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Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Take on the 89th Academy Awards

The 89th Academy Awards are almost here and for this year, I decided to drop my prediction list which kind of sucked in the previous years and simply list the Oscars that I hope will go to some people or works of art, along with the reasons I believe they deserve them.

In the Best Picture category, I'm rooting for Arrival hands down, mainly because it's the best work of AAA science fiction in a long time. Some might find it a bit emotionally manipulating, but I'm not one of those heartless ice-people. When it comes to Actor and Actress in a Leading Role category, I don't have any favorites, but I would really love is plenty of people on those lists didn't get one. The same goes for the supporting roles and here I have to call out Jeff Bridges who once more acted as Rooster Cogburn from True Grit, so his nomination is really a laughing matter.

In the Directing category, I'm once again rooting for Arrival and its director Denis Villeneuve, as well as in the Adapted Screenplay category. In the Original Screenplay category, I hope that The Lobster gets it for the sheer heck of it, even though chances are slim. And that's about all I got on the Oscars 2017.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Coming Soon: Delusion (2017)

A new drama by Christopher Di Nunzio, an up-and-coming US director, brings about an interesting blend of mystery and drama, along with a cast that includes Jami Tennille. Here are the basic outlines of the film’s plot:

Frank Parrillo received a letter from his wife who died three years ago. With help from his nephew Frank decides he's ready to start over. Soon after a mysterious woman appears who seems like a kindred spirit as they both battle internal issues. Still despite premonitions from a psychic and a man who Frank's not sure is even real he chooses to move forward as he confronts the demons in his head. His choice could ultimately lead him to a darker reality.

The film will be distributed by Cinema Epoch and is currently available for buying or renting in the US, UK and Canada at Amazon, while the Amazon Prime users can watch it for free.

Check out the Delusion trailer below.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Accountant (2016) – Trying to be Smart

Copyright: Warner Bros. Pictures
Nothing is too much when it comes to this film, which is why it is so loaded with different snippets of ideas and narrative threads. The plot itself is relatively straightforward – Christian Wolff, a forensic accountant that is brilliant and a high-functioning autistic is hired by a tech company that wants to understand where their money is going. However, the company does not know Christian is used to working for all types of dangerous organizations, from terrorists to crime syndicates.

At the same time, two other factions are also working on this case, but only one of them is a national agency. The other group is represented by mercenaries/hit men who want to resolve the problem, no matter it might turn out to be by leaving a pile of dead bodies in their wake.

Using a combination of fast-paced action and flashbacks that showcase the childhood of a mentally and emotionally challenged boy and his brother, The Accountant is a movie that immediately seems “smart”. It hops around the plot with these backstory building blocks, combining a standard thriller with the idea of a mystery film.  Who are the boys and which one, if any, is Christian?

Other elements of the backstory are also presented through his strange memento moments and all do wonders as fragments of a broader film’s narrative. However, all of this also competes for the viewers’ attention when it comes to the present mystery of the missing money and the hailstorm of problems that will soon be upon everyone’s heads.

Yet, in spite of this, there is a sour feel to the film. The best way to describe it is to point towards Interstellar and the way it (although on a much larger scale) tried to sell itself as a lot smarter and profound than it really was. Here as well, there is that unmistakable feeling of the authors desperately trying to make everyone not think their film is plain by any measure. It is as if everyone had to come out of the theater thinking “that was some deep yet very gunfire-and-action laden experience”. Here the mandatory runtime of over 120 minutes is also present, even though 100 minutes would do perfectly.

Now, while there are plenty of witty things in the film, it’s by no means a thriller which propagates any kind of message or deeper idea. It’s fun but not as smart as it tries to be, which is an ambition that is even further decimated by Anna Kendrick playing her cut yet confused character she did so many times before.

Monday, January 9, 2017

MFM's Best Movies of 2016

2016 was the year when I saw a really small amount of films, both good and bad. But, being that 2017 arrived, it's that time to reflect and divide the fine films from the mediocre ones. Because of that, here's my list of the best films I saw in the previous year.

Hail, Caesar! - The Coen Brothers at their silver medal level - the film tries to be overtly funny, which always produces weaker results than their thrillers (A Serious Man doesn't count). Still, one of the best oddball comedies of the year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Film Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Copyright: Paramount Pictures
I can only describe a film like 10 Cloverfield Lane as a classy thriller horror. I say classy because it does provide a certain level of style and commitment that elevates it above what most other three-man movies with a story vaguely similar to this one.

As a spiritual successor of Cloverfield which has nothing to do with the previous film aside from the idea that regular people are placed into unexpected, enormous and outwardly danger, the film comes with the burden or recognition and expectations. But, in spite of this, the “sequel” works pretty well in its narrow (literally and figuratively) playing field. Of course, the original Cloverfield did not have John Goodman, an actor who can make all the difference for a movie.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Film Review: Warcraft (2016)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Great young directors will often be provided with a chance to enter the realm of huge Hollywood blockbusters and showcase their ability to tackle projects on this scale. Duncan Jones, whose talent after films like Moon is indisputable, got his break with the first feature-length movie adaptation of the Warcraft video game franchise.

Jones should have said no, but he instead tried to do the best he could, which wasn’t that great when all is summed up. In the film, the beginning stages of the orc invasion of the realm of Azeroth begins, all masterminded by Gul'dan – if this doesn’t mean a lot to you, you probably won’t enjoy the rest of the action-packed film which is not that action packed. 

Lead by a weird assembly of actors, some of which are both very good and poorly cast, which is presented perfectly with the case of Ben Foster, the Warcraft film is lacking clear direction and some final sense of purpose.