Movie Trailer Reviews
Movie Trailer Reviews
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Movie Review: The Color Purple
Director: Blitz Bazawule Writers: Marcus Gardley, Alice Walker, Marsha Norman Starring: Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Colman Domingo, Corey Hawkins Runtime: 2 Hour 20 Minutes Synopsis: A woman faces many hardships in her life, but ultimately finds extraordinary strength and hope in the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood. Ro, Kriss and Brandon review the 2023 adaptation of The Color Purple. There is a wild  swing in opinions and views on this film. It's definitely a "your mileage may vary". Listen as the crew gives their opinions (and jokes) on this film.  Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork   Our shirts are now on TeePublic.   Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!  
Dec 24, 2023
1 hr 3 min
TIFF 2023: The Boy and the Heron
Director: Hayao Miyazaki Writers: Hayao Miyazaki Starring:  Runtime:  2 Hour 4 Minutes Synopsis:  Already acclaimed as a masterpiece in Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s new film begins as a simple story of loss and love, and rises to become a staggering work of imagination. Already acclaimed as a masterpiece in Japan, Hayao Miyazaki’s new film begins as a simple story of loss and love, and rises to a staggering work of imagination. Coming after the maker of Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke announced his retirement, The Boy and the Heron is an especially precious gift, and possibly the final film we will see from one of cinema’s greatest artists. As a boy, Miyazaki read Genzaburo Yoshino’s novel How Do You Live? and embraced it as his favourite. This film was initially announced as an adaptation of that book, but Miyazaki uses it instead as one of many layers in a dazzling tapestry that draws even more upon his own youth. During the Second World War, young Mahito Maki (Soma Santoki) suffers a heartbreaking family tragedy and must move immediately to the countryside, where his father (Takuya Kimura) works for a family making planes for Japan’s military, as Miyazaki’s own father did. Isolated, Mahito begins exploring the mysterious landscapes and encounters a grey heron, persistent in its presence. The boy also happens upon an abandoned tower. Curious, he enters. From there, The Boy and the Heron expands into a wondrous, often-startling phantasmagoria. Visually, the film shows Miyazaki at the height of his powers, filling the frame with gorgeous compositions, vibrant colour, and arresting movement. As it draws you deeper into its mysteries, The Boy and the Heron becomes richer, stranger, and more profoundly beautiful. This is a singular, transformative experience in film, and not to be missed.   Everyone knows that Kriss doesn't watch anime but thanks to the Toronto Film Festival and the pre-festival buzz that Hayao Miyazaki's latest Studio Ghibili film was receiving, Kriss added The Boy and the Heron to his TIFF coverage list. And the film did not disappoint. Even for those that do not typically gravitate to anime or Studio Ghibili films, this film will definitely be relatable in its themes around grief, finding oneself and what it means to be a "good person". Another thing that works very well for this film is the time period around when this film takes place. Set during the Pacific War during World War 2, there are a lot of subtle (or not so subtle depending on one's understanding of history) that set a much darker and grim tone for this film. That understanding of some of the background action and characters only serves to make The Boy and the Heron even more of an intriguing and engaging films. Image credit: Courtesy of TIFF There have been a lot of great animated films this year but The Boy and the Heron might be one of the best looking films of the year. Audiences should definitely seek out IMAX showings of this film where possible. Even without IMAX, the film is absolutely stunning and pushes the bar higher for what audiences should demand from animated film visuals. The Boy and the Heron has received a lot of pre-festival buzz and it's all well worth it. Listen as Kriss, Ro and Brandon discuss The Boy and the Heron and dive deeper into the film and what makes it so good. The Boy and the Heron is now playing in US theaters. Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2023 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork
Dec 10, 2023
28 min
TIFF 2023: The Holdovers
Director: Alexander Payne Writers: David Hemingson Starring: Paul Giamatti, Dominic Sessa, Da'Vine Joy Randolph Runtime:  2 Hour 13 Minutes Synopsis:  Paul Giamatti stars in Alexander Payne’s latest about the bond that forms between a strict professor and a belligerent student he’s stuck supervising over the winter holiday at an elite boarding school. Barton men don’t lie. This is just one of the many rules Professor Hunham (Paul Giamatti) takes much too seriously as he hands out poor grades at an elite boarding school in 1971. As he dismisses the politics that come along with educating the children of people in high places, he’s punished by the headmaster who gives him a most undesirable assignment for the winter break: to stay at the school and supervise the students who are unable to go home. Hunham resolves to have the students suffer with him, forcing them to start studying next semester’s curriculum ahead of time. Among them, 15-year-old Angus (Dominic Sessa), bright but belligerent, makes a ruckus. Teacher and student become foes, antagonizing one another and tiring themselves out, as Mary (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), the school cafeteria manager, observes from the sidelines, herself alone after recently losing her son in the Vietnam War. As the petulant pair succumb to the depressing truth that they’ve got little else but each other this holiday season, Professor Hunham starts to soften up and they begin to see themselves in one another. Giamatti gives a career-high performance as the risible teacher who delights in doling out punishment, while newcomer Sessa makes an immediate name