OnScreen Review: Short Film Series at the Downtown Urban Arts Festival

OnScreen Review: Short Film Series at the Downtown Urban Arts Festival

Normally, most of the readers on this blog know me to be someone who covers theatre. That’s been where most of my background as an artist has been, and it’s what first led me to want to write for a website such as On Stage Blog, in the first place. However, after reviewing a number of theatrical productions this past month at the Downtown Urban Arts Festival, I also had the chance to attend their short film series which occurred early this month, which includes a high-quality selection of films that, for the most part, left me quite impressed…

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The CW Passes on "Wayward Sisters" for Some Odd Reason

The CW Passes on "Wayward Sisters" for Some Odd Reason

Thirteen seasons in and no signs of stopping, there is no doubt that Supernatural is The CW's most popular show right now and arguably, ever. But with more seasons behind them than in front of them, it would make sense for the network to take advantage of creative pathways to keep the Winchester Universe alive as well as hold on to their ever-faithful fans. 

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OnScreen Review: "Tully"

OnScreen Review: "Tully"

One of the things I love most about movies is that they can be a glimpse into the lives and experiences of others. There is only so much of the world I can experience from my little corner of the globe in Maine, even if it is “the way life should be.” Movies provide a chance from the comfort of a living room or movie theater to see things from someone else’s perspective and partake in experiences that are different than my own.  I love sitting in the darkness of a movie theater, near the front so that the screen takes up practically my entire field of vision, and immerse myself in someone else’s world for that brief bit of time. In a time when we seem to be in desperate need of it, movies can serve as great empathy vehicles as we walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. That may be with a character that doesn’t even speak our language or look the same as me from the other side of the globe, or it can be something domestic but still different from my individual life.

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OnScreen Review: "Isle of Dogs"

OnScreen Review: "Isle of Dogs"

There is a 2012 piece in The New Yorker that came out after Moonrise Kingdom (my favorite Wes Anderson film), titled “Does Wes Anderson Hate Dogs?” Given the fate of Buckley in The Royal Tenenbaums and Snoopy in Moonrise Kingdom (still my favorite Wes Anderson film), I suppose it was a fair question to ask. Maybe Wes Anderson read that article, maybe he didn’t, but Isle of Dogs is an emphatic answer to that question, not in the least because the title literally sounds like “I love dogs” when spoken quickly. It’s also Anderson’s second stop-motion animated feature after his 2009 adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox.

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2nd Opinion Review: "Avengers: Infinity War"

2nd Opinion Review: "Avengers: Infinity War"

People who know me, know that I am a massive geek. My all time favourite movie was Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, mainly because of how indulgent it is to watch with acting royalty such as Christian Bale, Michael Caine and of course Heath Ledger's with his iconic portrayal as the joker. However, that film is no longer number one on my list, The Dark Knight is number two. What is number one you ask? Well, I have just seen Avengers Infinity War and Marvel have just head-butted DC to the ground with a freaking stunning piece of superhero galore.

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OnScreen Review: "Avengers: Infinity War"

OnScreen Review: "Avengers: Infinity War"

It’s all been building to this. Except for when everything was building to The Avengers. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has been building to this moment, more or less, over the last decade’s worth of movies, eighteen so far. Avengers: Infinity War is supposed to represent the beginning of the end for what is known as Phase Three of the MCU. With a planned (and already filmed) sequel due to arrive next summer that concludes the story, Infinity War leaves Earth’s mightiest heroes hanging on a perilous note with the stakes pushed higher than perhaps any movie has ever pushed the stakes before.

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OnScreen Review: "The Death of Stalin"

OnScreen Review: "The Death of Stalin"

One of my most anticipated films of 2018 was The Death of Stalin. Adapted from a French graphic novel, it is directed by Armando Iannucci. Iannucci is responsible for some of the funniest political satire of the 21st century in the form of the BBC series The Thick of It, the spin-off movie In the Loop, and the HBO series Veep. These satires are biting, critical, and hysterical. It has been on my radar since early 2017 when I first heard of it and was pleased to discover it was finally getting a spring theatrical release here in the US. Unfortunately, the film failed to live up to my high expectations.

