Top 5 Films Taught in Film School and Why

1. The Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, Russia, 1925)

This film has been widely studied and regarded as a propaganda masterpiece. The film looks at the historic event that took place in 1905, in which sailors form a mutiny against their Tsarist officers. The film is widely regarded for its unique montage editing and its ability to toy with the audience’s emotions. Eisenstein’s famous sequence occurs on the Odessa Steps, where the Tsar Officers massacre innocent civilians.

Eisenstein studied the Kuleshov Effect (a mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot) of film making, and this heavily influenced the editing he used in this film. Eisenstein strategically placed images together with juxtaposition to cut between the scared civilians and the ruling officials. By cutting between the two Eisenstein further calls upon the emotion of the audience and creates a sense of suspense. This form of editing is considered to be a Rhythmic Montage in which the montage of clips follows a certain beat, giving the film a methodical impression.

Many filmmakers since Eisenstein have been influenced by his montage editing, and it’s easy to see his influence in the film world even to this day. For example, Alfred Hitchcock has become well known for a similar style of montage editing.

2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Robert Wiene, Germany, 1920)

Not only is this film considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, but it’s also considered to be one of my most influential films in the horror genre. The film gave birth to a whole new style of film that had never been seen before.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari actually used painted sets to create shadows and depth directly into the sets and ensure an overall dark and expressionist look and feel. The films use of lighting and shadows reflect the psychology of the characters within the film, which is an idea that would continue to be used in German cinema and eventually spill over into the style of film noir.

3. Citizen Kane ( Welles, USA, 1943)

This film is one of the most widely studied at any film school or institution. While this film has been extremely controversial among audience members, there is definitely a lot to learn from watching it. This film was actually a major box office flop at its time, but now it is regarded as one of the most iconic cinematic films.

Welles orchestrated several techniques of classic film, and he definitely borrowed heavily from the style of German Expressionism. One of the most infamous things about this film is the nonlinear narrative structure. The narrative style of the movie shifts backwards and forwards in time pretty frequently. While this is a very common feature of modern film, for its time this was extremely unique and innovative.

The cinematography of this film was also very innovative for its time. Its deep focus photography made the foreground and background appear in focus and allowed for a lot of creative freedom. As well as the films’ iconic low-angle shots. This film has definitely been influential on Hollywood films and was extremely unique for its time.

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, USA, 1968)

This is definitely the type of film that impacts each and every audience member in a unique and different way. Each is one of the reasons this film has been so widely talked about and popularized.

However, this film had a massive impact on the science- fiction genre of film. It steered the entire genre away from this ideology of “us Vs them,” which was so widely used in the traditional alien invasion films of the genre. It steered the genre into a totally new and innovative direction.

The film has also become regarded for its unique use of editing techniques, especially the idea of a match cut. It’s definitely easy to see the influence of this film on later films such as Alien, Star Wars, and several others.

5. Stagecoach (John Ford, USA, 1939)

This film was John Fords first sound western film, and it was revolutionary in almost every way possible. Not only did this film challenge the stereotypes of the genre, but it also rejecting several classical western conventions.

This film set the defining portrait for the American West in Hollywood. Until this film was made most western films were shot in a Hollywood studio with backdrops. However, the authentic location of this film being shot in Monument Valley Utah engrossed the audience into the authentic backdrop of the film. After this film, more and more western films were being shot on location.

This film is also known for its innovative combination of camera work, chase scenes and crazy stunts. While Indian battle sequences were a common feature of western films before this movie, the extensive chases scene and risky stunts of this film were extremely impressive and creative for its time. This film definitely changed and revolutionized the western genre as a whole.


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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 Pick-Up Artist (1987) Review

Synopsis

Serial pick-up artist and commitment-phobe Jack Jericho (Robert Downey Jr.) takes lessons in the art of seduction from aging player Phil Harper (Danny Aiello). Jack finds a formidable opponent in Randy Jensen (Molly Ringwald), a fiery tour guide who has a retort for his every line. Though she initially spurns his advances, Jack finds a way in when Randy’s alcoholic, compulsive gambler father, Flash (Dennis Hopper), ends up in serious debt and deep trouble with gangsters in Atlantic City.

