Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Pixar does not disappoint. In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a Disney Pixar movie I have not fallen in love with. I finally got around to checking this movie off of my must see list, and I loved every second of watching this film.
The animation is top-notch, and the color, music, and overall environment created in this movie was astounding to look and listen to. One of the amazing things about Pixar movies is that no matter how old you are, these movies will always have a special place in your heart. This movie is relatable for a wide age range. Whether you’re a kid balancing life and family, a parent trying to understand your child, or an elderly family member stuck in the past. This movie had a lot of life lessons that could be learned, and I truly feel any audience member will connect with the film on an emotional level.
This film was not predictable for me, and I did not see the plot twists coming. Which is not a typical element of a children’s film. The plot had me interested and engaged throughout the entire movie, starting from the first ten minutes of the movie. If you are interested in learning more about other cultures and their traditions, I strongly recommend you watch this film. I have always been fascinated by the tradition of Day of the Dead. This movie gives an interesting look into this tradition, and how family is valued into Mexican Culture.
Overall, this movie is an incredible feel good movie to watch solo or with the family. It’s a highly emotional story that will tug at your heartstrings.
Tully and Kate meet as young girls on Firefly Lane and become inseparable friends throughout 30 years of ups and downs.
First episode date: February 3, 2021
Program creator: Maggie Friedman
Executive producers: Maggie Friedman, Stephanie Germain, Katherine Heigl, Lee Rose, Shawn Williamson, Peter O’Fallon
After watching the first few episodes of this series, I was not sucked into the characters or their story. The first two episodes especially contain a lot of set-up for later episodes. Because of this, I found the first few episodes to be a little boring, and I found my attention wavering often. However, by the time I got into the middle of the season, I found myself fully invested in the character’s lives and their stories.
Overall the show is done in a very creative way. The show follows a unilinear structure, and the audience gets a look into Tully and Kate’s lives through watching both the present and various flashbacks from different stages of their lives. The show did an outstanding job of not making this confusing. By using child actors, changing hairstyles, and makeup as they age, I had no confusion of what period I was currently watching.
Oftentimes the flashbacks paralleled what was going on in the present, and that element was very intriguing to me. It was enjoyable to see both Tully and Kate age throughout the series, grow, and adapt. The last few episodes of the season were extremely climatic and emotional.
If the show had not had so much set up at the beginning I would not have been so invested in the character’s lives. Getting through the first few episodes is well worth it so that you can develop a deeper understanding of the show’s characters and backstories. However, I wish that the show would have kept its emotional appeal consistent from the very first episode.
Overall I enjoyed this series. The costume and makeup design throughout the shows changing eras and periods were well done. The acting was on point, and Katherine Heigl and Sarah Chalke both did an incredible job holding up the rest of the cast and fully investing in their character. Both characters had so many layers and depth to them which made them very intriguing and complex.
Synopsis After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds…
Synopsis In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and…
There is no shortage of Christmas movies in the world. Here is my list of the 5 Holiday films I find myself gravitating towards every year. 1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) It’s a Wonderful Life is a film that I did not appreciate at all as a kid. It’s my dad’s favorite Christmas film,…
After floating in space for 57 years, Lt. Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) shuttle is found by a deep space salvage team. Upon arriving at LV-426, the marines find only one survivor, a nine year old girl named Newt (Carrie Henn). But even these battle-hardened marines with all the latest weaponry are no match for the hundreds of aliens that have invaded the colony.
Release date: July 18, 1986
(USA)Director: James Cameron
Film series: AlienBudget: 18.5 million USD
Screenplay: James Cameron, Dan O’Bannon, Ronald Shusett
With the movie’s title being the plural of aliens, one can expect a lot of aliens to be in this film….. and oh boy are there a lot of aliens in this film. By keeping the same villainous creature in this film but changing the dynamic the film was fresh and just as suspenseful as Alien. As an audience member, we are still learning more about the alien species along with the characters within the film and that kept me engaged and interested.
