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The Sound of Identity (2020)
Epic and moving, The Sound of Identity soars above and beyond!
To say that James Kicklighter's 'The Sound of Identity' is one of the best documentaries in recent memory is not an understatement. Touching the issues of both transgender identity as well as the expansive creativity of the operatic art form, the documentary manages to capture the personal struggles of the artist before a career defining performance in the conservative city of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Performing Wolfgang Mozart's Don Giovanni is no easy feat and no transgender woman has ever done so in the two hundred odd years since the piece first premiered in 1787. However, here comes Lucia Lucas, a trailblazing transgender with unparalleled creativity. As the film crew follows Lucia from a time period of six weeks before the performance right up until post opening night, we are provided a glimpse into both the personal and professional struggles of the artist as she contemplates everything from her family to the probable audience response to her performance.
From a technical perspective, 'The Sound of Identity' is damn near perfect. Not only is Mozart's music captured in stunning detail but the camera work is top notch as well with perfect lighting and color grading amplifying the mood of the documentary. The pacing of the story is something to behold as well as Kicklighter ensures that there is never a dull moment during the entire length of the story.
Perhaps the best thing about 'The Sound of Identity' is that it works in more ways than one. At the core of the narrative is the first transgender woman to perform as Don Giovanni who successfully makes her mark as a rising talent waiting for bigger opportunities. Lucia succeeds in electrifying the film with her powerful performance, shocking the audience into taking notice of her raw talents as she blows away the expectations placed on her.
But 'The Sound of Identity' is as much about the artist as it is about the art itself. With opera threatened to be overshadowed by other artforms around the world, this stunning documentary will undoubtedly bring much needed attention to opera itself, providing an impetus to the artform that is threatened by its expensive cost and decreasing global audience.
A touching and magnificent odyssey of the journey of Lucia Lucas as she finds fame in America, The Sound of Identity not only exemplifies the appeal of the opera but also immortalizes its protagonist. Stunningly well made, the film is sure to win several accolades in the awards circuits of the near future.
Hysterical and funny, this one is an absolute winner!
Directed by Adolf El Assal, Sawah is a 2019 comedy chartering the exploits of an Egyptian music DJ who finds himself lost on the way to a competition in Belgium. Full of comedic moments, snappy one liners and a narrative that sees the protagonist come across a slew of colorful characters as he races across Europe, Sawah is an inspiring story of following your passion in spite of the obstacles that may come your way. Featuring an international cast of Karim Kassem, Sarrah Abdelrahman, Jean-Luc Couchard and Mourade Zeguendi; the film takes a while to get going but is an absolute blast once it takes off. Beautifully shot with colorful cinematography and with a soundtrack that features electrifying EDM, the film will not only make you laugh hysterically but will also leave you with something to think about regarding immigration and racism in the European continent. Sawah, at its core, is the story of a man looking to make it big in a foriegn land, only to find himself being denied the chance of fame through freak acts of nature. Giddy, inspiring and filled with positive energy, Sawah is the perfect film to watch with your friends on a slow Saturday evening.
Charlie Boy (2021)
Good wholesome fun!
Directed by Timothy Hines, Tomorrow's Today is a feelgood film that makes for a perfect weekend watch. Charlie is a grifter who has failed in life and as he stumbles from one problem to the next, he concocts a plan to make his troubles go away. Together with Tommy G, Charlie plans to rob a liquor store but fate has other plans. Hilarious and fun, the journey of our two characters is interspersed with family, lovers and friends whose adventures provide heartful fun and levity along the journey. The cinematography is crisp and the acting ensemble is rounded by Academy Award nominee Burt Young and supermodel Kelly Le Brock. While there are elements of a crime drama in the story, the film is primarily a comedy and a well made one at that.
Special props to Greg Kritikos and Annunziato Carbone who play the two protagonists with wit and levity. The rest of the supporting cast does well to punch up the film as well whereas Timothy Hines's direction is potent and keeps the narrative flowing. At its core, Tomorrow's Today is a film about family, loss and love and how people can come together even in the worst of circumstances to make the world a better place.
A heartfelt story about a man and his dog!
If you watch Koko (2021) anticipating a clichéd man and his dog story, you are in for a surprising reveal. The film is indeed about a man and his undying love for his dog, but has a very interesting albeit outlandish premise. However, under the context, the premise works very well. The acting is fine and the director does well to keep the film grounded and narratively cohesive until the very end. A perfect feel good film to watch on a slow Saturday!
A haunting film that will stay with you long after it has ended!
Poolside is a 2021 thriller short film directed by Alex Kinter. The film illustrates the experiences of a lone 1950s housewife (played by Anne Beyer) who begins imagining a series of strange phenomena as she goes for her daily swim while waiting for her family to come back home.
Right off the bat, Poolside (2021) feels competently made. The cinematography is crisp while the pacing and direction by Alex Kinter pays homage to feature length thrillers of the same tone and genre. The script draws the audience in with a sense of the unknown and uses this enduring mystery to hurtle the audience towards a finale that is both explosive and a little bit cliched.
