REVIEW: Argentina, 1985 (2022)

Ricardo Darín and Peter Lanzani star in Argentina, 1985 — PHOTO: Amazon Prime Video.

Directed by Santiago Mitre — Screenplay by Santiago Mitre and Mariano Llinás.

Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 is a historical courtroom drama about the true story of the Trial of the Juntas, which sought to bring to justice the ringleaders of the military junta that committed murder, kidnappings, and torture under Argentina’s right-wing dictatorship in the late-1970s and early-1980s. The film primarily follows Julio César Strassera (played by Ricardo Darín), the chief prosecutor, as he, along with a team of inexperienced lawyers, gathered evidence and testimonies that could possibly convince the court.

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REVIEW: The Hatchet-Wielding Hitchhiker (2023 – Documentary)

Still image from the Netflix documentary, originally from a KMPH News interview.

Directed by Colette Camden.

Every once in a while, my sister will approach me and say: “smash, smash, smash!” or “no matter what you’ve done, you deserve respect, even if you make mistakes. […] You’re worthwhile.” That last quote goes on and on and on. I should explain. My sister doesn’t follow me around to deliver sitcom-like catchphrases or acknowledgments. Rather, she often quotes the ‘songified’ clips from the YouTube channel Schmoyoho. Back in 2013, Schmoyoho released the songified clip “smash. Smash. SMASH!” which featured a viral eyewitness account video of a hitchhiker who describes how he used a hatchet to hit someone, who had picked him up, in the head, when said person endangered a woman’s life. Now, almost exactly ten years later, Netflix has released a documentary about the hitchhiker who became an online sensation. 

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REVIEW: The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

Christian Bale in THE PALE BLUE EYE — PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Directed by Scott Cooper (Hostiles) — Screenplay by Scott Cooper.

Netflix’s first major film release of 2023 is Scott Cooper’s (very late entry into the 2022 movie year) The Pale Blue Eye. The film, which is based on a historical fiction novel of the same name from author Louis Bayard, features an incredibly well-known author, Edgar Allan Poe, as a character that is integral to the narrative, and it should go without saying that the film does not come close to becoming even a little bit as notable as the author the creatives have built a fictional mystery around. That would be a tough ask, to be honest. Still, though, this is a pretty decent crime thriller, even if it won’t end up on many best of 2022 lists. 

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REVIEW: Mumbai Mafia – Police vs The Underworld (2023 – Documentary)

PHOTO: Netflix.

Directed by Raaghav Dar and Francis Longhurst.

To kick off the new year, you would expect that Netflix had a major 2023 film to release. Not so. Instead, their first major release of 2023, The Pale Blue Eye (review coming soon), is technically a very late 2022 film. But since they have released a new documentary straight to Netflix that I believe to be a 2023 release, I thought I would review it to get the 2023 list off and running. So, here we have Raaghav Dar and Francis Longhurst’s Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld, which, as you can probably guess, is the kind of documentary that gives the basic premise away right there in the title. 

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REVIEW: Stoker (2013)

Mia Wasikowska as India Stoker — PHOTO: Fox Searchlight.

Directed by Park Chan-wook (Oldboy; Joint Security Area) — Screenplay by Wentworth Miller.

A handful of years before he directed all episodes of the excellent and underseen adaptation of The Little Drummer Girl led by Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgaard, Park Chan-wook made his first film in English with the Hitchcockian thriller Stoker, based on a screenplay from Prison Break-actor Wentworth Miller (under a pen name). 

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Goodbye 2022: Did Cameron & Cruise Resuscitate Movie Theaters?

Like I always like to do, I’m going to try to sum up the year that was in my final post of the year partially entitled ‘Goodbye’. So, goodbye to 2022. There are a lot of things one could talk about. I like to keep things cheery so the title of the post has been kept to filmmaking and the movie theater industry.

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REVIEW: Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022)

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (2022). Daniel GimÈnez Cacho as Silverio. Cr. Limbo Films, S. De R.L. de C.V. / Netflix

Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu — Screenplay by Alejandro González Iñárritu and Nicolás Giacobone.

Taking inspiration, whether conceptually or visually, from a lot of different filmmakers including Fellini and Malick, Alejandro González Iñárritu has gone out and made a visually eye-opening self-insert introspective dream narrative that is possibly going to be quite puzzling for most people (if, indeed, they ever choose to watch it and sit through it on Netflix). It follows a Mexican journalist and documentarian filmmaker who is trying to make sense of his dual identity during an existential crisis. That is a really short and simple way of summing up a film that tries to be so much more and which has an overwhelming runtime, but it perhaps doesn’t get to the kind of jaw-dropping visual ideas that the director throws out there. It goes places that can be tough to wrap your head around (e.g. a baby is pushed back into her mother moments after it was born), and these ambitious hallucinatory sequences may be the best thing about the film, even though it, along with the runtime, may be the very thing that discourages viewers from pressing play.

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Ten Most Read Articles & Reviews: 2022

As the year is coming to an end, it makes a lot of sense to me to look back on the year that is coming to a close. Although it isn’t yet time for me to announce my 2022 year-end lists and awards winners (they’ll be released in January and February 2023), this is the right time to take a look at the ten most-read articles and reviews that I wrote this year. Let’s have a look at what caught your eye this last year.

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REVIEW: The Crown – Season Five (2022)

PHOTO: NETFLIX.

Series Created by Peter Morgan.

A lot has happened since November 2020, when, two years ago, Netflix released the fourth season of their wildly successful historical drama, The Crown. Britain has had three different prime ministers — Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and, current PM, Rishi Sunak — and, most importantly, Queen Elizabeth II, the subject of this series, has died. The United Kingdom now has a new monarch in King Charles III, who, as the series has moved forward, has moved closer and closer to the focal point of the series. Indeed, one might argue that these latest two seasons are the most critical of the former Prince of Wales.

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Park Chan-wook’s Vengeance Trilogy (2002-2005) | Retro Review

Park Chan-wook, one of South Korea’s finest filmmakers, is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. I first encountered the director with his 2016 feature The Handmaiden, a stylish and precise near-masterpiece, which then made me go back and watch Oldboy, which I thought was just as brilliant. Years later, I have now reviewed his so-called vengeance trilogy, which includes the aforementioned Oldboy. In this article, you will find reviews of the three films in the thematic trilogy known as the vengeance trilogy: Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002), Oldboy (2003), and Lady Vengeance (2005).

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