Tag Archives: Author: Valerie Lopez

‘Birds of Prey’: A Fun and Frenetic Action Film

Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn is a breath of fresh air in DC’s otherwise notorious lineup of superhero movies. Taking place after the events of Suicide Squad and a recent breakup with the Joker, the film follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) as she finds herself teamed up with do-gooders Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), and Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who unite to save a young girl from Gotham’s newest evil crime lord. Brilliant performances and a fantastic script result in an imperfect but delightfully irreverent look at supervillainy and more importantly, the bonds between women.

Continue reading ‘Birds of Prey’: A Fun and Frenetic Action Film

Lady Bird: Indie Gem or Not?

Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird is your run-of-the-mill coming of age story disguised as an indie darling. Saoirse Ronan plays Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, a senior in high school who is desperate to get out of her hometown in Sacramento. Gerwig was also raised in Sacramento and while Lady Bird is not autobiographical, the personal subject seems a good fit for the actress’s first solo-directed film. Lady Bird joins the drama club at her catholic school as a means of finding a place where she fits, she struggles with love, but her biggest issue is the turbulent relationship she shares with her mother. All of this is familiar coming-of age territory and unfortunately, Lady Bird doesn’t do much to set itself apart.

Continue reading Lady Bird: Indie Gem or Not?

‘The Lighthouse’ Delivers Bizarre Art-Horror

Robert Eggers’s second feature film, The Lighthouse, proves that he’s a director to keep an eye on. Robert Pattinson plays Ephraim Winslow, a man who travels to a remote island to work as the assistant of an aged, eccentric lighthouse keeper (Willem Dafoe). The two men spend several tense weeks alone, keeping the lighthouse until a disastrous storm strikes. The Lighthouse is packed with intense acting, surreal imagery, and having been shot in 1.19:1 aspect ratio, it is a claustrophobic descent into madness. Continue reading ‘The Lighthouse’ Delivers Bizarre Art-Horror

“Oh, You Are Sick!”: An Eraserhead Review

Released a little over two decades ago, Eraserhead is David Lynch’s feature film debut and the beginning of a filmography both wonderful and strange. Set in a grimy, industrial town, it tells the story of Henry Spencer (Jack Nance) a young man who finds himself in a tumultuous relationship after his girlfriend has given birth to their child. After a long night of listening to their child cry, Spencer’s girlfriend leaves him to watch over the sick, mutant baby. At its core, it’s a film about fatherhood and the struggles and fear that come with it, but Lynch’s approach results in a nightmare fueling film unconcerned with the conventions of traditional storytelling. Eraserhead is a prime example of what makes Lynch’s films great — it’s shocking and innovative in its storytelling, visuals, and even sound. Continue reading “Oh, You Are Sick!”: An Eraserhead Review

‘Joker’ is Terrifying for the Wrong Reasons

Ironically enough, a film about the clown prince of crime is director Todd Phillips’ first dive into drama. His recent lineup of work is comprised of comedies like The Hangover franchise and War Dogs, but looking back at his earliest work, it’s obvious that Phillips has merely come full circle. Phillips kicked off his film career with a documentary about GG Allin, a notoriously controversial punk artist, and having seen Joker it becomes apparent that he has a fascination with violent men. Joker is a character study focused on Arthur Fleck’s (Joaquin Phoenix) miserable descent into becoming the iconic villain. It checks all the award season boxes — incredible lead actor, score, and cinematography. However, it’s difficult to praise Joker without acknowledging that the plot is a victim of its obsession with glorifying the actions of its main character.

Continue reading ‘Joker’ is Terrifying for the Wrong Reasons

‘A Name Without a Place’ Review

Kenny Riches’s A Name Without a Place is about grief, a weird recluse millionaire, and porn. But this exciting premise is also the film’s problem — it tries to be too much. Gordon Grafton (Bryan Burton) is struggling with the loss of his twin brother and dealing with his overbearing, much older, aging starlet girlfriend (Elizabeth McGovern). As a result, he decides to take a solo trip to the Florida Keys and along the way meets aspiring porn star Emma Lee (Charlotte Best) before the two ultimately crash their car into an eccentric’s (Patrick Fugit) secret estate.

Continue reading ‘A Name Without a Place’ Review