Honey Boy (2019) Review

Synopsis

When 12-year-old Otis begins to find success as a television star, his abusive, alcoholic father returns and takes over as his guardian, and their contentious relationship is followed over a decade.

Release date: November 8, 2019

(USA)Director: Alma Har’el

Box office: 6.8 million USD

My Review

This entire movie has a metaphorical and artistic feel. The thing I found most fascinating about it was the level of catharsis that came as an audience member watching Shia LaBeouf play the role of his real-life father. The movie flowed together nicely to tell one collective story, and I liked that the plot of the movie did not occur in actual time. There was something special about watching the character cope with these emotions in the past as flashbacks.

This film is extremely imaginative which helps the flashbacks resemble memories. Human memory isn’t perfect, and Shia LaBeouf was inspired by his own childhood memory to write the script. When watching the scenes with a young Shia it felt like I was inside his head reflecting on his childhood along side him.

Right off the bat it was easy to see that this film possessed a lot of symbolism and metaphors. Especially with the image of a chicken. Several times in the movie it felt random at first that there was always a chicken in several scenes with Shia. However, it became apparent that they meant the chicken to symbolize his father, and that his father had always been an ever looming presence in his life. While I think they may have overplayed the chicken imagery a bit, I like what they were going for.

The acting in this film will stick with you long after the credits roll. Noah Jupe does an outstanding job portraying a young Shia LaBeouf, and the psychical resemblance between the two was pronominal as well. There were several times when watching Noah Jupe I felt as if I was watching a young Shia on the set of Even Stevens. He did an amazing job picking up the similar mannerisms.

There is something really special in watching Shia play his father. It’s apparent that the two had a flawed relationship in real life. Shia wrote this script when he himself was coming to terms with the PTSD of his childhood. He told the director he wanted to go even further with it and play the role of his father so he could try to see through his eyes and empathize with him. I totally saw the catharsis in Shia’s eyes throughout the film and that was extremely powerful to watch. It’s something that has definitely stayed with me after watching the film. I would definitely watch this film again!

My Rating

9.2/10


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FireFly lane (2021) review

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 …

Alien(s) (1986) Review

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 …

Alien (1979) Review

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 …

The Peanut Butter Falcon (2019) Review

Synopsis

After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down syndrome befriends an outlaw who becomes his coach and ally.

Release date: August 9, 2019

(USA)DirectorsTyler NilsonMichael Schwartz

Budget: 6.2 million USD

Box office: 22.8 million

USDNominationsDirectors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – First-Time Feature Film

My Review

This was a highly anticipated film for me, and I loved every second. This is a heartfelt story of a friendship that parallels the classic novels of Mark Twain. I was sucked into the world of the film seconds in, and I was sad when it was over. This film follows the bond between brothers and how far that love can carry you through life.

My favorite thing about the film was its lighthearted and inspirational feel. The movie is clearly not meant to be the most realistic, but its imaginative feel made the movie incredible to watch. The character development was also astounding, and I rooted for the two protagonists to live a life free of repercussions.

Peanut Butter Falcon has the perfect balance of suspense, comedy, and lifelike elements. This film was hilarious to watch at times, and often had me laughing at the screen. There were also times I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat, holding my breath in suspense. But overall this film reached down and grabbed a hold of my heart, truly touching me in every way emotionally possible.

The actors all did a phenomenal job in this film, and I loved every preference. Zach Gottsagen truly stole the show and held the film together. I know the writers of this film are close friends with Zach in genuine life, and they wrote this film for him to star in. Zach did definitely not disappoint, and he truly shined in his performance. Shia LaBeouf’s performances was phenomenal, and the bond between the two actors was hard to miss.

While the ending of the film was not the most realistic, it fit in perfectly with the imaginative feel defined in the rest of the movie. The ending scene truly was the last piece to the puzzle and had me smiling from ear to ear.

My Rating

9 out of 10

This is a film I could definitely watch repeatedly without getting sick of it.

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Togo (2019) Film Review- How Historically Accurate is the Film? Is Balto a Fake?

Synopsis

Leonhard Seppala leads a team of sled dogs across the wintry Alaskan tundra in 1925.

Initial release: December 20, 2019

DirectorEricson CoreBudget: 40 million USD

Music composed byMark Isham

NominationsWriters Guild of America Award for Television: Long Form – Original

My Review

Togo was the first original Disney Plus movie I watched, and it set the bar high for any future original films. This movie is so well crafted, and it will have you both crying and sitting in suspense at several points throughout the film.

My favorite element of this film is the plot and storyline. There are very few movies that come full circle at the end, leaving the audience satisfied. However, this is DEFINTIELY one of those films. Every plot point and action came together beautifully, and the film led the audience down a constructed and well-organized plot. Every single scene fit in perfectly with the ones before it and after, and this created such a smooth flow throughout the entire film. Which created an overall environment for me where I forgot I was watching a film because I was sucked in and invested into the plot.

