From Our Members’ Desks (Jun. 22, 2020)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

5 Favorites Redux #32: Favorite LGBTQ Films

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Awards Coverage

Academy Announces New Diversity Measures & Change to Oscar Eligibility

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

The Friday Face-Off Round Two #8

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

New Dates for 93rd Oscars

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Costume Design, 1998

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Essays

The Help Addresses Racism Without Making White People Feel Guilty—And That’s the Problem

Candice Frederick @ Oprah Magazine

Video Essays, Video Reviews, Vlogs & More

Continue reading From Our Members’ Desks (Jun. 22, 2020)

This Week at the Movies (Jun. 19, 2020)

Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.

Opening: Jun. 19, 2020

Wide (United States)

None.

Limited (United States)

Babyteeth

Chris Barsanti @ Slant

Babyteeth

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: First time feature director Shannon Murphy turns an Australian stage play (adapted by its author Rita Kalnejais) into a dramedy about embracing life with strong subtexts about psychiatry versus art therapy and prescribed versus recreational drug abuse.

Babyteeth

Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com

  • Excerpt: It’s a messy existence that mirrors the unpredictability of life and yet the filmmakers never chastise their characters or moralize their actions.

Followed

Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews

  • Excerpt: …like “Paranormal Activity” crossed with Ty West’s “Innkeepers” with writer Todd Klick adding a psychological twist… This one’s claim of having been based on true events is also more valid than most.

2020 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Continue reading This Week at the Movies (Jun. 19, 2020)

Reviews: Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: : It’s hard to pin down in its early goings, often seeming almost parodic… but once Da 5 are reunited in the jungle, the film coalesces into something powerful.
  • [New] | Karl Delossantos @ Smash Cut Reviews
    • Excerpt: On its surface, Da 5 Bloods is an exhilirating adventure filled with twists, turns, and Spike Lee’s iconic style. However, it’s also a depth-filled character study that his heartbreakingly prescient about our present moment.
  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: Spike Lee’s approach to the material is done with a stirring relevance and fearlessness that shows he is still able to capture the pulse of the zeitgeist better than pretty much anyone else out there.
  • [New] | Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: It’s male camaraderie and brotherhood that make this Spike Lee joint so effective.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: There is action and drama aplenty, but Spike Lee isn’t here to just entertain us; he never is, he’s here to educate us. We’re on a guided tour of how the black man is the foundation of the United States of America, yet has only received scorn and torment in return.
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Spike Lee has been delivering masterpieces for a long time. He does it again now.
  • Simon Miraudo @ Student Edge
    • Excerpt: For as long as there has been cinema, we have needed a Spike Lee. We may always need Spike Lee.
  • Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: That’s not to say that the good doesn’t outweigh the bad, though. I merely hypothesize that a great two-hour drama exists within this over-inflated, two and a half hour epic.
  • Paulo Portugal @ Insider [Portuguese]
  • Josh Taylor @ www.forgetfulfilmcritic.com
    • Excerpt: Spike Lee’s indelible style, wit, and focus on black issues is what makes the picture as good as it is. He has created – in collaboration with the actors portraying them – four black men who are all dealing with what the Vietnam War did to them. They do so in different ways, and Lee explores the unique ways in which trauma affects and is expressed by those who have survived it.

Reviews: Becky (2020)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: As a violent home invasion thriller, it’s engaging, it’s intense, Lulu Wilson and Kevin James are both stellar, and it absolutely delivers for genre fans looking to have a gnarly good time.
  • [New] | James Jay Edwards @ The Big Smoke America
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: Becky is bad, just not in a way that’s any fun, and Kevin James neither embarrasses himself nor has an Uncut Gems moment like his pal Adam Sandler.
  • Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
    • Excerpt: Writing about movies feels trite right now, but this one is about an angsty tween absolutely eviscerating a gang of hateful Nazis, including one played by Kevin James, and that’s always welcome. Feel-good movie of the summer so far.
  • [New] | Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: Someone has to learn something from [the scenario’s] potential horror. If neither [Becky] nor we learn anything, it’s all just been an exploitative mess of genre tropes.

