If you know the difference between a bear and a bull market, when to go YOLO with a stock or what a short squeeze is...the difference between having diamond or paper hands...or if you can identify a "smurf" from a "killer bee," then "Gamestop: Rise of the Players" may give you all the tendies you'd ever want.
For the rest of us "non-initiated" on the world of stock trading, "Gamestop: Rise of the Players" is a rapid-fire headache...a film that confuses more than it clarifies, and leaves you feeling even more intimidated that you exist in a world where - clearly - so many others have a better understanding of just how our economy works, or how the Gamestop phenomenon of 2021 could even happen...or what to make of it.
Bill Cosby was more than just one of the most influential entertainers of all-time, he literally changed the landscape and paved the way for other African-Americans that followed him. Cosby also "allegedly" drugged, raped and/or sexually assaulted at least 60 women during all phases of his career, using his power and the wholesome persona he had created for himself to commit these horrible atrocities.
Both of the above sentences are true. And that is the paradoxical dilemma that is explored in the new four-part Showtime docu-series, "We Need To Talk About Cosby." How does one square these two "versions" of Cosby? Is it OK to champion Bill's professional career while simultaneously being appalled and shunning his personal life? These are questions facing not just the entire African-American community who grew up idolizing Cosby and the doors he had kicked down for his people, but for ALL people, as Bill Cosby had been one of the most beloved comedians and actors in the history of America.
Yes, it's time we talk about Bill Cosby.
Academy Award winning filmmaker Pedro Almodovar knows how to get touching, powerful and vulnerable performances out of his actors, especially when said actor is Penélope Cruz. "Parallel Mothers" ("Madres paralelas") is their SEVENTH film collaboration, and Cruz gives one of the year's best performances, helped tremendously by the fact that Almodovar's astute script is nothing short of enthralling. It might just land him his second Academy Award for screenwriting (he previously won in 2003 for "Talk to Her") as well as a fourth total nomination for Cruz.
Pre-text: I'm a big fan of the "Scream" franchise...heck, who isn't? The series, with all four previous installment having been directed by the late, legendary horror master, Wes Craven, began in 1996, and not only poked fun at the slasher-horror genre, but transcended it. It was fresh, new and different. Moreover, it was loads of fun.
The original film's success brought about a renaissance of sorts for horror movies, and was followed by "Scream 2" the following year, "Scream 3" in 2000 and "Scream 4" back in 2011. In my review of "Scream 4," I had wrote:
"11 years later for 'Scream 4' seems like the right timing for Scream to return with something worthy of shouting about. With the same sense of style and personality, I could see another Scream movie coming out maybe every 5 to 10 years, to give wry commentary on the state of the genre."
Well at least they got the timing right...then new film, called simply "Scream" and not "Scream 5" as it probably should be, lacks that familiar style and personality that made the others so sharp (pun intended). In a series where the killer is always a copycat, for the first time, this chapter is more "wanna-be" than it is "wants-to-be-good."
In spirit, we need more female-led action films, but "The 355" is not worthy of the all-star cast of women it has assembled.
Review: 'Drive My Car' a profound reminder of the importance of the journey rather than the destination
A surprising title has been popping up on more than one year-end "Best of" lists: "Drive My Car." It's only "surprising" because as a Japanese film, it isn't a film that many Americans have even heard of, but it stops becoming a surprise for any who have seen it.
That's because "Drive My Car" deserves all the hype it's been getting. A nearly three-hour long drama that speeds by and pulls you in, featuring some powerful performances and complexities not often found, quite frankly, in many domestic films. A year-end list that does not include "Drive My Car" can be taken as an admission that the film wasn't seen by that particular critic (which explains why it doesn't appear on my Best of 2021 list), because it's truly one of the best, most impactful films of the year (it's also Japan's selection and entry for Best International Feature at this year's Academy Awards).
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is simply one of the greatest filmmakers of his generation. His 2011 film, "A Separation" stands out as one of the very best films of the past several decades...and that's no understatement. You can always count on tense, deeply personal moral conflicts in a Farhadi film, served without any judgment or bias. His latest effort, "A Hero," is no different, and is a deeply compelling film that offers no easy answers...just the way that Farhadi likes it.
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