Initial release: September 18, 1987

Director: James Toback

Screenplay: James Toback

Box office: 13.29 million USD

Producers: Warren Beatty, David Leigh MacLeod

My Review

I have seen nearly every Molly Ringwald film from the 80s, and when I first stumbled upon this particular film, I was curious why I had never heard of it. Well now I know, it’s because this movie is awful! With a cast of Molly and Robert Downey Jr. I thought this would be a phenomenal film, and while the acting was mostly impressive, the writing was AWFUl. The actors tried their best to make a badly written script better, but the plot was still all over the place and pointless. This was definitely a film I had to force myself to watch all the way through.

I’m not sure why this film is even called the pickup artist because twenty minutes into the film Robert Downey Jr’s character already falls for the girl and gives up his player lifestyle. Instead, this film is less of a romantic comedy and more of a gangster film, in the sense that Ringwald’s dad owes a gang boss some money and Downy Dr. vows to help. This is the fundamental conflict of the film, and it has nothing to do with the lighthearted pickup comedy I thought this film would be.

The plot of this film was so confusing as a whole. In the film Downey mistakes Ringwald’s father for her boyfriend, and she doesn’t correct him till the end of the film. With how all over the place and inconsistent the plot was, I honestly found myself confused if this character was Ringwald’s dad or boyfriend. This is just one example of how the plot was a little confusing and inconsistent.

After watching this film, I did some research into its background. I found out that the writer/ director was trying to tie in roles the actors had played in other films into this one. Which is why I think this film did so well during its release in the 80s? Because the audience understood its references. However, the film has definitely not aged well, and this just made it hard for a modern day audience to follow.

One impressive thing about this film was the soundtrack. From the first song, the soundtrack was transformative and brought me back to the 80s. However, overall the audio recordings of this film were very sub par. Several times the audio was quiet and hard to hear compared to the background music, and there was lots of background and white noise.

My Rating

2 out of 10


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The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) Review

Synopsis

Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood) watches helplessly as his wife and child are murdered, by Union men led by Capt. Terrill (Bill McKinney). Seeking revenge, Wales joins the Confederate Army. He refuses to surrender when the war ends, but his fellow soldiers go to hand over their weapons — and are massacred by Terrill. Wales guns down some of Terrill’s men and flees to Texas, where he tries to make a new life for himself, but the bounty on his head endangers him and his new surrogate family.

Release date: June 26, 1976

(USA)Director: Clint Eastwood

Story by: Asa Earl Carter

Film series: The Outlaw Josey Wales

Screenplay: Philip Kaufman, Sonia Chernus

My Review

The short and sweet intro to the films conflict at its beginning gave me the instinct that this would be a phenomenal film. That instinct was not wrong in the slightest. This Western film showcases almost every “stereotype” of a Western film, and it does so in brilliant ways. The plot kept me interested into the film’s story, and the film is full of dynamic characters that come to life on screen.

The editing in this film surprised me in a positive way. I noticed lots of cross dissolves in the battle scenes, and this added an interesting feel and look to the film. It helped the action new and exciting and avoided becoming monotonous. The limited use of music was something that stood out to me in the films editing. There are a lot of films whose musical score completely adds to the emotion and intensity that the audience feels. However, in with a lack of music in this film the filmmakers still excelled at investing the audience into its story.

As a character Josey Wales was extremely intriguing and mysterious. Right from the beginning of the film Josey gains the sympathy of his audience members. Throughout the rest of the film the audience witnesses Josey on a journey of revenge and self growth. Clint Eastwood brought the character to life and made it his own.