Classics & More on DVD (Jun. 16, 2020)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Pre-2018 Film Reviews

13th

MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com (2016)

  • Excerpt: Brutal, necessary watch for all who want to understand why America operates with impunity re its horrendous treatment of Black people. Incisive and shocking, moreso now than when it debuted in 2016.

Cavalcade

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1933)

  • Excerpt: Lavishly produced, Frank Lloyd’s screen version of Noel Coward’s sprawling saga won the the 1933 Best Picture Oscar

Cimarron

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1931)

  • Excerpt: The first western to win the Best Picture Oscar was Cimarron, based on Edna Ferber’s best-selling novel

Grand Hotel

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1932)

  • Excerpt: Grand Hotel, a star-driven melodrama, featuring Garbo, Barrymore, and Crawford, won the 1932 Best Picture Oscar

Shampoo

Bavner Donaldo @ CINEJOUR (1975) [Indonesian]

Showgirls

Rick Aragon @ Rick’s Texan Review (1995)

  • Excerpt: Showgirls, in all its figurative and literal naked glory, is tacky, tawdry, sleazy and at times flat-out bonkers. Despite its awfulness, I can see why so many enjoy its almost gleeful brazenness.

A Single Man

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight (2006)

Victor and Victoria

Sarah Boslaugh @ TheArtsSTL (1933)

  • Excerpt: Victor and Victoria is a marvelous comedy which never lets you forget that you are viewing a created object (not the least because much of the dialogue is sung, making this film something of an operetta) and which thus has no need to adhere to the dictates of naturalism.

From Our Members’ Desks (Jun. 15, 2020)

OFCS members don’t just write film reviews. Here are several articles you might find interesting.

Best of Lists

40 Horror Movies About Black-White Race Relations

Mark Harris @ Black Horror Movies

5 Favorites Redux #31: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Episodes, Part 2

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Favorite Feel-Good Films

Betty Jo Tucker @ ReelTalk Movie Reviews

  • Excerpt: During grim times like this Covid-19 pandemic, I find myself thinking about movies that have made me feel good after watching them. These five films below are my favorites – and I enjoy viewing them over and over again.

Awards Coverage

Academy Elects New Board of Governors

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

The Friday Face-Off Round Two #7

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Costume Design, 1997

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2010

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2011

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2012

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2013

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2014

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2015

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Poll: Remaking Best Original Score, 2016

Wesley Lovell @ Cinema Sight

Essays

Continue reading From Our Members’ Desks (Jun. 15, 2020)

This Week at the Movies (Jun. 12, 2020)

Here are some reviews of films coming out at the theater this week as well as others that may be in theaters or newly on home video.

Opening: Jun. 12, 2020

Wide (United States)

None.

2020 Films In Theaters Now In Select Areas

Continue reading This Week at the Movies (Jun. 12, 2020)

Reviews: The High Note (2020)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: a more benevolent take on the star/underling dynamic of many films that have come before it with a surprise up its sleeve which you may not see coming and which helps to alleviate some unfortunate flaws.
  • [New] | Mark Hobin @ Fast Film Reviews
    • Excerpt: This glossy pop distraction won’t any awards for originality, but superior performances elevate this music industry tale.
  • Charlie Juhl @ Citizen Charlie
    • Excerpt: The Vegas residency version of a story which preaches new material, but declines to offer any
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: The High Note is a music-based comedy that I enjoyed the heck out of.
  • Eddie Pasa @ DC Filmdom
    • Excerpt: The High Note belts its own tune by celebrating a genuine camaraderie between women looking out for each other personally and professionally.

Reviews: Shirley (2020)

Here are review links for this film submitted by our members:

