REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)

Daniel Kaluuya (center) as ‘Fred Hampton’ in JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH — Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Directed by Shaka King — Screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King.

Next week, Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah may have become the winner of one or multiple Oscars at the 93rd Academy Awards, which, in theory, was supposed to honor the best films of 2020, in spite of the fact that this film was released in 2021. This is the result of a change to this Oscar season’s eligibility period due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, and this now means that select films released in early 2021 may also qualify to compete against 2020 films at the Oscars.

In general, this was a rule change that I am very much against as I absolutely do think that there are enough good films from 2020 that the Academy should honor, instead of adopting some odd eligibility window for the sake of giving more time to studios to release films that absolutely could’ve competed at the 94th Academy Awards instead. Regardless, I actually highly recommend Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, and, if it had been released in 2020, it probably would be one of my favorite films of that year.

Continue reading “REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)”

What To Watch During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Part II – Special Features #68

A couple of weeks ago, I presented my readers with a list of films or shows to binge-watch during your self-isolation due to the current coronavirus pandemic. I decided to focus on shows that I had not previously reviewed, or had no intention of reviewing. Since the pandemic has not come to an end, I thought it would be a good idea to recommend some extra options. So, today, I present you with another small handful of binge-watching options, none of which I have previously reviewed on this site. Continue reading “What To Watch During the Coronavirus Pandemic, Part II – Special Features #68”

REVIEW: Uncut Gems (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – A24

The following is a review of Uncut Gems — Directed by Josh & Benny Safdie.

“Keep an eye on the Safdie Brothers.” — I ended my short review of 2017’s Good Time thusly. When I watched that film I don’t think I knew of the Safdies Brothers’ early career as young but already somewhat prolific independent filmmakers. To me, they were (and, in a way, still are) exciting newcomers to the world stage of cinema. Good Time was a brilliant but anxiety-inducing nightmare that gave us Robert Pattinson’s finest performance, thus far. That film showcased the Safdies’ talents as directors both with the exquisite mastering of tension and anxiousness, as well as the ability to pull out awards-worthy performances from actors who have a tendency to be pigeonholed. With Uncut Gems, the filmmaking duo has done it again. Adam Sandler delivers his finest performance since 2017’s The Meyerowitz Stories in the Safdies’ Good Time-follow-up, which is even more nailbiting and even more impressive. Continue reading “REVIEW: Uncut Gems (2019)”

REVIEW: Knives Out (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Knives Out — a Rian Johnson whodunnit.

Are Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery films making a quiet comeback right under our noses? In 2017, Kenneth Branagh resurrected the genre on the big screen with his adaptation of Murder On the Orient Express, which is getting a sequel in 2020. Earlier in 2019, Kyle Newacheck released an Adam Sandler-led murder mystery film titled Murder Mystery, which I suggested might be “the most watchable of Sandler’s made-for-Netflix comedies.” Now we have Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, which isn’t just the best of the bunch, it’s also genuinely one of the most entertaining films of the year. Knives Out is a fresh and modern labyrinthine murder mystery complete with a stylish main location, as well as witty and timely social and political satire. Continue reading “REVIEW: Knives Out (2019)”

REVIEW: Death Note (2017)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Netflix’s Death Note – Directed by Adam Wingard.

Adam Wingard’s Death Note follows Light Turner (played by Nat Wolff), a Seattle High School student dressed all in black that does other people’s homework for money, who one day finds a book that literally fell from the skies. The book is a ‘death note,’ and it gives him the power to control a death god named Ryuk (voiced by Willem Dafoe). Continue reading “REVIEW: Death Note (2017)”

REVIEW: War Machine (2017)

Release Poster – Netflix

The following is a review of Netflix’s War Machine – Directed by David Michôd.

In 2015, Netflix acquired the distribution rights to a film directed by David Michôd and starring Brad Pitt, one of the true movie stars of our day. Netflix acquired the film prior to having premiered both Beasts of No Nation and The Ridiculous Six later in 2015, and this film was thus one of the first major motion picture projects that Netflix had acquired.

Now, in the summer of 2017, the film now titled War Machine has premiered. It has been a long wait for people like me who were excited to see such a high profile production premiere on the streaming service, but it is finally here and, honestly, I don’t think it was worth the wait. Continue reading “REVIEW: War Machine (2017)”