Monday, February 27, 2017


Honestly dear readers, I was just about to turn off the television when the biggest upset that I have ever seen in my lifetime of watching the Academy Awards actually happened and I could not have been any more ecstatic!

There I was, just like so many of you, watching the Oscars, my personal Superbowl, and the major awards of the evening were mostly going just as I had predicted--with Barry Jenkins' win for Best Adapted Screenplay for "Moonlight" being a terrific surprise for me, as well as viewing Viola Davis' Best Supporting Actress win for "Fences"and her goose-bump stirring speech afterwards. Yes, while I knew that Casey Affleck would walk away with the Best Actor prize for "Manchester By The Sea," I really wanted Denzel Washington to glide on stage instead.

And so it went. Emma Stone won Best Actress and Damien Chazelle won Best Director for "La La Land," and it all seemed so inevitable that I was unsurprised when Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty read the name of "La La Land" for Best Picture. The Production team of "La La Land" began making their speeches and I was all ready to call it a night but something just made me set the remote down to just watch the final farewells of the evening when the glaring, unbelievable mistake was revealed, making Barry Jenkins' "Moonlight" the actual winner of Best Picture!!

To me, "Moonlight" was the most deserving film to win the title this year by a long shot, as it was indeed the film that really seemed to sum up the tone of the entire evening: one of the art and language of the movies being used to encourage and foster empathy, inspiration, communication and connection. And believe me, if you still have not seen this film, "Moonlight" is deeply exceptional on all counts, especially its overall empathy. This was a stunning, beautiful film that experienced an equally stunning, beautiful win. And as I have said in the past,  Hollywood loves movies about itself but on this night, it seemed as if they decided to celebrate humanity even more and with a film the type of which I know that I have never seen before.

Of course, all of what I described occurred in the final minutes of the still overlong telecast and frankly, the 89th Academy Awards show this year was not the most exciting show overall nor was it terribly incendiary due to the current political landscape. What the telecast did accomplish last night has been its most difficult feat year after year, and that is to just be entertaining and to its credit, the show was consistently just that.

Jimmy Kimmel made for a most comfortable host who never for a moment seemed intimidated by the size, scope and global reach of the telecast. His laid back, ironically detached, and self-admitted David Letterman inspired style and charm made for an evening that was considerably relaxed and more than prone for certain playful tricks and stunts from the candy and other sweets that fell from the ceiling, his constant ribbing of Matt Damon, and the Oscar Mean Tweets to the great sequence with the tour bus filled with unsuspecting tourists who were surprised to find themselves at the center of the broadcast for a few minutes. While not exciting by any means, for once, the show seemed to move at a comfortable, smooth pace--at least for the first two hours--and the only sense of boredom I tended to feel from time to time was through the predictability of the award winners themselves, certainly until that last, unbelievable moment.

I still feel that it would better serve the telecast to just get rid of the song performances, feel free to showcase more film clips and just tighten the entire proceedings by handing out more awards sooner than later. That being said, I did like seeing the clips of past winners moments before a new winner was crowned. And I also enjoyed the segments of actors speaking a bout the movies that inspired them--that is definitely something that I'd love to see more of.

But, truthfully, I knew that since there would be a certain predictability concerning the actual awards, I was most curious as to how President Trump would be handled, perhaps towards a similar tone as what was seen during the recent Golden Globes ceremony. Surprisingly, and aside from Kimmel's constant and nicely sharpened barbs, the political tone of the Academy Awards was of a quieter resistance. Nothing "in your face," but with it own subtle power that definitely made all of its messages known clearly and without alienating the viewing audience either. Maybe for some, it was playing everything a tad too safely but for me, it felt right and not dogmatic. In fact, it was a bit more sobering and indicative, again, of the overall tone of empathy, communication and connection.

For instance, I had no idea that Mahershala Ali, who won Best Supporting Actor for his work in "Moonlight," is the first Muslim actor to win the prize and his eloquence and elegance served him triumphantly. The Iranian film "The Salesman," which won the prize for Best Foreign Film carried a written speech from Director Asghar Farhadi, absent from the proceedings in protest of President Trump's Muslim ban. Yet, his statement was not rage filled whatsoever. His statement was one about empathy. I also enjoyed a short filmed segment featuring movie viewers from around the globe speaking of the films they love and what they love about films and it was a few moments fully celebratory of the language of the movies as a connective tool between people of all walks of life from all around the world. And of course, what else can be said about Viola Davis' speech that she essentially said herself? Davis was majestic and nearly brought a lump to my throat due to its power and open-hearted qualities.

As for my predictions and the awards themselves, I fared unusually well and frankly, I am just happy that "La La Land" didn't sweep the entire evening away for itself, as the night seemed to find ways to spread some of the wealth around. Perhaps...too much so. I mean, really--"Suicide Squad" won an Oscar?!

Well...there are still some areas of judgement in which the Academy Awards continues to show the need for improvement.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Sunday, February 26th will hold the 2017 Academy Awards telecast, my personal Superbowl. With that, and after taking one year off from writing such a posting, I am back with my Oscar predictions albeit for a cinematic year that feels as if Damien Chazelle's "La La Land" has already won. At any rate, here are my predictions for you!!

