France's entry into this year's Academy Awards for Best International Feature Film, "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" burns with desire, sparked by two stunningly raw performances.
A horror-film re-make hitting theaters in late February? Nothing about this movie demands that you should go in with elevated expectations, but "The Invisible Man" surprisingly has more meat on its bones than you'd ever imagine. In fact, it's 2020's first, dare I say, great film.
It sadly affects us all. An ordinary couple faces a life-changing cancer diagnosis in the new drama, "Ordinary Love." And while the story of Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan (Lesley Manville) is perfectly relatable to anyone of the 2 million Americans who are diagnosed with cancer each year - or to the millions more who have or know someone who has been diagnosed or lost to cancer in their lifetimes - this movie finds power in the mundane, ordinary but meaningful moments that it focuses on.
By Pedro Schwarzenegger
The newest ongoing contributor to Movie Show Plus. Pedro Schwarzenegger is a true Northman. A savage man in a savage place and time. His taste in cinema? Savage. And yet he does all his writing on an iPhone, like some kind of candy-ass millennial. PedroSchwarzenegger@cinemabuse.com
With a new version of "The Invisible Man" hitting theaters on Friday, February 21st, Pedro takes a look back at 2000's Paul Verhoeven-directed "Hollow Man," starring Kevin Bacon, Elisabeth Shue, Josh Brolin and Kim Dickens.
If you go into "Downhill" expecting laugh-out-loud comedy, the likes of which both Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have built careers with, you may wind up disappointed. Some movies are better seen knowing nothing about them, but in this case, it's probably best to have some fore-warning and to know what you're stepping into.
The problem is large, looming and mostly off-screen in "The Assistant," a mood-piece of a movie that shows what it must be like to exist under the shadow of powerful, sexual predators (think Harvey Weinstein).
Expectations were not exactly high heading into the "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie. But I fell - fast - for his first big-screen adventure.
I say "tomato" and you say...that's a pineapple you son of a bitch! That's pretty much where the country is at when it comes to anything these days. In an age where your political leanings may influence whether you see the sky as blue or not, there is one thing that most people on the "right" and "left" can agree on: "Cats" was terrible.
If movies are a reflection of our society, one "side" claims to see themselves reflected much less often these days. As the Academy Awards continue to see their viewership dwindle over the years (this year's 23 million viewers is the lowest in the show's history...a trend that is affecting all awards shows, not just this one), there are cries from the "right" that her fair lady Oscar - and Hollywood as a whole - are more disconnected from reality than ever. The opposing view of course, is that there is never been a more dire time in our nation's history, and that it's the DUTY of anyone with a platform of any kind to try to affect change, for the betterment of us all.
But one thing is true: Bitching about the Academy Awards is as American as apple pie, and has been a commonality in our country long before people were wearing red mesh or pink knit hats. For anyone that knows me, they know that the Oscars telecast is my favorite day of the year...it's a time for celebration of all things movies, and it's the clearest night to see all of the shiniest stars. I've been ridiculed (I want the Oscars to be LONGER, not shorter) and I've vehemently defended keeping the technical categories as part of the show...these categories, after all, are what made me aware of what movie-making is all about in the first place.
When I asked the newest Movie Show Plus contributor, Pedro Schwarzenegger (yes, that's his real name), to participate in a friendly debate about the Oscars, the reason was thrice-fold: One, he's one of the best writers and critics out there that you need to pay attention to, if you aren't already. Two, I knew that he had...shall we say..."strong feelings" about what the Oscars have become over the course of the past few decades. And Three, I know we have different overall tastes, like how he liked Liam's Neeson's "The Grey" and how I can feel his side-eye whenever I gush publicly about "La La Land."
The idea was pitched as a friendly debate.
And of course, it was friendly. But as you'll see below, the conversation opened up in directions that I hadn't expected. Not to speak for Pedro (Pedro is the only one who speaks for Pedro), but I think we both came away with an absolutely MIRACULOUS discovery: That we - two dudes perhaps on the opposite end of the political spectrum and definitely on opposite ends of the Oscars spectrum - have much, much in common than we have differences.
In other words, Pedro and I are a model of what civility should look like, and we hope that you can learn from us that starting a dialogue is the most effective medicine to heal this country's deep wounds.
You're welcome, America.
With that, I give you the epic Oscar-showdown: Santilli v. Schwarzenegger.
The only gold nugget to be found in the turd that was the 2016 film "Suicide Squad," was Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Now that the character's been given her own movie, it seems that Harley Quinn can be filed in the "less is more" category. But don't blame Margot Robbie. Her Harley Quinn is a fun character trapped in a really bad movie.
Because "Clemency" saw limited release in 2019 (it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival and saw a small theatrical run in late December), it's considered a 2019 movie according to the award circuit. Had it come out a bit earlier, and had more eyeballs witnessed this shocking (no pun intended) story and the electric (pun intended), emotionally-raw performance by Alfre Woodard, there is NO QUESTION that she would be right in the thick of the Oscar mix.
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