REVIEW: Nightmare Alley (2021)

Guillermo Del Toro’s NIGHTMARE ALLEY – PHOTO: Kerry Hayes / 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Guillermo Del Toro – Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro & Kim Morgan.

Based on the 1946 William Lindsay Gresham novel of the same name (which was first adapted by Edmund Goulding in 1947), Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley follows a mysterious drifter named Stan Carlisle, who is hired by a carnival and soon becomes fascinated by the mentalist techniques that his co-workers have made a living off. When he leaves the carnival to thrive off the techniques that he has acquired, he became infatuated by the power of his act and the money that they lead him to. It won’t be long until he decides to fool the wrong person.

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Top Ten Films of 2021

This is a list of the best films of 2021. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is a little late, but pay it no mind. The film industry in 2021, like 2020, was still impacted somewhat by the COVID-19 Pandemic, though obviously not as much as 2020 was. It was a year that, to me, showed a lot of problems for the theater industry, as it was starting to look like film fans had become comfortable waiting for films to hit streaming services rather than to see them in theaters. Because exactly what films became hits last year? Like others have noted, they were pretty much all franchise films. In a way, it feels like HBO Max may have made it easy for American audiences to let go of the moviegoing experience, but, hopefully, the movie theaters will thrive again soon.

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94th Academy Awards: Final Predictions

I get it. We’re almost in April. You’ve probably already started to think about this year’s films and whether or not films like The Batman can secure an Oscar nomination next year. But AMPAS nevertheless decided that the Oscars ceremony celebrating 2021 films was to be held this upcoming Sunday. It’s been a long awards season, and it feels like some of the original frontrunners — like The Power of the Dog — have fallen behind in the race for the biggest award of the night. Now it looks like the crowd-pleasing CODA has overtaken the spotlight from the truly cinematic Netflix flick directed by Jane Campion. In this article, I’ll give you my final predictions for the 94th Academy Awards, along with some longer explanations for the biggest categories. Hollywood’s biggest night is almost here, but who will win? Read below to find out what I think will happen.

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REVIEW: Windfall (2022)

Jason Segel and Jesse Plemons in Charlie McDowell’s WINDFALL – Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Charlie McDowell – Screenplay by Justin Lader and Andrew Kevin Walker.

Charlie McDowell’s Windfall takes place in a single location and mostly features three unnamed characters; a wealthy CEO (played by Jesse Plemons), his wife (played by Lily Collins), and the ‘nobody’ who is trying to rob their vacation home. The robber (played by Jason Segel) had planned to steal from the property while its owners were out of town, but, when they suddenly return home while he’s in their home, the robber has to improvise on how to get out of this situation unscathed. And the wealthy CEO? Well, he just wants to get him out of the house as fast as possible, even if it means having to lose some money in the process.

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REVIEW: West Side Story (2021)

The Jets, The Sharks, and Tony & Maria in Spielberg’s West Side Story – Photo: 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Steven Spielberg – Screenplay by Tony Kushner.

If you’ve been thinking that another West Side Story is pretty unnecessary, then you’re not alone. After all, Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’ 1961 musical film adaptation of the Romeo & Juliet-inspired Broadway stage play ended up with eleven Oscar nominations and won in ten of those categories including Best Picture. Often regarded as one of the greatest musical films of all time, the 1961 film has made people very familiar with the story. So, did we need Steven Spielberg to make a new version of the stage play? No, we definitely didn’t. But here’s the thing. Let’s be honest, we also didn’t technically need another Batman reboot. We didn’t technically need three different live-action Spider-Men in the last twenty years. However, even though we didn’t need those films, just like how I loved the vast majority of the Spider-Man films, as well as the new Batman flick, I have to say that Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is just wonderful. We didn’t need it, but I’m glad we now have it.

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REVIEW: The Adam Project (2022)

Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell in Shawn Levy’s THE ADAM PROJECT – Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Shawn Levy (Free Guy) – Screenplay by Jonathan Tropper, T.S. Nowlin, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin.