for himself, revealing layers of complexity to his character’s rebellious nature. With The Holdovers, director Alexander Payne (Downsizing, TIFF ’17) makes a delicate point about how a first impression never tells the whole truth and shows that the pains and tragedies that feel specific to us actually make us a lot more alike than unalike. The Holdovers is one of those fun, throwback films that manages to remind us of one of those Christmas films from the 80's (set in the 70's) but still has more modern sensibilities. On the surface, it would look like your typical "Teacher stuck with a rebellious teenage and they bond and learn more about each other as their misadventures go on" but there's a lot more to The Holdovers. This is really a film about the masks people wear to prevent people from getting too close. The way that people sometimes retreat into their own heads in order to not confront those things that really trouble and scare them. The three main actors/actresses of The Holdovers also form a really great ensemble that plays extremely well off of each other. This is an example of the classic "Don't judge a book by its cover". None of the characters behave how you would think after first meeting them and that also adds to how enjoyable this film is. Paul Giamatti continues to show how he is such a versatile actor who can take on any challenge presented to him. Initially he comes off as just your stereotypical hardass of a teacher that believes in following the rules over everything but as the film goes on you start seeing there's much more to who he is and why he is the way he is. Dominic Sessa plays the spoiled, asshole kid to perfection but also the audience realizes fairly quickly there's a lot more to what is behind his behavior. It's not revealed until much later in the film and when it does, it's absolutely heartbreaking. The true glue that brings this film together is Da'Vine Joy Randolph. Lesser films would have made Mary's character an afterthought and not given her a solid arc. Instead, The Holdovers recognizes her importance to bridging the gap between Hunham and Agnus but also allows her to go on her own journey with grief and loss.  The Holdovers is an enjoyable surprise that will definitely hit...
Dec 10, 2023
22 min
TIFF 2023: Anatomy of a Fall
Director: Justine Triet Writers: Justine Triet, Arthur Harari Starring: Sandra Hüller, Samuel Theis, Swann Arlaud, Milo Machado Graner Runtime:  2 Hour 31 Minutes Synopsis:  The much-lauded winner of this year’s Palme d’Or, Justine Triet’s fourth feature has cemented her status as one of today’s great filmmaking talents. Unfolding over two-and-a-half hours like a compulsively readable novel, the riveting Anatomy of a Fall is both a dissection of an intimate relationship and of the judiciary process. Sandra (a ferocious, magnetic, and edgy Sandra Hüller, also at the Festival in Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest) is a successful German writer who lives in the French Alps with her husband Samuel (Samuel Theis) and their visually impaired son Daniel (Milo Machado Graner). A brilliant, decibel-bursting opening scene suggests tensions in their isolated chalet, so when Samuel is discovered dead in the snow beneath one of their windows, suspicion is quickly aroused. Did he take his own life, or was he pushed to his death? When the investigation proves to be inconclusive — its varying angles hinting at the microscopic examination to come — Sandra is ultimately indicted and put on trial. A captivating and sharply directed, written, and acted courtroom procedural, Anatomy of a Fall also functions like a trenchant autopsy of confirmation bias and ambiguity itself, with the court an operatic arena in which every gesture, word, and past interaction are ripe for judgment. As scrutiny turns to Sandra’s complex character and her tumultuous relationship with Samuel — their artistic rivalries, romantic jealousies, and contempt — the couple’s young son becomes the key witness. Taut, suspenseful, and thrilling until the final moment, Anatomy of a Fall progresses like a heady puzzle that tackles the messiness of existence and the often-elusive nature of truth itself. Anatomy of a Fall is one of those International films that actually feels even better if you watch it  as a foreigner. There's something about watching a court room drama from another country from the perspective of a foreigner with no sense of the criminal justice system in that country. In this film in particular, its jarring to see how the prosecutors and judge hound Sandra (Sandra Hüller) as the accused. What makes a good court room dramas work is its ability to pull the audience into the situation. Anatomy of a Fall takes it a step further and even adds in whodunit elements to have the audience completely guessing as to if Sandra is guilty or not. It's as if the film treats the audience as the traditional jury and each scene is laid out as a way for either the defense or prosecution to present their case in order to sway the jury. Where Anatomy of a Fall succeeds where other films fail is that at no point does it take the audience for granted and what's presented never feels like an empty red heron. Witnesses make mistakes. Scenarios seem implausible but not impossible, leaving room for doubt. Director Justine Triet does a brilliant job of pulling the audience into the situation of this movie and making them FEEL the tension and environment. If you already didn't have strong negative feelings about rapper 50 Cent's song P.I.M.P, then you will probably dread/hate the song after. The obnoxious use of the song by the victim (Sandra's husband) is enough to drive the audience crazy. It's not really a downside though as it's clearly done on purpose. The whole point is to pull the audience into the moment and start thinking things like "Maybe Sandra did it because of how annoying he is" and "She has to be lying when she says the song didn't annoy her because it's annoying me".  Anatomy of a Fall is definitely well worth the watch. The drama and tension leads right up through the end of the film and will leave audiences engaged the entire time.