MERYL STREEP AND FOUR OTHER WOMEN: Isabelle Huppert ("Elle"), Ruth Negga ("Loving"), Natalie Portman ("Jackie"), Emma Stone ("La La Land"), Meryl Streep ("Florence Foster Jenkins")
SHOULD WIN: Natalie Portman
WILL WIN: Emma Stone
This is Emma Stone's category to lose and there's no way that I can fathom that she would not win the grand prize in this category. While I would love it if Natalie Portman won for her riveting, intricate and harrowing performance in "Jackie," what I would wish for even more is a  greater sense of creativity and open-mindedness when nominating women in this category. I won't again subject you to any rants from me concerning the consistent presence of Meryl Streep in this category at the expense of other women w ho turned in either equal or greater performances. But, really, imagine if say Amy Adams was nominated for "Arrival" and Taraji P. Henson was nominated for "Hidden Figures," for instance? Then, we would have something unpredictable.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali ("Moonlight"), Jeff Bridges ("Hell Or High Water"), Lucas Hedges ("Manchester By The Sea"), Michael Shannon ("Nocturnal Animals"), Dev Patel ("Lion")
SHOULD WIN: Mahershala Ali
WILL WIN: Mahershala Ali
Again, I have not seen all of the performances within this category so I am unable to fairly judge the group as a whole. That being said, Ali's work in "Moonlight" was powerfully mesmerizing in its fullness and its overall willingness to upend any potential stereotypes and prejudices we, as audience members, may initially bring to his character, a drug dealer within inner city Miami. So far during this awards season, Ali has been the favorite, and I would expect him to rightfully take home the prize on Oscar night.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Viola Davis ("Fences"), Naomie Harris ("Moonlight"), Nicole Kidman ("Lion"), Octavia Spencer ("Hidden Figures"), Michelle Williams ("Manchester By The Sea")
SHOULD WIN: Viola Davis
WILL WIN: Michelle Williams
I would be thrilled if either actress won in this category as I do think that this is the tightest section regarding the acting performances. Both Davis and Williams turned in exceptional, heartbreaking work but I do give the edge within my personal preferences to Davis as I felt that she really carved out the full arc of her character's life with a few scant scenes. Williams was indeed wonderful and her late film moment with Casey Affleck is one of quiet, wrenching devastation and I just think t hat may push her over the top.

BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck ("Manchester By The Sea"), Andrew Garfield ("Hacksaw Ridge"), Ryan Gosling ("La La Land"), Viggo Mortensen ("Captain Fantastic"), Denzel Washington ("Fences")
SHOULD WIN: Denzel Washington
WILL WIN: Casey Affleck
Not exactly the tightest category because this is essentially a two-man race, albeit one featuring two men who have indeed given each of their performances their finest efforts. While my money is on Affleck as he does have the momentum, I would be ecstatic if Washington took home his second win for a ferocious performance that ranks with the absolute finest of his work in his long, glorious career.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Luke Davies ("Lion"), Eric Heisserer ("Arrival"), Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight"), Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi ("Hidden  Figures"), August Wilson ("Fences")
SHOULD WIN: August Wilson
WILL WIN: August Wilson 
This category is won I will concede is a bit difficult to predict but I am going to go with the late August Wilson as his enormously celebrated work with the stage version of "Fences" translated to the screen brilliantly and it was  such an enormous pleasure to be able to listen to his luxurious dialogue in the darkened theater. Winning in this category will only cement the status of this specific work even greater than it already has been.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY:  Damien Chazelle ("La La Land"), Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou ("The Lobster"), Kenneth Lonergan ("Manchester By The Sea"), Mike Mills ("20th Century Women"), Taylor Sheridan ("Hell Or High Water")
SHOULD WIN: Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou
WILL WIN: Kenneth Lonergan
As always, the key word for me within this category is the word "Original," and there was no other movie released in 2016 that was more original than "The Lobster"!! Now, I know it doesn't have a ghost of a chance so...I'm going to toss my hat in the ring for Kenneth Lonergan as his "Manchester By The Sea" would then have a chance to earn an award (and of course, "La La Land" isn't so beloved due to its screenplay).

BEST DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle ("La La Land"), Mel Gibson ("Hacksaw Ridge"), Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight"), Kenneth Lonergan ("Manchester By The Sea"), Denis Villeneuve ("Arrival")
SHOULD WIN: Barry Jenkins
WILL WIN: Damien Chazelle
Here is another category in which the sweep of "La La Land" is a foregone conclusion although I strongly feel that Barry Jenkins was masterful in his rendering of a much more effective, emotional, wrenching, artful, brilliant film. (And again, I will spare you yet another rant where I dress down the idiocy of the Academy nominating nine films for Best Picture but only having five Best Director nominees...I just shake my head every single year...)

BEST PICTURE: "Arrival," "Fences," "Hacksaw Ridge," "Hell Or High Water," "Hidden Figures," "La La Land," "Lion," "Manchester By The Sea," "Moonlight"
SHOULD WIN: "Moonlight"
WILL WIN: "La La Land"
As I said in my review for the film, "La La Land" will obviously walk away with the Grand Prize.I am so confident about this that I wish they would give the award to the film today and save us the trouble of sitting through the entire three to four hour telecast to simply regard the inevitable. Hollywood LOVES movies about itself and one that is as dazzling to regard as "La La Land" is just bound to win the Best Picture category...even if "Moonlight" is the infinitely better film.

 There you have it...let's see how well I did in a little over one week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


The posting that makes me the happiest has now arrived for your reading consumption. As always, please remember that this listing is just a compilation of my personal opinions based entirely upon all of the films that I saw during the year of 2016.  I hope that you enjoy reading about the top ten films that affected me the most this past year, and if you haven't seen some of them, I hope that you will take a chance and try something of the beaten path as many of the films on this particular list represent a cinematic year where more independent fare rose to the highest peaks for me.

So, without any further hesitation...


10. "MILES AHEAD"  Directed by Don Cheadle
One of the year's most audacious films was also one of the most criminally underseen as it was barely released, therefore a film that never even had a chance to even try to find an audience.Now that it is available upon home video formats, you now have the opportunity to try Don Cheadle's directorial debut, as well as his co-writing and electrifying starring effort as the iconic Miles Davis in a film that is as defiantly unwilling to be pigeon-holed into the biopic format just as the real Miles Davis was unrepentant in his refusal to be pinned down as an artist.

Don Cheadle's "Miles Ahead" is no cradle-to-grave travelogue. Nor it is any sense of journey into the life of the artist at work, therefore gaining a certain perspective into his creative process. Because of those purposeful omissions, I can easily understand how the film may prove to be frustrating and even polarizing to some viewers. Truth be told, my Dad, for whom Miles Davis is and will always remain a personal hero, was seriously disappointed by this film for those very reasons. What I received from the film was the following: Cheadle has created a "portrait of the artist in turmoil," as the film places us smack in the maelstrom of Davis' self-imposed five year sabbatical from writing, recording and performing before his 1980 return. Drug addled, living in seclusion and drowning in psychological despair, Cheadle takes us through a non-linear narrative featuring characters that never existed in real life (Ewan McGregor's Rolling Stone journalist character), and events that never happened (Davis' gun-totting and feverish search for missing master tape recordings) and submerges them with key moments, iconography and individuals from Davis life to weave a dark tapestry where the symbolism is key and the film almost feels as if we are watching a film Davis himself may have made, something that daringly bridges the gap between esoteric art film and ruthless Blaxploitation.
(Originally reviewed May 2016)

9. "DON'T THINK TWICE"  Directed by Mike Birbiglia
One of the saddest films I have seen about comedy and aspiring comedians but it is also one of the very best. Mike Birbiglia's semi-autobiographical "Don't Think Twice" follows the travails of a tight knit collective of friends and competitors with a struggling improv comedy troupe and what occurs for all of the members when one (played by Keegan-Michael Key) becomes nationally famous after being chosen to join a "Saturday Night Live" styled late night live comedy television program. 

