The Shape of Water: The Past is the Key to the Future

the shape of water

Watching The Shape of Water, I expected a wholly original story based on a simple premise. A woman falls in love with a merman. Instead, Guillermo del Toro’s film has a surprisingly familiar set of themes and ideas. Its originality lies in how it blends three core messages for the viewer to internalize.

The first message: the past is the key to the future. This scaly, unpredictable creature found in the Amazon is implied to be an ancient force of nature far removed from the technological advances of 60s Baltimore. Yet every character wants to use this creature as a device for unlocking the future. A competitive future. A future of scientific discoveries. Even a future of artistic expression.

The second message: the people who will unlock the future are the silent. The unseen. The meek will indeed inherit the earth. Finally, the third message: love is the purest way to unlock the future, bringing about our greatest talents. Love is our purpose.

Continue reading The Shape of Water: The Past is the Key to the Future

Advertisements

Cinemaholics: Winter Movie Preview 2017-2018

winter movie preview

On the show this week, I sit with Will Ashton and Maveryke Hines to discuss our most anticipated films of the Winter season. We each picked three specific films to highlight, listed out a few honorable mentions, and agreed to “share” our excitement for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which we’ll be able to review in full next week.

We also got a chance to briefly discuss some movies we’ve seen over the last week, though we didn’t have enough time for Mini Reviews. I brought up what’s become one of my favorite films of the entire year, Bad Genius, which is available for rental on VOD. I heartily recommend it, along with The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s new film hitting a wider release this month.

Continue reading Cinemaholics: Winter Movie Preview 2017-2018

Last Flag Flying: When Loving Country is as Easy as Hating It

last flag flying

We’re dependent on the government. We’re dependent on the military. We’re dependent on our soldiers. So when you put your faith and trust into the very entities that hold the key to your survival, it stings all the more when you experience the ugly side of America and war. Especially if you’re a soldier.

Richard Linklater has directed some of my favorite films of all time, so I didn’t hesitate to catch a viewing of his new film Last Flag Flying. It’s a spiritual sequel to The Last Detail, in that it tells a simple road trip story about three aging Vietnam War veterans in 2003.

One of those veterans (“Doc,” played by Steve Carrell) has recently lost his son to the horrors of the Iraq War. His fellow former marines (Sal, played by Bryan Cranston and Mueller, played by Laurence Fishburne) embark on a quest to help Doc bury his son at home in New Hampshire instead of at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C.

“I’m not going to bury a marine,” Doc says. “I’m just going to bury my son.” If that sounds unpatriotic to you, then Last Flag Flying has you on its allegorical mind.

Continue reading Last Flag Flying: When Loving Country is as Easy as Hating It

Cinemaholics Review: The Disaster Artist

disaster artist

On this week’s podcast, I’m joined by Will Ashton and Maveryke Hines to review The Disaster Artist, along with a lot of other new releases we saw this week like Marvel’s Runaways and The Man Who Invented Christmas.

Starring James Franco and his brother Dave Franco, The Disaster Artist (which Franco also directed) is a new film from A24 about the making of The Room, known to many as perhaps the “best worst” movie ever made. The film is getting a ton of love from audiences and critics alike, so naturally, we had a great discussion on what we think of the Oscar contender.

The rest of the show is devoted to a slew of Mini Reviews, from a new documentary about Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman on Netflix to the Nightcrawler writer/director’s follow up film starring Denzel Washington. Plus a few more surprises.

Continue reading Cinemaholics Review: The Disaster Artist

Cinemaholics Review: Justice League and The Punisher Season 1

Justice

Is Justice League the last comic book movie of 2017? If so, what a bizarre ending to one of the most bizarre years in comic book movie history (at least in recent years). What should have been the biggest comic book movie since, well, The Avengers, has arrived with little-to-no fanfare, but we’re here to judge the movie on its own, removed from any hype it may attempt to earn by merit of its seven icons.

I’m joined this week by my trusty cohosts Will Ashton and Maveryke Hines, but also special guest Craig Hanks from the Legendarium Podcast. You may remember I guested on that show to talk about The Dark Tower back in August, and per the holy podcast networking laws hiding in plain sight, it’s only fair to have Craig on this week to share his thoughts on Justice League, the DCEU, and where this frenetic franchise is headed next.

Aside from Justice League, we talk about The Punisher Season 1, plus some new movies you might be interested in. Pixar’s Coco (full review next week), Last Flag Flying, and Wonder get a few minutes each, and we finished out the show with some banter about new movies to come over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Continue reading Cinemaholics Review: Justice League and The Punisher Season 1

Cinemaholics Review: Lady Bird and Murder on the Orient Express

Murder

For the show this week, I’m joined by my regular co-host Will Ashton and special guest Kristen Lopez from Paste Magazine, Film School Rejects, and The Young Folks to review Murder on the Orient Express and Lady Bird, two films that honestly couldn’t be anymore different, but we’ll get to that in the podcast.

We originally recorded the show with Mini Reviews as usual, but sound issues forced us to cut the episode in half (which worked out because the episode had gone on far longer than planned). We’ll do those reviews for CocoLast Flag Flying, and Walking Dead Season 8 next week.

That said, the main show covers two featured reviews at length, no spoilers for either. The first movie is Lady Bird, a wonderful A24 film directed and written by Greta Gerwig that has been topping many “best of 2017” lists already on the minds of critics. It’s yet another Oscar-worthy performance from Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) complemented by a fantastic cast. Murder on the Orient Express is the second review of the show, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot in the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s landmark novel. It’s the classic “whodunnit” modernized for 2017, so be sure to manage your expectations if you’re planning on giving this one a shot.

Continue reading Cinemaholics Review: Lady Bird and Murder on the Orient Express

Cinemaholics Review: Thor: Ragnarok and Stranger Things 2

Thor

I always feel bad about writing the headlines for these because we reviewed a lot more than Thor: Ragnarok and Stranger Things Season 2. We also talked about WonderstruckThe Killing of a Sacred Deer, and Super Mario Odyssey (a game for once!), in addition to the heavy hitters you want to hear about.

On Thor: Ragnarok, we spent some time debating our opinions on the first two Thor movies, followed by a thorough discussion on this new film. Will Ashton and I had the most disagreement over the film, while Maveryke Hines had an opinion somewhere in the middle. As always, it made for a fantastic debate I’ll be curious to revisit in a few months when the dust has settled. For now, I can safely say that director Taika Waititi should be allowed to do whatever film he wants from now until the end of time.

Continue reading Cinemaholics Review: Thor: Ragnarok and Stranger Things 2