EDITORIALS

What Do Both 'Don't Worry Darling' & 'Crimes of the Future' Have in Common?

Don't Worry Darling + Crimes of the Future

Even as a film critic, i. e., someone who encounters the big screen more often than the average moviegoer, it's rare to watch two distinguishable flicks consecutively and discover they have almost exactly the same pros and cons. Don't Worry Darling and Crimes of the Future may share similar horror elements, but hardly anyone would remember to directly compare the films of "newcomer" director Olivia Wilde and "legend" filmmaker David Cronenberg. However, seeing these two movies back-to-back within less than 24 hours and without any other content in between only emphasized the importance of all the filmmaking components being in sync, and how much they can influence the general opinion of those who watch them.

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 Posted on October 7 in Discuss, Editorial, Review | Comments

The 79th Venice Film Festival Begins in Italy - Unveiling New Films

Venice Film Festival

It's time to wade our way back into the world of cinema, scouring for the next awe-inspiring masterpiece, with the 2022 fall film festival season now underway. Time flies these days, before you know it it's already September, more than half the year is over, the awards season is underway, the holidays are a few months away, and there's tons of new movies to watch. It happens just like that! So here we are. The 2022 Venice Film Festival kicked off today in the gorgeous city of Venezia on the Adriatic coast of Italy. This is my 6th year back at the festival, I've been coming to Venice ever since 2017 to enjoy the latest incredible films that La Biennale is premiering. The festival prides itself on competing with Cannes to premiere the best of the best, remarkable filmmaking from every corner of the world. And as always, there's nowhere else I'd rather be right now (except maybe Telluride?) watching all these films on Labor Day weekend. Follow along, here or on Twitter or on Letterboxd, and check back for updates on the latest reveals from the world of cinema.

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 Posted on August 31 in Editorial, Venice 22 | Comments

Venice, Telluride, Toronto, New York - Four Terrific Fall Film Festivals

Venice Film Festival

Who's ready for the fall film festival season to kick off?! If you work in the movie industry, or if follow the movie industry, or if you just love new movies, September 1st is the big day when the fall season begins. It's an exciting time because four major film festivals take place back-to-back, and all of the excellent films that have been finishing up this year will be premiering across many of them. The Venice Film Festival (in its 79th year / aka "Venezia") kicks things off every fall, launching just days before the Telluride Film Festival (in its 49th year / aka "Telluride"). Days after Telluride is over, and before Venice has even ended, the Toronto Film Festival (in its 47th year / aka "TIFF") launches. At the end of the month, the iconic and glamorous New York Film Festival (in its 60th year / aka "NYFF") begins with a big celebration at the beloved Lincoln Center on the Upper West Side. I have been to all four of these festivals many times over the years, and I'd say that each one is an outstanding film festival and any of these four are worth attending.

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 Posted on August 29 in Discuss, Editorial | Comments

Back at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in Czechia - Always More Films

Karlovy Vary Film Festival

I'm going going, back back, to Czechia Czechia. I've been coming to the Karlovy Vary Film Festival for years, but with the COVID-19 pandemic I took a break during 2020 and 2021. The last time I was here was in 2019 and honestly, it's great to be back again. This wonderful festival takes place in a tiny resort town located on the west side of Czechia, close to the German border. Having come here for years, and with the festival now celebrating its 56th year, I would argue that Karlovy Vary is an A-list festival, one of the most important and exciting festivals in Europe that takes place right after Cannes. Half the reason I go to KVIFF (as it's known for short) is to catch up with more of the Cannes films I missed. And perhaps even see a few of my favorites again - they're showing Park Chan-wook's Decision to Leave and Lukas Dhont's Close, and I'm considering grabbing tickets for these two which were my #1 + #2 favorites from the Cannes 2022. More than anything, I'm mainly here to watch more films. Always be watching - as I've written in the past.

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 Posted on July 1 in Editorial, Karlovy Vary | Comments

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

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