One of the things that I have thought a lot about since I was first made aware of this documentary has been my own relationship with Michael J. Fox’s work. I think I speak for a lot of people my age (and maybe even a slightly older generation) when I say that I grew up with his work. For my upbringing, Back to the Future was as important as Star Wars or Jurassic Park. Frankly, I think he might’ve even been my first favorite actor because I genuinely remember a young me watching films and shows solely because he was in them, including The Frighteners and Spin City. I remember hearing about his diagnosis when I was very young, and I probably think about him and his condition more than I realize. As such, I was always going to be interested in this documentary, which is why I am glad to say that Fox isn’t just a fantastic documentary subject, the documentary itself — from Davis Guggenheim (the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind An Inconvenient Truth, who, by the way, is married to Elisabeth Shue, who starred alongside Fox in Back to the Future Parts II and III) — is terrific as well.Continue reading “Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie (2023 – Documentary) | REVIEW”
REVIEW: Ghosted (2023)
Directed by Dexter Fletcher — Screenplay by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers.
A romantic action-comedy from the director of Rocketman, with a screenplay from the writers of Deadpool and Spider-Man: No Way Home, and starring Captain America himself and the Oscar-nominated star of Blonde and Knives Out (who, notably, proved her action chops with a memorable appearance in the James Bond flick No Time to Die) sure sounds like a winning combination. Apple TV+’s Ghosted is a film with so much marketable talent that it has several major cameos that almost feel crammed in there. However, even though this is a project that has attracted a lot of talent, Ghosted is a largely ineffective romantic action comedy where neither the romantic, action, nor comedic elements work all that well.Continue reading “REVIEW: Ghosted (2023)”
REVIEW: Black Bird (2022 – Limited Series)
Series Developed by Dennis Lehane.
Apple TV+ is starting to pick up steam as a serious streamer with several fantastic shows. Black Bird, from award-winning novelist and screenwriter Dennis Lehane, is one of its latest solid series. Unfortunately, since Apple TV+ is yet to have a massive subscriber count, shows like it, For All Mankind, Severance, Shining Girls, and so on and so forth will probably struggle to find an enormous audience. Black Bird should be an easy sell for many people in this day and age where true crime adaptations are all the rage. The mini-series is based on James Keene and Hillel Levin’s autobiographical novel In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, a Serial Killer, and a Dangerous Bargain for Redemption.Continue reading “REVIEW: Black Bird (2022 – Limited Series)”
REVIEW: Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)
Directed by Cooper Raiff — Screenplay by Cooper Raiff.
Life is complicated. You go to school, then perhaps you go to university, and then you graduate. Life is then supposed to truly begin, but you can easily find yourself in some sort of arrested development because things don’t happen overnight. You just want to get started, and the longer it takes for things to get started, the more people in your life move ahead of you in ‘the game of life’ and they start to create things without you. Fear of missing out on that early can lead to you craving stability, to desire a life that you aren’t anywhere close to having. Maybe you don’t have the right job, maybe you don’t have the right relationship, maybe the world just isn’t letting you get started. That desperation can make you envious, it can make you oblivious to your own self-worth and your own needs. Life and the people you meet along the way can also send you mixed signals. Growing up sometimes means having to navigate those without crashing on your way. Cooper Raiff’s Cha Cha Real Smooth is about many things including those complications when life just isn’t letting you get started for whatever reason.Continue reading “REVIEW: Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)”
REVIEW: For All Mankind – Season Two (2021)
Series Created by Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert, and Ben Nedivi — Available Now on Apple TV+.
In Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Feb. ’21, Pt. II, I wrote about my experience of finally binge-watching the entire first season of Apple TV+’s For All Mankind, which was originally released back in 2019. The alternate-reality angle of the show was what had originally made me interested in the show, and, ultimately, the execution was what kept me hooked throughout the solid but somewhat bumpy first season. To reiterate, the show is, essentially, ‘what if the Soviet Union had reached the Moon first and, as a result, the United States continued and accelerated the space race.’Continue reading “REVIEW: For All Mankind – Season Two (2021)”
REVIEW: Billie Eilish – The World’s A Little Blurry (2021 – Documentary)
Directed by R. J. Cutler — Distributed by Neon / Apple TV+.