Birbiglia's cast of characters are all vividly drawn and performed and mostly, so piercingly observed with this often aching comedy of manners that explores themes of jealousy, envy, failure, missed opportunities and lost chances as well as the pressures of maintaining that brass ring once it has been caught. Birbiglia handles all of his material with a matter of fact quality that allows all of the emotional content to rise to the surface organically and without a trace of ill served melodrama as he superbly depicts how decisions can be made in less than a second but reverberate infinitely. 
(Originally reviewed August 2016)

8. "THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN"  Directed by Kelly Fremon Craig
Featuring a star making performance by Hailee Steinfeld front and center, Kelly Fremon Craig's debut film not only fulfills the promise of a smart, entertaining and artful teen film as previously created by the likes of the late John Hughes and Cameron Crowe, "The Edge Of Seventeen" raises the bar even higher. While essentially functioning without a plot, what Craig has delivered is a beautifully rendered character study of a young woman caught in the throes of teenage angst, social awkwardness and crippling insecurity plus a rage filled petulance against the world, a rage that is often misguided but culminates into a painful, vengeful meanness which threatens to leave her alone in a word she feels permanently out of step with.

Craig and Steinfeld bravely create a character who is more than prickly and quite unlikable for a large portion of the film because they understand that it is not always important for the audience to necessarily like this girl, it is their job to help the audience understand precisely where she is coming from. To that, they have succeeded tremendously as "The Edge Of Seventeen," through rich comedy, perceptive drama and various shades of nuance and empathy, is a richly detailed and executed presentation of that time of your life that can often feel so mercilessly interminable.   
(Originally reviewed November 2016)

7. "ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY"  Directed by Gareth Edwards
One of the films that I was most skeptical about during 2016 ultimately turned ou tto be one of the most sensational. Gareth Edwards' "Rogue One," the first of the planned stand-alone features in the "Star Wars" franchise was a daring feat and one that was accomplished brilliantly. In addition to its stand-alone status, the film essentially served as both sequel to George Lucas' "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith" (2005) and as an increasingly white knuckle prequel to Lucas' original "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" (1977), as Felicity Jones (sigh) stars as Jyn Erso, a maverick and criminal who becomes the intergalactic Joan Of Arc as she leads a band of renegades on a top secret mission to air the Rebellion in finding the plans for the nearly ready Death Star, the ultimate weapon of the Empire.

With "Rogue One," Edwards masterfully pledges full respect to Lucas' original vision yet also created a chapter in the "Star Wars" universe that was gritty, more urgent and gradually built upwards in intensity to its jaw dropping climax which brilliantly linked up to the opening moments of the very first film, a feat that made me not only want to get back in line and see this film again, it made me want to race home and watch the original film all over again as well. Gareth Edwards has created a "Star Wars" film that worked heroically as a more adult war film than as a child's fairy tale, a distinction that was never a distraction but one that actually enhanced all that we have known from the previous seven films. And inadvertently, it has  become quite the timely film, despite existing a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away as "Rogue One" gave us a collective of multi-cultural characters who band together to resist against a tyrannical regime. Rebellions are built upon hope, indeed.
(Originally reviewed December 2016)

6. "KICKS"  Directed by Justin Tipping  
Another criminally underseen film from 2016 also emerged as one of my favorites, as Director Justin Tipping's hallucinogenic yet primal debut feature "Kicks" merged the elements of an urban thriller, dark fable, coming-of-age drama, and a sharp, sobering socio/political critique of Black manhood that was cosmic, surreal and blisteringly raw. This tale of a quiet, diminutive, unathletic teen (played brilliantly by Jahking Guillory) out to regain his prized stolen Air Jordans by any means necessary from the local tough Flaco (Kofi Siriboe) is as dreamlike as it is journalistic as the film explores the fetishization of shoe culture at the expense of our collective human culture. 

There has been some criticism of the film as being too terribly bleak to be enjoyed and to that, I have mulled over those views and have emerged with a thought. I think "Kicks" owes quite a bit of its stark nature to era of Italian neorealism as depicted in a film like Vittorio De Sica's classic "The Bicycle Thief" (1948), as Tipping's "Kicks" also creates a dangerously and depressingly real world where adult influences and jobs are non-existent, schools are an afterthought, and drugs, alcohol and violence (verbal and physical) are rampant in an unforgiving landscape where people are forced to live within a Darwin-ian existence. Therefore, what we have is a film where inside of its numbing inhumanity is a passionate, rage fueled plea for the protection and newfound cultivation of our humanity.
(Originally reviewed September 2016)

5. "FENCES"  Directed by Denzel Washington 
The national treasure that is Denzel Washington turned in a titanic performance and film overall with this third directorial effort, his adaptation of the classic play from the late August Wilson. Set in the 1950's, Washington's portrayal of Troy Maxson, once a champion baseball player in the Negro Leagues but unable to make the crossover transition into the Major Leagues and now earning his living in the Pittsburgh sanitation department, is a ferocious character study into the working class everyman--much like Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman--yet an everyman who just happens to be a Black man. To that end, "Fences" urgently speaks distinctly to the fullness of the African-American experience of the past and present as the lives of Troy and his family, including his wife Rose (played to perfection by Viola Davis), mirror the loves, losses, conflicts, frustrations, triumphs and devastating failures of each and every one of us, making the Maxson family one that is completely recognizable even as we regard the steamroller of a drama unfolding before our eyes.

