This film stars Oscar Isaac’s mustache. I’m kidding. No, but really. His stache really shines, it’s a character in itself. Moving on…
I got the chance to watch this Oscar-nominated short at the San Diego International ShortsFest. I am always intrigued when I see a “big movie star” appear in a short film. It’s usually because their character is interesting and unique, which is likely what drew them to play the part. This film is no exception. The specific storyline drew me in right away, but again, the stache definitely helped.
The film’s themes are connection and corruption. How faces and numbers have stories behind them, especially if you are willing to take the time and look a little closer.
After being assigned the job of reading the letters sent to prisoners before delivering them to their rightful recipients, Richard starts to develop a close connection to the inmates and their family members. He starts to understand their life stories, and their lives outside of prison.
At one point in the film, Richard nervously folds a napkin at a restaurant while waiting for Rosita, a prisoner’s partner to arrive. Richard went to Rosita’s house to make sure she was ok after he read a threatening message she sent to her partner on death row. He went to her house on his own will, not because it was the prison’s policy, but because he genuinely wanted to make sure she was ok.
With this short run time, I recommend you give this film a watch. It challenges your idea of empathy and provides a new perspective on a situation that I have not seen explored before in a short. While Richard is not a prisoner in the prison, it can be inferred that he also leads a lonely life, spending much time alone and not feeling connected to others. Thus, it makes sense that he would feel a natural draw to reading the letters because it would make him feel a part of a family and friendships that he does not have in his own life.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. Ahem, Avengers.
There is so much hate towards this movie and honestly, I disagree with most of it. Maybe I was hypnotized by seeing Tom Holland in a role that was very unlike Spiderman, or maybe I just don’t watch many films like this one. Either way, I would not say this film was terrible in any respect. Unlike most people, I liked the structure of the film and the way it followed the characters as the story developed.
The plot twists and turns, the characters ebb and flow as their relationships and reality changes. At the base of this film is the realization that one decision, one split moment choice has the ability to change a person’s life for the better or for the worse.
Cherry (Tom Holland) is a troubled dude. He has been through a lot, losses and gains, and eventually those life choices lead to him spiraling out of control and taking all that he loves with him. His girlfriend Emily (Ciara Bravo) is his rock, she sticks beside him even when it would likely be better for her to leave and live her own life without him.
One of the aspects of this story that stood out to me is how young Cherry and Emily, yet they are dealing with so much. I am not sure how old the characters are supposed to be, but both Holland and Bravo look very young for their age, and that definitely effected how I perceived the story and their characters.
Honestly, I do not think that I would have watched this film if it was not directed by the Russo Brothers and it was not starring Tom Holland. This is not the genre I tend to gravitate towards and enjoy watching, but I learned a lot from watching this film. The story’s structure led me to think deeper about the screenplays I am writing and how I can change the structure to add meaning to the story and make it more impactful.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
Overall, I feel undecided about this film. If I had to rate it, I would give it a 7/10. I don’t think it is Oscar worthy, but I also do not think that it is horrible and should never be watched again. Some of the reviews were so ruthless and it really surprised me how passionately some people hate this film.
*One thing that I have to note is how I do not have extensive knowledge and perspective on being overseas and dealing with the hardship of battle. In this respect, I cannot comment on the film. If people who have had these experiences say that this film does not do those experiences justice, then I think the directors and writer should have done more research before portraying the characters and story. That is their responsibility. But at the end of the day, no film is perfect (except maybe Dirty Dancing).
Read more about the film on IMDb. This film is available on Apple TV+.
Thanks for reading this review. I enjoyed this film and then I read all the bad reviews, so I felt like I had to get my thoughts out here. Let me know if you agree or disagree with my opinions. There is no right or wrong here.
This past year has been the year of online film festivals. Thus it is no surprise that San Diego International Film Festival decided to host an online film festival specifically dedicated to short films. All of the films are 30 minutes or less in length. The regular film festival will take place in October, which will showcase longer films and will be 11 days long!
Today I wanted to share with you some of my favorite films that I watched at the ShortsFest. In no particular order…
1. Imelda y Luis (2020)
This tender film is directed by Leonel Chee and follows twin siblings, Imelda and Luis. They have a special bond and have grown up in tough circumstances. But they push through it all and show that nothing can break their sibling bond, not even an unsupportive family and a destructive home life.
