Category Archives: Review

The Many Thrills and Kills in Pearl

Colored image: at center, portrait of Mia Goth as Pearl. Her hands are bloody and are on her cheeks.
Pearl (2022). Directed by Ti West. Starring Mia Goth.

Have you ever wanted something so bad you would kill for it? This question becomes the motivation for our protagonist in Pearl, the second installment to Ti West’s trilogy. As a prequel to the well received release of X earlier this year, Pearl explains the actions set forth in X, specifically Pearl’s rise to stardom. Having worked on both, Mia Goth and West create a film that simultaneously entertains and frightens the audience.

Continue reading The Many Thrills and Kills in Pearl

Three Thousand Years of Longing and the Endless Allure of Storytelling

Three Thousand Years of Longing Promotional Poster

The beating heart of George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing lies in the power of narratives and what they mean to us as viewers. The film follows Tilda Swinton’s Alithea, a narratologist who travels to Istanbul, where she attends conferences and gives speeches about the history and power of storytelling. After finding and cleaning an old glass lamp, she accidentally releases Djinn, played by Idris Elba, who grants her three wishes in exchange for his freedom. From there, the film takes an interesting turn. Instead of becoming an action-packed and fantastical epic where Alithea makes wishes with disastrous consequences – she is reluctant to make any wishes. And to convince her, Djinn decides to sit down and tell her all the details of his long life and imprisonment: his great loves, his great regrets, and his great suffering. Continue reading Three Thousand Years of Longing and the Endless Allure of Storytelling

Flashback Flick: Raiders of the Lost Ark

Poster of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. He is wearing a hat and is shown from his head down to his shoulders.

To kick off the Fall 2022 semester, the crew at FIU Film Studies would like to introduce you to our new series: Flashback Flicks. Every week, one of our editors will select a favorite film or cult classic that we recommend to you, our readers. This week’s pick is Steven Spielberg’s 1981 film, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Continue reading Flashback Flick: Raiders of the Lost Ark

See You Down the Road: Nomadland (Review)

On the heels of its Golden Lion win at the Venice Film Festival and Golden Globes nominations, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland has been released in theaters and Hulu.

Nomadland, directed by Zhao, is an eye-opening look at the lifestyle of nomads in the United States. The film stars Frances McDormand as Fern, a woman struggling with grief starting a life as a nomad figure across the United States, meeting fellow nomads on her journey. As with The Rider (2017), Zhao takes advantage of giving the film a realistic feel with various scenes feeling almost documentary-like in their execution. I have no doubt several lines were improvised between McDormand and the other actors because of how natural their delivery was. Continue reading See You Down the Road: Nomadland (Review)

News of the World: Tom Hanks – Frontier Arbiter of Sincerity (Review)

When divorced from the charged docudramas and caffeinated capers of a certain amnesiac assassin that have sculpted the career of director Paul Greengrass, his latest, News of the World, already passes muster: a lively, capably produced and oftentimes contemplative Western with two terrific performances and a message that cuts through the contemporary blues. Yet there is more to it than that. Add to News’s greater success a willingness to lift a page from Greengrass’s entries in the Bourne franchise (sans memory loss) and its lead in Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, in its examination of regrettably scarred but emotionally intelligent men who open the eyes of those around them as they skirt the very circumstances that divide opinions. Continue reading News of the World: Tom Hanks – Frontier Arbiter of Sincerity (Review)

Malcolm & Marie: A Tired Product of COVID Era Cinema (Review)

Malcolm & Marie
is a black and white romantic drama starring John David Washington and Zendaya is directed by Sam Levinson, known for Assassination Nation and Euphoria, the latter of which Zendaya also stars in. Entirely written and produced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the single location movie follows the titular couple coming home from the premiere of a film Malcolm directed where he failed to thank Marie for being a key part of the process in the creation of said film. This offscreen inciting incident leads to a series of events that will push the limits of their relationship.

The first thing one notices in Malcolm & Marie is it’s gorgeous black and white cinematography. The shadows and lighting of the film are stunning, and there are a handful of long takes that capture the restlessness of the characters so well as the walk around the beautiful house the entire movie is set in. If the film was judged merely on these merits, there would be little to complain about. Unfortunately, it can’t be. Continue reading Malcolm & Marie: A Tired Product of COVID Era Cinema (Review)

Still Relevant: A “Cuties” Review

Still from film Cuties
If you thought the hubbub over Cuties  was over, think again. News has just dropped that Netflix now faces a grand jury indictment in Texas for promoting lewd visual material. Is Cuties irredeemably lurid? Does it criticize precisely what its critics find offensive about it?

Cuties (French: Mignonnes) is not an easy movie to talk about. A heated discourse developed around it since Netflix announced the film’s release on its platform with a marketing campaign that sparked outrage due to the sexually suggestive behavior of the pre-adolescent characters in promotional material. The controversy has continued to grow since the movie’s release on September 9th with rumors being spread about grooming and child pornography. What is fascinating about this phenomenon is that the film’s content clearly sides with its detractors. That being said it is not immune to criticism on how it presents its critique of the sexualization of young girls. Continue reading Still Relevant: A “Cuties” Review