The other magnificent element of this film was the camera work and color grading. The film has an overall smooth and realistic look to it. The scenes in the Alaskan wilderness look so real and lifelike it feels as if you’re there in the snow with Seppala and his sled dogs. Every aspect of this film plot wise, visually, music, and editing came together flawlessly and compliment each other perfectly.

When I first saw this film and read its description I was immediately intrigued. I have been to Alaska and have volunteered at the famous Iditarod dogsled race, and while I heard Baltos name mentioned many times, I have never heard about Togo until watching this film. After watching this film, I immediately began researching its historical accuracy and found it was pretty much spot on. There are only two major differences between the film and real like that I could find. The first is that Leonhard Seppala had a young daughter in real life, which increased his desire for survival. The second is that in real life Seppala’s track with his team across the frozen sea was actually much more suspenseful and treacherous than the film showed. According to Seppala’s account, the rope connecting Togo to the rest of the team completely snapped and fell into the icy water. Togo bravely jumped into the water, grabbing the rope, wrapping it around himself, and pulling the team to safety. Overall, the film does an outstanding job of sticking to historical accuracy and this is something that goes extremely appreciated.

But that still holds the question of why Balto got all the recognition and fame while most people have never heard of Togo. In reality, Balto was the dog to complete the last section of the relay to deliver a medical serum and save a handful of sickly children. Therefore, at the finish line, Balto got all the photo ops and praise. That’s not to say Balto doesn’t deserve any recognition, in fact I’d say every dog and musher that aided in the relay deserves some. However, all the teams other than Seppala’s travelled an average of 31 miles each. While Seppala and his dog team travelled over 260 miles led by a twelve-year-old dog named Togo. Togo and his team faced the most dangerous treck and whether than any other team, and I believe this deserves lots of recognition.

My Rating

5 out of 5

I have not been this excited after watching a film in a long time. I highly recommend giving it a watch if you have access to Disney Plus. Especially so we can all educate ourselves on the historical serum run of 1925 and finally give Togo the recognition he deserves.


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Top 5 Films of 2019 from a Film Major

As a senior film major, I don’t know everything when it comes to film. However, I do greatly enjoy watching movies and I watched a lot of movies in 2019, and with the Oscars coming up this weekend I thought this was the perfect time to reflect on some of my favorite films from the year.  Here is my opinion and reasons for what I claim to be the top 5 films of 2019.

Joker

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Synopsis

Forever alone in a crowd, failed comedian Arthur Fleck seeks connection as he walks the streets of Gotham City. Arthur wears two masks — the one he paints for his day job as a clown, and the guise he projects in a futile attempt to feel like he’s part of the world around him. Isolated, bullied and disregarded by society, Fleck begins a slow descent into madness as he transforms into the criminal mastermind known as the Joker.

Release date: October 4, 2019 (USA)
Box office: $1.071 billion
Budget: $55–70 million
My Review

I know, I know. This film seems to be all people can talk about lately. But this film truly blew me away in every aspect. First off, Joaquin Phoenix is such an incredible actor, and his performance in this film does not disappoint. While I did not find this film too disturbing. The thing that stuck with me the most was known as an actor what mental place Joaquin had to get into. The camera work in this movie also blew me away. Every shot was so beautiful to look at I couldn’t look away. When I watched the film a second time I realized just how much symbolism was put into each shot whether that be lighting, positioning of the actors, or use of shadows. There is this thing in the theatre called the suspension of disbelief, and it is when the audience is no longer aware they are watching a play because they are so transported into another universe. Very few times in my life have I experienced this in a film, and this was one of them. The lighting and overall production design was incredible, and it all tied together amazingly.

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Another thing I really liked about this movie was the themes and the overall message. The message of this movie in that society needs to be more supportive of the poor and the mentally take care of its people as well. The Joker in this film clearly has some mental problems, and he is left to rot by those around him. Society even takes away his therapist and meds from him. As a whole I think society has done a lot better in dealing with mental illness, but there is such a strong stigma against mental disorders and for those people this movie gave a strong warning to what becomes of a person who needs help and doesn’t receive it. We need to take care of each other and not turn our backs on the problems of everyday life.

Lastly, the psychological element I really enjoyed about this film is the idea that a criminal is made and not born. Arthur (Joker) has no knowledge he is becoming the leader of a political and social movement until the end of the movie. But everything that has happened in the movie and in his life has led him to act out the way he has. I’m not saying he is justified in murder, but it’s interesting that he still has some sense of moral. Notice in the scene with his two clown friends he kills the one that ultimately got him fired from his job in a bloody scene. However, the other friend that had only been nice to him he lets leave. Society and the way people have treated him make Auther into the leader of the movement we see at the end of the movie.

