come up with some kind of alternative festival (a virtual version or a delay or anything else that wouldn't risk the safety of the attendees). Last year during the usual Cannes dates in May, I watched a series of Cannes Film Festival-esque films and wrote a tribute to the magic of the festival. This year we're finally back in action. The biggest difference is that the festival is now taking place in July instead of May (but only for this year). It's sunnier, there are more tourists around, and the COVID-19 pandemic is still ever-present. But… I couldn't resist the temptation, and I had to come back. Just to see some films, catch up with old friends that I haven't seen for a while, and relax in the Mediterranean (though there's not much relaxing when I'm seeing four films a day).

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 Posted on July 6 in Cannes 21, Editorial | 2 Comments

Berlinale 2021: A Film Festival Held Outside is Just What We Needed

Berlinale 2021

Is there a safe way to still host in-person screenings at a film festival in the middle of a pandemic? That's the question that has been on the mind of every last film festival all over the world. But there is one solution – hosting outdoor "open air" screenings with social distanced seating (or drive-in screenings in places where most people have cars). The Berlin Film Festival usually takes place in February every year, but this year they had to cancel their main event, as the third wave of the COVID-19 was taking over the city at the time. However, the festival eventually came up with an interesting plan: allow the press and industry access to a simple digital screening system in February to watch most of the line-up. Then follow-up in June during the summer with outdoor screenings of ALL of the films for the public. This worked like a charm. I caught two films during the Berlinale-in-summer series and found myself wondering why I didn't get even more tickets.

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 Posted on June 28 in Berlinale, Editorial | 1 Comment

Editorial: Time to End the Golden Globes, They Don't Matter Anymore

Golden Globes

If you haven't heard by now, the Golden Globes are embroiled in a massive controversy that began when they were ousted for having no Black members. And it probably means they're done for good. We can only hope that's the case. NBC has already stated they will not air the Golden Globes in 2022, which is essentially the "final blow" in the controversy, meaning that the actual show won't go on this time. The Golden Globes are put on by a shady group known as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, aka the HFPA, and thanks to lawsuits & journalists we now know everything (bad) about them. To put it bluntly, it's a group of power-hungry "international journalists" who are obsessed with Hollywood celebs. And to put it bluntly again, it's time to end the Golden Globes for good. 2021 should be their final year. They don't matter anymore, they're boring, they're bought-and-paid for awards, and that's on top of the problems with the HFPA membership.

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 Posted on May 17 in Discuss, Editorial | 2 Comments

'Zack Snyder's Justice League' is a Victorious Triumph for Perseverance

Zack Snyder's Justice League

The fans were victorious. Zack Snyder's Justice League is finally upon us. After a four year journey that originated with director Zack Snyder departing the project due to a family tragedy, the four-hour superhero epic defied all odds and expectations and arrived streaming on HBO Max this past weekend (watch the final trailer again). No longer besmirched by Joss Whedon's neutered version of Justice League from 2017, Zack Snyder's Justice League (formerly known as "The Snyder Cut") restores his epic vision for the superhero film, and it is a victorious triumph for perseverance and for the vision of an auteur who never gave up.

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 Posted on March 22 in DC Movies, Discuss, Editorial, Feat, Review | 7 Comments

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