REVIEW: tick, tick… BOOM! (2021)

Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson in Netflix’s tick, tick… BOOM! — Photo: Macall Polay / Netflix.

Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda — Screenplay by Steven Levenson.

Hamilton-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tick, tick… BOOM! is based on the Jonathan Larson musical of the same name and it tells the story of Jonathan Larson’s time as an aspiring composer and playwright in New York City in the early 1990s. Larson (played by Andrew Garfield) is about to turn thirty years old, and he is worried that he is about to miss his moment. While he is juggling paying his bills, working on his relationship with his girlfriend, Susan (played by Alexandra Shipp), and working as a waiter in a SoHo diner, he is also trying to complete his musical Superbia, which he has been working on for eight years, before it is to be presented a couple of days prior to his birthday. But Larson finds it difficult to find time for everyone in his life as he can constantly sense that time is ticking away inside his head.

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REVIEW: Richard Jewell (2019)

Still Image Richard Jewell
‘Richard Jewell,’ Still Image — Photo: Claire Folger / Warner Bros.

Directed by Clint Eastwood — Screenplay by Billy Ray.

There is a lot to say when it comes to Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell, which is a biopic about the security guard who discovered a bomb during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, then alerted authorities, and was later wrongly accused of having planted it. While the film is not without problems, on the whole, I thought that Clint Eastwood’s 2019 picture was a success. This is a heartbreaking and infuriating film about the investigation into the Centennial Olympic Park bombing and the media circus and harsh media trial that followed as a result of an FBI leak, and at the center of the film is a breakthrough performance that I don’t think got the praise it deserved. Continue reading “REVIEW: Richard Jewell (2019)”

REVIEW: Judy (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – LD Entertainment / Pathé

The following is a review of Judy — Directed by Rupert Goold.

Rupert Goold’s Judy is a biographical picture about the final year of Judy Garland’s life. The biopic is based on the Peter Quilter stage musical End of the Rainbow, and the film mostly takes place in 1969 when Judy Garland (played by Renée Zellweger) relocated to the United Kingdom for work and to be able to afford a potential custody battle in court. The multi-talented star is, at this point in her life, a wreck. The American industries that made her a star now see her as unreliable, she is unable to pay her bills, she doesn’t eat, she is severely depressed, and she suffers from issues related to substance abuse. Her job in London represents one last moment in the spotlight to dazzle, use her stardom, and make the money she needs to keep her family together. Though she often hesitates to go on stage, it is only on the stage that she can find energy and satisfaction in her last year. Continue reading “REVIEW: Judy (2019)”

REVIEW: Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Dolemite Is My Name — Directed by Craig Brewer.

In 2006, Eddie Murphy, one of the greatest American comedians of all-time, was about to have his big moment in the spotlight as an actor. His performance in Dreamgirls given him industry recognition and critical praise. He had now finally won a Golden Globe and, realistically, he had set his sights on the golden statuette handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Eventually, though he was nominated, he lost the award to Alan Arkin. Back then, it was speculated that his appearance and performance in the critically panned Norbit was to blame for him having missed out on his Oscar. It’s ironic, really, that perhaps comedy had cost Eddie Murphy the most coveted award in cinema. With that having been said, comedy can take him back to Academy Awards. Because Dolemite Is My Name is a hoot and Eddie Murphy genuinely gives an awards-worthy performance in it. Continue reading “REVIEW: Dolemite Is My Name (2019)”

Best of the 2010s: Top Ten Biographical Pictures

Sometimes biopics — or biographical pictures — get a bad rap. Some people think of them merely as Wikipedia entries on the big screen, others think they just exist for studios to promote during awards season — people like to say that biopics are Oscar-bait. But today I want to showcase my ten favorite biographical pictures of the 2010s. I’ll also preface this list by saying that I reserve the right to change this list for the remainder of 2019 in case something new is good enough to make it onto this list. Continue reading “Best of the 2010s: Top Ten Biographical Pictures”

REVIEW: Rocketman (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Paramount Pictures

The following is a review of Rocketman — Directed by Dexter Fletcher.

From the director of Eddie the Eagle, Dexter Fletcher, who honed his musical skills and ironed out his music biopic missteps early as he completed Bryan Singer’s Bohemian Rhapsody last year after Singer was fired, comes the Elton John fantasy musical biopic Rocketman that tells the story of how Reginald Dwight (played by Taron Egerton) met lyricist and friend Bernie Taupin (played by Jamie Bell), rebelled against his posh but harsh upbringing, and became the flamboyant superstar now known as Elton John who partied like the best until it almost pushed him over the edge. Continue reading “REVIEW: Rocketman (2019)”

REVIEW: Vice (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – Annapurna Pictures

The following is a review of Vice — Directed by Adam McKay.

In recent years, comedy filmmaker Adam McKay has successfully changed his reputation in Hollywood. He was once thought of as one of the great funny-man directors of the industry, with such films as Anchorman and The Other Guys. But with 2015’s The Big Short — a film about the financial crisis of 2008 — McKay became known for his unconventional techniques in covering a disastrous true story. It didn’t work for everyone, but, for the most part, I really enjoyed his first foray into this style of political filmmaking.  Continue reading “REVIEW: Vice (2018)”

REVIEW: First Man (2018)

Theatrical Release Poster – Universal Pictures

The following is a review of First Man — Directed by Damien Chazelle.

Do kids still dream of becoming astronauts? — That is one of the many things I thought of after I saw First Man — the latest film from Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench; Whiplash; La La Land). When I was a kid I remember I sometimes would play and try to jump in slow motion, because I imagined that would be what it would be like to jump on the moon. Continue reading “REVIEW: First Man (2018)”

REVIEW: A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of A Futile and Stupid Gesture — Directed by David Wain.

Here is a thing that I don’t think Americans have ever thought about. When I was younger and I watched National Lampoon’s Vacation or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and so on and so forth, I had no idea what the hell National Lampoon was. I vividly remember asking my parents several times what National Lampoon was, and they didn’t really have a firm grasp of it either. Honestly, I don’t think most Non-Americans really know about National Lampoon. So, really, A Futile and Stupid Gesture — a film about the rise and fall of the parody magazine — is probably a pretty good idea. Continue reading “REVIEW: A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)”

REVIEW: Darkest Hour (2017)

UK Theatrical Release Poster – Focus Features

The following is a review of Darkest Hour — Directed by Joe Wright.

Darkest Hour — not to be confused with The Darkest Hour, a 2011 alien invasion movie set in Russia — is the newest film from British director Joe Wright, who is behind such films as 2007’s beautiful, heart-wrenching, and soul-crushing AtonementContinue reading “REVIEW: Darkest Hour (2017)”