A Lot To Like in Love, Simon

It’s no secret that one of Hollywood’s favorite things to do is adapt a critically acclaimed piece of young adult literature onto the big screen. Based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon follows high school senior Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) as he wrestles with living out a typical teenage life and coming out to his family and friends. At first glance, Love, Simon appears to be next in line in an assembly line of young adult novel adaptations that are doomed for mediocrity, but it very quickly becomes apparent that there’s some depth to the titular lead. The film is often funny and heartfelt, with some truly touching moments that evoke some feel-good Hughes-ian vibes for more contemporary audiences.

Nick Robinson’s performance as Simon is genuine and raw.

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More Action, Less Skill in Pacific Rim: Uprising

Bring on more of the gigantic monster-fighting robots! Pacific Rim: Uprising is the anticipated sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 Pacific Rim. Part of the reason the first film gained popularity when it was released was the vibrant inventiveness with which it hit audiences. Del Toro directed the first film and created with it a journey into the conflicted world which pits humanity against the monstrous Kaiju using the giant robots called Jaegers. It was a fun and action-packed adventure film which broke up the continuous flow of overdone narratives in action films at the time. Pacific Rim: Uprising unfortunately falls into the category of movie sequels which destroy the possibilities for a great franchise.

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Miami Theaters Ring In Isle of Dogs with Wes Anderson Retrospectives

If you’ve made a trip to a local art house theater lately, you’ve likely stumbled upon a trailer for Wes Anderson’s upcoming and much anticipated film: Isle of Dogs. Anderson’s fans won’t have to wait much longer for the director’s second stop-motion feature as the film is set to be widely released on April 6th. But for those seeking to revisit the charming, witty,  and ever so symmetrical world of Wes, two of Miami’s premiere independent theaters have put together programs that are sure to quell those cravings.

Wes Anderson’s first venture into stop-motion animation came in his 2009 film, Fantastic Mr. Fox

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Unsane Drove Me Insane

Sawyer Valentini, completely shocked that a hospital would hold a suicidal person for observation

Films released in the first quarter of the year are known for ranging from passable to dreadful. With these low expectations in mind, Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane (2018) still manages to disappoint with its predictable story, messy structure, and generally unimpressive cinematic style.

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“Forbidden Fruit” A Taste of Cuban Independent Films

Coral Gables Art Cinema presents Forbidden Fruit, a showcase of Cuban Independent Films in the 21st Century. Inspired by the MoMA exhibition Cuban Cinema under Censorship, the program sought to push Cuban independent filmmakers to the forefront. Although the humor is very niche and might be appreciated by those more knowledgeable of the cultural “intricacies” of Cuban speak, the films offer a wide range of stories told through narratives and documentaries. Opening night featured two short films by director Juan Pablo Daranas Molina and two “micro-shorts” by Juan Carlos Cremata Malberti, followed by Enrique Colina’s feature length documentary.

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Ironing Out the Kinks in A Winkle in Time

So many characters, so little personality

As the forty minute mark approached during my screening of Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time (2018), I struggled with a simple question: Is it possible to review a film you walked out on? When I write about a film, I try to deliver more than a recommendation or a warning. A review should cast a spotlight on an aspect of filmmaking or storytelling that audiences and creators alike should treasure – unless the product is so bad, it should be obliterated for the cathartic entertainment of others. However, there’s a rare exception to my line of thought, where a product becomes a vehicle for a valuable lesson in the creative process. In the case of A Wrinkle in Time, while the fact that I walked out of the theater should be an indication of the film’s quality, it should mostly be a display of the importance of keeping your audience invested through compelling story elements.

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