While Washington's direction remains un-flashy, his performance is blistering in its raging fury and he roars through August Wilson's luxurious dialogue as if he is dining upon the finest meal that he has ever been served. With "Fences," we are witness to one of Denzel Washington's greatest performances in a film of immense skill, passion, texture, command, humor and the full-bloodedness of humanity. 
(Originally reviewed December 2016)

4. "SING STREET"  Directed by John Carney
Forget "La La Land"! This was the true movie musical of the year by a long shot in my opinion, yet many of you may not even realize this as it was another film that was criminally underseen. Set in 1985 Dublin, "Sing Street" tells the story of a boy desiring to impress and win the heart of the older girl of his dreams by forming a band, writing songs and creating a series of music videos just like the ones populating television music programs. 

Writer/Director John Carney, who previously helmed the Oscar winning "Once" (2007) and the even better but barely seen "Begin Again" (2014), has emerged with his most rapturously entertaining and affectionate feature to date which combines a harsh realism and socio/political critique with a delirious optimism and romanticism to the urgency of youthful inspiration and dreams as well as the magic of creation, in this case songwriting, video making and to a greater extent, establishing the first building blocks into one's future.  This is a deceptively simple film as it is an experience that carries a tangible dramatic weight, even as the film is flying high, because this tale of a boy wanting to attract a girl with writing songs becomes a journey of self-discovery, the growth of self-confidence and independence, as well as an exploration of sexual identity, rebelliousness, courage, strength and even salvation. And furthermore, much unlike "La La Land," I can still remember and hum the film's excellent songs to myself, nine full months after having seen the film for my one and only time (and without owning the soundtrack album to boot)!
(Originally reviewed May 2016)

3. "ARRIVAL"  Directed by Denis Villeneuve
The stunning, frightening, confounding, and enthralling science fiction drama starring a wonderful, commanding Amy Adams as a Linguistics professor assigned to communicate and ultimately learn the purpose of the sudden, mysterious appearance of 12 alien space crafts around the globe, is one of 2016's highest achievements. Denis Villeneuve delivered a science fiction film more than worthy of comparisons to the likes of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" (1977) and Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" (2014) for being a film about ideas rather than inter-galactic cataclysm.  

"Arrival," at its core, is a crucial film about the art and artistry found in language and the process of communication and potential understanding, a feat and goal that carries the further potential for ensuring a greater humanity as well as a certain expansion and enlightenment of the mind and consciousness itself.   
(Originally reviewed February 2017)

2. "MOONLIGHT"  Directed by Barry Jenkins
An extraordinary film of tremendous artistry and empathy, Barry Jenkins' astonishing "Moonlight" is a dissertation of Black manhood, a critique of inner city Miami life and a journey of self-discovery as told in three distinct chapters featuring three remarkably cast actors who inexplicably all feel as if they are indeed the same person to aching, devastating degrees.

"Moonlight," for all of its reticence is a film that utilizes its visual poetry to convey oceans of meanings and emotions, where deceptively simple vignettes are designed to convey existential quandaries deeply into the soul desperately attempting to find it sown footing within a world that is intolerant to anything existing outside of the so-called "normal" societal constructs of what a Black man should or should not be or become. This is a film that burrows deeply into the heart, mind and spirit and certainly goes a powerfully long way in allowing audiences of all walks of life to venture a while within the shoes of someone who tends to fall through the cracks of life and is also vilified within the media and some politicians and see traces of oneself in the process. As for me, the film not only accomplished that particular feat, Barry Jenkins gave me a character portrait the likes of which I have never seen before and the overall effect provided profound enlightenment. "Moonlight" is a film of searing pain and beauty and it is unquestionably essential viewing.  
(Originally reviewed November 2016)

1. "THE LOBSTER"  Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
I knew immediately after the conclusion of this rare example of fearless cinema, the very kind of which is in desperately short supply these days, that I had seen the best film of 2016 and furthermore, it is also one of the best films I have seen within this past decade.

"The Lobster," from Director Yorgos Lanthimos,  making his English language debut feature, is a film that defies classification, is defiantly polarizing and is firmly committed to the cinematic universe that it has expertly and disturbingly built. With an aesthetic that somehow feels like Wes Anderson crossed with Stanley Kubrick, the film depicts an unnamed future society where single people are forced to take lodging within The Hotel and over a period of 45 days, they are instructed to find a suitable life mate or else be transformed into an animal. 

Lanthimos takes this concept and utilizes it to create a sharp satire concerning the societal constructs, constraints and expectations placed upon single individuals vs. married or coupled partners and extends it into a harrowing nightmare comedy of existential urgency and doom where one knows the precise day and date of their human demise should they not find themselves coupled, the existence of love and free will be damned. For in the world of "The Lobster," couplehood is a world of barbaric Darwin-ian survivalism.

Colin Farrell elicits quite possibly one of his most committed performances to date as he represents a figure who challenges the system of this new world order and finds himself at the film's excruciating and absolutely brilliant ambiguous conclusion literally pondering if love is indeed blind.

"The Lobster" possesses no middleground whatsoever and I feel that whatever reactions one has towards it will be passionate it its approval or disgust, making discussions and debates more than lively to say the least. For me, this film kicked my ass, tremendously so, and it gave me feelings I have not quite experienced since I first saw Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" (1985) over 30 years ago.  

Yorgos Lanthimos' "The Lobster" is a one-of-a-kind film experience that represents the movies at its boldest and bravest.   
(Originally reviewed June 2016)

There you have it, dear readers!!! My Top Ten  Favorite films of 2016...and now, for 2017, I am more than ready. Let's make this a great movie year!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2017


And now, for this second installment of my annual Savage Scorecard series, I turn to the films that underwhelmed and let me down to varying degrees as well as the ones that truly exhibited the movies at their worst for my particular sensibilities. I always inform you that I see these things so that you will not have to and I stand by that mission statement for this following set of films, which will begin with the disappointments, films that were not necessarily bad per se, but ones that just did not hit the mark for me.