The children that play the twins are incredible actors and make the story so compelling and heartfelt. So much story told in under 20 minutes.
2. Eucalyptus (2021)
A remarkable quarantine inspired short that showcases some of the benefits of being alone and having time to reflect and appreciate each individual moment of time. Directed by Nate Riedel, this film reminds us to find the positives in every situation, even if at first there seems like there are none.
3. Mar & Cielo (2021)
The directors, Rocío Huerta & Roberto Zamora, make the climate crisis personal in this beautifully acted and beautifully filmed story that takes place on the coast of Chile. The incredible visuals, accompanied with the emotional backbone of the story, make this film something I will recommend to my friends.
4. Rust (2020)
Mariola Wawrzusiak-Borcz searches for scrap metal that she can weld to form sculptures that comment on people, animals, and our relationship with our surrounding environments. All of the sculptures are mesmerizing to look at, but some of them give you this eery feeling in your stomach because they evoke such deep, profound emotional.
Wawrzusiak-Borcz is an incredible artist whose innovation, resourcefulness, determination, and intelligence inspires me.
5. Georgia (2020)
This heartbreaking story stuck with me long after I finished watching the film. Directed by Jayil Pak, this film follows two parents after they lose their daughter. Their daughter was in the process of creating a new font style and her parents try to pick up where she left off, even though they have a lot to learn.
Georgia focuses on the themes of love, family, and justice. When the public do not take the parents’ demands seriously, they go to whatever lengths they need to make sure their daughter’s story is heard and that justice is served.
—AMYGDALA (2020) directed by Dana Abdessamad and staring Carole Abboud & Yehia Jaber, tells the story of Farid as he starts to experience the feeling of not being in the present moment, leaving Amal to decide what’s the best way to deal with Fadri’s new reality.
—THE ROADS MOST TRAVELED(2020) directed by Bill Wisneski, Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist, Don Bartletti, discusses the people he has met and the experiences he has been thrown into throughout his career. He touches on what he has learned, what changed his perspective the most, and what he wants people to know about immigration.
Thanks for being a part of my journey. What’s your favorite short film at the moment?
A few days ago I watched a webinar hosted by WeScreenplay where the Producer, Maria Gracia Turgeon, provided a lot of valuable information about getting a film produced and all the work that goes on behind the scenes. Following the webinar, I wanted to check out some of Turgeon’s work because she seems like such a genuine, kind-hearted person.
That led me to watching Fauve. A film unlike anything I have ever seen before. It is a short, but the premise sticks with you for much longer than the 17 minute run time. It is no surprise that the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. The film is directed and written by Jeremy Comte.
Without giving too much away, here is the plot: Two boys are in the midst of playing what first seems like an innocent game, but soon nature provides a conflict that might be too big for the young boys to overcome.
I can relate to the juxtaposition of innocence and trouble. I think most people can. When you are young, playing jokes and being a trickster is what comes naturally and may be the only way you are used to expressing your emotions. But what happens when nature’s maturity pushes your innocent tricks too far and you get caught in a situation that is too overwhelming to escape?
This film takes that idea to the next level. While being shot in the beautiful outdoors, and what first appears to be an innocent mud mine, this director and writer has a unique vision that is sure to get your mind thinking.
Here is the full film: (I recommend you watch it ASAP)
I have been meeting with producers and directors so hopefully I will get one of my screenplays produced soon! I have also been writing for a small production company and those screenplays are currently in development or production.
In the few months that I haven’t posted, I attended online film festivals and screened hundreds of films for film festivals across the country.
I also am just getting over COVID. I have been sick for almost a month and I am just starting to recover now. COVID is a seriously crazy illness. Stay safe! Now back to the regularly scheduled program…
What I’ve been watching recently:
Being sick, I have had time to watch a lot of movies, T.V. shows, and random shorts and videos. Additionally, I got Disney+ which made the recovery process a lot more enjoyable. Here is some content that I watched over the past few months:
This series was so hyped up. I have to admit, the style of the episodes and the writing is very interesting and unique, but I still wanted more. After watching the whole season I realized what Marvel was doing. They wanted to make the events that happened in the episodes not so instrumental so people who have not watched them would still be able to understand their upcoming films. Not to say that the ending of the series is boring, but I felt like not much really changed from the beginning to the end. Yes, there were bad guys (and girls) but I guess I was let down that there was not a Thanos. But can anyone ever compare to such a good villain?
