Directed by M. Night Shyamalan — Screenplay by M. Night Shyamalan, Steve Desmond, and Michael Sherman.
Like you may have read previously elsewhere, M. Night Shyamalan was once dubbed ‘the next Spielberg.’ It was meant as a great honor but became a bit of a challenge to live up to. After four or five disappointments in a row between the mid-2000s to the early 2010s, Shyamalan was no longer being compared to Spielberg but rather known for his reliance on twists and his cameo appearances, as well as for his kind of unconvincing dialogue. With The Visit and Split, fans of his — and I consider myself a fan — started to believe that he was making a return to form with simpler premises and genuinely strong films. Then Glass was released — the conclusion to his Unbreakable trilogy — and it was another crushing disappointment — a cruel twist on his supposed ‘return to form’ for fans of his. He’s not done, though. In 2021, he released Old to mixed reviews, and, this year, he’s got Knock at the Cabin to showcase his talents with. Unfortunately, neither of those films fully worked for me. They aren’t outright disasters like some of the works that derailed his career, but even though they indicate that Shyamalan is on his way back, they also show that he still has a ways to go before being back ‘in form.’
The following is a recap and review of the ninth episode and season finale of HBO’s The Last of Us. Expect story spoilers.
In the ninth and final episode of the first season of the HBO adaptation of the critically acclaimed video game franchise known as The Last of Us — titled Look for the Light — Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) and Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey) finally reach the hospital that they’ve been moving towards. But how will the Fireflies greet them? Look for the Light was directed by Ali Abbasi (Holy Spider and The Last of Us: When We Are In Need) and written by Craig Mazin (Chernobyl) and Neil Druckmann.
The following is a recap and review of the second episode of HBO’s The Last of Us. Expect story spoilers.
In the second episode of the first season of the HBO adaptation of the masterful video game franchise known as The Last of Us — titled Infected — Joel (played by Pedro Pascal) begrudgingly agrees to escort Ellie (played by Bella Ramsey), alongside his longtime smuggling partner, Tess (played by Anna Torv), to the Old State House in Boston. On their way there, Ellie sees what longtime infection can turn someone into. Infected was directed by Neil Druckmann (television directorial debut) and written by Craig Mazin.
The following is a recap and review of the first episode of HBO’s The Last of Us. Expect story spoilers.
The Last of Us is my favorite video game ever made. I hold it in the highest regard as one of my favorite stories. The game, and its sequel too, is a heart-wrenching, fully absorbing masterpiece that does a lot with the zombie genre. Now HBO has decided to have it adapted into a television series. The show is created by one of the game’s creative directors, Neil Druckmann, as well as the creator of HBO’s incredible Chernobyl series, Craig Mazin, and it features a stellar cast from top to bottom with actors such as Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Anna Torv (Fringe), Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones), and others.
Directed by Edward Berger — Screenplay by Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson, and Edward Berger.
Can a war film ever truly be anti-war? A lot has been said on the topic over the years, with François Truffaut often being attributed to the quote that “there is no such thing as an anti-war film,” and Steven Spielberg reportedly disagreeing completely in an interview with Newsweek in which he stated that “every war movie, good or bad, is an anti-war movie.” With respect, I think both of their black-and-white absolute statements miss the mark. Certainly, there are war films that aren’t explicitly anti-war in case they showcase heroism or glorify the act of fighting for one’s country. Some would definitely argue that Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan fell prey to some of these war movie pitfalls. On the other hand, I also think the Truffaut quote is a strange generalization. Actually, with All Quiet on the Western Front (2022), I think Edward Berger has done an excellent job of recreating the hell of World War One in a way that knocks you out, shakes you up, and sends waves through you.
The Coen brothers are obviously one of the most influential and acclaimed filmmaking duos of the late 20th and early 21st Century. I have had the great pleasure of watching and enjoying several of their films, and I think all cinephiles wait eagerly every time one of their projects is announced. The Tragedy of Macbeth is, however, a special entry in their filmography since it is the first solo effort from Joel Coen. Even though his brother did not work on this film, Joel Coen didn’t lose a step. The Tragedy of Macbeth, obviously an adaptation of an oft-adapted Shakespeare play that needs no introduction, is one of the best-looking films of 2021.
Directed by Autumn de Wilde — Screenplay by Eleanor Catton.
Autumn de Wilde’s feature film directorial debut, Emma., is a romantic-dramedy period piece based on the 1815 Jane Austin novel of the same name, which has been adapted numerous times. Autumn de Wilde’s film takes place in the early 19th Century and it follows its privileged titular character, Emma Woodhouse (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), as she interferes with her friend’s love life. Her friend, the sweet but impressionable Harriet Smith (played by Mia Goth), is attracted to a Mr. Robert Martin (played by Connor Swindells). But, instead, Emma thinks that Harriet should pursue a romantic relationship with the local vicar, Mr. Elton (played by Josh O’Connor), even though it’s clear to everyone except for Emma and Harriet that he is actually attracted to the title character. Continue reading “REVIEW: Emma. (2020)”→
Directed by Niki Caro — Screenplay by Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek, and Elizabeth Martin.
Niki Caro’s Mulan is an adaptation of the late 1990s Disney animated film of the same name, which itself was based on the story of the folk heroine Hua Mulan. Caro’s film tells the story of a Chinese woman, Mulan (played by Liu Yifei), who disguised herself as a man and enlisted herself in the Imperial Army to protect her frail and injured father, Zhou (played by Tzi Ma), even though she knew it would bring dishonor to her family. In the film, while fighting alongside other brave soldiers, she must do all that she can to save China from an invading army that is fighting alongside a witch (played by Gong Li). Continue reading “REVIEW: Mulan (2020)”→
Directed by Ron Howard — Screenplay by Vanessa Taylor.
Though it was once touted as a huge player at the upcoming Academy Awards, the overall critical reception of Ron Howard’s adaptation of J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy has been surprisingly negative. What was once looked upon as the film that might finally be the vehicle that would give Amy Adams and Glenn Close the Oscars that their careers most definitely deserve, now looks like a surprisingly unengaging piece of Oscar-bait, which is a term that refers to films that give off the impression that they were made only to be nominated for Oscars. However, while I do think one performance is good enough to earn praise at awards ceremonies, the film as a whole is not memorable or good enough to leave a lasting impression. Continue reading “REVIEW: Hillbilly Elegy (2020)”→
The following is a review of The Invisible Man — Directed by Leigh Whannell.
120 years after H. G. Wells’ original science fiction novel The Invisible Man was released, Alex Kurtzman’s The Mummy was released to negative reviews. That film was intended to kickstart an interconnected cinematic universe known as the ‘Dark Universe,’ of which a The Invisible Man-adaptation was supposed to be a part. However, instead, the Dark Universe quickly became the most used example of a cinematic universe that fell apart before it had a chance to connect two films. Three years after the release of Kurtzman’s monster movie, which was a critical and financial failure, we have the latest adaptation of the aforementioned iconic Wells-novel. Although Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man is notably not a part of any cinematic universe, he has done what Kurtzman, unfortunately, failed to do, i.e. make an effective and modern monster movie. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Invisible Man (2020)”→