The Professor and the Madman 

Synopsis:

Based on the 1998 book `The Surgeon of Crowthorne’ by Simon Winchester, the life of Professor James Murray is portrayed as he begins work on compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century. As he led the overseeing committee, the professor received over 10,000 entries from one source in particular – a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr William Minor.
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Initial release: March 28, 2019 (Greece)
Box office: 5.4 million USD
Budget: 25 million USD

My Review:

Unlike the Joker, I truly feel this movie has not talked this movie about enough. Sean Penn is also one of my all-time favorite actors, and his performance with Mel Gibson was amazing to watch on screen. The two actors had great stage chemistry that portrayed a deep forming friendship and brotherhood. I love watching films based on true stories, especially when I was not aware of the story to begin with. The thing I appreciate and love most about this film (beside the acting) is the writing and the plot structure. The film flows effortlessly and does a good job of transition through a period of time in order to tell the story. The dialogue given to the characters is really natural and engaging.

This film also deals with mental insanity and the audience also witnesses some unethical practices done by psychologists in mental institutions. The film does a good job of humanizing Dr. Minor’s character (Sean Penn) while showing how he really is struggling mentally. He suffers greatly from PTSD and the film takes on an interesting look at just how much that can impact a man and his life. I really am shocked and upset at how little attention this movie has received since it’s coming out.

Rocketman

Synopsis:

Young Reginald Dwight changes his name to Elton John and collaborates with singer-songwriter Bernie Taupin to become one of the most iconic figures in pop history. Set to his most beloved songs, it’s the epic musical story of Elton John, his breakthrough years in the 1970s and his fantastical transformation from shy piano prodigy to international superstar.
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Release date: May 31, 2019 (USA)
My Review
I have always deeply appreciated Elton John’s work. In face, me and one of my dearest friends became friends to Rocketman back in high school. However, I never really knew all that much about his life story, only bits and pieces. Something I think really helped this film be as amazing as it was is that Elton John was so heavily involved in its creation process. Taron Egerton does such an incredible job portraying such an icon. I’m sure it helped to be able to interact with the real Elton John himself to do him justice.
One of my favorite elements of this film is how experimental it is. The way the movie transitions from dialogue into song is effortless and smooth. Each musical number is like watching a musical on screen and its done creativity and innovatively. I really enjoyed the use of color and symbolic shots in the film. The whole film is extravagantly done and is an emotional experience. It fully matches the style of Elton John and embodied his life in a creative way.
Throughout the entire film young Elton John is learning to love himself for who he is while battling past demons that have held him down. It gives a powerful message to the viewer regarding not caring what anything thinks of you but to do what you love and to be whoever you want to be. I think everybody has felt demons holding them down, or felt the fear of truly beings oneself. In this way, I think this film can touch almost anyone watching the film in a relatable way. While also making you respect Elton John even more for coming out on the other end stronger than ever.

Goodboys 

Synopsis:

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Invited to his first kissing party, 12-year-old Max asks his best friends Lucas and Thor for some much-needed help on how to pucker up. When they hit a dead end, Max uses his father’s drone to spy on the teenage girls next door. When the boys lose the drone, they skip school and hatch a plan to retrieve it before Max’s dad can figure out what happened.
Release date: August 16, 2019 (USA)
Box office: 110.9 million USD
My Review:
This film probably made me laugh the hardest of any film in 2019. The comedy of this film is really amusing as its someone an older audience can relate to. Most of the comedy of this film is centered around the three main characters in the films innocence and lack of knowledge when it comes to adult things. Which makes an easy laugh for the R-rated movie watchers as they are aware of what these objects really are and what they are used for. One of the most comedic parts is when the boys sell what they think to be a dummy to practice kissing on which is really a sex doll.
I also really enjoyed how this film addressed growing up and not always keeping the same best friends you had when you were little. People grow and change and this is something the movie did a nice job of addressing amongst all the comedy. This is also something I think most people watching the film could relate to from their own personal childhood. Overall, this film is a fun and enjoyable watch. It had me laughing every moment while still making some personal and relatable life events.

The Two Popes 

Synopsis:

Behind the Vatican walls, Pope Benedict and the future Pope Francis must find common ground to forge a new path for the Catholic Church.
Release date: November 27, 2019 (USA)
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My Review:
This film was an enjoyable watch for me. All the production elements tied in perfect to create a uniform style for the film. I’ve heard some people say they didn’t like the movie because it was a little slow paced. Most of the movie is watching dialogue between the two Popes. However, this is something I really liked about the movie because it felt so realistic. I felt like I was watching two actual popes in a real-life situation.
The film did a good job of establishing both of its central characters in a way that the audience fell in love with both of them despite their vast differences. I also really enjoyed how the film tied in modern music and the soundtrack of the music tied in perfectly with the film as a whole. Another obvious impressive aspect of the film is the acting. Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins both did such a good job completely becoming the character they were portraying, it was easy to forget you were watching a film and not real-life events.
Lastly, I really enjoyed the look this film gave me into the life of the pope, and the initiation process to vote in the new pope. I did not understand how it worked with the cardinals getting together and releasing specific colored smoke to the public depending on whether they came to a consensus or not. It that retrospect this film was very informative and interesting to watch.