1. "THE BFG"  Directed by Steven Spielberg
When I first learned that Steven Spielberg would be the filmmaker to bring Roald Dahl's classic novel to vivid life, it just felt to be absolutely perfect. However, when I saw the finished result, I was surprised to witness a film that was not only unmemorable, it was one that was sadly toothless, a film that extracted every bit of wicked wit and macabre terror from Dahl's novel in favor of a sanitized, generic effort that suffered from a wooden leading young actress (Ruby Barnhill) and the overly scrubbed clean CGI motion capture performance by Mark Rylance. The last thing a film about a 24 foot tall giant and plucky  human best friend out to save the world from a band of ravenous children eating giants is boring and that is precisely what "The BFG" was, a yawn inducing fantasy that should have kept many of Roald Dahl's darker, rougher, more frightening edges.
(Originally reviewed July 2016)

2. "THE BIRTH OF A NATION"  Directed by Nate Parker
The story of Nat Turner and the slave uprising he began and further planted the seeds for the emancipation of  Black Americans as envisioned by Writer/Producer/Director/Actor Nate Parker was certainly a passion project, but when passion overtakes the truth, then what you end up with is not necessarily a bad film but one that is more than irresponsible and ultimately, ineffective. 

Despite a strong leading performance by Parker and some striking imagery, themes and sequences throughout, what troubled me greatly about Parker's film was all of the unnecessary "dramatic license" he took within a story that possesses nothing but masses of inherent drama. Fabricating characters and key events, most notably the rape of Nat Turner's wife and its role in the birth of the rebellion, which historians have proclaimed no evidence exists, diluted an experience that should've been incendiary into something that was disingenuous with its manipulation. The legacy of Nat Turner and all of us who wish to know more about him, and therefore our nation and ourselves deserved much, MUCH better. 
(Originally reviewed October 2016)

J.K. Rowling's cinematic return to the wizard universe she created with the Harry Potter series was something I was most certainly looking forward to, especially as David Yates, who helmed the final four films of the Harry Potter" film series to such a graceful, artful degree, would take the filmmaking reins once again for this first installment of a planned five film series. Unfortunately, I again left the theater quite underwhelmed,  not because what I saw was necessarily bad, for it was not. It was all just so undercooked, despite all of the hefty storytelling place setting Rowling obviously devised. 

The film felt as if we truly were receiving a "Chapter One" but instead of simply turning a page, as you would do for a novel, we have to wait years for "Chapter Two" and that is the film;s biggest problem. That in a novel, the first chapter doesn't need to be completely satisfying but a film, on the other hand, certainly requires a sense of completeness, even if it is a serialized one. Yes, I'll be there for the second film and Rowling is, of course, getting her feet wet and I am certain she has a master plan firmly in place. But that said, all of the proceedings will have to add up to something more substantive than what was on display in this debut episode.
(Originally reviewed November 2016)

4. "GHOSTBUSTERS" Directed by Paul Feig
An enormous amount of talent, in front of and behind the camera, was ultimately wasted in this completely unnecessary film that was, again, not necessarily bad but one that was empty of originality and suffered greatly from its own identity crisis.This sort of sequel/kind of remake but not quite essentially served up the same story from Ivan Reitman's original 1984 film of the same name but without any elements that would have made this 2016 film stand strongly on its own cinematic feet. It stunned me to see Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones so comedically defanged and as much as I LOVE LOVE, LOVE Kate McKinnon on "Saturday Night Live," I am still utterly confused at whatever it was she was possibly doing throughout this film, a bizarre, Andy Kaufman-esque imitation of a socially awkward Science whiz. It just didn't connect at all, the laughs were few and far between and when the CGI overkill of the extended climax lumbered on and on, I had all but checked out.
(Originally reviewed July 2016)  

5. "LA LA LAND"  Directed by Damien Chazelle
Yes, I know you all LOVED it to the moon and back. Yes, it is winning all of the industry awards and I still believe that it will sweep the Academy Awards as well, winning Best Picture, Director, Actress and Song. It IS a gorgeous film. It is a visually resplendent ode to the Hollywood movie musicals of days long gone and I commend Damien Chazalle for directing a film that is worlds away from his searing, outstanding "Whiplash" (2014). But when it was all over, I simply felt, "Meh." 

Again, and overall, I was unmoved, still as much of a surprise to me as I am certain it is to you, especially after I was so amazed with the film's bravura opening sequence on that traffic jam filled highway. Even so, "La La Land" was a musical that left me not singing even one song in my head since seeing it--that is a major detraction in my book. And furthermore, the character portrayed by Ryan Gosling, just face it, folks--is an insufferable hipster jerk fueling a "White Man Saves Jazz" narrative that was more than disconcerting, often leaving more than its share of sour notes for me. I know that so many of you will be cheering the films inevitable victory on Oscar night and I am honestly happy for you, as it is always a wonderful thing to embrace a film so tightly. I wish that I loved it as well...but, I just didn't.  
(Originally reviewed December 2016)


5. "FINDING DORY"  Directed by Andrew Stanton  Co-Directed by Angus MacLane
Right!! I just gave negative marks to the beloved "La La Land," and now I am placing the latest excursion from Pixar as one of my least favorite films of the entire year. No, I am not heartless but "Finding Dory," the unneeded sequel to the outstanding "Finding Nemo" (2003), was yet another Pixar deep dive back into the well where they fished not for the art but solely for the commerce making yet another "lunchbox movie" that was bloated, padded, intermittently entertaining yet still a diversion where the original was enchanting. Yes, there is something compelling about a story that is essentially about a lost special needs child (again beautifully voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) searching for her parents and the community that helps her achieve her goals. But when it is all said and done, I would watch "Finding Nemo" again today and I have no need to ever sit through "Finding Dory" again.  
(Originally reviewed June 2016)

4. "MAGGIE'S PLAN"  Directed by Rebecca Miller
Oh, the excruciating pain of an independent film so in love with its own voice and yet has truly nothing to say. Rebecca Miller's so-called romantic comedy "Maggie's Plan" starring the inexplicably popular with critics and independent film audiences, Ms. Greta Gerwig as the titular Maggie. But instead of being pelted by another round of self-congratulatory quirkiness, the film was unforgivably bland, dry, and lifeless featuring a collective of painfully self-absorbed characters (including Ethan Hawke and Julianne Moore sporting a silly accent) caught in a shallow love triangle all the while living in yet another blindingly lily White New York City. If the film had possibly been about supporting characters Bill Hader and Maya Rudolph's interracial relationships and parenthood to their little ones, that would have been a plan much more worth pursuing.
(Originally reviewed June 2016) 

