Every Movie I Watched for the First Time in 2019: An Analysis

2019 Analysis

Near the beginning of 2019, I watched Life Itself, the 2014 documentary about the life and work of famous film critic Roger Ebert. Consider this quote from Ebert:

“We are all born with a certain package. We are who we are. Where we were born, who we were born as, how we were raised. We are kind of stuck inside that person, and the purpose of civilization and growth is to be able to reach out and empathize a little bit with other people, find out what makes them tick, what they care about. For me, the movies are like a machine that generates empathy. If it’s a great movie, it lets you understand a little bit more about what it’s like to be a different gender, a different race, a different age, a different economic class, a different nationality, a different profession, different hopes, aspirations, dreams and fears. It helps us to identify with the people who are sharing this journey with us. And that, to me, is the most noble thing that good movies can do and it’s a reason to encourage them and to support them and to go to them.”

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Top Ten Movies of 2019: Big B’s Picks

Best of 2019

MPAA ratings vary. Not all movies are suitable for all audiences.

10. Picture Character – directed by Ian Cheney and Martha Shane

I saw Picture Character at the Traverse City Film Festival, and an older man seated in front of me did not appreciate this movie. He peppered his movie-watching experience with a variety of muttered comments—”Oh my god,” “This is ridiculous,” “I can’t watch this”—designed to communicate his dissatisfaction to everyone seated near him. And the man, apparently a perfectionist, was not willing to subject his comments to misinterpretation: twenty minutes before the end of the movie, he stood up and left the movie theater, mumbling incoherently as he shuffled his way toward the aisle in the dark. A grand display of angry incredulity. 🙄 Continue reading

Planet of the Humans: Possibly the Most Important Movie of 2019

TCFF POTH

I was silent during the post-film Q&A. Like many in the audience, it took some time for me to emotionally and intellectually process the information I had just received.

In the fight against climate change, only a few things offer comfort: the semi-frequent construction of wind farms, the increasingly busy solar panel market, and the slow-but-steady decline of our dependence on coal.

But what if those things were not helping us? What if they were, in fact, causing new problems? What if our current green solutions were just as black as coal? Continue reading

Captain Marvel (2019) Review: “I just want to go on the record and say that this film is great”

 

Captain Marvel

Captain Marvel is a Marvel installment directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. It stars Brie Larson in her debut as Captain Marvel and is groundbreaking in that it’s Marvel’s first film to star a female superhero. The first thing I want to say is that this movie is good. I’ve been watching reviews since I saw it, and I’ve found myself confused and bewildered by the response to the film and the critiques I’ve seen. So, I just want to go on the record and say that this film is great and the article is going to read more as a rebuttal to some stuff I’ve seen that’s confusing me. Continue reading

Every Movie I Watched for the First Time in 2018: An Analysis

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Movies impact us.

In 2016, I argued that if “movies can impact a moviegoer’s worldview (by stimulating creativity, encouraging empathy, and raising awareness), then moviegoers should thoughtfully consider which movies they choose to watch.” And I stand by that argument.

But now, in 2019, I offer two clarifications: Continue reading

Top Movies of 2018: Mo’ Money’s Picks

Below are Mo’ Money’s top films of 2018 only including films that premiered anywhere in the world in the calendar year.

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2018 was a great year for me, but one way that it really shone was all the great movies I was able to access via streaming and physical media. My war against theaters continues, and yet I was able to see 57 movies that premiered in 2018 including a number of independent Midwestern productions. While I missed a lot of films that only played in festivals or haven’t released in the United States yet, and my list may change over the years, I believe the following movies are great and worth watching if you can access them. Continue reading

She-Ra and Catra: An Evolved Hero-Villain Relationship

This article contains mild spoilers.

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Noelle Stevenson understands characterization.

Last year, I discovered Nimona, an Eisner-nomated webcomic-turned-novel written by Stevenson about a whimsical, enigmatic shapeshifter who befriends an evil figure with an ultimately good heart. I found Nimona at a secondhand bookstore—the kind of store filled with spine-damaged books sporting dogeared pages—and I was surprised by the pristine condition of the copy I found. As I flipped through the beginning of the graphic novel, I saw a collection of glossy, well-preserved, wrinkle-free images.

Then I got to a page featuring a profoundly tense moment between Nimona, the shapeshifter, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, the semi-benevolent villain. The white border of the page was filled with scrapbook-style stars and bold exclamation points apparently drawn by the book’s previous owner.

Later, when I read that page—a page filled with genuine heartache and refreshingly nuanced character interactions—I added a couple exclamation points of my own.

Noelle Stevenson understands characterization, and that storytelling skill is evident in her latest creation, Netflix’s 2018 She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Continue reading