Ekaj (2015)

Cati Gonzalez’s “Ekaj” presents an interesting conundrum for me, because while they compare their film to “Midnight Cowboy” they also compare it to “Kids.” I for one loathe “Kids” while loving “Midnight Cowboy.” The latter is the tale of the American dream and our grasping for it that is often unattainable. Thankfully while “Ekaj” can sometimes have the guerilla filmmaking of “Kids,” it’s thankfully much more steeped in “Midnight Cowboy,” in the end, which is why I probably enjoyed it.

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Phantom Thread (2018)

In one of the most known fashion Maison of 1950’s London, Reynolds Woodcock runs his business and life the same way, his way. His habits, demands, and eccentricities are to be followed by all or risk dismissal. After meeting the young Alma, he refuses to let things change, until she takes things in her own hands and finds her own way to make him happy.

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Emilie Black’s Top 10 Indie/Foreign Films of 2017

2017 is was a crazy year for films with so many good titles that picking only 10 was difficult and took much too long.  That being said, here are my top 10 independent and foreign films which was gathered with much thinking and trying to figure out which films to keep, which not too.  The list could easily have been a top 25 and it has been evolving everything it’s being worked on.  The order is constantly changing, the titles that keep coming back are the ones found below.

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The 10 Best Films of 2017

2017 was a great year for movies, especially if you were a horror buff. While the media downplayed it immensely, horror movies kicked major ass in theaters and streaming services, and a few of the highest grossing an most acclaimed films were horror, including a new adaptation of a Stephen King novel, which broke all records. While America wondered if there would be nuclear war tomorrow, Hollywood kept us entertained and laughing, with great superhero cinema, and of course some cathartic genre films of the horror, fantasy, and science fiction variety.

Without further ado: my top 10 of 2017.

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Sid and Nancy (1986) [Criterion Collection] [Blu-Ray]

For someone who understands the punk rock world so well, Alex Cox is very quick to tear the nostalgia shades off of the viewers to depict a meeting of two lovers that was so intense it resulted in an unfortunate murder. “Sid and Nancy” are often romanticized by music lovers even to this day, but Alex Cox who brought us the masterpiece “Repo Man,” looks behind the gloss, picturing two unbearable, but real individuals. Director Cox paints a brilliant picture of two people spiraling in to oblivion, with a remarkable drama that’s less a biopic and more a chronicle of two doomed lovers. Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen are a lot to drink in. From the moment we meet them, they’re loud, they’re parasitic and disgusting, but they form a relationship where they understand each other. In many ways they decided that they need each other to survive.

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A Ghost Story (2017)

Many filmmakers have spent decades examining the meaning of life and the state of existence, but we don’t often get the chance to explore the idea of existence after life. True, films like “Ghost” and whatnot have taken a more dramatic idea toward existence after existence, but what if the after life is nothing? What if there is no darkness or hell or heaven? What if there is simply the essence of what we once we lingering on and on after we reach some kind of conclusion and then cease to be for all eternity? Much of what David Lowery wants us to focus on is only important within the context of where the ghost of our protagonist is and what he chooses to focus on. A lot of M’s life is left for the character within the narrative to deal with and to hold on to, all the while Lowery focuses on the now.

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

If there’s only one person who could have played Mildred Hayes, it’s Frances McDormand. McDormand is enormous in the role of Mildred Hayes, a flawed but fierce protagonist who is so rock solid, but shattered underneath what she eventually reveals to be a pure façade. One of the greatest moments in McDormand’s turn is the moment when she battles to save her trio of billboards as they inexplicably go up in flames. The battle is futile, but to her it’s everything. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a poetic, and occasionally darkly funny film about revenge, as well as the fallout and the ripple effect that reactionary anger to tragedy can have. Much of Mildred Hayes’ life since we met her has been spent with a lot of anger and fury, and she’s been kept awake by the nagging notion that she may never get resolution on one horrendous period of her life.

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