There is a lot more action in this film compared to Alien, and while the action scenes were well thought out and orchestrated I found the movie to be copying its formula from the first movie just a bit. For example, the little girl in the film (Newt) takes over the role that Ripley’s cat played in the first film. Ripley feels entitled to protect Newt at all costs, and at the end of the film, she must race against time to save her before the station explodes. Just as she had to do in the first movie to retrieve Jonesy (her cat).
Just as in Alien a crewmember betrays the mission by putting science above the lives of others. I knew that this film would follow the same pattern to some level, and wasn’t surprised at all when Burke did whatever he could to make sure the alien species went back with them for scientific study. Again this plot twist was changed a little bit, in the sense that the Android was not the one to betray them in this film. But at its core Aliens followed very similar plot patterns to its predecessor Alien. That being said I still found myself engaged and sitting in anticipation all throughout the film, and there was no moment where I became bored or remembered that I was watching a movie.
Synopsis: Tully and Kate meet as young girls on Firefly Lane and become inseparable friends throughout 30 years of ups and downs. First episode date: February 3, 2021 Network: Netflix Program creator: Maggie Friedman Executive producers: Maggie Friedman, Stephanie Germain, Katherine Heigl, Lee Rose, Shawn Williamson, Peter O’Fallon My Review: After watching the first few episodes of this series, I was not sucked into…
In a recent podcast on The Craft of the Director with the Director’s Guild Spike Lee gave lots of insight into the emergence of his career and how he has found success. Lee emphasized several times that it only takes one person to inspire somebody and to ignite a spark within them that begins their…
In a recent podcast with The Treatment, Sofia Coppola discusses her newest film, “On the Rocks,” starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones. One of the things the podcast heavily focused on was the characterization of the two main characters and how relatable they are to everyday life. The film follows a father and a daughter…
In deep space, the crew of the commercial starship Nostromo is awakened from their cryo-sleep capsules halfway through their journey home to investigate a distress call from an alien vessel. The terror begins when the crew encounters a nest of eggs inside the alien ship. An organism from inside an egg leaps out and attaches itself to one of the crew, causing him to fall into a coma.
Release date: May 25, 1979
Director: Ridley Scott
Screenplay: Dan O’Bannon
Budget: 11 million USD
Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979) will have you sitting in suspense throughout the entire film. The pacing of this movie plays with the audience’s mind and mental state in a way that you won’t want to look away from the screen for a single moment. The beginning of the film takes its sweet time establishing the characters and setting before introducing conflict.
Unlike many modern-day horror and sci-fi movies, this film has a strong buildup that leads to an intense climax and resolution. In well-established suspense films, it is the waiting and the build up that excited the viewer and draws them into the movie. While this film isn’t full of intense jump scares in every scene, it’s the anticipation and the build-up that will have you sitting in anticipation. This film is far from predictable, and by creating an alien that changes and adapts the audience never knows what to expect.
Alien was masterly cast, and the actors did an incredible job of stepping into their roles and feeding off of each other’s energy. Sigourney Weaver’s performance is both memorable and captivating. She completely steps into her role and brings her character to life. Because of the established set-up of the film, each character is well developed and the audience is made well-aware of their character traits.
Overall, this film has aged well through time and I highly recommend giving it a watch!
In a podcast with Film Riot, Lucas Harger talked in-depth about his filmmaking process as well as the creative cross between narrative film and documentary filmmaking. As a filmmaker, Lucas has been successful in crossing between editing both documentary and narrative stories to produce unique and creative content. According to Lucas, being able to create…
In a recent article with IndieWire, Zack Sharf wrote about the impact shooting ‘The Hateful Eight’ had on Samuel L. Jackson. While receiving the Legend of Cinema Award at the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival, Jackson took the time to reflect on his professional career. Jackson states that his relationship with the cast members from…
In a recent podcast with The Director’s Guild, Ava Duvernay sat down to discuss her tips of the trade on being an effective director. Ava’s biggest piece of advice is to know yourself as a director, including your limitations as a director. Knowing what you are and are not capable of creates a more effective…
There is no shortage of Christmas movies in the world. Here is my list of the 5 Holiday films I find myself gravitating towards every year.
