Yes, 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' Deserves All 7 of Its Oscars

Everything Everywhere All at Once Oscars

"You think because l'm kind that it means I'm naive, and maybe I am. It's strategic and necessary. This is how I fight." It won!! It acutally won!! I'm still not sure if it's true. Are we in an alternate multiverse? One where the best movie of the year actually goes on to win Best Picture?! No, this is reality - the world we ae all a part of, and hell yes, it really did happen. Last night at the Oscars, The Academy voted fully in favor of The Daniels' multiverse sci-fi spectacle Everything Everywhere All at Once - giving it a grand total of 7 Oscars over the course of the night. It won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, and three of the acting awards. I love this movie! It was my #1 of 2022 (here is my full Top 10) and I went to see EEAAO (as film geeks affectionately call it for short) four times in theaters last summer, but I never expected it to go on to win any Oscars. That's why this is such an amazing surprise! The amount of petty hate I've seen is ridiculous; complainers are really reaching with bullshit claims that it's one of the worst BP winners ever. 🙄 They're out of their minds. EEAAO absolutely deserves every single Oscar it won.


 Posted on March 13 in Awards, Discuss, Editorial | 6 Comments

How the Mighty Fall: Berlinale is No Longer an A-List Festival Anymore

Berlin Film Festival

This has been bothering me for the past few years, and it's finally time to get this off my chest. I have been attending the Berlin Film Festival (known as "Berlinale" locally) for 10 years, it's one of the oldest film festivals in the world, and I'm bummed out by how this fest has lost their way and . Berlinale is no longer an "A-list" festival, and should stop being considered one of "the most important film festivals in the world." They've lost that title. They've lost their relevance, they've lost their importance, and they need to wake up and realize this is happening instead of go on pretending nothing is different. The 2023 edition of Berlinale was its 73rd, the festival has been around for a long time, but that doesn't automatically make it A-list. Ever since they hired the most recent directors - executive director Mariette Rissenbeek & artistic director Carlo Chatrian starting with the 2020 edition - things have gotten much worse. The line-up has become extremely niche, more obscure, filled with mediocre-to-bad films (and a very limited selection of good ones), which is the key factor in their demise. If they wish to be relevant again, they need to completely rethink the festival.


 Posted on March 7 in Berlinale, Editorial | 2 Comments

Discovering Up-and-Coming Artists - The Magic of Sundance 2023

2023 Sundance Film Festival

Why go to film festival if not to discover some of the best up-and-coming filmmakers? The 2023 Sundance Film Festival has just wrapped and after screening over 100 new films. Was it a success? Absolutely. The festival returned to an in-person event in the snowy city of Park City, Utah after two years of virtual festivals during the pandemic. Sundance is famous for being the place where directors like Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez made their mark, breaking into the industry with their first indie films. In recent years they've also been responsible for launching Damien Chazelle (Whiplash in 2014), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station in 2013), Dee Rees (Mudbound in 2017), Ari Aster (Hereditary in 2018), Lulu Wang (The Farewell in 2019), and Boots Riley (Sorry to Bother You in 2018). At Sundance 2023, the festival decided to feature a selection of mostly unknown, first-time filmmakers and it paid off. This is one of their best line-ups in years, with an especially strong selection of high quality indie films from a new generation of artists.


 Posted on January 31 in Editorial, Indies, Sundance 23 | Comments

We're Back in Park City - The Sundance Film Festival Returns to Utah

Sundance 2023 - Park City

It's so wonderful to settle into a screening and hear the buzz in the air before a film starts. To listen to the applause and laughter and gasps during a premiere screening. After two years of online screenings thanks to the pandemic, the 2023 Sundance Film Festival has returned with an in-person event in Park City, Utah this January. This is my 17th year covering Sundance, starting way back in 2007, and I'm happy to be back. Yes, as always, there's some generic frustrations with the festival (the local bus lines have changed, there's tons of standstill traffic already, the screening queues are a mess) but overall, it's exciting to see Sundance roaring back to life and bringing everyone together again to watch movies. It's cliche to say, but the glory of film festivals really is the experience of everyone traveling from all around to sit together and watch films together, as one big audience, participating in the magic of watching movies. That excitement in the air, the conversations with people in line or people sitting next to you, is what this is all about. Onward to the films.


 Posted on January 20 in Editorial, Sundance 23 | Comments

How Aronofsky's 'The Whale' is an Empowering Story About Honesty

The Whale - Honesty

There's a value that seems to be becoming rarer and rare these days - honesty. Yes, it's scary, yes, it can be painful, but it's a necessary and important part of humanity. They even make fun of this in Interstellar, with TARS making a joke about how his honesty setting is too high because, "Absolute honesty isn't always the most diplomatic nor the safest form of communication with emotional beings." One of my Top 10 films of the year is Darren Aronofsky's The Whale, which I already reviewed out of the Venice Film Festival a few months ago. I recently watched the film again for a second time and it really struck me even more this time around - The Whale is about honesty above all else. It's not really about being fat or the struggles of being overweight, it's about depression and disconnection and how being dishonest put everyone in the situation they're in at this moment. The film is about an obese man named Charlie who attempts to reconnect with his daughter over the course of a week, with a very emotional finale where he literally yells about being honest.


 Posted on December 28 in Discuss, Editorial, Indies | Comments

Berlin's Best Festival is in December - Around the World in 14 Films

Around the World in 14 Films

There's a wonderful little festival that takes place in Berlin, Germany every December – called Around the World in 14 Films. Aside from the catchy name of the festival, it's now my favorite festival in Berlin. The historic Berlin Film Festival (aka "Berlinale") has unfortunately dropped off the charts in terms of quality, relevance, and (dis)organization; they no longer hold the top spot nor do they screen that many good films anymore. Around the World in 14 Films, on the other hand, screens the best films of the year and does so at some of the best cinema venues in the city. They even bring in filmmakers for Q&As, the films are all shown in their original versions (with English subtitles), and the tickets are impressively affordable (at 10€ each). I'm lucky to live just down the street from one of the main venues, the Kulturbrauerei, and visited the fest this year to watch three films - two of them for my second time because they're both in my Top 10 of 2022.


 Posted on December 12 in Editorial, Foreign Films, Indies | Comments

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.


 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.


 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.


 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.


 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.


 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.


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



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