In Shawn Levy’s The Adam Project, we follow Adam Reed (played by Walker Scobell), a 12-year-old who makes a lot of witty remarks and gets into fights. Adam and his mother (played by Jennifer Garner) are struggling after the recent death of his father (played by Mark Ruffalo), and they’re still trying to adjust to their new normal. While his mother is out on a date, something incredible happens. After going outside to check on a mysterious sound, he returns to his family home and finds a wounded fighter pilot, who has let himself inside. It doesn’t take Adam long to figure out that this isn’t just any fighter pilot, this is himself from a dystopian future. This older Adam (played by Ryan Reynolds) has traveled back in time to save lives and the future, but, now that he is injured, he may need his 12-year-old self to accomplish the job.

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REVIEW: Turning Red (2022)

n Disney and Pixar’s all-new original feature film “Turning Red,” 13-year-old Mei Lee “poofs” into a giant panda when she gets too excited. “Turning Red” is available exclusively on Disney+ right now. – Photo: Disney/Pixar.

Directed by Domee Shi (Bao) – Screenplay by Julia Cho & Domee Shi.

Turning Red, the 25th feature-length film from Pixar Animation Studios, takes place in Toronto, Canada in 2002 and follows a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian girl named Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), who thinks of herself as a grown-up and who dedicates a lot of her time to honoring her parents. However, things are about to change for Meilin. She both wants to take care of her family’s Chinese temple and go to a boy band concert with her supportive best friends, even though her mother doesn’t trust her friends and despises the boy band. Over night, something changes for Meilin, and when she wakes up she has turned into a huge red panda. She finds out that she can turn back into her normal self, but every time she has a strong feeling she goes right back to being this mythological panda, which obviously freaks her out.

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REVIEW: FRESH (2022)

Noa (right, played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) falls for ‘Steve’ (left, played by Sebastian Stan) in the comedy-thriller FRESH — Photo: Searchlight Pictures.

Directed by Mimi Cave – Screenplay by Lauryn Kahn.

Modern dating can be difficult. We all like to think that we can have a grand love story and just meet someone out of the blue, but, nowadays, many people find their eventual partners through online dating. In Mimi Cave’s FRESH — her feature debut as a director – Noa (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones) is tired of spending so much time finding potential suitors on the online ‘meat market.’ Her online dating usually ends with disappointing dates with rude men or with men sending inappropriate images that she never once asked for. So, it is understandable that she excitedly chases romance when she meets and flirts with the undeniable charming ‘Steve’ (played by Sebastian Stan) in a local supermarket. In spite of obvious red flags (he has no Instagram account!), she decides to go away with him on a weekend vacation, where she will soon find out that he has an uncommon ‘hobby’ — to say the least — and that his intentions aren’t good.

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REVIEW: Against the Ice (2022)

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Joe Cole in Peter Flinth’s AGAINST THE ICE. — Photo: Netflix.

Directed by Peter Flinth – Screenplay by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau & Joe Derrick.

Against the Ice first showed up on my radar some time ago. I mean, can you blame me? As a Dane, it is really exciting when a major streamer like Netflix decides to acquire a historical survival drama about Danes, directed by a Dane, co-written by a Dane, and so much more. Really, I could go on and on about all of the Danes involved with the production. And yet, it isn’t actually in Danish. This aspect was a little bit of a disappointment to me, but I can understand why some may have felt it should be in English. Unfortunately, while I do think this is a mostly ‘okay’ survival drama, the language wasn’t my only disappointment.

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REVIEW: The Batman (2022)

The Batman (played by Robert Pattinson, left) and Selina Kyle (played by Zoë Kravitz, right) get up close and personal in THE BATMAN — Photo: DC Comics / Warner Bros.

Directed by Matt Reeves (War for the Planet of the Apes) — Screenplay by Matt Reeves & Peter Craig.

I was elated when Robert Pattinson was announced to play Batman. Pattinson’s work in independent films had impressed me so much, and I thought he was a pretty obvious choice for the role. However, as many people know, Batman movies always lead to premature casting criticism (people were critical of Heath Ledger, Michael Keaton, and Ben Affleck long before they had even seen them in their respective films). I remember receiving rude comments about my excitement for Pattinson as Bruce Wayne. After having finally seen the film, I can honestly say that I feel vindicated. Pattinson is great and Reeves has once again made an outstanding blockbuster film in a vastly popular (and, to some, tired) franchise.

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