1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
It’s a Wonderful Life is a film that I did not appreciate at all as a kid. It’s my dad’s favorite Christmas film, and my family has a tradition of watching it every year before Christmas. As a kid, I thought it was the most boring film in the world. But as I grew older, I began to appreciate it’s powerful messages and themes. The thing I love about this film is that it resonates with everyone in a different but powerful way. This is the ultimate feel-good film that teaches such valuable life lessons. Here is just a sample of the lessons taught from this film… no man is a failure that has friends, one life touches countless others in meaningful wats, the power of grace, realize all of your blessings, and that character is more important than trivial things. This film is truly incredible, and well-made if you have not seen it do yourself a favor and go watch it now!
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
How The Grinch Stole Christmas was my favorite Christmas movie as a kid, and it remains at the top of my list to this day. One thing I appreciate about this film is the acting. Jim Carrey did an incredible job as the Grinch, and the filmmakers did an outstanding job creating an atmospheric world on film. The film’s ending melts my heart every time, and I love the filmmaker’s unique spin on the Grinch. Overall, this is a light-hearted and enjoyable film that I look forward to watching every year.
3. The Santa Clause (1994)
The Santa Clause is one of those films I loved as a kid and still enjoy to this day! This film has the perfect blend of light-heartedness, comedy, and heartfelt moments. It’s one I can watch every year without getting sick of it. Tim Allen does an incredible job portraying a dad who doubles as Santa Clause. The film serves as an incredible reminder that things don’t always go according to plan but regardless, sit back and enjoy the ride!
4. Christmas With The Kranks (2004)
This Holiday film will have you doubled over from laughing so hard! Christmas with the Kranks is an enjoyable film for all ages, and it seems to grow even more comedic every year. This film is lighthearted with subtle messages on the importance of friends and family. If you’ve ever thought about skipping Christmas and going on a cruise instead, I would highly recommend giving this film a watch.
5. Elf (2003)
This film is another guaranteed laugh. I recently watched a documentary on the making of this film, and somehow knowing that Will Ferrell was going around NYC in his elf costume interacting with real-life people instead of actors in some of the scenes makes the film even more enjoyable. The music, atmosphere, acting, and comedic timing of this film are all perfectly synced with one another and the film’s jokes age well with time. This film teaches its viewers not to be anybody but themselves, and that if people don’t like the real you then your better off without them. This film will bring some Christmas cheer and put you in a merry spirit.
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, American actor, director, and filmmaker Justin Baldoni revealed his secrets to telling a meaningful story. The director discussed how his latest films were inspired by real-life and how he allows the story of those around him to motivate him creatively. Everybody has a story to tell, and so…
In a recent podcast episode with The Treatment, Julie Taymor discussed her new movie “The Glories” and how she uses storytelling to externalize what characters are feeling on screen. Julie Taymor is a Tony Award-winning director of both theatre and film. Her goal as a creative is to master the fantastical elements of the film…
In a recent podcast with the Director’s Guild, Mimi Leder, an American director and producer, gave her best advice for keeping a healthy and productive film set. Mimi’s key piece of advice was to treat everyone with the respect that they deserve, and to always show them your appreciation. She pointed out that the cast…
In a recent podcast on The Craft of the Director with the Director’s Guild Spike Lee gave lots of insight into the emergence of his career and how he has found success.
Lee emphasized several times that it only takes one person to inspire somebody and to ignite a spark within them that begins their creative journey. As a young man, a teacher of Spike Lee’s expressed to him that he believed that Lee should become a filmmaker. Once he fully realized that was the direction he wanted to go with his life, everything fell into place, and an intense drive and ambition came to be.
According to Lee, we all have individual gifts and talents we can offer, and once we decide on a path, everything will begin to make sense. As long as you are following your passion, everything else will fall into place.
Lee’s last piece of advice is that as a creative, you cannot put limitations on yourself and what you are capable of creating. Tell stories you are drawn to and passionate about. Don’t be afraid to explore and get outside of your comfort zone.
