Directed by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson — Screenplay by Guillermo Del Toro and Patrick McHale – Story by Guillermo Del Toro and Matthew Robbins.
The story of Pinocchio has been told and retold over and over again since Carlo Collodi first wrote it in the 1880s. Nowadays it is mostly known for its classic 1940s Disney adaptation about a wooden boy who wants to be real and who sings the classic line about there being no strings on him. This year, Disney even tried to release a live-action remake which came and went without making much of an impression. Hopefully, fate will be kinder to Netflix’s stop-motion animation film that is directed by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Gustafson, as it presents a more mature version of the story that updates the classic tale to a time of war.
In Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (titled thusly, even though he is not the only credited director), Geppetto (voiced by David Bradley) is heartbroken from the loss of his son Carlo decades ago in a bombing raid. On one of his nights out drinking, Geppetto screams angrily to the skies as lightning flashes above, and the woodcarver decides to cut down the pine tree that was planted in his son’s memory. Geppetto goes to work and carves the tree until he has created a wooden boy. When Geppetto passes out, Sebastian J. Cricket (voiced by Ewan McGregor) witnesses a spirit bringing the wooden boy to life as Pinocchio (voiced by Gregory Mann). Adamant that Pinocchio must be exactly like Carlo and be kept away from real-world dangers, Geppetto soon finds out that he cannot control his new lively boy, who gradually becomes more and more interesting to a traveling circus and the Italian government.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Blade Runner 2049) — Screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth.
When science-fiction neophytes first lay their eyes on the marketing material for Denis Villeneuve’s latest science-fiction film, Dune, they should be forgiven, if they immediately remark that it looks like an imitation of Star Wars — or other similar films. Obviously, they would be under a false impression, but, after all, it is a little bit strange that one of Star Wars‘ most obvious sources of inspiration — Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune — has not previously generated a widely known or appreciated adaptation.
In fact, the Dune property is perhaps especially renowned for being difficult to adapt. Famously, Alejandro Jodorowsky tried but failed to get an adaptation off the ground, while David Lynch’s adaptation from 1984 was critically panned. Those ‘failed’ attempts are, in fact, more widely known than the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series that the franchise also spawned. Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have now entrusted auteur Denis Villeneuve with the job of adapting Frank Herbert’s rich, influential, and dense source material, and I think that was a very smart decision.
I hold the Danish thespian, Mads Mikkelsen, in high regard. I think of him as my nation’s finest actor, but also possibly the finest actor of his generation. He has proven himself both in his home country, overseas, and even in Hollywood. He’s a Bond-villain, a Marvel supervillain, and Hannibal the Cannibal. But he is also so much more than that. He is a skilled actor of many talents, who can be more than just a villain. He’s a star. Today, let’s take a trip through Mads Mikkelsen’s glorious career, as I rank his ten best roles and performances. Continue reading “Mads Mikkelsen’s Top 10 Performances: Ranked”→
The 2010s have come to an end. Soon I will be posting several additional top ten lists on the best films of the previous decade. But, first, I have to close out last year in the right way with this top ten films of 2019-list. So, sit back, relax, and take a look at what films I think were the very best in a quite strong year for movies. Continue reading “Top Ten Films of 2019”→
The following is a review of The Irishman — Directed by Martin Scorsese.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Martin Scorsese would arguably be on the Mt. Rushmore of American filmmakers if such a thing existed. When Scorsese laments the supposed death of cinema or questions the artistic merit of modern blockbusters, you listen to him for the simple reason that few people know the medium, the power of cinema, or the industry as well as he does. His understanding of the power of what is within or out of the frame of cinema is indescribable. Though his detractors may suggest that he is a glorified gangster film director, nothing could be further from the truth. With The Irishman, Martin Scorsese has given us a haunting and elegiac historical epic disguised as a greatest hits gangster film that stresses that, even in the autumn of his life, the master hasn’t missed a beat. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Irishman (2019)”→
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood opened in North American theaters a couple of weeks ago, but it was just released in my corner of the world yesterday. To commemorate the release of what Tarantino claims is his penultimate feature film as a director, I decided to rewatch and review every full feature film directed by Quentin Tarantino thus far (not including his partially lost amateur film). Below you’ll find reviews of all of the films listed in the image above. So, without further ado, let’s get to it. Continue reading “REVIEWS: Feature Films Directed by Quentin Tarantino (1992-2015)”→
The following is a review of Midsommar — Directed by Ari Aster.
As a Scandinavian, any film that revolves around Scandinavia or a specific part of Scandinavian culture, naturally, intrigues me greatly. So Midsommar already had my curiosity, but Ari Aster’s involvement pulled me in and seized my attention, as it were. Ari Aster is one of the most interesting new filmmakers. He is a gifted director whose first narrative feature — Hereditary — was one of the best and most disturbing horror films of the decade. With one of the decade’s best films in the genre under his belt already, his second feature film had a lot to live up to, and even though Midsommar isn’t quite as accessible as his directorial debut, Aster’s slow-burn second feature film showcases his distinct visual style, has thematical depth, and it proves that he is one of the most exciting new auteurs. Continue reading “REVIEW: Midsommar (2019)”→
The review does not include spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, (dirs. Anthony & Joe Russo) but you should absolutely expect spoilers for every film that came before it in the connected universe.
“All that for a drop of blood,” Thanos, the Mad Titan, groaned in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War moments before Doctor Strange relinquished the time stone to save Tony Stark’s life. Soon the not-so-seasoned Avengers turned to dust. The teenaged talking tree, the brave wall-crawler, an African king with a seemingly impenetrable suit made to look like an anthropomorphic big cat, and a quippy, tricker-happy, 70s music-loving outlaw — all gone from one moment to the next. Those left standing were left to live with their mistakes, as the Avengers had now well and truly lost even though a Norse God, multiple supersoldiers, an eccentric billionaire, and a magical surgeon — to name a few — had fought long and hard to save fifty-percent of the known universe. They failed. If those sentences made no sense to you whatsoever, then Avengers: Endgame isn’t for you. If, however, you’ve been waiting to see — nay, obsessing about — what comes next for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, then Endgame was designed for you. It is a somber epic like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Avengers: Endgame is peerless in scope and attention to detail, as well as moving from start to finish. Continue reading “REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame (2019)”→
The following is a review of Us — Directed by Jordan Peele.
No directorial debut this decade has made as much noise as Jordan Peele’s Get Out did. The social-horror film was made by a comedian from a popular two-man sketch comedy group who, as it turned out, had his finger on the pulse of America. Get Out is not just one of the most discussed films of the decade, it’s also one of the most interesting, one of the most rewatchable, and, arguably, one of the best. Though Us may not be as sharp, potent, or intelligent as Get Out, Peele here proves that he is no one-hit wonder. Get Out wasn’t a fluke, Jordan Peele knows exactly what he’s doing. Continue reading “REVIEW: Us (2019)”→
The BAFTAs are over. The Oscars are over. The book on 2018 films is about to be closed, but, wait, there’s more! Before we switch our focus completely onto the films of 2019 and the future awards season, I’d like to, as always, submit and present my own top ten films of the year-list. What was my favorite film of the year? What film got the honor of being my one and only honorable mention? It’s time to reveal the top ten films of 2018. Continue reading “Top Ten Films of 2018”→