REVIEW: The Last Duel (2021)

Jodie Comer as Marguerite in Ridley Scott’s THE LAST DUEL — PHOTO: 20th Century Studios.

Directed by Ridley Scott — Screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck & Matt Damon.

Based on the Eric Jager non-fiction book of the same name, The Last Duel tells the true story of one of the last judicial duels in France in 1386, when Jacques Le Gris (played by Adam Driver) and Sir Jean de Carrouges (played by Matt Damon) went head-to-head in a trial by combat to decide whether or not Le Gris was guilty of raping de Carrouges’ wife, Marguerite (played by Jodie Comer). However, all three of their lives were on the line. Because their rules stated that if her husband were to lose the duel (and his life in the process), then the courts would regard Marguerite as a false accuser and sentence her to death as a result of his loss.

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REVIEW: Eternals (2021)

Marvel’s team of Eternals unveiling themselves to the people of Mesopotamia in the film’s opening sequences — PHOTO: Marvel Studios.

Directed by Chloé Zhao — Screenplay by Chloé Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, and Kaz Firpo.

Although their films are immensely popular, it isn’t every day that Marvel Studios work with Academy Award-winning film directors, which makes Eternals special even on paper. Chloé Zhao, the Chinese-born acclaimed filmmaker behind Best Picture winner Nomadland, did, however, choose to have a major superhero blockbuster film be her follow-up to her poetic Oscars-favorite. In my experience, Zhao’s films (of which I think The Rider is probably her best work), which often feature non-actors, are defined by their open landscapes, contemplative themes, and an unshakable feeling that her narrative films are documentary-like. Therefore, this superhero epic is almost certainly her most accessible film, but it is also true that it feels different than most Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. Frankly, while there is a lot that I like here, I think Eternals ended up being a little bit too ambitious for its own good.

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REVIEW: No Time To Die (2021)

Daniel Craig as James Bond and Ana de Armas as Paloma in Cary Joji Fukunaga’s NO TIME TO DIE — Photo: Nicola Dove / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios / Universal Pictures.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga — Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

When I rewatched Sam Mendes’ SPECTRE the other day, I was reminded of the fact that the previous film in the Bond-franchise was released all the way back in 2015. A lot has happened since then, so much so that you may have even forgotten about all of the behind-the-scenes drama that transpired long before No Time To Die became the first major film to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After several rounds of rewrites, the shift in director, production, and the pandemic, the fifth and supposedly final film in the Daniel Craig-era of the James Bond-franchise has now finally been released. Thankfully, in spite of the real world drama that threatened to ruin it, this is actually a spy epic that is suitable as a true tribute to Daniel Craig’s bumpy but extraordinary time as the iconic agent. It isn’t the best film in the Craig-era, but it is a very memorable chapter in the franchise.

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REVIEW: The Irishman (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

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)”

REVIEW: Triple Frontier (2019)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Triple Frontier — Directed by J. C. Chandor.

From the director of All is Lost and A Most Violent Year, J. C. Chandor, and the writer of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal, Netflix’s Triple Frontier — named for the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay — includes arguably the most star-studded blockbuster-like cast for a Netflix Original Film yet. Continue reading “REVIEW: Triple Frontier (2019)”