Listen to Spike Lee’s full podcast with The Director’s Guild Here
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, the creators of the film Faith Based (Vincent Masciale, Luke Barnett, and Tanner Thomason), gave constructive advice to filmmakers who think they need to wait till they make it into Hollywood to make their film. The filmmakers discussed how their original plan for the film was to shoot…
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, Aaron Schneider discussed the things we were forced to learn while shooting Greyhound. Most of the films set was composed of green screens, which had its challenges. Schneider’s main advice is to come up with a detailed and set plan when working with extensive green screens and technology…
In a recent podcast episode with Film Riot, filmmaker Quincy Ledbetter discusses his first feature film with Paramount and how he got to where he is today. Ledbetter’s key advice is that a filmmaker needs to find the perfect balance between confidence and humility. He went on to state that as a director it’s okay…
In a recent podcast with The Treatment, Sofia Coppola discusses her newest film, “On the Rocks,” starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.
One of the things the podcast heavily focused on was the characterization of the two main characters and how relatable they are to everyday life. The film follows a father and a daughter having martinis and discussing the relationships between men and women from two very different perspectives.
There is something in this film for everybody to relate to on some level and in the podcast, Sofia Coppola expresses that even herself as the director relates to the characters of the film on an emotional level. The actors were encouraged to bring a little bit of themselves into the role and to play off of that. This creates these very real dynamics that the characters can expand upon in the film. As an audience member watching a film with heavy ties to reality and relatability, it makes it much easier to connect with the film on an emotional level.
Listen to Sofia Coppola’s Podcast with The Treatment Here
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, John Badham gave constructive and well-thought out advice on how he as a director has learned to improve his work relationship with his actors. The key piece of advice that John gave is not to persuade the actor but to seduce them. He explained that all actors have…
In a recent podcast with the Director’s Guild, Judd Apatow shared his advice for film directors. Judd had lots of brilliant advice to give, but the principal thing he kept reiterating was the important of improvisation in film-making. He expressed that throughout the entire film-making process he slowly allows the film to come to life.…
Jim Cummings is an extremely unique director in the sense that he often heads up the distribution of his films and their production. In a recent Podcast with Film Riot, he explains to the listeners just how he goes about accomplishing this. To many filmmakers, the idea of overseeing the distribution of your own films…
In a podcast with Film Riot, Lucas Harger talked in-depth about his filmmaking process as well as the creative cross between narrative film and documentary filmmaking. As a filmmaker, Lucas has been successful in crossing between editing both documentary and narrative stories to produce unique and creative content.
According to Lucas, being able to create documentary films has significantly improved his narrative work, but it does not go the other way around. In both of these forms of film, you have to uncover a specific story from the heart, and they demand a fluid ability of storytelling. However, in a documentary film, the director almost always functions as the writer and editor as well. All in all, this strengthens the directors’ creative voice and gut instincts.
Everything about documentary filmmaking is reactive, and having such power over a more broad area of the film allows for the fine-tuning of one’s storytelling ability.
Listen to Lucas Harger’s full podcast with Film Riot Here
Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet” has had a successful opening weekend. However, there is still much debate behind the sound-mixing of Nolan’s films and “Tenet” doesn’t appear to be any different. In a recent article with Indiwire, Zack Sharf explores the sound mixing of Nolan’s films and the reasoning behind it. Many people often complain that…
Synopsis In the years after the Civil War, Jo March lives in New York and makes her living as a writer, while her sister Amy studies painting in Paris. Amy has a chance encounter with Theodore, a childhood crush who proposed to Jo but was ultimately rejected. Their oldest sibling, Meg, is married to a…
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, Jody Lee Lipes gave some industry advice on conveying emotion through the eye of the camera lens to the audience. Jody Lee Lipes describes cinematography as the physicality of words in images, and the cinematography of a film can have a massive impact on the psyche of an…
In a recent article with IndieWire, Zack Sharf wrote about the impact shooting ‘The Hateful Eight’ had on Samuel L. Jackson.
While receiving the Legend of Cinema Award at the 2020 SCAD Savannah Film Festival, Jackson took the time to reflect on his professional career. Jackson states that his relationship with the cast members from Tarantino’s film has been the closest film bonds of his whole career.
He went on to describe that the cast from the film constantly stays in touch via text and that it’s been the strongest cinematic connection he’s had throughout his entire career. This is extremely impressive since Jackson has appeared in such a wide number of films.
