REVIEW: Cha Cha Real Smooth (2022)

Cooper Raiff and Dakota Johnson in “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” now streaming on Apple TV+.

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.

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REVIEW: CODA (2021)

Emilia Jones as ‘Ruby Rossi’ in Sian Heder’s CODA – Photo: Apple TV+.

Directed by Sian Heder – Screenplay by Sian Heder.

Whenever a film wins the Academy Awards’ Best Picture the spotlights start to assemble on top of it. People wish to poke holes in the film, call it overrated, and, in general, it suddenly has to live up to loftier expectations than it had to back when it was just a popular film. Moonlight was able to handle those spotlights, and it is still one of the previous decade’s great Best Picture winners (even though I preferred La La Land). Green Book, on the other hand, not so much.

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The 94th Oscars Ceremony was already problematic before Will Smith struck Chris Rock

A visibly-emotional Will Smith sits down after having slapped Chris Rock on stage at the Dolby Theatre – PHOTO: AMPAS, 2022.

Others may disagree but the Academy Awards ceremony — arguably Hollywood’s biggest night — is never boring to me. Some cinephiles think of it like their Super Bowl, their WrestleMania, but I don’t think anyone expected the ceremony to devolve into a contact sport as it briefly did in the Dolby Theatre at the 94th Academy Awards, when one of Hollywood’s last name-brand movie stars, the almost-always cool Will Smith, lost his temper. It was certainly one of the uglier moments in Oscar history, and it also topped what was previously the craziest moment in Oscar history.

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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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94th Academy Awards – Nomination Predictions – Mid-January

From Left to Right: Posters for The Power of the Dog (Netflix), Dune (Warner Bros.), West Side Story (20th Century Studios), Belfast (Focus Features / Universal).

The new year just started, and yet it feels like the first month of the year has almost come to an end. So, today, before the final major guilds (and the BAFTAs) share their film award nominations, I am ready to share my own predictions for the upcoming 94th edition of the Oscars (except for the short film categories). The recent SAG nominations really changed my thoughts on Best Actress, but they (and the BAFTA longlists) also focused my thoughts on Best Picture, which I feel pretty good about right now, even though the film I’m predicting to win may not be the most accessible film that I’m predicting to be nominated for the top award. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

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