Shit. Just. Got. Real: 2016 Cinema in Review

It takes a long time to get a movie made: Martin Scorsese had been thinking about making Silence for over 30 years and had various false potential production starts; Fences was once slated to be made in the ‘90s with Eddie Murphy as the lead; and Damien Chazelle had wanted to make La La Land since before he made Whiplash. So, given how long it takes to make a film it’s obvious that they could not have predicted how much the world would change on November the 8th of the year they were ready to be released.

Following the events of this particular day, I went through a patch of depression that was unlike anything that I had gone through before. During this time I kept thinking why should I bother with movies, television, music, or art in general when the world was crumbling right in front of our eyes and so many people were celebrating it. Yet, I kept on watching because I had nothing else, but just about everything felt tainted.

The first film I watched in theaters since then was Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I had to drag myself out of the house, and I had to treat my self to a large popcorn and soda (which I never do). The film is not particularly great but watching a simple good versus evil story on the big screen where the good guys win while I’m gorging on salty popcorn and a sweet Coca-Cola was cathartic. That right there is how the real world should work, and I felt like standing up and cheering at the most basic of triumphant moments.

Since then, I cannot look at movies in the same way. Moana and Hidden Figures no longer are just movies about extraordinary women of color doing extraordinary things, but rally cries for real women of color to stand up and do even more extraordinary things. Moonlight is now a call for empathy and understanding. Even Star Trek Beyond, with its world where races and species of all kinds live in harmony feels like a daring future to strive towards.

This of course cannot be said of every film in 2016, let alone my top 25 (Everybody Wants Some!! Is still just about bro-dudes doing stuff and I love it for it), but that’s okay. Even so, art will never be the same, at least through my eyes. Continue reading

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Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker

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For the last couples of weeks I’ve been binge-watching Batman Beyond. I enjoyed it a lot but one of the problems that I have with it is that this future Batman didn’t have a memorable arch nemesis. At first William Powers/Blight was set up to be that guy since he is the person responsible for the death of Terry McGinnis’s father, which is what led him to become Batman, but that conflict was resolved during the first season and he never came back. There were a lot of other recurring villains, like Inque, The Royal Flush Gang, and Mad Ben, but they just didn’t measure up to other iconic villains like Poison Ivy, Penguin, or Two-face. So, in lieu of creating a great villain for Batman Beyond’s feature-length, straight-to-video outing, they went back to the old well and brought back the baddest villain of them all to give young McGinnis his biggest challenge yet: the Joker. Continue reading

Make Movies Great Again: 2015 Cinema in Review

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I’m writing this in the middle of 2016, and looking back to 2015 fees like looking back at simpler, more innocent times even though we’re only seven months removed. Writing about the films of the past year, looking at their themes, and then seeing the state of the world today got me thinking about the role of art, particularly films, has in shaping our perspectives.

Though not every film is important, even seemingly-disposable entertainment like Spy, MacFarland, USA, or Sisters have something to say about things like the importance of family, race relations, and gender issues. Admittedly a lot of people watch movies to kill time, but do these themes not manage to somehow get ingrained in people’s minds enough to at least challenge their perspectives even if for a second? Continue reading

The Cinematic Highlights of August 2015


This month, due to a surprisingly large amount of work hours, videogames, making the mistake of getting into comic books, and TV shows (finally finished Cowboy Bebop and started rewatching Dragon Ball Z), I only managed to see 10 film for the first time. Well, there was that and the fact that I cancelled my Netflix account (for selfish reasons) so I couldn’t just browse and find something to fit my mood, which only left me with my unwatched Criterions, and I have to prepare emotionally for a lot of those. I also wanted to watch all the 1939 Best Picture nominees, but that didn’t work out since I have to get a bunch of them from the local library, and for some reason, a lot of people chose to watch them at the same time as me. But it was an okay month overall. I finally watched my most anticipated film of 2015 and it exceeded my expectations. Then there were a few good ones, a couple of okay ones, and only one downright stinker. So, this month I’ll just go ahead and list them all.

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Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight Rises | Christopher Nolan | 2012 | ★★★½

The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after The Dark Knight ended. Now, the streets of Gotham are safer because of an act passed in honor of Harvey Dent, and things seem to be going just fine. However, there is an evil lurking in the sewers of Gotham, as Bane (Tom Hardy) an excommunicated member of The League of Shadows is plotting to destroy Gotham, just as Ra’s Al Ghul wanted in Batman Begins. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne has become a shut-in who is just waiting for death to take him away. That is until two things happen that persuade him to once again become the “caped crusader.” One is the appearance of Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) a cat burglar who is messing with the wrong people, and a visit from John Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hothead cop who discovers Bane’s underground network and who inspires Bruce by telling him how he realized he was the Batman and how much that inspired him. And so, once Batman returns, Bane sets his plan in motion of making the city destroy its self by making the people rise against those with money and power, and Batman will face his most powerful foe(s) yet. Continue reading

List: My 10 Favorite Tim Burton Films

In anticipation for this Friday’s release of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, I thought I should look into my favorite works from Burton’s filmography.

Tim Burton is one of my favorite directors that are currently working today. Some people think that he has worn out his welcome because of his distinctive style, and he rarely changes it. However, that’s what I like about him. He knows what he likes and what he is good at, and he does it. He has become great at mixing the macabre with whimsy, even when he is not making a movie for kids. Also, his films are a perfect show case for the work of his crew, such as Colleen Atwood, his usual costume desginer. His collaborations with Danny Elfman have resulted in some of my favorite scores of all time. Then there is his work with Johnny Depp. Say what you want about their collaborations, but Burton always seems to bring out the best out of Depp, who in turn brings some rather interesting qualities to his roles (just look up his inspirations for his Mad Hatter). Plus let’s not forget his influences on one of the best animated movies of all time (which is on the list).

Before I go on with the list, I must mention that I have yet to see the movie that many consider to be his masterpiece: Ed Wood. I have wanted to watch it for a while, but I just never get around to it. One of this days I will watch it, and when I do, if I like it, I will update this list accordingly.

Now, on with the list!

Note: This list is not limited to feature-lenght films, or films directed by him.

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