REVIEW: Dolor y Gloria (2019)

Spanish Theatrical Release Poster – Sony Pictures Releasing International

The following is a review of Dolor y Gloria (int. title: Pain and Glory) — Directed by Pedro Almodóvar.

Dolor y Gloria is Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s twenty-second feature film, but, admittedly, the first film of his that I have seen. It is a semi-autobiographical film about an aging Spanish filmmaker (whose name is unmistakably close to being an anagram for Almodóvar) who feels that his body and mind is working against him. Salvador Mallo (played by Antonio Banderas), the aforementioned fictitious filmmaker, is constantly depressed, and he also suffers from difficult headaches and serious back problems. All of these issues have stopped him in his tracks and made it difficult for him to continue to make his art — his films. Continue reading “REVIEW: Dolor y Gloria (2019)”

REVIEW: Her (2013)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros.

The following is a short updated review (2019) of Spike Jonze’s Her (2013).

Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her is a science-fiction love story set in a ‘futuristic’ American city. The film follows Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) — a writer of other people’s personal letters — who is separated from his wife (played by Rooney Mara). Continue reading “REVIEW: Her (2013)”

REVIEW: IT – Chapter Two (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Warner Bros. Pictures

The following is a review of IT: Chapter Two — Directed by Andy Muschietti.

It would be an understatement to say that Andy Muschietti’s IT (2017) was a great success. Successfully building on audiences’ relationship with the 1990s mini-series, novel, or creature design, IT went on to become the highest-grossing Stephen King adaptation and the highest-grossing horror film in North American box office history (not adjusted for inflation). Therefore, naturally, expectations for the adaptation of the second ‘half’ of the 1000-page long clown-focused King novel were through the roof. Ultimately, although I don’t think the second chapter lives entirely up to the frightening but charming first film, IT: Chapter Two finds much more success in depicting the grown-up half of the novel than the mini-series did, and, even though I have notable problems with the film, I’m mostly satisfied with how this oversized crowdpleaser wrapped up the story. Continue reading “REVIEW: IT – Chapter Two (2019)”

REVIEW: Toy Story 4 (2019)

UK Theatrical Release Poster – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The following is a review of Toy Story 4 — Directed by Josh Cooley.

I once wrote that I am ‘a part of the Pixar-generation,’ i.e. I’ve grown up with their films and Toy Story was one of the first films I saw. I’ve loved almost all of the Pixar-films, and I love the Toy Story-films most of them all. The first film was a childhood favorite of mine. The second film was almost equally brilliant and becomes better the more I watch it. And, especially for my generation, the third film was a cathartic and nostalgic heartbreaker that had adults bawling their eyes out in crowded theaters or airplanes.

Toy Story is a special film series. The first three films are all some of the greatest animated films ever made and arguably include a couple of masterpieces among them. But it is also a film series that ended on the perfect note with Toy Story 3. So, I cannot say that I ever really wanted a fourth film. However, Toy Story 4 from feature film debut director Josh Cooley is another heartwarming and heartbreaking coming-of-age tale featuring childhood playthings. Though we didn’t need it, Pixar has, thankfully, brought us yet another great installment in this beloved film series, even though the fourth film isn’t as much of an instant classic as the first three films were. Continue reading “REVIEW: Toy Story 4 (2019)”

REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Sony Pictures Releasing

The following is a spoiler review of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — Directed by Quentin Tarantino.

Quentin Tarantino has claimed that he will only direct ten feature films, and, since he considers his latest film to be his ninth, that puts a lot of pressure on this penultimate effort as a director. Having just recently rewatched and reviewed his filmography as a director, I had prepared myself for this undeniable event film for cinephiles. When I walked out of the theater, I had a soft smile on my face, and I kept on repeating these words to my mother and sister, who had seen the film with me: “I think this is his most moving movie yet.” Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is tense but also laidback, sometimes violent but generally quite kind, and much to my own surprise, as Tarantino ended his film, I had a lump in my throat — I got a little bit choked up. Continue reading “REVIEW: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)”

REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate

The following is a review of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark — Directed by André Øvredal.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is an adaptation of a trilogy of children’s horror short story collections of the same name from author Alvin Schwartz. The film has been in development since 2013, and now Norwegian filmmaker André Øvredal has finally brought the children’s short stories to the big screen in the form of a horror film that’s frankly really enjoyable if you know what you’re getting into. This is just scary enough to severely frighten teens, but I don’t think it is so frightening that it’ll haunt them at night unless they are young tweens, but you and your kids’ mileage may vary. It’s a cute and fairly effective horror film that, I think, has the potential to become a favorite for teens. Those who dug Annabelle Comes Home will be happy with this similarly cutesy horror film. Continue reading “REVIEW: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019)”

REVIEW: The Kid (2019)

Theatrical Release Poster – Lionsgate Films

The following is a short review of The Kid — Directed by Vincent D’Onofrio.

Maybe it’s an unfair and impolite thought, but whenever an actor-turned-director gets an A-list cast for his next feature, I start to worry that the star-studded cast only agreed to appear in the film as a favor to a good friend who is trying their hand at a new thing that he or she is relatively inexperienced at. The Kid, a new somewhat-biographical western, is Vincent D’Onofrio’s second feature film as a director. His sophomore effort as a director features a cast that includes Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, and Dane DeHaan. I may never learn if they joined this film as a favor or not, but I can say that I enjoyed this film quite a bit. Continue reading “REVIEW: The Kid (2019)”