Based on the novel of the same name by Norman Lebrecht, "The Song of Names" is a bit too stuffy and predictable to have this critic sing its praises.
The Short Film categories are often overlooked by mainstream movie-going audiences, who usually use the Short Film time during the Oscars telecast to check their phones or go to the bathroom. You can't fault them: Most people watching the Oscars - even those that would consider themselves to LOVE movies - don't get to see these short films...not because they don't want to, but because they don't know HOW to.
Well good news, all of the Oscar-Nominated Short Films - in the Animated, Live-Action and Documentary categories - are being shown at the Detroit Film Theater, in Ann Arbor and in Howell (not to mention in theaters all over the country) beginning this weekend. Here's a guide on not only how you can check these amazing short films out and what these short films are, but WHY you should check them out in time for the Oscar telecast on February 9th.
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
In the famous words of Mugatu: “Hansel’s soooo hot right now.” Both Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and this week’s Gretel & Hansel are bastardized adaptations of the same classic fairy tale, both released in January. Hollywood’s trash trove month for movies deemed generally uncompetitive any other time of the year. Namely, because they universally score poorly in test screenings.
Which, in the case of Tommy Wirkola’s (Dead Snow, Dead Snow: Red vs Dead) Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, meant a righteous scalding by the press pool. The film still suffers a 15% blight on the Tomatometer to this day, (“It's an appalling, insulting and cynical mess from start to finish.” - The London Evening Standard) seven years after its release (the movie would go on to gross 226 million worldwide). Of course we could juxtapose that score against the movie’s Amazon star-rating average, which is honestly the single most accurate gauge for rentability and watchability. With nearly 5,000(!) reviews, Witch Hunters has nearly a perfect five star film score at the online mega-store. As if anyone cares what the paying customer thinks...
Meanwhile word on the street has it that Orion Pictures isn’t even screening Gretel & Hansel (opening Friday, January 31st) for the press, pre-release. Which is as dark an omen as you’ll find in any Grimm’s Fairy Tale. Very dark indeed. Welcome to January film aficionados. This is hexed ground we tread upon.
Take my film critic credentials and throw them in the ocean. "Dolittle" is not good...it's quite bad in fact. Still, there's worse ways to spend a weekend afternoon with the kiddies. A glowing endorsement, right?
"Les Misérables" is maybe an unfortunate title for this electric thriller that will confuse viewers who are expecting to see Jean Valjean and a few song and dance numbers. But in telling a more modern story, themes of inequality, class oppression and street-level rage eerily feel like echoes from Victor Hugo's classic novel, and send home the message that the more things change, the more things stay the same.
Will Smith and Martin Lawrence re-team as "bad boys" in this third - and final? - installment that started way back in 1995.
Director Sam Mendes has pulled off a visually-stunning, epic war film, but it's "one-shot" gimmick works against it.
There are actually a few things to like about "Underwater," but unfortunately, there are just too many holes to keep this ship afloat.
There's no question that "Just Mercy" tells an important real-life story about a man wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death row. But outside of one great performance, it's a bit too straight-laced and straight-forward to add anything new.
2020 doesn't just mark a new year, it's the dawn of a new decade. Like several other critics and outlets, I too have taken this opportunity to reflect back at the past 10 years and have come up with my list of favorite films. Some have resonated even more over the years, whereas others were nearly forgotten.
Some of my "top" films of previous years also haven't held up quite as well to the rigors of time, but ALL of these films still are powerful, emotional and represent the best of cinema in all genres. So let's get to it, shall we?
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