Dec 10, 2023
29 min
TIFF 2023: Rustin
Director: George C. Wolfe Writers: Julian Breece, Dustin Lance Black Starring: Colman Domingo, Chris Rock, Glynn Turman, Amel Ameen, Gus Halper, Johnny Ramey, CCH Pounder Runtime:  1 Hour 46 Minutes Synopsis: Activist Bayard Rustin faces racism and homophobia as he helps change the course of Civil Rights history by orchestrating the 1963 March on Washington. If there's one thing to take away from Rustin it's that Colman Domingo was the perfect casting choice to play Civil Rights activist Bayard Rustin. For all the flaws of the movie and script (and there are many), Domingo is not one of them. If anything, his performance only serves to be a reminder of how frustrating this movie is. To have a performance like the one that Domingo puts in and then have a script that is uneven and wastes the talents of not only the lead but many of the other outstanding performers in the film is just a cardinal sin of film making. The biggest problem with Rustin is that there is a fundamental identity crisis in terms of what the focus of this movie should be. Should it be more of a biopic of Bayard Rustin or should it be more about the overall Civil Rights movement, specifically how the March on Washington came about? One can feel the struggle for this film to find its purpose and the worst part is, by not picking an identity, it fails to provide enough substance on either front. Rustin falls into the same trap that a lot of films about Black Civil Rights icons fall into in that it provides a safe, watered down, white-critic friendly view of a subject that is not safe, is complex and in reality should make an audience feel uncomfortable. Every time it seems that Rustin is about to go into a subject that might be a bit more edgy, the film rushes by it in order to get to the next scene. It's as if this film is on rails and does not want the audience to stray too far from the approved movie narrative. This not only does Colman Domingo a disservice but also great performers like Glynn Turman and CCH Pounder who do the best with the script they were given but could have done so much more. It also does a disservice to the real life heroes they are portraying.  Rustin is worth checking out for Domingo's performance. But its flaws also make it easily forgettable. Listen as Kriss & Ro talk about Rustin and what worked/didn't work for them.   Watch Rustin on Netflix on November 3rd.  Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2023 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork MTRNetwork @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork
Nov 24, 2023
26 min
TIFF 2023: American Fiction
Director: Cord Jefferson Writers: Cord Jefferson, Percival Everett Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Tracee Ellis Ross, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Leslie Uggams, Adam Brody, Keith David, Issa Rae, Sterling K Brown Runtime:&nbsp; 1 Hour 57 Minutes Synopsis: Starring Jeffrey Wright in one of his most beautifully nuanced performances,&nbsp;American Fiction&nbsp;is both a wickedly smart satire about the commodification of marginalized voices and a bittersweet portrait of an artist forced to re-examine the terms of his integrity. Thelonious “Monk” Ellison (Wright) is a respected author and professor of English literature. But his impatience with his students’ cultural sensitivities is threatening his academic standing, while his latest novel is failing to attract publishers; they claim Monk’s writing “isn’t Black enough.” He travels to his hometown of Boston to participate in a literary festival where all eyes are on the first-time author of a bestseller titled&nbsp;We’s Lives In Da Ghetto, a book Monk dismisses as pandering to readers seeking stereotypical stories of Black misery. Meanwhile, Monk’s family experiences tragedy, and his ailing mother requires a level of care neither he nor his trainwreck of a brother (Sterling K. Brown) can afford. One night, in a fit of spite, Monk concocts a pseudonymous novel embodying every Black cliché he can imagine. His agent submits it to a major publisher who immediately offers the biggest advance Monk’s ever seen. As the novel is rushed to the printers and Hollywood comes courting, Monk must reckon with a monster of his own making. Adapted from Percival Everett’s novel&nbsp;Erasure, Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut is a wildly entertaining send-up of our hunger for so-called authenticity. Featuring stellar supporting turns from Issa Rae and Erika Alexander, and a string of cheeky cameos,&nbsp;American Fiction&nbsp;is a timely reflection on the fictions we tell ourselves about race, progress, and community. Out of all the films at the Toronto Film Festival, American Fiction seemed like the one that would be a setup for disappointment.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Several big name actors (Jeffrey Wright, Sterling K Brown, Issa Rae, etc). It just reeks of the type of film to draw an audience in but disappoint them. Thankfully, Cord Jefferson does not fall into the trap and makes a very smart, nuanced film that is both funny, serious and insightful all at the same time.