AFI FEST 2020: The Father

Sir Anthony Hopkins delivers yet another top-notch performance as an aging father with dementia in The Father, which is emotionally moving. When the film premiered during Sundance earlier this year, Hopkins was in the closing weeks of the Oscar race for The Two Popes.  While he may have lost out, he’s back in the running and is almost certainly the front-runner.  It’s not unlike Hopkins to deliver a masterclass performance and here is on display…

"AFI FEST 2020: The Father"

AFI FEST 2020: Wander Darkly

Sienna Miller delivers one of her finest performances in Wander Darkly but the film’s narrative approach is where viewers might get lost. Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) are in a car accident shortly after the film starts.  Following the accident, the film takes us on a confusing narrative where the two are in a different sort of state.  We’re seeing them through the events of moments the duo shared together at previous points…

"AFI FEST 2020: Wander Darkly"

AFI FEST 2020: Uncle Frank

Uncle Frank is a period piece following a closeted gay man who is reluctantly returning home for his father’s funeral and unresolved trauma. While conditions have improved to an extent for the LGBTQ community, things are certainly better than they were in 1973.  This is when South Carolinian teenager Beth Bledsoe (Sophia Lillis) heads off to New York University.  The move leads to a reunion with literature professor and Beth’s uncle, Frank (Paul Bettany).  What…

"AFI FEST 2020: Uncle Frank"

AFI FEST 2020: Nine Days

Nine Days features a unique take on the concept of life as one man has the sole power to decide which souls will be born on Earth. Will (Winston Duke) spends his days watching human life on older television sets thanks to videos recorded by Kyo (Benedict Wong).  Think of him as a gatekeeper as he watches people living their daily lives.  It’s a thankless job but I suppose somebody has to do it.  The…

"AFI FEST 2020: Nine Days"

AFI FEST 2020: Pink Skies Ahead

Pink Skies Ahead takes us back to the Los Angeles of the late 1990s when a college students drops out and moves back in with her parents. Aspiring writer Winona (Jessica Barden) drops out of college and gets diagnosed with an anxiety disorder after moving back home with her parents, Robert (Michael McKean) and Pamela (Marcia Gay Harden).  She’s in denial about Dr. Cotton’s (Henry Winkler) diagnosis.  After all, she’s never had a panic attack…

"AFI FEST 2020: Pink Skies Ahead"

NewFest 2020: Ammonite

Ammonite seeks to tell the story of paleontologist Mary Anning but there’s more here than meets the eye when it comes to actual truth. When we first meet Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) in the 1840s, the paleontologist already has her best days behind her.  The Lyme Regis resident now resorts to hunting fossils and hoping that wealthy tourists will buy them.  This is really the only way that she can support both herself and her…

"NewFest 2020: Ammonite"

AFI FEST 2020: Sound of Metal

Riz Ahmed delivers a captivating performance as a heavy metal drummer that is beginning to lose his hearing in Sound of Metal. Within the film’s opening minutes Ruben (Riz Ahmed) is experiencing hearing loss.  At the beginning, the loss is intermittent but as any musician knows from experience, it will only get worse.  This is exactly what happens as the plot moves forward.  However, technology has advanced to where Ruben is set on pursuing a…

"AFI FEST 2020: Sound of Metal"

AFI FEST 2020: I’m Your Woman

I’m Your Woman, directed by Julia Hart and starring Rachel Brosnahan, owes its influence to the 1970s classic crime dramas. Here’s the thing about the classic crime dramas: they were told from a man’s point of view.  What Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz do with their script is change up the genre.  Surburban housewife Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) is front and center in this throwback thriller.  You know it’s a throwback as soon as you see…

"AFI FEST 2020: I’m Your Woman"

Belushi: A Heartbreaking Must-Watch Documentary

Belushi is a heartbreaking must-watch documentary about late Saturday Night Live, Animal House, and Blues Brothers star John Belushi. This summer marked the 40th anniversary of The Blues Brothers hitting the big screen.  Sadly, this year also marked the 38th anniversary of the comedian’s tragic death at 33 years old.  And yet this film finds a way to capture what was going on in his head with newfound movie stardom.  Mind you, this was during…

"Belushi: A Heartbreaking Must-Watch Documentary"

New York FF 2020: French Exit

French Exit, starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges, follows a broke socialite and her son in the new film from Azazel Jacobs. Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer) had plans “to die before the money ran out.”  Alas, this was not to be.  Insolvent and widowed at the start of the film, the Manhattan socialite decides to move to Paris.  The mere premise has all the makes of a comedy but instead, it’s a drama.  Frances could…

"New York FF 2020: French Exit"