Review: The Green Knight
How does one begin to describe a masterfully c0mplex film like The Green Knight? Well, I have finally been able to put my thoughts into words ...
𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕮𝖍𝖗𝖎𝖘𝖙𝖒𝖆𝖘 𝕲𝖆𝖒𝖊
The Green Knight is a movie I have seen twice now this month, and I am still pondering on the best way to describe this film. Here we go: The Green Knight is simply one of the best films to come out in 2021. Haunting, mesmerizing, and poetic: writer-director David Lowery’s (Ain't Them Bodies Saints and A Ghost Story) Arthurian tale is a masterwork. Led by a commanding Dev Patel: The Green Knight's artful vision of thought-provoking themes will be discussed for years to come. Lowery's film of the beloved source of material, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, is always honored in the narrative sense, but it is also deconstructed in its on-screen portrayal. An epic medieval fantasy based on the 14th-century poem written by Anonymous. Lowery's film is a dark portrayal of fantasy and fiction, chop-full of symbolism.
When I was seated for my first showing of The Green Knight, I was immediately absorbed into this epic tale. Awe-inspiring and gobsmacking are a few words that come to mind after walking out of the theaters. I had felt like I had just come from the long journey itself that Sir Gawain (a powerful Patel) had taken. Through Andrew Droz Palermo's (A Ghost Story) drop-dead gorgeous cinematography, we could see the lushes green on the trees shine and feel the cool breeze blowing all around us. The dark forest of tall, howling pine trees engulfs your consciousness, sending you to a dream-like state of mind. The is the first picture where I could feel the beauty and presence of the forest Gawain travels through. There is a sense of wonder and awe as Lowery slowly moves the camera around the woods.
There are many scenes I have pondered on after watching this film twice, and the cinematography is one of those pieces that truly shined throughout the picture. So, let's move on to the actual plot of this film: The Green Knight is based on a poem and a timeless Arthurian legend. We embark on the story of Sir Gawain (Patel), King Arthur's reckless and strong-minded nephew. On Christmas morning, the mysterious Green Knight (a mighty Ralph Ineson) barges into King Arthur's court on horseback and challenges the court with what he calls 'The Christmas Game.' The Green Knight is a half-man, half tree-like figure. He proclaims that any knight who can land a blow on him will win his green axe. However, there is a catch, that knight must travel to the Green Chapel one year hence and receive an equal blow in return. As the knights all coward away, Gawain decides to take up the challenge.
But instead of fighting, the Green Knight kneels, places his axe on the ground, and lowers his head. Puzzled, Gawain doesn't know what type of game the Green Knight is playing — wielding King Author's Excalibur — he strikes and decapitates the Green Knight. Gawain seems amused and satisfied with his strike, yet the Green Knight rises and lifts his severed head off the ground. He speaks, "one year hence." The Green Knight jumps back onto his horse and rides away laughing. And thus, Gawain's incredibly short year begins until it is time for him to make his journey to the Green Chapel. Once Gawain embarks on his journey, he will encounter many trials: a Scavenger (an excellent Barry Keoghan), a mysterious woman named Winifred (a wonderful Erin Kellyman), and a Lord and a Lady (a great Joel Edgerton and Alicia Vikander). Vikander actually plays two characters in this film: the Lady and Essel, Gawain's girlfriend. Balancing two very different roles: Vikander excels in both roles and she truly captivates whenever on screen.
Gawain's quest is dangerous, one that I will not spoil for you. Instead, let me talk to you about Patel's award-worthy performance. Patel is a gifted actor, and The Green Knight continues to prove that right. With his breakout performance from 2008's Slumdog Millionaire, Patel has always been able to transform into his character(s). He went on to be in movies like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Lion, Hotel Mumbai, and The Personal History of David Copperfield. These are all great performances, but The Green Knight is his best. Patel's incarnation of Sir Gawain is striking in every scene. He is hot-headed and stubborn but also confident and fearless. Along with his furry friend (a wild fox), he befriends on the journey, there are so many details that I know I am leaving out from this beautiful picture. Lowery is a visual storyteller when it comes to filmmaking. The Green Knight might be one of his most visually told films.