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Two of my favorite characters! Although I have not watched all of the episodes in this series yet (because they are not all out) I have loved watching the characters outside of their normal “superhero” lifestyles. The Falcon visits his sister, Bucky tries to right his wrongs, and of course they get sucked into saving some people. The concept is interesting and puts the super characters in the context of their everyday lives. It’s almost like visiting a celebrity’s Instagram and getting to know them better than just watching their very stylized interviews. That’s what I feel these episodes have done for these characters. And I’m into it.
Do I need to say more?
Suite Life of Zack and Cody
I am a Disney channel kid and have been spending way too much time rewatching episodes of all the Disney Channel classics. They are still brilliant all these years later, it’s really surprising actually.
Lizzie McGuire Movie
Gordo! Paolo! And terrible Italian accents! I started this movie thinking that I would end up turning it off after 15 minutes but before I knew it, I finished the movie. The screenplay and directing could use a lot of work, but something made me keep watching this film. I am still trying to figure out why that is. I think it has something to do with nostalgia, but I am just guessing here.
Seasons 1-3 are my favorite. Nick Miller. Winston. Furguson. True American. I can’t find my driving moccasins. Shut your soup hole. Bathtubs are medieval filth cauldrons.
My SXSW Picks:
I attended the online SXSW 2021 Festival and it was such an incredible experience. I met so many people, attended a handful of roundtables, learned a lot, and gained a lot of confidence in pitching myself and my creativity. Here are some of the films/shows that stood out to me. I recommend that you check them out on IMDb, YouTube, Instagram, wherever you can watch these creative masterpieces!
A wonderful feature film with a strong Asian female lead that is powerful, realistic, and not stereotypical. This story is so refreshing, relatable, and so terribly needed. I wish I saw this film when I was in high school. It would have made me feel better about myself and realize that no one has their life figured out. Not everything goes as planned. You get back up and keep going. Directed and written by the brilliantly talented Mei Makino.
Parked in America
Written by another incredible female creative (Kayla Lewis), this T.V. pilot left me wanting to watch the whole season. When a Korean teenager moves to America after dealing with a family tragedy she is confronted with the differences in culture while also dealing with personal grief and home problems. Even though that description may sound extremely serious and dramatic, there is so much comedy in the writing and expressed through the actors. Well done!
Marvin’s Never Had Coffee Before
This short was created by the great Andrew Carter and Kahlil Maskati. Marvin has never had coffee before and he feels left out, so he decides to try coffee. Only to realize that some of the people around him have also never had coffee before. A heartfelt, comedic tale told in a very gentle way that expresses the important message that we all just want to fit in.
Need a reason to laugh? Watch this T.V. pilot. When two friends are tired of being single and being bothered by their friends, they pretend to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Quickly they realize that this might have been the best idea ever, or the worst. Only time will tell. Staring and written by Ron Najor and Kristin Erickson.
TTYL (Talk to you later)
Thanks for reading! I missed writing posts and I hope that I am back to stay.
Let me know what posts you want to see and what new movies I should watch and review for you!
I enjoy watching documentaries, but I rarely review them. This may be because docs are either great or terrible, there really is not in between. This year, on Martin Luther King’s birthday, I was able to watch MLK/FBI (2020) through Woodstock Film Festival. The film discussed topics that I knew nothing about and now I feel well informed and want to learn more.
What is the film about?
MLK/FBI tells the story of the FBI listening in on MLK’s life. Recording phone calls, putting microphones in his rooms and recording his conversations, following him as he traveled, and keeping an eye on him always. The FBI saw him as a threat and this film shows to what extent they were willing to undermine MLK’s privacy, in order to get the information that they wanted.
Tell me more.
The film was directed by Sam Pollard, who is known for many other well regarded films. He was even nominated for an Oscar. I think that the choice to make this film during this time period is very important. I watched an interview of Pollard and he explained how the final shots of this film were done just before the COVID shutdown. Literally, the last shots were filmed the day before everything shut down. All of the editing was done remotely, and I think this is an incredible story that was worth peacefully fighting for. Everything in the film feels so relevant and important for today’s reality.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
I would recommend watching this film. It is eye opening, especially if you are like me, and had no idea that the FBI was watching MLK. The film is very interesting for the most part, but sometimes it is slow. However, this is common for historical documentaries because they tend to be loaded with information. Videos, voiceovers, and photos make this film visually intriguing and kept my attention for most of the 104 minute running time.
