Justin Baldoni: Meaningful storytelling

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


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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 …

Stargirl Review (2020)

Synopsis

A teen develops a budding romance with Stargirl Caraway, a free-spirited new student who makes a big splash on her first day of school.

Initial release: March 13, 2020

DirectorJulia Hart

Music composed byRob Simonsen

Adapted fromStargirl

ScreenplayJulia HartJordan HorowitzKristin Hahn

My Review

Overall, this movie is very lighthearted and enjoyable to watch. As a whole, the film was cute and not too predictable. However, it lacked strong character development and the music numbers were painful to watch.

I think the major reason the musical numbers felt so awkward was because the transition from a normal scene to a musical number was almost non existent. There was no smooth transition between the two which felt very unnatural. The actors also seemed very uncomfortable during these scenes, which was painful to watch. The songs were catchy, and I taped my foot along to the music, but watching it was the hard part.

Overall, the acting was good. Especially with movie mainly consisting of young actors/ actresses. However, I do think that Graham Verchere (Leo) was a lot stronger than Grace VanderWaal’s (Stargirl). I’m not sure if that’s becuase I was such a huge fan of the Stargirl book as a kid, but her performance seemed off and inconsistent at times.

One of my major issues with this film was the lack of development for Archie’s character. The audience was given very little background or information about him, and I know the book goes into a lot more detail. Because of this I felt a lack of interest and investment into his character.

I did thoroughly enjoy watching this film, and it definitely is not a typical cheesy high school movie. Which is something I greatly appreciated about the film.

My Rating

4.5 out of 10

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Toy Story 4 (2019) Review

Synopsis

Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the rest of the gang embark on a road trip with Bonnie and a new toy named Forky. The adventurous journey turns into an unexpected reunion as Woody’s slight detour leads him to his long-lost friend Bo Peep. As Woody and Bo discuss the old days, they soon start to realize that they’re worlds apart when it comes to what they want from life as a toy.

Release date: June 21, 2019

(USA)DirectorJosh Cooley

Featured songYou’ve Got a Friend in Me

Initial DVD release: October 8, 2019 (USA)

Box office: 1.073 billion USD

My Review

Pixar did it again with this film. I reached for a tissue several times throughout this movie, and I throughly enjoyed every second. I had low expectations before watching this film, because I felt like Toy Story 3 ended perfectly. However, Toy Story 4 really surprised me and I would now consider it one of my favorite Toy Stroy movies.

I love the direction the filmmakers took with Bo Peep. I enjoyed seeing what happened with her between the film, and her character growth made sense. I wasn’t aware that a reunion scene between Woody and Bo Peep was much needed until after watching it on the screen. Overall, Pixar did a phenomenal job re creating everyone’s favorite Toy Stroy characters. However, my one main issue with this movie was the way Buzz Lightyear.

In the original Toy Story film, Buzz thinks he is a legitimate space ranger and not a toy. As the movies go on Buzz comes to terms knowing that he is in fact a toy, and the audience sees him mature and grow from the first film. In Toy Story 4, Buzz believes his “inner voice” comprises the buttons attached to him. While this added an element of comedic relief to the film I felt that it was backyard progress in Buzz’s maturity.

One issue I had with Toy Stroy 2 and 3 was that the villain in both these films seemed similar to me. However, the villain of Toy Story 4 was endearing and new. To me Gabby Gabby was such an interesting villain becuase as an audience member I truly sympathized with her. While the audience may not agree with what she’s doing, it’s easy to understand and grasp why she’s doing it. I found myself rooting for her to find her own child to love and treasure.

After watching the ending scene of Toy Story 4, I felt the character’s stories truly came to a final resolution. There were no more loose ends left at the end of the film, and I truly felt it was a perfect ending to the Toy Story series. The characters and story within this film captured my attention the entire time. I was completely emotionally invested into this film, and I appreciate how much it had me equally laughing and crying.

My Rating

8.4 out of 10


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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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Lucas Hagar: The Influence of NArrative Storytelling on Documentaries

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 …

Onward Film Review (2020) *Spoiler Alert

Synopsis

Teenage elf brothers Ian and Barley embark on a magical quest to spend one more day with their late father. Like any good adventure, their journey is filled with cryptic maps, impossible obstacles, and unimaginable discoveries. But when dear Mom finds out her sons are missing, she teams up with the legendary manticore to bring her beloved boys back home.