3. "MONEY MONSTER"  Directed by Jodie Foster
So forgettable that I actually had to remember that I even saw this movie, Jodie Foster's "Money Monster" is a would-be hostage thriller that happens to be fueled by a socio/political/economic critique pitting a completely fed up and gun wielding member of the 99% (wildly overplayed by Jack O'Connell) against his captive 1% television financial huckster (George Clooney). Despite the overall professionalism in front of and behind the camera, as well as the potential for creating a powerfully effective film of moral outrage, "Money Monster" felt to be more like a lazy throwback to the tepid popcorn thrillers of the late 1980's. It is just a film where none of the participants felt to be remotely inspired to do...well, anything...and so in turn, I was completely uninspired as a viewer.
(Originally reviewed May 2016)

2. "BATMAN v. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE"  Directed by Zack Snyder
I still contend that this widely maligned comic book epic is not the full on disaster most would have you believe. In fact, I did like Ben Affleck's take on the character of Batman as an older, angrier, more unrepentantly violent vigilante. Additionally, Director Zack Snyder certainly did create one image after another that was indeed quite haunting and possessed with an almost dream logic. That being said, Snyder is not much of a storyteller and his skills as a visual stylist certainly got the better of him again with this bloated, bludgeoning, ear shattering, mind numbing and painfully overlong film.

"Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" entirely felt to be a film that is just beside itself trying to create the extended film universe for DC Comics that Marvel achieved for its own collective of heroes and villains, over the past 8 years no less, and the strains of the efforts are blindingly apparent. Snyder's storytelling is downright sloppy, the character motivations and plot situations are often arbitrary at best and just as with Snyder's "Man Of Steel" (2012), the film suffers tremendously from another shamelessly extended climax that is nothing but cacophonous and gratuitous. Basically, the greatest problem of this film is that none of it is any fun whatsoever, where even the sequence depicting the film's title is a big, giant bore starring two supposed heroes who only exist as men of extreme carnage but love their Mothers desperately. Again, not a disaster but a tremendously flawed and utterly joyless affair.
(Originally reviewed March 2016)


1. "SUICIDE SQUAD" Directed by David Ayer
Now, this was a disaster!

Big, loud and dumb, the DC movie universe flopped around to the point of becoming wholly irrelevant with David Ayer's worthless, stupid, inexcusably steaming pile of mega-excess. Being presented as the villainous underbelly to the DC heroes, this supposed "Dirty Dozen" styled excursion was dead on arrival with a collection of anti-heroes that were not remotely villainous, they're just "misunderstood" outcasts, gentle psychopaths and actually, not terribly far removed from what we already saw within the heroes of "Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice" and all saddled with bargain basement psychological underpinnings. 

With Jared Leto's  much hyped version of The Joker clearly excised and abandoned upon the cutting room floor, he never registered at all. And frankly, none of the so-called characters (two of whom portrayed by Will Smith and Margot Robbie) were worth giving a damn about, least of all the film's primary villain, the hip-swiveling Enchantress who serves no purpose other than to re-create the vortex from the original "Ghostbusters" (1984) and have the titular squadron battle endless whack-a-mole minions for the bulk of the film's two hour running time. 

Dear readers, I absolutely HATED this movie because what I just described is the movie. The whole damn movie--a big budget, big screen video game that you are forced to watch but never allowed to play.
(Originally reviewed August 2016)


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

LANGUAGE ARTS: a review of "Arrival"

Based upon "Story Of  Your Life" by Ted Chiang
Screenplay Written by Eric Heisserer
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
**** (four stars)

Never did it really occur to me that right as I was compiling my final listings for my favorite and least favorite films of 2016, in addition to preparing myself for the Academy Awards, would I see a film that would greatly force me to alter my list. Certainly the possibility exists but I never expected a change so powerful.

Dear readers, many of you may already be in the know and I am just a late-comer to the party, such as it is, but Director Denis Villeneuve's "Arrival" has soared to sitting at very close to the tip top of my favorite films of 2016, a motion picture experience that is more than worthy of any and all accolades it has and will continue to receive. It is a science fiction film, yes, but one that is not the least bit concerned with explosions and wars, heroes and villains or anything approaching a more fantasy based aesthetic. Villeneuve has created a science fiction film based within ideas and concepts that speak directly to the human experience, making a film that is simultaneously intimate and epic, individualistic and communal, all the while bridging the gaps with an elegant yet disturbing beauty and reverence to the gift of communication.

For the benefit of those of you who still may not have made their way to the film as of yet, I will keep my plot description appropriately brief. "Arrival" stars Amy Adams as Linguistics professor Louise Banks who is called upon by the United States military to decode the language and discover the full purpose of an alien species that has mysteriously appeared over 12 locations around the globe.

Working alongside Mathematician/theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and under the command of the gruff Colonel GT Weber (Forest Whitaker), Louise attempts to establish first contact and build communication with the species soon to be dubbed "heptapods" and who possess a written language of circular symbols, before an increasingly anxiety ridden worldwide public falls apart into chaos and the increasingly jittery world military elects to wage war.

Denis Villeneuve's "Arrival" is proudly of the tradition set forth by the likes of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968) and Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind" (1977) and continued with Robert Zemeckis' noble yet flawed "Contact" (1997). Yet for my money, "Arrival" sits most comfortably somewhere within the cinematic universe that houses Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar" (2014)  and Terrence Malick's "The Tree Of Life" (2011) as "Arrival" displays a rich cinematic tapestry where coincidence, fate, free will and destiny converge and majestically intertwine and with a wonderfully, fully organic, sturdy performance by Amy Adams perfectly centered at the film's core. Now having seen the film, it stuns me that she was not nominated for an Academy Award, for Adams is indeed the full heart and soul of the film and she is most deserving of any attention and accolades she may receive for her work in a complex project such as this one.

Denis Villeneuve, working brilliantly alongside the striking, seamless, photo realistic visuals by Cinematographer Bradford Young and the eerie, rumbling sound design plus the unnerving, haunting and undeniably innovative score by Composer Johann Johannsson, has masterfully merged the accessible and the esoteric, ensuring "Arrival" remains emotionally and conceptually grounded even as the story voyages into the cosmic via quantum physics, cryptic symbols and symbolism and even the nature of time itself, either linear or cyclical.