I was expecting the whole film to focus primarily on the conflict of revenge in its plot. However, the plot to this film was way more complex than that, and the intertwining of several plots and stories added a lot to this film. While this film had many of the Western film traits, it showcased them in new and innovative ways. For example, unlike most Western films, the Native Americans in this film are not the bad guys. In fact, the film helps she’s some sympathy on the heartbreak they endured.

My Rating

8.5 out of 10


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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 …

Chicago (2002) Review

Synopsis

Nightclub sensation Velma (Catherine Zeta-Jones) murders her philandering husband, and Chicago’s slickest lawyer, Billy Flynn (Richard Gere), is set to defend her. But when Roxie (Renée Zellweger) also winds up in prison, Billy takes on her case as well — turning her into a media circus of headlines. Neither woman will be outdone in their fight against each other and the public for fame and celebrity.

Release date: December 27, 2002

(USA)Director: Rob Marshall

My Review

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The parallel editing within the plot is unique and an artistic masterpiece. The acting, dance numbers, and singing in this film did not disappoint. My absolute favorite thing about this film is the set and costume designs. The filmmakers excelled at creating a visual experience for the audience through ornate detailing in every single set and costume piece. However, I will say that some musical numbers seemed a little pointless, and overall silly compared to the others.

It is easy to tell that both the filmmakers and actors put everything they had into this film. As usual, Renée Zellweger does a phenomenal job, and her performance in this film is both charming and daunting. Catherine Zeta-Jones shined brightly in her performance as well. Especially in the dance numbers. It was easy to tell Catherine is the better dancer between the two. Both women completely became the characters they portrayed and had outstanding performances.

The plot of this film stays consistently entertaining throughout, and for the most part I would say there is a well established balance between the dialogue and musical numbers. I know this film recreates the musical Chicago in a movie form, and it’s not the movies fault but some songs are way to silly and pointless. These silly musical numbers lost my attention into the film for their whole duration. However, the transitions into and out of the musical numbers were seamless and kept my attention all throughout.

The parallel editing between scenes in this film was extremely unique and I cannot recall ever seeing anything with a similar style pulled off as effortlessly as this film does. The creative liberty taken by the filmmakers was genius and well thought out. For example, the scene with Roxie being used metaphorically and symbolically as a puppet by her lawyer was very expressive.

Overall, this film captures the musical Chicago in a new and creative way. The film is both entertaining and enjoyable to watch. However, I’m not sure if I would ever watch this film again. Once may be enough for me.

My Rating

7.5 out of 10


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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 …

The Florida Project (2017) Review

Synopsis

Set in the shadow of the most magical place on Earth, 6-year-old Moonee and her two best friends forge their own adventures, while Moonee’s struggling mom and a kindhearted motel manager protect the kids from the harsh reality that surrounds them.

Release date: October 5, 2017

(USA)Director: Sean Baker

Budget: 2 million USD

My Review

A24 has produced some amazing films recently, which made me very excited to give this film a watch. I had heard such amazing things about it, and I was not left disappointed. The film was perfectly unified in its visual presentation. The color grading, camera work, set, costumes, etc. all blended in flawlessly with one another. The balance of comedy, drama, and realism was wonderfully suited. Although some people criticize the ending of the film, I found it to be the perfect wrap up to a story centered on the power of childhood innocence and imagination.

This film is heavy to watch. While the children in the film are often unaware of the dangers and reality around them, as an audience we are fully aware and that makes the film heartbreaking to watch at times. However, the audience watches the three protagonist children of this film battle their surroundings through imagination, which is touching and serves as a constant reminder that it’s possible to make the most of a situation.

The acting in this film stood out to me. I know this was both Bria Vinate and Brooklyn’s first film role, and they both did an incredible job. The close knit off screen relationship between the two was very apparent when watching the film. They appeared like a genuine mother and daughter duo, with a deep love and understanding between the two of them. William Dafoe did a phenomenal job as always, and his performance was chilling and heart-warming.