‘The Hateful Eight’ was considered a box disappointment, bringing in $155 million worldwide. However, the film has been called Tarantino’s most divisive and directionally artistic films
The longer the global health crisis in the world right now goes on, the more of a desire there is for life to return to normalcy. In good news, many movie theaters have now opened up back up to a most notable level since pre COVID- 19. Attendance for movie goers has been record low,…
Kate Erbland recently wrote an article for Indiwire discussing how both women, and critics of color are still extremely under-represented in the film critic world. She states that her article will probably appear familiar to those that read last year’s Thumbs Down Study from the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film…
In a recent Podcast with The Director’s Cut, Ron Howard spoke to Jeremy Kagan about the relationships he builds with his collaborators, and the impact these relationships have on a film. He describes the mutual and respectful relationship he aims to develop with both his first assistant director and the cinematographer, stating that both the…
In a recent podcast with The Director’s Guild, Ava Duvernay sat down to discuss her tips of the trade on being an effective director.
Ava’s biggest piece of advice is to know yourself as a director, including your limitations as a director. Knowing what you are and are not capable of creates a more effective production environment. It’s also deeply important to be confident as a director. However, it’s equally important to be able to listen to the ideas of those around you. Duverney went as far as to call the input a director gets from the people around them as gifts.
She also emphasized how important it is to view all three stages of production as a process. A director needs to build a film brick by brick, and it’s critical to surround yourself with a cast and crew that you trust.
Ava’s last key of advice was to train yourself in multiple areas of film and to be able to work in various forms of filmmaking. You never know what’s going to happen, and it’s always best to be able to adapt if need be.
Listen to Ava Duvernay’s podcast with The Director’s Guild Here
Synopsis Broke, alone and facing foreclosure on his business, 90-year-old horticulturist Earl Stone takes a job as a drug courier for a Mexican cartel. His immediate success leads to easy money and a larger shipment that soon draws the attention of hard-charging DEA agent Colin Bates. When Earl’s past mistakes start to weigh heavily on…
Synopsis Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling, a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant psychiatrist who is also a violent psychopath, serving life behind bars for various acts of murder and cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight…
Synopsis In the years before the Civil War, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South. Subjected to the cruelty of one malevolent owner (Michael Fassbender), he also finds unexpected kindness from another, as he struggles continually to survive and maintain some…
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, American actor, director, and filmmaker Justin Baldoni revealed his secrets to telling a meaningful story. The director discussed how his latest films were inspired by real-life and how he allows the story of those around him to motivate him creatively. Everybody has a story to tell, and so much of filmmaking is simply listening and watching the stories of everyday life unfold around you.
Justin’s new film “Clouds” is now available for streaming on Disney+. He went on to explain the film’s long process to be made, and how the film was inspired by real life. Justin had a long-standing relationship with Zach Sobiech, a 17-year-old dealing with osteosarcoma. Justin promised Zach he would tell his story one day, and now the film is finally done being brought to life.
Baldoni also expressed that everything he knows about the film came from working on film sets and learning as he went. Acting on film sets was his means of college education, and he asked questions whenever he could and learned from watching the filmmaking process around him. Always be watching and listening to those around you. You never know when an inspirational story will appear before your eyes.
Check out Justin Baldoni’s full podcast with Film Riot Here
With the world being such a crazy place right now, I have definitely found myself watching more movies recently. So I decided to compile a list of a few of my favorite films I have watched this summer so far, along with a few films I find gravitating toward every summer. 1. Dirty Dancing (1987)…
Synopsis With the occasion all but overshadowed by her sister’s upcoming wedding, angst-ridden Samantha (Molly Ringwald) faces her 16th birthday with typical adolescent dread. Samantha pines for studly older boy Jake (Michael Schoeffling), but worries that her chastity will be a turnoff for the popular senior. Meanwhile, Samantha must constantly rebuff the affections of nerdy…
Synopsis Baby (Jennifer Grey) is one listless summer away from the Peace Corps. Hoping to enjoy her youth while it lasts, she’s disappointed when her summer plans deposit her at a sleepy resort in the Catskills with her parents. Her luck turns around, however, when the resort’s dance instructor, Johnny (Patrick Swayze), enlists Baby as…