Through these concepts, Villenueve presents a difficult philosophical conundrum and vision that may take some time to wrap one's head around for some viewers--including myself--and to that, I greatly appreciated Villeneuve for trusting that his audience would be more than intelligent enough to place all of the film's pieces together to craft the sumptuous whole, which does ask of us to really put into practice the rhetorical concept of "If I knew then what I know now." And let's say that you did possess that impossible knowledge. Would you then make the same choices?

And with all of that being said, Villeneuve, most importantly, never for a moment relinquishes his powerful directorial hold upon the overall humanity of the story and the humanistic themes I feel that anyone viewing the film could be able to relate with but also a theme that carries the very message most needed within our increasingly divisive times, as "Arrival" is completely about the art and necessity of communication and the myriad worlds of language that exist in order to establish that very communication.

On the surface, Villeneuve has created a tale that is more than compelling. The race against time story of a woman urgently trying to forge a communicative bond with a previously unknown species before potential warfare and therefore, inevitable annihilation is an especially dire warning to all of us in the audience as we exist in a time when our leaders are more prone to shoot first and never ask questions either before or later and additionally, any sense of actual diplomacy is viewed as a weakness. On the contrary, Villeneuve argues, communication is perhaps the most courageous act any one of us could perform because to actually take the time to try and understand someone wholly different than ourselves, whatever our station in life might be, can potentially be life-altering. Communication at its most effective leads to information and with information, there exists the potential for elevation. Yet, to communicate, one needs the tools and that is where language...ahem...arrives.

What is language? According to Merriam Webster, the word is defined as "a systematic means of communicating ideas or feelings by the use of conventionalized signs, sounds, gestures, or marks having understood meanings." Combine that definition with an Italian educational philosophy that promotes the concept of there existing 100 languages we possess and are able to learn and not simply ones solely based in spoken and written words around the globe.

What of the language that communicates through visual and/or audible means or even drawing, painting, sculpture, dance, athleticism, Mathematics, the Sciences, music and of course, for me, film? Whatever it takes for one to reach and make meaningful communicative contact with another is the what Denis Villeneuve's "Arrival" celebrates at its highest. To reach the goal of understanding what was once incomprehensible requires tremendous patience, time, and the willingness to keep trying to forge that connection even when the fear of the "other" or failure or both threatens to overtake.

Villeneuve is superbly in tune with all of those emotions as "Arrival" possess a sense of wonder and awe that is equal to the palpable fear and anxiety for possible apocalyptic doom. But instead of blasting through with all weapons blazing, we are given a film that urges us to ponder a world in which our brains and our hearts carried just that much more currency. And how our brains and hearts will expand and become more enlightened with the newfound knowledge, for with language and communication, we can travel, we can navigate and we can even change the world--both inner and outer--if we only allowed ourselves the chance.

Denis Villeneuve's "Arrival" is first rate science fiction of a temperament and quality that is truly a rarity to behold. And once again, it is also one of the very best films of 2016.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


2016 was not one of the cinema's better years. Not by a long shot.

As with 2015, it was a strange movie year during which there were so many films released that I chose to not even see, where big budgeted features were disappointments to varying degrees and even some of the most celebrated films of the year were ones that I was quite soft on. 2016 was a cinematic year that felt to be largely uninspired and therefore, a year where there were barely, if any, real surprises. Films that made one sit up and lean into the silver screen with anticipation and excitement. It was a year where, frankly, mediocrity ruled, and while these sorts of things tend to flow in waves, I am hoping that this does remain to be true with 2017 possibly being a much ore exciting and innovative movie year and not the contrary, a year where movies are so terribly pre-packaged and ultimately, disposable.

My overall disenchantment with the 2016 movie year has flowed all the way to my Savage Scorecard series, which has typically been featured in four distinct postings but this year, due to a lack of titles worthy of mention, the series has been truncated to just three. For this first section, I am, however, so happy to give one more hearty pat on the back to a few films that have made my personal Honor Roll as well as "Number 11," the films that just missed making it to the Top Ten Favorites of the year.

And so, with that...

SAVAGE CINEMA'S 2016 HONOR ROLL (in alphabetical order) 

1. "CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR"  Directed by Annthony & Joe Russo
While I will still contend to my continuing fatigue with the sheer amount of comic book movies being released, I will also more than happily express my excitement for whenever I see a good one and Director Anthony and Joe Russo's "Captain America: Civil War" was far and away the best comic book themed film of 2016. Eschewing with origin stories and undercooked villains, the Russo's valiantly extended and expanded the Marvel Comics Cinematic Universe grandly by turning itself relatively inwards, exploring the nature of our collective of heroes through their motivations and demons, thus providing their showdown against each other with palpable gravitas, urgency and narry a mention of anyone's Mother. 

Showing a light-footed dexterity and agility, the Russo's seem to be gleefully relishing the challenge of incorporating a plethora of storylines, new characters, the unexpectedly terrific return of Spider-Man (now played by Tom Holland) into the main Marvel narrative and their central figure of the increasingly independent super soldier Steve Rogers (Chris Evans), whose own"brother-against-brother" conflict between himself and Tony Stark (the irreplaceable Robert Downey Jr.) some honest emotional power to augment the rock 'em, sock' em battles. Strong performances and seamless special effects throughout, the Russo's have guided adventure, excitement, pathos and increasingly strong shades of gray thematics of this next installment...ahem...heroically.
(Originally reviewed May 2016) 

Tim Burton's creative resurgence continued strongly with his striking, complex and even nightmarish adaptation of author Ransom Riggs's best selling novels so effectively that the proceedings felt as if they sprung from his own brain rather than from an outside source. In many ways, "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children" felt to be of a piece with past Burton films from "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), to "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street" (2007) to even the adult fables of the glorious "Big Fish" (2003) as we were treated to a story filled with fractured family dramas and teenage romances to a collective of bizarre, differently-abled children pursued through time holes by vengeful monsters designed to kill them and triumphantly eat their eyeballs in order to gain eternal life.  