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OnScreen Review: "Rampage"

OnScreen Review: "Rampage"

We all love a good action movie now and again, don't we? Now, if someone was to ask you who the king of action was, who would you answer? Well, I'm 21, therefore, my generation's action movies have been dominated by one man. And that man is Dwayne "The Rock" Johnston, who to me is the king of action. So how does his new blockbuster, Rampage, face up to his previous kick ass films? 

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OnScreen Review: "A Quiet Place"

OnScreen Review: "A Quiet Place"

Films are mostly perceived as a visual medium; most people when asked to explain the difference between a book and a film adaptation of the same book will talk about how books are conveyed through words whereas movies are depicted through images.

Lost in this discussion is the fact that film is more often than not also an audio medium. In some films the audio can be just as important and the visuals. Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation is riveting because of the audio recording that Gene Hackman’s Harry Caul obsesses over. The Blair Witch Project relies almost entirely on the unnerving sounds heard in the woods to be terrifying as anything actually shown on screen. Soundtracks and scores and instrumental (pun intended) in cluing the audience into how the director wants them to be feeling about what is happening on screen. A Quiet Place is a horror film that relies heavily on the aural aspect of experiencing a film and executes its mastery of sound to incredible effect.

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OnScreen Review: "Ready Player One"

OnScreen Review: "Ready Player One"

Ready Player One is a film based off a very popular book of the same title back in 2011. Ernest Cline’s novel is an ode to the 80s, video games, pop culture, and geekdom in general. Steven Spielberg, whether as a director or executive producer, is a figure who was heavily involved in the creation of much of which Cline’s book celebrated. Therefore, it makes a certain amount of sense that Spielberg would be the director to adapt the book for the big screen.

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OnScreen Review: "Tomb Raider"

OnScreen Review: "Tomb Raider"

Tomb Raider is one of the most popular video game franchises in the history of video games. It has spawned several video games over several generations of platforms. Angelina Jolie famously portrayed the iconic Lara Croft character over two lackluster movies back in 2001 and 2003. After a recent reboot of the character on the latest video game generation, the character has been rebooted on the big screen, this time with the very talented Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander stepping into role.

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OnScreen Review: "Pacific Rim Uprising"

OnScreen Review: "Pacific Rim Uprising"

It should be surprising to no one that a sequel has been made to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 blockbuster Pacific Rim. It made enough money worldwide to catch the eye of the studio and put out a sequel nearly five years later. It’s always a bit of a crap shoot as to what kind of sequel you’re going to get when the director moves on and is just in a producer role the second time around. Pacific Rim Uprising definitely falls into a specific of category of sequel, the one where the original star is jettisoned but enough of the familiar faces return to make it bear enough of a resemblance to the original.

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OnScreen Review: "A Wrinkle in Time"

OnScreen Review: "A Wrinkle in Time"

A Wrinkle in Time is a classic children’s book that I never read growing up, but was keenly aware of its existence, one of a number of books that slipped through the cracks for me growing up. I had purchased the book on my Kindle a few years ago with the intention of reading it eventually. With the release of the film adaptation, I decided to cram this week and read the book between Wednesday evening and Friday morning before catching a Friday matinee of the film. The previews of the film had caught my eye for months and interested me, and, given the quality of Selma, I wanted to see what director Ava DuVernay would do with the project. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the outcome.

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I Get the Oscars So Right! Your Grandiose Guide to the Glittery Gold Guy

 I Get the Oscars So Right! Your Grandiose Guide to the Glittery Gold Guy

Others are mired in their opinions being "subjective".  Sad. They worry they're not seeing "all sides" of a cultural debate, and give credence to other opinions willy nilly, especially on tedious, round table NPR shows with titles like "Up, Down, and All Around: Everyone's Damn Viewpoint on Everything."  Blah. So exhausting.

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