Upholding the Mystery in What Is David Bowie

I always thought David Bowie, the person, was more intriguing than David Bowie, the musician. Something about the mystique of his androgynous alter persona and heavily costumed stagecraft usurped the controls from anything musicological or biographically revelatory. I think the very private “Mr. Stardust” himself would have liked it that way. Director Brett Morgen’s Moonage… Continue Reading →

Score: A Film Music Doc (2016)

“We’re the last people on earth who – on a daily basis – commission orchestral music. Without us, the orchestras might disappear…” -Hans Zimmer As a high school music teacher for 20 years and an avid moviegoer, I’m not sure how this one got away from me, but it showed up for free on my… Continue Reading →

The Found Footage Phenom.

“When found footage is done well, it feels like you’re watching real people in real situations. And that means that there are real stakes. It’s subversive.” Origin/Director: USA/Phillip Escott, Sarah Appleton Viewings Tally: This was my first viewing! It was recommended to me by some friends via the Letterboxd app. If you’re a found footage… Continue Reading →

Yup and Nope to “Nope”

Until its “ah-ha” moment at the end, Jordan Peele’s Get Out (2017) was a unique blend of almost satire, almost horror, and almost socioracial statement. Staying at almost would have kept it above standard, but there’s no denying the ending was a predictable horror movie cliché.  Peele’s second round with Us (2019) also started strong… Continue Reading →

Halloween in July

I started keeping track of it three years ago when it happened on August 2nd. Two years ago, it was July 28th. This year, the record goes to July 15th! These are summer dates in which the temperatures get as high as 100 degrees in Colorado, and they also happen to be when Spirit Halloween… Continue Reading →

The Satisfactory Polarization of “Elvis”

Watching a Baz Luhrmann movie is like sitting in front of a gold confetti-blasting canon. It’s style over substance, obnoxious over subtle – a nightmare for minimalist cinephiles like me. For anyone with a smidgen of an attention span, conveying a groundbreaking musician’s artistry on film just takes hitting a record button. Ever see last… Continue Reading →

The Horrors of Men

Director Alex Garland of Ex Machina (2015) and Annihilation (2018) is kind of like today’s Stanley Kubrick: He delivers suspense in a laborious yet enthralling manner, and his production designs approximate to sterile, Art Deco waiting rooms at the dentist. Maybe more a “tech thriller” creator, Garland provides a cool, calculated horror story set in… Continue Reading →

Top Gun: Maverick a Blast from the Past

For me, seeing Top Gun: Maverick is about nostalgia fulfillment, and that couldn’t be any more fun for a child of the 80s. I remember when my uncle installed a “home theatre” projection and sound setup in his basement, and the first movie he wanted to test the experience with was Top Gun. “I hope… Continue Reading →

Nic Cage vs. The Northman

April tends to play out merely as buildup for summer movie blockbusters. Sometimes, there are unexpected hits (Everything Everywhere All at Once). Mostly, it’s a month full of mindless but somewhat pleasing cash grabs (The Bad Guys) and wretched duds (Morbius). Although I only really liked one of them, The Northman and The Unbearable Weight… Continue Reading →

Everything Everywhere All at Once

“The moment you realize you are not present, you are present. Whenever you are able to observe your mind, you are no longer trapped in it. Another factor has come in, something that is not of the mind: the witnessing presence.”             -Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now As if (Being) John Malkovich warped through… Continue Reading →

The Batman Still Has Wings

An argument can be made that anything “Marvel Cinema Universe” is the same movie with 27 different titles. The formula never fails: Arrogant, grumpy, or emotionless hero + desensitizing CGI +/- obligatory love interest + forgettable villain who always possesses one less level of power = box office points. The DC Comics movies are no… Continue Reading →

The Godfather 50 Years

I wonder what the iconic American drama was before The Godfather. What was that groundbreaking hit that provoked average moviegoers to revisit it multiple times, quote it constantly, and then teach their grandchildren to do the same? I believe my grandma would say Casablanca. Typical published movie critics would point to Citizen Kane, and optimists… Continue Reading →

“Worst Person” the Best Movie Out There

I remember seeing the trailer for this movie last year and thinking, “This looks like an ode to late-twenties selfishness. Puke.” But, then I thought: Isn’t that exactly the time when someone should be selfish, especially when it comes to relationships? Isn’t that exactly the time we are supposed to date in person (or online),… Continue Reading →

Reely Bernie’s Top Ten of 2021

For me, 2021 was all about raising a wonderful baby daughter and being a goofball dad and supportive husband. Movies were far and few between, but they continued to be dependable coping devices during the ongoing pandemic (and rare evening off). More theatres were opened and maintained safely, the promised releases of 2020 played catchup,… Continue Reading →

Licorice Pizza **1/2

Reely Bernie on Letterboxd I still think Paul Thomas Anderson peaked with Magnolia (1999), but everything afterward sparks the same anticipation we give Quentin Tarantino films. We’re curious because these movies behave like postmodern disobediences to the greats (Scorsese, Lumet, Leone, Altman), but they can’t help but be influenced by them either. In a way,… Continue Reading →

West Side Story a Worthy Remake

For any traditionalist, West Side Story epitomizes the Broadway musical production both on stage and on the screen. It’s just too faultless in prompt character arc, an urgent message, melodious motif juxtaposition, and choreography that will turn any cynic into a performing arts fanatic. So, with the blueprints and previous successes of the 1957 stage… Continue Reading →

Spencer: A Fable from a True Tragedy

The nuanced performance of Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, the psychological interpretation of Director Pablo Larraín, and the mystery of what happens behind closed doors are exactly why the film medium was created in the first place: These components call for a multi-sensory experience of what could be safely read but valued more when felt…. Continue Reading →

The Awe in Dune

I never finished Frank Herbert’s novel; David Lynch’s movie adaptation put me to sleep; and I read enough about Denis Villeneuve’s latest being all set up with no payoff. This all being said, I went into Dune with no expectations because I didn’t think I earned them. I left Dune wholly enthralled. I was and… Continue Reading →

The Last Duel (or the dentist)

Take the epic battle scenes in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven (2005) and the ferocious dialogue of his Gladiator (2000) and replace them with a drab medieval soap opera about three long-drawn-out perspectives of a rape scene. You are left with a wretched, wearisome experience in the movie theatre. It’s the kind of experience that… Continue Reading →

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