I watched all of the seasons of New Girl (2011-2018) while quarantining in my room to protect my family. This is the result of that brief obsession. The characters and situations made me laugh even when I was stuck alone during the holidays confined to my bedroom. Let’s laugh. Because laughing is great. AND I CAN’T FIND MY DRIVING MOCCASINS ANYWHERE!
1. When you finish the toilet paper and don’t get a new roll…
2. When someone’s breath stinks…
3. When you finally get a real, adult job…
4. When you’re doing a group project alone…
5. When we can finally stop wearing masks…
6. When we can travel again…
7. Quarantine life…
8. I was supposed to be in Maui right now…
9. When someone wants to do a Zoom call…
10. When someone doesn’t wear a mask.
Thanks for putting up with my much needed, very necessary, New Girl dedication post. I dedicate this post to Nick Miller. Ferguson. The douchebag jar. And Liz Meriwether for creating a show that is genuinely funny and not stupid funny.
On the old YouTube, people used to make “tags” where people answered questions and encouraged others to post a video answering the same questions. I miss this concept because it creates a sense of community. So, I wanted to create my own movie tag. If you choose to answer these questions and make a YouTube video or a blog post, or even an Instagram post, tag me and I would love to check it out and support you.
All of these questions I compiled from my mind. These are the questions I wished people would ask me, so I would have a chance to talk about my favorite stories and characters. Let’s get into it!
1. What movie is your all-time favorite?
Gosh, this one is easy, even though it took me a few years to get to this conclusion. Some good contenders were Interstellar (2014), Shutter Island (2010), and Cinderella 2 (2001), but in the end, the winner is Good Will Hunting (1997). If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend that you watch it right now. It will make you laugh, cry, and contemplate some important aspects of life. The story follows Will Hunting who had a hard childhood, lives in Boston with his friends, and works as a janitor at MIT. This brilliant film stars Robbin Williams (Sean), Ben Affleck (Chuckie), and Matt Damon (Will).
2. What is the worst movie you ever watched?
I don’t usually mention movies that I did not like because I know how much work goes into a movie. From writing the script, to choosing the actors, directing, editing, and producing. It is a lot of time, effort, and money. But all that being said, there has to be some bad movies, so you can appreciate the good ones even more. The worst movie I have ever seen *drum roll please* is Warcraft (2016).
Why was it so bad? Well, there are so many loop holes that the film actually made me angry. I could not finish watching it because the loop holes were never-ending. Also the story was very flat and not interesting. The lack of plot points and the loop hole list puts this film on the top of my least favorite films I have ever watched. Sorry Warcraft, but maybe I just don’t understand the story because I am not the biggest fan of video games?
3. What film makes you cry the most?
I cry at most films if I watch them alone. If I watch something with a group of people, I tend not to cry because I am not as absorbed in the story as I would be if I watched the film alone. A few films that made me cry a lot were What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), and Infinitely Polar Bear (2014).
In What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) has to care for his younger brother (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his mother, while also trying to live his own life separate from them. The story is heart-felt and beautifully acted. In Saving Mr. Banks, the author of Mary Poppins (Emma Thompson) meets with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) who wants to buy the movie rights to her story. However, P.L. Travers does not want to sell her rights for personal reasons that reach toward her childhood. In Infinitely Polar Bear, a father (Mark Ruffalo) with some internal struggles is trying to be better, so he can take more responsibility and support his go-getting wife (Zoe Saldana). This story will make you cry, laugh, and want to run and hug the people you love. Family is a beautiful thing.
4. What film makes you laugh the most?
I rarely watch comedies because they do not usually make me laugh. Weird, I know. I love to laugh but I guess that I have a comedic taste that is “unique.” The movies that make me laugh the most are probably any Disney channel movie from my childhood. When I watch the movies now, I realize how silly they are. Ahem, the Luck of the Irish (2001), Camp Rock (2008), Smart House (1999), Zenon (1999), the Thirteenth Year (1999), Santa Clause (1994), and last but not least, The Even Stevens Movie (2003).