Onward (2020) - IMDb

Release date: March 6, 2020

(USA)DirectorDan ScanlonBox office: $103.2 million

Budget: $175–200 million

ScreenplayDan ScanlonJason HeadleyKeith Bunin

My Review

I was so excited when Disney released this film for streaming instead of pulling the plug on its release. As a Disney Pixar movie, I figured this film would not disappoint. However, it far extended my expectations.

Pixar's Onward: Release date, plot, cast, pictures, trailers ...

The thing that stood out to me the most about this movie was the message of family and the bond between siblings. The whole movie Ian and Barley Lightfoot are trying to bring there dead father back for just one day. As the older brother, Barley has a few special memories of his father. Ian was still not born when his father dies, and he makes a list of everything he wants to do with his father. However, the spell to bring their dad back goes wrong, and it leaves them with their father only from the waist down. The two must go on an elaborate and dangerous journey to complete the spell.

The whole movie the boys are so fixated on bringing back the rest of their father, they lose sight of trying to make the most of the situation they were given. Later on in the movie the two boys have a bonding moment with their father through dancing. Since their father can feel the vibration of the music. This was such a precious moment, and I wish there would have been more like it.

Read the first Onward movie reviews | Cineworld cinemas

It drove me crazy to think of all the moments the two boys were missing out on with their father. However, through their adventure we see the two brothers bond and grow closer than ever. It became apparent while watching the film that Barley had become a father like figure to Ian over the years. Ian himself does not come to this realization until the end of the film. While it was painful to watch him come to this realization so late, it was a heart full and tear jerking moment for the audience.

I thoroughly enjoyed the characterization of this film. Each character had distinct character traits and they each stayed true to those through the entire movie. However, that’s not to say there wasn’t any character growth. In fact, we see each character in the film grow on an extensive level. Overall, this was a very fun and lighthearted film. It had me laughing and crying at others. I recommend watching this film, and I would for sure watch it again.

My Rating

4.8 out of 5

Onward lawsuit | why Disney and Pixar are being sued for a van ...

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julie taymor: the cross universe of film and theatre

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 …

r-e-s-p-e-c-t on a film set: advice from mimi leder

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 …

5 Movies To Help Get You Through Social Distancing

The world right now is a stressful and scary place. Everywhere you look there is news and talk of the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s easy to fall into a state of depression and gloom, and to let the stress of everything get the best of you. However, I’m hoping this list of feel- good films can bring a little happiness to your day. As movie lovers film can be a good place to go to for a mental and emotional break from the world.

Frozen 2

Frozen 2 Details | POPSUGAR Entertainment

I think it’s awesome that Disney Plus released this film early on its streaming database. If you have not seen this movie yet, I strongly recommend you go watch it. I have seen this movie twice now and enjoyed it equally both times. No matter how old you are, it’s a light-hearted and enjoyable watch. If you have Disney Plus, go watch it! I guarantee you it will brighten up your day during this stressful time.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Gorton Community Center

No matter how many times you watch this film, you will fall in love with it a little more every time. All around this is the definition of a feel good movie. It will have you laughing till your eyes water, sitting on the edge of your seat, and keep captivated until the credits roll.

The Hunger Games (Series)

A 'Hunger Games' Prequel Book Is Officially Coming Out In 2020

These movies are endearing and suspenseful. After watching the first movie of the series, you will not be able to stop until you have seen them all. Which will end up killing a lot of time and allow you an escape from reality. It’s easy to get emotionally invested in these movies, and the story line is very action packed and exciting!

Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire' Review: Movie (1993) | Hollywood Reporter

If you need a good laugh, then this film is a must see. Robin Williams once again does a fantastic job in this film, and will have you laughing until your stomach hurts. Not only that, but this is also a very good feel good movie, and it has a powerful message to it.

The Shawshank Redemption

After A 25 Year Hiatus, A Chance To Finally See 'The Shawshank ...

If you need a movie, that will make you cry, then definitely go check this one out. This movie will suck you in from the first scene of the entire movie. It’s a very tear jerking and a feel good film. Check out my full review of this film under the film reviews section of my blog.

Let me know if you give any of these films a try or if you have any more recommendations of films to watch during this time of quarantine and social distancing.