The Shawshank Redemption Review (1994)

Synopsis

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to a tough prison. However, only Andy knows he didn’t commit the crimes. While there, he forms a friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman), experiences brutality of prison life, adapts, helps the warden, etc., all in 19 years.
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Release dateSeptember 22, 1994 (Beverly Hills)

My Review

I do not understand why it took me so long to see this film, but I am thrilled I did. This film blew me away. It’s a powerful story, with incredible acting and amazing plot action. I was immediately drawn into this film from the very beginning and only became more captivated in the story the more it went on.

My favorite thing about this film was the powerful acting performances. I was not as familiar with Tim Robbins as I was with Morgan Freeman before watching this movie. However, unlike most movies, neither actor over-shined the other. Image result for the shawshank redemptionBoth of them did such an incredible job, and as an audience member it truly felt like the two actors were feeding off of each other’s performances and energy which only strengthened their acting. The other actors in this film were incredible. There was such distinct and committed character development, which added a lot to the film and made it seem even more lifelike.

This film had a very natural flow to it. The plot points moved effortlessly from one to the other. I never noticed a moment where this film seemed to drag on and lose my attention. I think something that aided in that was Morgan Freeman’s character narrating the film and guiding the audience through the story. As an audience member, this also made me feel more involved within the world of the film and helped me get invested into the story of the film.

Probably the most powerful and affective element of this film is the writing. With it being adapted from a Steven King novel, I knew that the writing would have a strong foundation to base off of. Image result for the shawshank redemptionHowever, the writing of this movie entirely blew me away. The movie is very intense and leaves a huge emotional impact on the audience. Since the audience gets so emotionally invested in the main characters, there are many parts of this story that make you mad. Even after watching this film, the emotional impact will stick with you, and you will think about it long after watching the film.

My Rating

4.5 out of 5

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Harriet (2019) Film Review

Synopsis 

From her escape from slavery through the dangerous missions she led to liberate hundreds of slaves through the Underground Railroad, the story of heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman is told.
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Release date: November 1, 2019 (USA)
Box office: 43.3 million USD

My Review 

I was extremely excited to see this film. Harriet Tubman is one of my favorite historical figures, and it’s about time someone makes a movie about her. However, this movie did not live up to my expectations.

First things first. The soundtrack of this movie made no sense at all. I often got sucked out of the world of the film. The soundtrack did not match up with the scenes of the film, and instead of heightening the audiences emotional experience, it only took away from it. Image result for harriet movieThere is a powerful scene in the movie where Harriet is getting taken away by boat to safety after the passing of the fugitive slave law. It was a powerful and emotional scene. However, the music sounded like a song from a funeral and did not match up with the action of the film. 

One element I really liked about this film was how historically accurate they made it. By sticking close to history, the filmmakers lost a good chunk of creative freedom. But this was something I really appreciated about this film. I appreciated how they tried to incorporate the use of Harriet’s god given visions, but the way the filmmakers incorporated it into the film was confusing. It made more sense as the film went on, however, at the beginning it was hard to tell if the audience was getting a look at visions or flashbacks.

The most redeemable trait of this film was the acting. Cynthia Erivo  gave a convincing performance as Harriet Tubman. Image result for harriet movieShe did an excellent job of showing the growth and contrast of Harriet’s character from the beginning of the film to the end. However, Cynthia’s acting stood out the most and compared to her the other actors/actresses only did a sub par job.

It took me a hot minute to get emotionally invested into this movie, but once I was invested, it stayed constant till the credits rolled. I understand that the filmmakers needed to set up the story and show Harriet’s life before the Underground Railroad. But the movie did not get interesting until she ran away and come back for her husband and family.

Overall, I enjoyed this film, but I would not watch it again. However, I would recommend that everyone see it once in their life. As there is a lot to learn and appreciate about Harriet Tubman.

My Rating

3 out of 5

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Oscar Winner Predictions 2020

Actor in Leading Role:

Antonio Banderas- Pain and Glory

Leonardo DiCaprio- Once upon a time… in Hollywood

Adam Driver- Marriage Story

Joaquin Phoenix- Joker

Jonathan Pryce- The Two Popes

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Joaquin’s performance in Joker was chilling and memorizing. From watching the movie, it is easy to tell he completely poured himself into the role and became the Joker. In face, it was easy to forget that you were watching Joaquin on the screen and instead it felt like watching the Joker. His performance in this role really impressed me and stayed with me long after watching the movie.