Veteran filmmaker and documentarian R. J. Cutler’s The World’s A Little Blurry is a fantastic year-in-the-life documentary about the rise to stardom for Billie Eilish, the immensely popular teenage singer-songwriter, who, in early 2019, had her debut studio album — When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? — released to critical acclaim. Cutler’s film is — for the most part — a vérité documentary that allows you to experience several private moments, as well as critical moments in her — and her brother Finneas’ — creative process, as a fly-on-the-wall. It’s an eye-opening documentary epic (it even has an intermission) about the life of a somewhat anxious teenage superstar that cares deeply about her fans, precisely because she is still a fan at heart, and she knows what it’s like to need that kind of bond. Continue reading “REVIEW: Billie Eilish – The World’s A Little Blurry (2021 – Documentary)”
Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Feb. ’21, Pt. II: ‘Your Honor,’ ‘For All Mankind,’ and ‘Framing Britney Spears’
In this edition of my monthly movie and television catch-up article series titled ‘Additional Bite-Sized Reviews,’ I take a look at a couple of shows that I have watched a lot in the first months of 2021 — specifically Your Honor and For All Mankind. But I also give you my thoughts on a documentary that everyone talked about in February. Continue reading “Additional Bite-Sized Reviews, Feb. ’21, Pt. II: ‘Your Honor,’ ‘For All Mankind,’ and ‘Framing Britney Spears’”
REVIEW: Palmer (2021)
Directed by Fisher Stevens — Screenplay by Cheryl Guerriero.
Fisher Stevens’ Palmer follows Eddie Palmer (the titular character played by Justin Timberlake), a former high school football star, who was just released from prison. Eddie goes to live with his grandmother, Vivian (played by June Squibb), and soon he seeks out a job as a janitor at a local school. Vivian tends to watch over their young neighbor, Sam (played by Ryder Allen). Sam, a flamboyant young boy who likes to play with dolls, is soon left with no guardian in sight when Vivian passes away and his mother, Shelly (played by Juno Temple), leaves town. Though he is initially reluctant, Eddie decides to do the right thing and become the temporary guardian for a young boy who keeps on challenging Palmer’s own prejudices. Continue reading “REVIEW: Palmer (2021)”
REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020)
Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola (Lost In Translation) — Available on Apple TV+.
As most people know, Sofia Coppola is Hollywood royalty. She made appearances in many of her father’s films, before a less-than-stellar supporting performance in The Godfather Part III led to scathing reviews and, not long thereafter, her acting career was over. But Sofia Coppola is not just Hollywood royalty, she is also a terrific filmmaker. Over the years, she has managed to reinvent herself as a great director and for her second film as a director, 2003’s Lost in Translation, Coppola was allegedly inspired by her own relationship with her ex-husband and filmmaker Spike Jonze (Her). Since Lost in Translation, which I think is a beautiful film (as well as her best), it has been difficult not to look at her films as being directly inspired by her own experiences. When I watched On the Rocks, which, like Lost In Translation, features Bill Murray, I started to think about her relationship with both her father and middle-age. Continue reading “REVIEW: On the Rocks (2020)”
Vertical Cinema: Damien Chazelle and Apple Team Up for Short Film
Odds are that you have probably, at some point in time, had to ask someone to tilt their telephone so that when they take a photo with their smartphone, then the picture will be nice and wide. For Damien Chazelle’s latest short film about a stunt double, the Oscar-winning director has opted against that piece of advice as he strives for Vertical Cinema. Steven Soderbergh, and other notable directors, have already toyed with shooting feature-length films with iPhones, but Chazelle’s film has been shot in portrait mode, thus producing vertical video, in an attempt to showcase the camera features on an iPhone 11 Pro. Continue reading “Vertical Cinema: Damien Chazelle and Apple Team Up for Short Film”