  • Laura Clifford @ Reeling Reviews
    • Excerpt: Featuring a mind blowing, career best performance from Elizabeth Moss, “Shirley” is a tour de force of imagination, director Josephine Decker (“Madeline’s Madeline”) keeping her camera in close to get us inside Shirley’s head.
  • Karl Delossantos @ Smash Cut Reviews
    • Excerpt: The film’s overwhelming and somewhat chaotic opening prepares you for its penchant for tension—sexual, suspenseful, and otherwise. On the other hand, the introduction to Shirley barely scratches the surface of the unpredictable rollercoaster that she is
  • Herman Dhaliwal @ Cinema Sanctum
    • Excerpt: Elisabeth Moss is as great as you’d expect. Josephine Decker’s stylistic touches can sometimes be frustrating, but is more often offers a striking and thrillingly inventive look into the mind of her characters.
  • James Jay Edwards @ The Big Smoke America
  • MaryAnn Johanson @ FlickFilosopher.com
    • Excerpt: A beautiful-ugly film, a work of domestic gothic grotesquerie, of women’s suffocation and sacrifice, pain and isolation. Elisabeth Moss’s performance is next-level glorious in its wackadoo intensity.
  • Mike McGranaghan @ The Aisle Seat
    • Excerpt: A compelling portrait of a great writer, fueled by Elisabeth Moss’s searing work.
  • Brent McKnight @ The Last Thing I See
  • Jared Mobarak @ JaredMobarak.com
    • Excerpt: Decker portrays it all as though it’s one of Jackson’s psychological horrors—[stepping] to the precipice of danger before all tension releases with a cut.
  • [New] | Dennis Schwartz @ Dennis Schwartz Reviews
    • Excerpt: Elisabeth Moss is perfectly cast for the part of the neurotic horror and mystery writer Shirley Jackson.
  • Josh Taylor @ www.forgetfulfilmcritic.com
    • Excerpt: If Shirley is a biopic at all, it’s by way of psychological thriller. Decker and screenwriter Sarah Gubbins infuse myriad themes into the picture, everything from dread of pregnancy and childbirth, female sexual desire, toxic male behavior (with plenty of toxic female behavior, too), and psychological mind games.
  • Ron Wilkinson @ ItsJustMovies.com
    • Excerpt: Revisiting the psychopathic writer and friends and family, director Josephine Decker spends too much time rehashing past treatments.

Classics & More on DVD (Jun. 9, 2020)

Here are our latest reviews of films on DVD.

Pre-2018 Film Reviews

Akibiyori

Paulo Portugal @ Insider.pt (1958) [Portuguese]

All Quiet on the Western Front

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1930)

  • Excerpt: Lewis Milestone’s Best Picture Oscar winner of 1930 was a powerful anti-war epic film

The Broadway Melody

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1928)

  • Excerpt: The second Best Picture Oscar winner was MGM’s very first musical

The Captive Heart

Sarah Boslaugh @ TheArtsSTL (1946)

  • Excerpt: War melodramas offer a reliable set of pleasures, seeking as they do to reassure the audience that, despite terrible suffering endured with noble stoicism, the world is really a benign place and all will soon be set to rights. The Captive Heart hits all the expected beats and is enlivened by expert direction and a reliable cast of actors.

Duet for Cannibals

Sarah Boslaugh @ TheArtsSTL (1969)

  • Excerpt: It’s exactly the kind of film Jenny, Cary Milligan’s character in An Education, would have been attracted to, because it is so foreign and European and (apparently) sophisticated, and thus so exactly not like the life of a schoolgirl in a London suburb. So, If your inner adolescent includes a strain of cool-kid precocious Bohemianism, Duet for Cannibals may be just the thing to give you a break from your own four walls during this long pandemic lockdown.

Higanbana

Paulo Portugal @ Insider.pt (1959) [Portuguese]

Hyenas

Sarah Boslaugh @ TheArtsSTL (1992)

  • Excerpt: Mambéty has spoken of his film as portraying the corrupting influence of Western influence and money on African countries, but there’s more than one way to interpret the story. The unquestioning sexism of the male characters is also satirized, although they break ranks soon enough when there’s serious money on the table.

Ohayô

Paulo Portugal @ Insider.pt (1960) [Portuguese]

Victim: Seminal British Film

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1961)

  • Excerpt: Victim is a landmark British film about homosexuality, starring Dirk Bogarde in a breakthrough performance. Must-See LGBTQ film.

Wings

Emanuel Levy @ OFCS (1927)

  • Excerpt: Directed by Wellman, Wings is the very first Best Picture Oscar winner (and the only silent film to win the kudo. Though Cooper is playing a small role, the movie helped catapult him to stardom.

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