A young man's life depicted at three ages.
Directed by Barry Jenkins
Starring Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, and Trevante Rhodes
Initial Review by Phil Crone
We all have our criteria for what makes a movie a definitive A+. It could be as simple as just being entertaining. It could be because it has no discernable flaws in a precise checklist. It could be quotability and rewatchability. For me, an A+ is a movie that I keep returning to in my head days and even weeks later, pondering and re-analyzing scenes in my head, finding new takeaways and challenging initial conclusions. I watched “Moonlight” five days ago, and it continues to permeate my thoughts. By my own subjective measure, I believe that makes “Moonlight” an A+. Ultimately, what “Moonlight” does so perfectly is take, on the surface, a very unique and unrecognizable situation and turn that into a universal truth. “Moonlight” is a stark reminder of how much who we are is an influence of who came before us and our intensely human desire to belong and be accepted for who we are.
“You guys didn't like Kyle. That's okay. I didn't either. I loved him. He was my son. But he was also a douchebag.”
During my junior year of high school my friend and classmate, Brandon, shot himself in the head in his ex-girlfriend’s backyard. This was the first time someone I knew (outside of a grandparent) had died. I had no idea how to react or what to do. I just worked the rest of my shift at a local Subway in dismay.
That day, my buddy and my brother picked me up from my shift, I told them about what Brandon did. (This was before texting and everyone having cell phones, so sometimes it took days for news to spread. Crazy.) For some reason, I felt myself smiling as I was telling them. I have no idea why I reacted this way. I knew the moment was big and I was supposed to be solemn, but I think I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation.
I have no recollection of The Jungle Book books nor the animated movie from the 90s other than Baloo nearly dies. I wish I knew how true to the original this story was compared to the animated version.
The Jungle Book does a lot of things well. Once you get past the first scene, the CGI is nearly flawless. I’m not sure if my brain needed time to adjust or the CGI legitimately improved, but I was worried for my senses after Mowgli’s first sprint through the jungle. By the end, I hadn’t given the CGI another thought – it was spot on.
The War on Drugs began in 1971 when Richard Nixon went on television and announced that drug abuse was public enemy number one. As it turns out, the greatest enemy in the war on drugs may not be the drugs themselves, or maybe not even the people that perpetuate the buying and selling of these substances. Instead, perhaps the greatest enemy—for sure the greatest disservice to the people of North America—has been the stubborn over-simplification of an incredibly complex situation. The problem is organizationally complex; governmentally complex; and as this week’s film, “Cartel Land” shows, this ongoing (almost) 40 year war is as much a problem of the complexity of human nature as anything else.
They say misery loves company.
Mississippi Grind is a road trip story of degenerate gambler Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) and his good luck charm new friend Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). Mississippi Grind asks a lot out of the 2 leads to carry the film start to finish by putting them on a road trip never spending too long in any stop and they absolutely deliver. The introduction of Gerry and Curtis is an absolute homerun. Gerry listening to Joe Navarro’s 200 Poker Tells (6.99 for Kindle at Amazon, use the link below) before walking into a casino where he is obviously a regular, his messy hair, his posture, his sad face - the viewer knows Gerry is a lifelong loser before he speaks a word. Our first look at Curtis is a cool confident operator. Reynolds shows through Curtis that he is the best in Hollywood at playing disarmingly charming, entering the poker game as an outsider at a table full of regulars and very quickly wins them over with that charm. After the tourney at the bar, Gerry tells the barman he placed 3rd and immediately bet the winnings on a basketball game showing his addiction, then tells Curtis he placed 2nd, showing his character. The two of them get wasted and bond over a rainbow, and gambling. Curtis is Gerry’s lucky charm and Gerry is a buddy for Curtis to hang out with before Machu Picchu time.
JUST SOME IDIOTS GIVING SURPRISINGLY AVERAGE MOVIE REVIEWS.
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