Giallos are far from the most accessible horror subgenre; a lot of them are often sold as straightforward horror films but end up being slow-burn mysteries with little gore and suspense until the third act, while the journeys within them are populated with several jarring mood changes and shifts in tone. Leave it to the genius of writer-director Edgar Wright and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns to make the genre accessible for general American audiences with Last Night In Soho, a mesmerizing, engrossing and eerie mystery-horror film that wears its Italian giallo influences on its sleeve, takes viewers back in time to 1960s London with a massive, energetic soundtrack, and is as wondrous as it is unnerving thanks to creative visuals.
In the ongoing push for more creators from diverse backgrounds in the film industry, one of the most prominent filmmakers in the world of animation has been Mexican writer-director Jorge R. Gutierrez, who first made waves on Nickelodeon with his cartoon series El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera and feature film The Book of Life. Gutierrez continues to be a voice to pay attention to with Maya And The Three, a new Netflix animated miniseries that tells a marvelous, fantastical tale for families of all races and ages to find enthralling thanks to gorgeous animation and stellar performances from its voice cast, as well as Gutierrez’s energetic writing and direction.
Ever since his feature film directing debut in 1977, Ridley Scott has been a master of crafting the epic movie no matter the genre, from the Crusades-set Kingdom of Heaven and the Oscar-winning Gladiator set in ancient Rome to the sci-fi dystopia Blade Runner and several films in the Alien franchise. He succeeds once again in the epic genre with his latest film, The Last Duel, which tells a grand and timely yet intimate and secular tale based on actual events with an innovative story structure that’s not without its flaws, but they’re more than made up for by strong performances from its cast, authentic set and costume design, an ominous tone and thrilling action sequences.
The partnership between film distributor LionsGate and production company Millennium Media has been shaky as far as their output in the action movie genre is concerned; for every box office success like The Hitman’s Bodyguard and The Expendables franchise, there’s an underwhelming disappointment like the 2019 Hellboy reboot and Angel Has Fallen. Thankfully, their latest collaboration, The Protégé, is on the former side of the spectrum thanks to strong direction from Martin Campbell, entertaining action sequences, and solid performances from Michael Keaton and Maggie Q. Read more
From Masaaki Yuasa’s gonzo Devilman Crybaby and the fighting anime Kengan Ashura to a CGI continuation of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex and LeSean Thomas’s original Cannon Busters, Netflix’s anime catalog is full of standout originals and manga adaptations with something to satisfy every anime aficionado, whether one likes robots, shamans or samurai warriors. LeSean Thomas’ latest anime, Yasuke, combines all that and more, as it is a series loosely based on an actual figure: Yasuke is historically recorded as the first African samurai warrior, serving under the feudal lord Nobunaga Oda in 16th century Japan. Read more
If there’s any niche of the film industry that rising filmmakers commonly break into, it’s the horror genre, and Iranian-American director Natasha Kermani should do just that in her second feature film, Lucky. Together, she and writer-lead actress Brea Grant have crafted a darkly funny but terrifying truthful film about the horrors women face on a daily basis, and the film presents these truths in captivating fashion through a surreal tone, a creative script, incredible visuals and Grant’s standout lead performance. Read more
Lee Isaac Chung’s directorial debut film Minari is getting buzz in multiple categories at the Academy Awards this year, and upon first watch, it’s easy to see why it’s worthy of all the accolades it’s sure to receive. The film dedicates itself to depicting both an Asian-American experience and the trials of life on farmland in the deep South through an authentic, heartfelt script, grounded, realistic performances from its ensemble cast, and a feel that’s as gorgeous aurally as it is visually. Read more
In 1970, William Friedkin adapted The Boys In The Band, Mart Crowley’s controversial but famous play about a circle of closeted gay friends celebrating a birthday party that turns into a night of uncomfortable revelations for the silver screen. Fifty years later, producer Ryan Murphy assembled an all-LGBTQ cast to bring the story to life once again, and the result is an intimate, heartbreaking film anchored by phenomenal performances from everyone involved, and capped off with a stark reminder about the uncertain times in which we currently live. Read more
From Sinister in 2012 to Happy Death Day in 2017, Blumhouse Productions is a production company that prides itself on crafting low-budget horror films from a growing list of rising auteurs, although, for every masterpiece like Get Out, there’s a dud on the level of Truth or Dare. Thankfully, The Invisible Man is on the positive end of that spectrum thanks to creative direction from Leigh Whannell, a stellar lead performance from Elisabeth Moss, and a clever way of grounding the classic H.G. Wells character into our modern times. Read more
Jane Austen is one of the most prolific authors of all time, and her body of work has been adapted from the page to the silver screen on a multitude of occasions, from Ang Lee’s 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility to Joe Wright’s feature directorial debut rendition of Pride and Prejudice. One of the most famous Austen adaptations was Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, which left audiences howling with laughter and left speechless over its creativity in modernizing Austen’s novel Emma in a mid-90s era high school in Beverly Hills, California. Read more
2019 was another year full of political chaos, a continuously depressing news cycle, environmental turmoil and turbulent discourse in all aspects of general conversation, but the medium of cinema and movie theaters were there to provide escapism for audiences looking to take a break from it all. And there was enough of it to go around for audiences of all genders, races and sexes, from the box-office record-breaking finale to a twenty-two movie-long saga in Avengers: Endgame and a surplus of strong directorial debuts from new female voices in filmmaking to unflinching looks at African-American life in the face of gentrification and epic trips down memory lane from legendary auteurs Quentin Tarantino and Martin Scorsese. But what stood out the most this year were the films with hopeful messages about the future of mankind, authentic portraits of life from different parts of the country, and critiques of modern masculinity. That being said, the year in movies ended on such a strong note, that narrowing down the year’s best movies to just ten proved to be more than difficult. So without further ado, the following list takes a look back at the last year in movies, and the fifteen best films of 2019. Read more
Feature length Japanese anime continues to fly under the radar among the several mediums of animation, and one filmmaker that’s become prolific within the niche in recent years is Makoto Shinkai, who has made a name for himself by combining young romance narratives with concepts rooted in science fiction. His first film to breakthrough with an American audience was Children Who Chase Lost Voices, which came out in 2011 to critical acclaim, but he would gain all that and more in 2017, when his body-swapping and time-jumping romance, Your Name, would become the highest grossing Japanese film of all time. Read more
Adam Sandler is a comedian whose film slate has been often ranked near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to cinematic entertainment in recent years, but when he branches out into dramatic territory, he turns in an unforgettable performance. Sandler turns in what’s arguably his career-best work as an actor in Uncut Gems, which is also a career-best film from Josh and Benny Safdie thanks to the evolution of their filmmaking craft, strong performances from Sandler and the entire ensemble, and a realistic portrayal of New York City nightlife. Read more
Andrew Lloyd Webber has made such a prolific name for himself as an impresario in the world of musical theater, that there have been select attempts at bringing his work from the stage to the silver screen; first with Evita in the mid-90s, and the 2004 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. Now, after becoming one of the longest running shows on Broadway since its debut in 1981, his arguably most famous musical, Cats, finally gets the big-screen treatment courtesy of Universal Pictures and co-writer/director Tom Hooper. Read more