Actor in a Supporting Role

Tom Hanks- A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Anthony Hopkins- The Two Popes

Al Pacino The Irishman

Joe Pesci- The Irishman

Brad Pitt- Once upon a Time… in Hollywood

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Movies about well-known star figures have been a huge trend recently, and Tom Hanks did not disappoint in his portrayal of the infamous Mr. Rogers. Tom Hanks completely stepped into the role and became Mr. Rogers.

Actress in a Leading Role

Cynthia Erivo- Harriet

Scarlett Johansson- Marriage Story

Saoirse Ronan- Little Women

Charlize Theron- Bombshell

Renée Zellweger- Judy

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This is one of the most difficult categories to pick a winner. I would say it’s a close tie between Johansson, Ronan, and Zellweger. However, Scarlett Johansson really stepped up to the plate in this movie. She did an incredible job realistically portraying a mother and wife going through a divorce. Her performance was tear jerking and believable.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Kathy Bates- Richard Jewell

Laura Dern- Marriage Stroy

Scarlett Johansson- Jojo Rabbit

Florence Pugh- Little Women

Margot Robbie- Bombshell

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This is one of the best roles I have seen Laura Dern preform in a very long time. She does such an outstanding job playing a cut throat lawyer while still adding lots of complexions and dimensions to her character. She was lifelike and came to life on screen.

Animated Feature Film

How To Train Your Dragon- DeBlois, Lewis, and Arnold

I Lost My Body- Clapin and Marc du Pontavice

Klaus- Pablos, Gotoh, and Román

Missing Link- Butler, Sutner, and Knight

Toy Story 4- Cooley, Nielson, and Rivera

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Klaus was a very heartfelt and well put together movie. It is the kind of movie you can watch repeatedly and not grow sick of it. The animation and musical score was also extremely impressive.

Best Cinematography

The Irshman- Rodrigo Prieto

Joker- Lawrence Sher

The Lighthouse- Jarin Blaschke

1917- Roger Deakins

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood- Robert Richardson

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Every shot in Joker was jaw-dropping. To the point where I didn’t want to look away. It’s easy to tell each shot was given great care and attention. If you pay attention, there is deep symbolism and a deeper meaning in almost every camera setup.

Best Costume Design

The Irshman- Powell and Peterson

Jojo Rabbit- Mayes C. Rubeo

Joker- Mark Bridges

Little Women- Jacqueline Durran

Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood-Arianne Phillips

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Everything about the world in this movie created a very realistic and believable environment. However, the costumes were particularly impressive and added a lot to this movies viewing experience.

Best Director

The Irishman- Martin Scorsese

Joker- Todd Phillips

1917- Sam Mendes

Once Upon A Time.. In Hollywood- Quentin Tarantino

Parasite- BongJoon Ho

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1917, is one of the best war movies ever made. This movie stood out from so many other war movies because it had so many unique directorial decisions. The creative vision behind this film is truly what makes it such an incredible film.

Best Film Editing

Ford V Ferrari- McCusker and Buckland

The Irishman- Schoonmaker

Jojo Rabbit- Engles

Joker- Groth

Parasite- Jinmo

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The editing in this film was seamless and was extrmelly smooth. There were some very clever transitions, and I did not notice any issues with contnuity or match shots either.

Best Music (Original Score)

Joker- Gudnadottir

Little Women- Desplat

Marriage Story- Newman

1917- Newman

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker- Williams

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The music of Joker was one of my favoroite things about the film. The music was so creative and helped to establish a sense of emotion within the film. There were times the music made me tear up, uncomortable, etc. Which in total added to my experience watching the film.

Best Picture

Ford V Ferrari

The Irshman

JoJo Rabbit

Joker

Little Women

Marriage Story

1917

Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

Parasite

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As you can tell from my top picks for categories, Joker was by far one of my favorite films of 2019. It’s one of my best films I have seen in a very long time and blew me in a way that most films do not accomplish.