&nbsp; American Fiction succeeds where other films like it have failed because it does not try to run away from the point it's trying to make by trying to over-explain its point or cater to the wrong audience. It's a very refreshing take on black art and black family. While some will look at the obvious, over-the-top and quite frankly, funny plot of the film, there is a very nuanced, subtle plot that revolves around the complexities of a black family. American Fiction tackles topics like: * Black families and acceptance (or not) of homosexuality in their family * Black male anger that is directed inward instead of expressed safely * How the "Black experience" can be the same regardless of income and social status * Respectability politics in Black Art * and so many more issues This is the film that so many think they're making when they want to tackle some of these concepts but fail. American Fiction manages to sneak in a lot of complex issues while masking it under superficial which is very meta for the plot of this film. This is definitely a must see film. Follow more of our Toronto Film Festival 2023 Reviews and Coverage on our Press Page Page: Follow us on Social Media: MTRNetwork <a href="https://www.instagram.
Nov 23, 2023
35 min
Napoleon Review
Capsule Review: Napoleon is unimaginative, uninspired, and unrelentingly dry. The score and sound design are masterful, but Scott expects them to do too much work in this inert bolder of a story. It's doesn't even give good costume drama - and I say that as a lover of costume dramas.  Listen as Ro chats with Kriss about how Ridley Scott tricked her into watching a film that turns pivotal historical characters into Looney Tunes caricatures and makes such a criminal waste of Vanessa Kirby that Ro demands Scott fight her.  Director: Ridley Scott Writers: David Scarpa Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim Runtime:  2 Hours 38 Minutes Synopsis:  [Alllegedly] based on the true story of Napoleon Bonaparte, primarily depicting the French leader's rise to power as well as his relationship with Empress Joséphine Napoleon opns in theaters November 22, 2023 Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork   Our shirts are now on TeePublic.   Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
Nov 22, 2023
25 min
Movie Review: Wish
Capsule Review: Wish is a low-key rebellion story told from through the lens of a teen who's sense of safety and optimistic outlook on life crumble. Wrapping a story about challenging the status quo up in an enchanting tale about wishing on a star makes good use of its uneven story book and musical moments. Wish doesn't quite has that ineffiable something that makes a traditional Disney classic but it certainly makes up for it with its self-aware exploratiion of the dangers of idealism.   Listen as Ro chats with Kriss about the highs ands lows of Disney Animation's latest, Wish. Director: Chris Buck, Fawn Veerasunthorn Writers: Jennifer Lee, Allison Moore, Chris Buck Starring:  Runtime: 1  Hour 32 Minutes Synopsis: Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force – a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe - the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico - to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen. Wish opens in theaters November 22, 2023 Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork   Our shirts are now on TeePublic.   Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
Nov 22, 2023
29 min
The Hunger Games The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - Movie Trailer Reviews
Capsule Review: Whether or not you're a fan of the originl Hunger Game's trilogy, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a dark and violent downward spiral into villiany you didn't know you needed. Suzanne Collins (finally) showcases her understanding of dystopian hellscapes. And this adaptation proves it by turning what could feel like a needless return to Panem into a stunningly lush, brutal, and well-crafted tale of how easy it is to abandon "the good" in pursuit of safety. It's a grim reminder that often, cruelty is the point. Watching a young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) navigate the ruthless intrigue of a post-war Capitol is a brilliant allegory for how the scramble for power ultimately makes spectacles of us all. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a villan origin story you shouldn't miss.  Listen as Ro discusses with Kriss why this a prequel is strong enough, despite a few structural flaws, to stand on it's own and definitely worth seeing.  Director: Francis Lawrence Writers: Nia DaCosta , Zeb Wells , Elissa Karasik Starring: Tom Blyth, Rachel Zegler, Peter Dinklage, Jason Schwartzman, Hunter Schafer, Josh Andrés Rivera, Viola Davis Runtime:  2 Hours 37 Minutes Synopsis: 64 years before he becomes the tyrannical president of Panem, Coriolanus Snow sees a chance for a change in fortunes when he mentors Lucy Gray Baird, the female tribute from District 12. The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds &amp; Snakes opens in theaters November 17, 2023 Like what you hear? Subscribe so you don't miss an episode! Follow us on Twitter: @Phenomblak @InsanityReport @TheMTRNetwork   Our shirts are now on TeePublic.   Want more podcast greatness? Sign up for a MTR Premium Account!
