Landon Roberts and Brandon Shillingford, Contributing Writers
- The Favourite
The chaotic rat race to the top presented in “The Favourite” is both hilarious and heart-wrenching. Despicable characters throughout the film become more complex as the movie progresses, and their actions become more vivid. Career-best performances come from Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman.
- You Were Never Really Here
“You Were Never Really Here” handles the issue of senseless violence in society and media meticulously through its clever camera techniques, incredible pacing and tension building. All of these aspects also culminate through Joaquin Phoenix’s subtle but purposeful performance.
Remembering the ones you love creates a nostalgic aura which is almost indescribable. Alfonso Cuarón fully captures this essence in “Roma.” Every character is treated with so much admiration and respect which constructs a mythical presentation to the people Cuarón remembers from his childhood. The black and white aesthetic alongside the vast landscapes also contributes to the feeling of nostalgia.
- If Beale Street Could Talk
Every scene in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” projects a sincere portrait of love and tenderness that many films fail to capture. The love story at the center of the film surrounding Tish and Fonny is only heightened by Jenkins use of cinematography. The lush palette of oranges and blues coupled with the longing gazes creates a poetic ambiance. As the film goes on, the lushness begins to dim, which creates a truly heartbreaking feeling unmatched by any romantic drama to come before this true masterpiece.
Luca Guadagnino dissects the complex feeling of guilt in his reimagining of “Suspiria.” The slow, transcendental style devolves into madness, mimicking a burning feeling of guilt. Every performance in some way encompasses this feeling in through subtle movements and characterizations producing a complex film.
Brandon Shillingford’s Choices
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
“Into the Spider-Verse” is an absolute breath of fresh air, bringing depth to characters we’ve come to know and love and introducing us to new ones that are just as vibrant and colorful as the world around them. Not only is it the best Spider-Man film, it is one of the best superhero films of all time.
- The Favourite
Bolstered by gripping performances from its three exceptional leading ladies, “The Favourite”
is a sharp detour from normal period pieces. It offers a dark, nuanced and often hilarious look inside the battle of wits between the two women vying for power in Queen Anne’s court.
- Eighth Grade
I have been a fan of comedian Bo Burnham since middle school, but his directorial debut left me stunned and thinking about it long after I left the theater. The way he balances the more lighthearted moments of Kayla’s life, from her building up the confidence to sing karaoke, to the absolutely terrifying ones, leaves you wondering why it took Hollywood this long to give Bo a chance.
- Minding The Gap
In a year filled with incredible documentaries, it says a lot that “Minding the Gap” stands out from the rest so distinctly. Funny and moving, while also so unwaveringly raw and uncomfortable, the film made me pause multiple times throughout and ask myself, “Should I really be watching this?” It feels like what it is — a series of intimate conversations between lifelong friends about how violence, toxic masculinity and abuse shaped their lives.
With “Roma,” Alfonso Cuarón pulls the viewer into autobiographical bliss with a stunning, ambitious, monochromatic masterpiece. Cuarón refines his focus and gives us time to care about his characters. Movies like “Roma” remind me why I love film. It is as poignant, thoughtful and thrilling as any film I’ve seen this year.
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