One of the best things about Poolside (2021) is how accurately it harkens back to the 50s. From the makeup of the protagonist to her kitchen and from her attire to the background radio, every single thing feels highly authentic. The creative team behind the project has really gone the extra mile to ensure that the look and feel of the 50s is completely replicated. In addition, the glamour and the polished look of a well-to-do American home is also built into the story, further adding credence to the time period that the film is set in.
Getting a supernatural thriller just right is no easy task as one has to simultaneously unravel the mystery whilst at the same time giving the audience just enough exposition that they don't see the ending coming from a mile away. Poolside (2021) manages to accomplish this throughout its 17 minute runtime, presenting a central question that slowly answers itself over the course of the narrative.
Of special mention is the sound design that really hits home the haunting and supernatural feel of the film. As the boundary between fantasy and reality begins to blur for Meg Stephens, she begins to see and hear unexplained occurrences that might explain the predicament she finds herself in. The film succeeds in selling this haunting aspect due to its chilling sound mixing and sound design. Everything from the sound of water droplets to echoes that endure in the hallway are timed to perfection, presenting an atmospheric feel that complements the film's twisted narrative.
While the twist presented here has become sort of a staple in films like these, the makers nevertheless make a conscious effort to build it up, revealing it suddenly at the end through a sleight of hand. The twist is surprising, if not ultimately rewarding and does well to tie this story up at the end. While the filmmakers went for an M. Night Shyamalan type ending, the film could have benefitted from an open ended sendoff more akin to David Lynch or Dennis Vellenueve.
While the final twist of the story may have been done to death before, Poolside (2021) is nevertheless interesting enough to warrant a look. With its glitzy set design and an enduring mystery that is only solved at the very end, this is a short film that manages to leave an impact on the viewer long after it has ended.
Money Fight (2020)
Brutal and Authentic
With brutal hand to hand combat action sequences, Money Fight (2020) presents a fresh and interesting twist on the mockumentary genre.
A group of kids get together to take part in a sprawling underground fighting tournament to make money that will set them up for life. Between them and their goal, stand a slew of brutal fighters who will stop at nothing to beat our heroes at their own game. As our protagonists take down their opponents one by one, they find themselves in the fight of their lives as they get closer and closer to the ultimate prize.
The most surprising thing about Money Fight (2020) is how authentic it feels. From online meetings with shady figures of the underworld to bloody and brutal fist fights in abandoned parks, the makers behind the film go all in to put the audience right in the middle of the action. The pacing is great as well, keeping the viewers on their toes at all times. As the narrative becomes more complex, the story builds up to a shocking finale that will have grave repercussions for our protagonists.
The handheld visual style (perfected by films such as Blair Witch and Cloverfield) is used to maximum effect here and adds a layer of authenticity to the drama unfolding onscreen. The acting by the main cast is both authentic and realistic, enabling the viewer to invest in the plight of our heroes as they take part in life threatening punching matches to prove themselves. Thoroughly entertaining and endlessly rewatchable, Money Fight (2020) is one of the better mockumentaries in recent memory. 8/10
Stupid, illogical and anti-Islamic
Let me just start by saying that the host of this documentary does not know the basics of Islam. She tries to argue with village elders on the topic of covering for women and falsely says that there is no saying in Islam regarding the covering of women. This is false. Quran 33:59 says:
O Prophet! Enjoin your wives, your daughters, and the wives of true believers that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): That is most convenient, that they may be distinguished and not be harassed.
It is clear that the documentary host has never read the Quran and the entire purpose of this documentary is to erroneously claim that Islamist are stupid and secular people are the future.
The case of Palestine is baffling; the US (which claims moral superiority around the globe) has literally continued financing the Israeli terror machine for the last 50 years to kill and maim and steal Palestinian lives. Around 80,000 palestinian civilains have been murdered by Israel in this conflict and still, the world media and US politicians etc have a hard time calling Israel out for its crimes. This documentary (and the controversy it generated) hopes to end this preferential treatment of the fascist Israeli state and is in a step in the right direction. The documentary is an emotional and moving ride as it accurately shows the desperate situations of several Gazans longing to survive.
Disappointing on every level.
This show fails on every level. The acting is stiff, the costumes are cheesy and the CGI is awful. The drama, or the lack thereof, is so poorly done that it makes sitting through the show boring. Regarding Lockjaw, the CGI is poorly done which makes the character stick out and thus makes him not believable. Overall, the show is a big miss. 2/10.
The Lorax (2012)
A good film.........
I cant believe all the negative reviews here, Lorax was a good film. The animation is top notch, fun to look at and lively. The animals (bears and the fish) are cute and the film has a powerful message.
This is not a comedy film as i was expecting it to be (as nearly all the animated films released these days have quite a bit of comedy ). the tone of the film is actually sad ( its about environmentalism and cutting down trees and their impact on the ecosystem).
