Yasuke is a Bloody & Brilliant Anime About an African Samurai Legend (Review)

Yasuke is a Bloody & Brilliant Anime About an African Samurai Legend (Review)

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

Lucky is a Sharp & Surreal Horror Film That Speaks Terrifying Social Truths (Review)

Lucky is a Sharp & Surreal Horror Film That Speaks Terrifying Social Truths (Review)

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

Minari is a Lovely & Intimate Look at an Asian Family’s Pursuit of The American Dream (Review)

Minari is a Lovely & Intimate Look at an Asian Family’s Pursuit of The American Dream (Review)

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

The Boys In The Band is An Intimate & Powerful Window Into The Past Piloted By A Phenomenal Cast (Review)

The Boys In The Band is An Intimate & Powerful Window Into The Past Piloted By A Phenomenal Cast (Review)

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

The Invisible Man Is A Terrifying Horror Film With A Tremendous Turn From Elisabeth Moss (Review)

The Invisible Man Is A Terrifying Horror Film With A Tremendous Turn From Elisabeth Moss (Review)

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

Emma is A Charming Period Drama With The Experience of Looking at a Painting (Review)

Emma is A Charming Period Drama With The Experience of Looking at a Painting (Review)

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

Kevin’s Year-in-Review & The Best Movies of 2019 Feat. Apollo 11, Jojo Rabbit & Climax

Kevin’s Year-in-Review & The Best Movies of 2019 Feat. Apollo 11, Jojo Rabbit & Climax

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

Weathering With You is an Astonishing Anime Film That’s Powerful in its Poignancy (Review)

Weathering With You is an Astonishing Anime Film That’s Powerful in its Poignancy (Review)

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

Uncut Gems is a Chaotic & Compelling Career-Best for the Safdies and Adam Sandler (Review)

Uncut Gems is a Chaotic & Compelling Career-Best for the Safdies and Adam Sandler (Review)

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

Curiosity Kills All Who See The Catastrophe That is ‘Cats’ (Review)

Curiosity Kills All Who See The Catastrophe That is ‘Cats’ (Review)

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

The Tides of Waves Are Messy, But Always Powerful And Compelling (Review)

The Tides of Waves Are Messy, But Always Powerful And Compelling (Review)

Writer-director Trey Edward Shults first found a filmmaking home for himself with A24 after the Sundance success of his debut feature Krisha, and both parties continued their working relationship together through the psychological drama It Comes At Night. Now, Shults has crafted a new film with the niche studio in Waves, a family drama centered around the trials and tribulations of an African-American family living in Miami, Florida.  Read more

The Holidays Are Off To A Hilarious and Heartfelt Start With Last Christmas (Review)

The Holidays Are Off To A Hilarious and Heartfelt Start With Last Christmas (Review)

After surprising audiences with A Simple Favor, a self-aware parody of the romantic thriller genre, director Paul Feig collaborates with actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson on Last Christmas, a romantic comedy based on the iconic song from singer-songwriter George Michael and his band Wham!. Feig blended an intriguing mystery and his trademark comedy to perfection with the former film, and in Last Christmas, merges his sense of humor with a heartfelt and humanist drama about overcoming personal dysfunction and becoming a better person with enjoyable, if at times sugary results. Read more

The Lighthouse is a Magnetic & Mind-bending Horror Film With Artistic Flair (Review)

The Lighthouse is a Magnetic & Mind-bending Horror Film With Artistic Flair (Review)

A24 has gained a solid reputation for distributing unique arthouse horror films, from the psychological drama It Comes At Night and Krisha from Trey Edward Shults and Ari Aster’s two features Hereditary and Midsommar to Robert Eggers’s 2015 Sundance smash, The Witch. This weekend brings their release of Eggers’ followup feature, The Lighthouse, which delivers in every facet of its status as an excellent exercise in arthouse genre film, from its haunting, surreal imagery and black-and-white cinematography to stellar performances from Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, and open-ended ideas about masculinity and companionship. Read more

Dolemite Is My Name is a Hilarious & Triumphant Return To Form For Eddie Murphy (Review)

Dolemite Is My Name is a Hilarious & Triumphant Return To Form For Eddie Murphy (Review)

Following a string of box office bombs, Eddie Murphy has mostly been absent from the silver screen, with his last two starring feature films being the mediocre comedies Mr. Church and A Thousand Words. However, this weekend, he returns to cinema with a powerhouse comeback performance and a strong hand in producing Dolemite Is My Name, a biopic about “The Godfather of Rap” Rudy Ray Moore’s rise to stardom upon the creation of the blaxploitation icon Dolemite, and it stands as one of the best movies of the year thanks to strong performances from its ensemble cast, a sharp script rife with hilarious dialogue as well as intimate character moments, and a soundtrack authentic to the funky sounds of the 1970s. Read more