18-52: Calm Like a Bomb - “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) & Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation (TV Movie) Review
Welcome to 18-52, a weekly review column that tackles two current releases on your cinema screen and in your stream. This week “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017) & Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation (2018)
“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” (2017) Review
“The Last Jedi” is absolutely the “Star Wars” film we deserved and didn’t expect. The prequels, stand alone “story” films and even the animated series considered canon are a frustratingly repetitious and revisionist cycle. “The Last Jedi” is not a crude predictable entry to the series; Rian Johnson has delivered a luminous spark that’s left the future of the franchise looking bright.
“The Untamed” (2017) Review
“The Untamed” is a collision of Stanley Kubrick’s style and Pedro Almodovar’s contemporary social melodrama. The Kubrickian influences manifest in dizzying atmospherics, sensory deprivation and crashing waves of alien worlds weaved into the sound design. The Almodovar flair comes in the watching of this powder keg of intertwined relationships.
“Horror Movie: A Low Budget Nightmare” (2017) Review
There’s a kind of rare documentary about a film that enhances and arguably eclipses its subject. “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse,” a behind the scenes look at the madness that forged the masterful “Apocalypse Now” was the primary example; until now.
"Blade Runner 2049" Review
There’s not going to be a more stunningly composed film this year than “Blade Runner 2049”. Director Denis Villeneuve and cinematographer Roger Deakins have crafted a remarkable, immersive, sensory experience that embraces you wholly. For the cast Ryan Gosling, Sylvia Hoeks, Harrison Ford and Jared Leto, each scene comes with mood altering atmosphere. The world of “Blade Runner 2049” doesn’t feel like a creation rather that it exists and Villeneuve and Deakins have created a viewing portal into a prospective future.
“I Am Not Your Negro” (2016) Review
Raul Peck’s Oscar nominated documentary is a manifestation of the profound intellect of author and activist James Arthur Baldwin. “I Am Not Your Negro,” is possibly one of the most revelatory, insightful and prescient visual documents on civil rights and race that has ever been committed to screen.
Revisionist History and "Churchill" (2017) Review
“Churchill” is to its subject what the “The Green Berets” was to the Vietnam War. “Berets” attempted to make a World War Two heroic propaganda in the wrong war. “Churchill” wants to humanise the man and instead devolves into a blatantly misleading revisionist history.
Ultim-APE-um: “War for the Planet of the Apes” (2017) Review
Reeves and Bomback may be playing with actors in leotards, and the incredible CGI transformation; but the pleasure of the entire Apes series is that they’re about something. They’re ultimately about the frightening consequence of the human impulse to innovate and explore. They place a fragile humanity in a position that requires empathy and diplomacy, in the face of a threatening circumstance
The Thin Line Between Malick and Spielberg - "Dunkirk" (2017)
Christopher Nolan’s latest film “Dunkirk” is a technical wonder. The jaw-dropping IMAX 70mm cinematography from Hoyte Van Hoytema (who lensed “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” “Her” and “Interstellar”), precision editing from Nolan’s regular collaborator Lee Smith and deafening and terrifying sound editing from Richard King et al create a staggering and immersive experience.
“Ordinary People” (2016) Sydney Film Festival Review
One hopes desperately that this confronting film is an exaggeration - not the ‘ordinary’ experience in Manilla. “Ordinary People,” is not a neo-realist film about working class life, set in a culture of poverty, making a case for redistribution of wealth. The grim reality portrayed is horrific, the moral undertones make it mean.
“The Wall” (2017) Sydney Film Festival Review
“The Wall” is a war movie, make no bones about it. Despite the slick premise, the refreshingly sound logic, the ‘real-time’ experience of the characters and the blistering pace, it presents the conflicted ethics and morality of the American war in Afghanistan.