The ending of this film stuck with me as well. While some people are critical of its unrealistic and random ending, I thought it was perfectly accomplished. The entire film centers on the power of childhood innocence and the power of imagination. At the end of the film Moonee faces her harshest reality, and we as an audience member are experiencing it alongside her. The audience receives the chance to see things through Moonee’s eyes and experience childhood imagination through the sudden and imaginative ending. Real like doesn’t always have happy endings, and the only way the audience will receive their happy ending at the end of this film is if they escape to a place of unrealistic imagination.

My Rating

8.7 out of 10


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working with what you got: Advice from the creators of Faith Based

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 …

Aaron Schneider’s Directing advice from film Greyhound

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 …

Humility and Confidence in Filmmaking- Quincy Ledbetter’s advice

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 …

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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Judd Apatow: The Role of improvisation in FILMMAKING

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. …

Control Your Property- Jim Cummin’s Advice On Distributing Your Own Film

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 …

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Review (1969)

Synopsis

The true story of fast-draws and wild rides, battles with posses, train and bank robberies, a torrid love affair and a new lease on outlaw life in far away Bolivia. It is also a character study of a remarkable friendship between Butch – possibly the most likeable outlaw in frontier history – and his closest associate, the fabled, ever-dangerous Sundance Kid.

Release date: September 23, 1969

(USA)Director: George Roy Hill

Screenplay: William Goldman

Music composed by: Burt Bacharach

My Review

This film is a creative and entertaining combination of a spaghetti western and comedy while still paying homage to the classic western drama. This film is really unique, especially for its time, and I greatly enjoyed watching it. The plot structure was very well thought out and carefully orchestrated, and the soundtrack of this film was simply amazing. The color grading and camera work was incredible to watch, and although the film is very heavily dialogue based the filmmakers did a good job of keeping the story entertaining and captivating.

As soon as the old film reel clips began rolling at the beginning of the film it became apparent that this film was trying to honor the look and feel of an old western. As the first scene of the movie began to play I was blown away by the black and white color grading, and loved every second of it. However, when the next scene changed to color I found myself a little disappointing. I understand that the film was trying to transition the old western look into modern day, but the lighting and camera work of the first scene was just so jaw dropping.

Don’t get me wrong the rest of the film is shot beautifully, and I love that the cinematography kept long continuous shots using tracking, zoom, and pan instead of overusing quick cuts. I noticed this especially with the dialogue scenes. The only times I noticed lots of quick cuts between shots was during exposition shots.

This film is definitely heavily dialogue based and it reminded me a lot of a Tarantino and Scorsese film in that retrospect. I know lots of people who comment saying that this makes the film boring and lagging at times. However, I didn’t find this to be true with this film. The filmmakers balanced the perfect amount of comedy, action, and dialogue to keep the film entertaining and exciting to watch.

My Rating

7.2/ 10

I would definitely watch this film again, and I recommend everyone give it a watch at least once. Especially if your a fan of the western genre and comedy’s.


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Too Loud For The Crowd?- Criticism On Nolan’s New Film Tenet

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 …

Jody Lee Lipe’s Advice on the Emotional Impact of Cinematography

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 …

Eli Film Review (2019)

Synopsis

A boy becomes trapped in a haunted house while undergoing treatment for a rare disease.

Initial release: October 18, 2019

Director: Ciaran Foy

Budget: 11 million USD

Producers: John ZaozirnyTrevor Macy

Screenplay: Ian B. GoldbergRichard NaingDavid Chirchirillo


My Review

The setting and overall feel of this movie was eerie and mysterious. The filmmakers excelled in creating this atmosphere in every way possible. However, this movie felt like two different contrasting films in one and I felt there were inconsistencies with the story and characterizations.

My biggest complaint about this film was the lack of foreshadowing and clues given. Up until the last 30 min of the movie I thought the movie had a psychological approach of Eli’s mental state, and whether or not he was actually seeing things. I did not see the ending conflict of spirituality, nuns, and the devil coming into play.