Burton's visuals and atmospherics remain as top flight as ever but this time conveying a dark bedtime story quality that will have you looking over your shoulders at the shadows dancing on your walls. And while the performances of the younger cast members were a bit wooden, they were splendidly anchored by the sultry protectiveness of Eva Green's titular heroine, the graceful empathy of Terrence Stamp's Grandfather character and the horrific, maniacal fury of Samuel L. Jackson's eyeball eating menace.
(Originally reviewed October 2016)

3. "STAR TREK BEYOND"  Directed by Justin Lin
This third installment in the re-booted "Star Trek" franchise from Director Justin Lin, taking over for J.J. Abrams, delivered the goods in another rare sequel that was more than worthy of your attention in 2016. In addition to all of the wildly accelerated whiz-bang actions sequences, Lin's "Star Trek Beyond" feels more like an extended episode of the television series in all of the best ways as the film focuses sharply upon the characters and the smaller, quieter moments between them to illustrate a vision of humanity, solidarity and combined problem solving to create a greater future which is then contrasted with the film's villain's single minded and drone aided onslaught. I do think that it was not a mistake to have had the film released right in the middle of the real world Republican and Democratic national conventions, and seeing as to how our election turned out, I think the messages weaved into the narrative of "Star Trek Beyond" resonate that much stronger.
(Originally reviewed July 2016)

SAVAGE CINEMA'S NUMBER 11 (in alphabetical order)

1. "EAT THAT QUESTION: FRANK ZAPPA IN HIS OWN WORDS" Directed by Thorsten Schuette
To gain a perfect primer into the superior mind of the late composer/satirist/provocateur Frank Zappa, look no further than Director Thorsten Schuette's meticulously researched and edited plus briskly paced documentary. Affectionate and reverential for longtime fans and more than a formidable challenge for those unfamiliar with the man and who may house pre-conceived notions about him, "Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words" is as advertised, a non-linear exploration of Zappa's viewpoints throughout his career and nearly up to his passing in 1993, a worldview that remains several steps ahead of many even 23 years after his death. To have the ability to engage with one of our collective history's most idiosyncratic minds, all one would have to do is to spend time with Schuette's excellent film.
(Originally reviewed August 2016) 

2. "EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!"  Directed by Richard Linklater
Writer/Director Richard Linklater's "spiritual sequel" to his classic 1970's set classic "Dazed And Confused" (1993), is a raunchy, rambling, raucous ode to young manhood during one epic weekend at the beginning of the 1980 college school year for the members of the university's baseball team.

As with many of the films in Linklater's filmography, "Everybody Wants Some!!" is a "slice of life" film that functions without a plot or storyline but serves as a deeply perceptive and acutely observed study of male behavior, and the overall effect is profoundly authentic to the point that you may feel as if you are watching a documentary. To that end, and just as with "Dazed And Confused," Linklater's meticulous attention to details serve to make the period design of 1980 feel so authentic as you may be fooled into thinking that this film is actually from that year instead of a newly created release.

Richard Linklater is truly one of our finest cinematic time travelers and not solely through visual details and impeccable soundtracks. He is purely an emotional storyteller and time traveler as he finds the pitch perfect connective tissues that exist between generations, therefore making the 1980 set "Everybody Wants Some!!" also serve as a brilliant quasi-sequel to the present day "Boyhood" (2014) and also as a quasi-prequel to the post-college "Before Sunrise" (1995)
(Originally reviewed April 2016)

3. "JACKIE" Directed by Pablo Larrain
Director Pablo Larrain's ambitious, audacious, compelling, often riveting and even disturbing gaze into the life of Jackie Kennedy a tad before and shortly after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy was one of 2016's most exquisitely gripping films.

With Natalie Portman's complex and even unnerving portrayal of the titular figure, Larrain utilizes a non-linear structure with a politely contentious interview between Jackie Kennedy and an unnamed journalist (Billy Crudup) as connective tissue, to explore the psychologically complex themes of public and private personas, the layers of self-preservation, the process and undertaking of myth making and legacy building as well as media manipulation as a means of controlling the story of your own life before others create it for you.
(Originally reviewed January 2017)

4. "MANCHESTER BY THE SEA" Directed by Kenneth Lonergan
A quiet storm of a film with a quiet storm of a leading performance at the center, Writer/Director Kenneth Lonergan's "Manchester By The Sea" is searing adult drama that feels as true and as honest as life itself as the film eschews with any and all contrivances in favor of a grounded realism that has no need or place for any prefabricated histrionics.

This story of a reticent Massachusetts janitor (Casey Affleck in his finest, fullest performance to date) who is entrusted with being the guardian of his teenage nephew after a family tragedy is a poignantly devastating exploration of one man's limitations, anguish and failings in a completely non-judgmental fashion, a tactic which therefore asks of us to explore our own limitations and failings. "Manchester By The Sea" is a powerful, sobering, somber adult drama that speaks directly to the strains and struggles of the human condition with supreme humanity and gravity.
(Originally reviewed January 2017)

5. "MIDNIGHT SPECIAL" Directed by Jeff Nichols
This instantly captivating thriller from Writer/Director Jeff Nichols was one of 2016's finest surprises as it merges a Father/son drama, a Southern based chase film, and science fiction mystery all into a sumptuously executed whole that is gripping, perplexing, and filled with an honest imagination that is of a rare quality in 2016. To say much more than that would reveal more than I would wish so just go see this film!
(Originally reviewed December 2016)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


The time has arrived, dear readers. The time has definitely arrived!!!

This month's activities on Savage Cinema will nearly exclusively revolve around the Oscar season and my final tallies of the cinematic year of 2016 with my annual Savage Scorecard series, which I do really need to get cracking with.

In years past, my year end compilation series ran in four parts but this year, I am thinking that it will run in three--the full explanation of why that has come to pass will be included once the series begins being written and posted. But, even with one less installment, it is more than enough to keep me busy in addition to also making Oscar predictions and writing an Oscar wrap up as well.

Because of that, I am almost thankful that February is typically an extremely dry month for new film releases (folks, if there were only two of me...) but even so, there is one film that I am most interested in seeing later this month.
"Get Out," the horror/thriller/social satire from Writer/Director Jordan Peele, has blazed its way into my consciousness ever since I first saw the trailer m any months ago Early reviews have been looking strong and again, while I am not one for horror films, something that carries a racial slant as well as an African American male lead--something you never see--I am more than ready to check this one out.

As for anything else, we shall just have to see how the month maps itself out. So, as always, wish me luck, I pledge to do my very best and I'll see you when the house lights go down!!!!!