Surely the villain and his scheme is a little bit silly and the voice acting is so-so (except for the girl which i later found to be voiced by Taylor swift) and the film gets a little boring at times, the film overall is very good.
A 7/10 from me.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Wooooosh.Finally saw the TDKR yesterday. The wait for this movie was unrelenting and i would've seen it earlier but due to the month of Ramazan, the film opened late in our part of the world.
Ummmmmm, how to describe it? The most emotional and engrossing movie of the year so far. The movie opens slowly but builds up to fitting finale. There are quite a few surprises here and there . The use of nuclear bomb as a plot device has been done countless times before. Batman's apparent death in taking the bomb out of the city in a flying machine (Angels and Demons....anyone? ) but where Nolan succeeds is in the seriousness of the situation and its potentially harrowing consequences. I truly believed the bomb would go off and the city would perish.
Amazing performances from all the case but two of the actors deserve special praise here. Tom Hardy and Michael Cane. Also, Catwoman was good but looked a little cheesy. Nevertheless, Anne Hathaway pulled it off.
The score?...Amazing as always. Cinematography?...Top Notch.
So it is better than TDK? Is it a cinematic masterpiece? Is it the best trilogy of ALL TIME ?
Only time will tell.
What happened? What the hell did i just watch? This is not the movie i expected and saw in the trailers.......
Acting 3/10 ( Each of the cast members including the Japanese was horrible in their dialogue delivery)
Special Effects 7/10
This is the first time i have been disappointed by Peter Berg. Useless sub plots,, corny lines, horrible blunders of logic, crappy looking cgi aliens, the list could go on and on. Even the epic soundtrack composed by Steve jablonsky is under used.The director tries to copy Michael Bay's signature style but fails miserably. The action is the only thing that's OK. After John Carter, this is the second big-budget movie to disappoint me this year.
Puss in Boots (2011)
With all the hate going about this movie, let me tell you that the story of this movie is not good, the dialogue for the most part is clichéd and in the beginning the talking cat,the talking egg and the talking whatnot's do not fit into the environment. BUT, what is movie does have is loads of fun,wits and entertainment. If you are tired after a hard day of work and are looking to relax,this movie is perfect for you(like it was for me!)....the animation is top-notch and some moments are so magical and some action sequences so good that you lose yourself in them.........a perfect family film....AND TO ALL THE HATERS: this movie was nominated for an Oscar...,enough said....
A solid 8/10.
Fight Club (1999)
Its brilliance cannot be described by words alone
After getting tired of the crap that had been coming out of Hollywood for a past year or so,I decided to give old movies a chance. I thoroughly enjoyed the Matrix and Lord of the rings trilogies.Then,I stumbled upon Fight Club.The thought of two men starting a club to help vent male aggression didn't impress me much. After all,what could possibly be special about this to give this movie a rating of 8.8 on IMDb. I dimmed the lights and cranked the volume up.From the beginning,something felt right. There was an indescribable feeling in Edward Norton's voice over that agreed with me. Like his character, I too was tired of the day to day routine,the same crap that we do everyday and the petty things that we are made to run after in everyday life. Like him,I too despised that are minds were controlled through commercials and advertisements by corporations to keep us buying crap that we probably don't ever need. Another thing came poring over through me and that was the supposed significance of having names like Calvin Klein, Armani etc on your garments. A shirt should be a shirt whether it has cK written on it should not make a difference. As the movie progressed, feelings of rebellion grew in me. I wanted to leave everything and fight against the present system. Fighting against these urges ,I controlled myself with great difficulty. I didn't care much about the end, as the film had delivered beyond my wildest expectations This movie made me a fan of David Fincher. Also Brad Pitt,who I thought was successful due to just his pretty face, elevated in respect in my mind. One of the top 3 films as far as I'm concerned
Beautiful...Funny....Badass....all in one package!
All i can say is wow.....a beautiful film relating to superman and a satire to current superhero movies.From the beginning i was so engrossed in this movie that i had not being able to,in animated movies,for a long long time.There are comedic scenes......there are emotional scenes...the battles are intense.....basically THIS FILM HAS GOT IT ALL..................and when you think you've seen it all.....there is an OH MY GOD moment at the end......although i will admit that the chick here looks a lot like the chick from MonstersVSaliens............still,I RECOMMEND THIS MOVIE TO EVERYONE..........10/10....enjoy this heartwarming movie......cheers.
X: First Class (2011)
AWEsome..........but a bit off the mark!
WOW...............just came back from the x-men premiere and gotta say it was FLAWLESS and CONFLICTING at the same time....Brilliant Ending...Extraordianry acting by MichaelFasbender as MAgneto....but it lacked that Final touch that makes a movie brilliant.....the action was bigger and badder than the previous four....michaelfasbender and James mcavoy had brilliant chemistry............Azazel was great too but lacked depth...i think Brian singer shudve directed it...he made X2 almost extraordinary................in the end...Great movie if you are looking for drama at the end and brilliantly directed action sequence....8 out of 10!