A newer film that make me laugh is Kingsmen: The Secret Service (2014), which stars Taron Egerton as Eggsy, Colin Firth, Samuel L. Jackson, and more. There is also the sequel, The Golden Circle (2017) that is pretty great, as well. Much of the comedy is satire and I find the movie highly amusing and extraordinarily creative. The directing and timing is next level. The films are also visually beautiful, which is unique for an action/comedy film.
Here is one of my favorite scenes. It is even better in the context of the film. WARNING: It has major spoilers, so if you have not watched the film yet, maybe don’t watch this clip.
5. What movie do you wish was never made?
I know to some people this might seem a little over dramatic, but after watching a plethora of movies, you come across a few that would have been better left in the screenwriter’s brain and never (ever) brought to life. The film that I have in mind for this question is crystal clear. I wish I never watched this film. I do not think it needed to be made. It made me feel uneasy and I wish that I did not watch it, especially the ending. It made me unsettled and sat with me for weeks after watching it. That film is called The Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017).
If you have watched this movie, you know what I am talking about. The dialogue, the topics of discussion, the characters, the setting, the personalities, and the plot all make me want to run away from whoever came up with the idea for this movie. It made me want a hug. I would not recommend watching this film. Seriously. I am not saying that to make you want to watch this movie even more, I am saying that because I truly hope you do not watch this film because there is so much wrong with it. Watch another Colin Farrell film, skip this one.
6. What is your favorite feel-good film?
I have a long list of feel-good films because these are the films that I gravitate towards and watch the most. Some of these films have nostalgic roots and others I feel connected to in a way that is hard to describe. My feel-good films include Dirty Dancing (1987), any Harry Potter, Princess Diaries (2001), High School Musical (2006), Point Break (1991), Stuck in the Suburbs (2004), and The Martian (2015). Of all those films, I probably watch Harry Potterthe most. Who knows how many times I have watched those films! I have seen most of the films around 20 times (at least). That’s dedication.
7. What film do you wish you made?
I want to make films that are funny, full-of-heart, and over encompassing, making an important statement on life, providing a deeper value to its audience. One of the films that I think fits all of these requirements is The Outsiders (1983). It is directed by Francis Ford Coppola and is an adaptation of the novel with the same name. The films stars Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Ralph Macchio, Rob Lowe, and more.
I remember reading this book in 6th grade and everyone loved it, but I was unamused. As an adult, I found myself appreciating the story on a whole new level. Following its battle between “bad” and “good,” “kind” and “mean,” me and other. Some important lessons can be learned through the characters in this film.
8. What is a movie that surprised you in a good way?
One movie that I love is Gifted (2017). It stars Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace. The story of family is beautiful and the complex characters kept me intrigued. I never hear people talk about this film, but it is one of my favorites. I am glad that I watched it a few years ago when it was on T.V. But, I have to be totally honest, I probably like this movie so much because Evans is in it. And because of Fred, the one eyed cat.
Another movie that surprised me is Honey Boy (2019). It is directed beautifully and tells a hard story. Shia has had some internal struggles, but no one is perfect. This movie gives a look into his life and shows that everyone is dealing with something, even if their life looks great from the outside.
9. What is a movie that surprised you in a bad way?
This one is easy: La La Land (2016). I heard great things about this movie, but when I watched it, I was left asking myself if I watched the same movie that everyone else did. Maybe the genre just isn’t for me, or maybe I am not the key demographic, but I was genuinely let down. Maybe that was because I had such high hopes. However, I do appreciate the great music.
10. What film is most visually stunning?
Ok, this might be controversial but, It (2017). I know that it’s technically a horror film, but the visuals were stunning. What other horror movies is so visually beautiful? Another, great contender for this category is Crazy Rich Asians (2018). The wedding scene is beyond beautiful. I also admire the look of the Avengers films and the Harry Potter films. They both do a great job of showcasing the world of the characters and are very immersive for the audience.
Thank you for reading all of my answers, some long-winded and others are straight to the point. If you want to check out more of my opinions on movies, you can head over to my YouTube channel where I post some movie reviews and favorites. Some of my old videos need a lot of work, but they show where I started, so I am still proud of them. Here is the link to my movie playlist on my YouTube channel if you want to check it out.
Let me know if you want me to create a T.V. show tag as well! I would love to do that.
Thanks for being here,
P.S. Some other movies I enjoy are Hairspray (2007), I used to be obsessed with this film because of Zac Efron, but now I see the deeper, more mature themes of the film, and The Greatest Showman (2017) because it has great music with deep meaning.