Nov 17, 2023
18 min
The Marvels
The Marvels brings everything you want in a comic book team-up movie to the table: far-reaching stakes, a dynamic ensemble – here a trio made up of Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Ms. Marvel (Iman Vellani), and Captain Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) – and high energy adventure rife with action-, tragedy, trauma-bonding, and hilarious shenanigans.  It takes a certain eye when pulling the right elements of comic story mechanics and superhero tropes together to design a narrative that has both the emotional inconsistency integral to making room for humor and heartache and a willingness to embrace real but non-linear character development  in the midst of what is obviously a universe-shifting mission. The Marvels broadens our understanding of both Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel’s power level and Carol’s emotional core. The scene-stealing Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel embodies the giddy delight (and danger) of meeting your heroes while also stepping boldly into your purpose. Captain Rambeau is simultaneously the smartest person in the room and an empathic woman coming to terms with her past even as she explores her own emerging superpowers. Anyone saying that director/co-writer Nia DaCosta is anything less than an inspired choice that paid off is lying to you, or perhaps basing their assessment of The Marvels on what they think should’ve been how second installment of Captain Marvels’ journey unfolded or where they decided it was leading the MCU. For the rest of us, Nia DaCosta's The Marvels is a delightfully entertaining reminder that it's alright to laugh as hard as you cry because it's about the journey. Larson, Vellani, and Parris are a charismatic trio with exactly the right chemistry to anchor this highly watchable film. DaCosta rightly embraces their energy to present relatable, yet, distinct types, of women united in purpose but each with their own insecurities and strengths. In DaCosta’s hands Danver’s second outing brings her face-to-face with the fallout of her wartime actions. It’s a savvy antidote to the heavy handed military-mindset of the first movie. The bloody-minded villain here, Kree Suprema Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), exists as a direct consequence of Carol’s choices. Dar-Benn’s quest for vengeance leads to the trio’s powers becoming entangled and sets them all on a collision course. Ashton’s performance is an ironic juxtaposition to Captain Marvel because her tunnel vision mirrors the more withdrawn Danvers before breaking her Kree chains. It’s a cold intensity that’s easy to overlook amongst the chaotic action and more outsized emotions of the other women. Some may read it as a weakness of the character design, but others will peep the sly commentary in their byplay.  The Marvels lays groundwork for the way beneath the surface of these complex women (as well as the franchise). But don’t expect the story to linger and dig into all the emotional turmoil and revelations. This is the beginning of the journey, and these women have layers. The pace is slightly uneven because a few gags linger overlong. It’s not enough to detract but it makes it obvious how much more there is to be revealed. But The Marvels stays mission oriented and as this trio learns how to function as a cohesive unit - and gives some great close-quarters fight choreography - the details are in the dialogue. So don’t fall out of sync with what’s being said. DaCosta doesn’t hide that there’s a lot to unpack even as the plot worldbuilds. The story beats, however, make it clear it’s not an accident we’re not taking any of those side quests here. The character arcs for each member of the ensemble are complete (and leave you wanting more); allowing the overall narrative to stay on brand with this phase's theme: there’s a reckoning for everyone in offing. The few glitches and hiccups in CGI make it clear that the franchise could still  benefit from slowing down production timelimes but it's not enough to discount from the amazing visual...
Nov 10, 2023
51 min
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