The only foreshadowing I really saw was the disconnect between Eli and his father, making it apparent that their is some kind of strain on their relationship. It was also apparent that Eli’s mom was overly religious and that there was something off about the young girl who came to visit Eli. However, it was really hard to put these clues together in order to decipher the plot twist at the end of the film and it still totally comes out of nowhere.

The main inconsistency within the characters I found was the mother’s choice in trying to get Eli to leave toward the end of the film. She clearly is not aware that the Dr. will most likely kill her son in the third phase of her plan, but she transitions from desperately getting him to leave to convincing him to stay, and then helping him leave again. It was just too back and forth for me and didn’t stay consistent to the plot and her development as a character.

This film also had a lot of references to other well- known films. For example with Eli’s name being lie spelled backward I got very strong Shining references. And the whole plot twist of Eli being a spawn of Satan reminded me a lot of Rosemary’s Baby. Which felt a little predictable and unoriginal.

The camera work and transitions between shots was very visually pleasing, and I really enjoyed watching this film from a production standpoint. I really liked the use of mirrors and spirits to create an intense feel of suspense, and it definitely had me sitting on the edge of my seat. Overall, this wasn’t a bad film and all of my issues with it are plot centered.

My Rating

4.8 out of 5


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Who Are The Film Critics? And Who Do They Represent?

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 …

Ron Howard’s Advice on Being a Good Director

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 …


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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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Hereditary (2018) Review

Synopsis

When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.

Initial release: June 7, 2018

(Russia)Director: Ari Aster

Screenplay: Ari Aster

Nominations: MTV Movie Award for Most Frightened Performance

Awards: Gotham Independent Film Award for Best Actress, Bandung Film Festival for Imported Film

My Review

I have always been a tremendous fan of Ari Aster’s films, becuase of their ability to create suspense and leave a psychological impact on the audience. After watching Midsommar, I had high expectations for this film, and it left me slightly unimpressed. There was a loss of mystery in this film, and I found the plot was predictable at times. However, the film is very well made from a production standpoint.

Unlike Midsommar, there were times this film was not subtle enough in its clues. For example, as soon as they showed the doormat at Joans door step, and Annie stated that her mom used to make mats just like that I knew there was a connection between the two. Since I knew the film focused around Pagan rituals, I knew the two were related, and that Joan was up to no good. While I could not fill in all the missing details of what was going on. Enough information was spoon fed to me I didn’t really pine to figure out the answers.

The one scene that had me holding my breath in suspense, was Charlie’s death scene. I did not see that coming, and it was definitely heartbreaking to watch. However, the only other time throughout this film that I felt this way was when Steve throws the sketchbook into the fire. All the other climatic scenes did not fully have my attention. Especially any scene that involved floating.

When Peter wakes up in bed near the climax of the film, and his mother Annie clinging to the ceiling it terrified me. However, when she began floating around, it looked so fake to me I couldn’t take it seriously.

I loved the parallel of the model doll house in the film, and I wish they would have done more with it. It definitely created a sense to the audience that they were looking in on “dolls” living their life, in which they have no control in the events transpiring. I really liked this, and it made me sad they didn’t go further with it.

My favorite thing about the film was the camera work, lighting, and set design. It was truly a beautiful film to watch and they clearly put a lot of thought behind every tiny detail. The acting was also phenomenal. In fact, I forgot I was watching a bunch of actors on screen. The actor’s performance definitely made up for the lack of investment into the plot and storyline for me.

Overall, the plot of this film was unique and creative. I had a hard time getting invested into the film and I wasn’t too eager to figure out what was going on. I was just watching the film, and so I missed out on the psychological impact of the movie. However, I would watch the film again to see if there were any tiny details or symbolic meanings I missed.

My Rating

6 out of 10


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The Mule (2018) Review

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 …

Silence of the Lambs (1991) Review

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 …

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