There is very little dialogue throughout this picture, yet Lowery does not need words to tell his story because he lets his camera do all the work. One of the many reasons why I found this movie to be so absorbing. A powerful display of craft and symbolism that invades the viewer's mind. One of the other exciting things about Lowery's newest feature is that I finally got to experience it in the theaters. The Green Knight was originally scheduled for theaters in May of 2020. It was shelved due to COVID-19. A24 finally released the film to theaters last month (July 2021). It was well worth the wait to experience this epic picture on the big screen. Thus far, Lowery's film has grossed almost $18 million worldwide on a $15 million budget, which is pretty good for an independent film like this. Especially since we are still dealing with a pandemic and the rise of the delta variant.
The Green Knight is simply one of the best films to come out this year. It is the very definition of cinema. Bold, dark, and always captivating, this medieval fantasy will have your head spinning by the end. There is also a montage sequence that left me gobsmacked after it was over. I will not reveal where in the film it is. When it does eventually come up you, won't know what hit you. This seductive picture is a feast to the eyes and a wonder to the soul. Cinema at its finest, Lowery and Patel's beauty of a film strikes so many ways that it left my mind thinking about it repeatedly. I also changed my mind on how the film ended the second time watching it. This is what great filmmaking does, allowing the audience to experience something completely new whenever they re-watch it. In the end, The Green Knight will go down as a classic of this modern world.
Want to hear more of my thoughts about this incredible film? I spoke with my good friends, Matt and Ashley, on their podcast, Mashely at the Movies | Listen Here.
The Green Knight is rated R (Restricted) Some Sexuality | Graphic Nudity | Violence.
See it in theaters or watch it now on VOD.
Directed by David Lowery
Starring Dev Patel, Alicia Vikander, Joel Edgerton, Sarita Choudhury, Sean Harris, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Barry Keoghan, and Erin Kellyman.
Review: The Night House and CODA
A Double Feature Review!
The Night House
The Night House is a solid psychological thriller that masterfully takes its time building the suspense. The end results will send chills down your spine. Rebecca Hall’s emotionally gripping performance also helps excel the film. Director David Bruckner's (2017's The Ritual) newest horror flick had its world premiere at 2020's Sundance Film Festival. It would go onto be picked up by Searchlight Pictures and was finally released to theaters 18 months later. Bruckner's atmospheric horror picture engages the audience on an emotional and intellectual level. A type of engagement that slowly builds up the tension and thrills. Our spooky story follows Beth (a powerful Rebecca Hall), who is left alone in a lakeside home after the sudden death of her husband. Beth tries to keep all of the pieces together, but then, the nightmares come. During these nightmares, Beth feels a ghostly allure calling her. She soon begins to dig through her late husband's belongings, searching for answers from these dark visions.
In the end, Beth discovers something both truly strange and disturbing. Mysteries that I will leave for you to uncover yourself. Along with Bruckner's well-crafted suspense and tension is an eerie score by composer Ben Lovett (2019's I Trapped the Devil and 2017's The Ritual). The Night House is a horror flick that unended my expectations, delivering well-crafted scares and a rewarding ending. Hall's strong performance is the core of this picture, carrying it from start to finish. Sadly, I seem to be in the minority with this film. The Night House received a C- score from audiences on its opening weekend and, even from my showing, there was a group of three who walked out halfway through the movie. Personally, I thought this film was masterfully executed — it is a slow-burner, but one with rich rewards. I, of course, still recommend watching this film, especially if you are a fan of horror. In the end, The Night House came and conquered, sending chills down one's spine.
The Night House is rated R (Restricted) Some Violence/Disturbing Image | Some Sexual References | Language.
Directed by David Bruckner
Starring Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis Hall, Evan Jonigkeit, and Stacy Martin.
CODA is a wonder. A beautiful film led by a splendid cast and strong representation. A coming-of-age story that avoids the clichés, capturing what it means to be family. Emilia Jones gives a superb performance that’s combined with an important sense of inclusion. It’s simply one of this year’s best movies. Everything about CODA is perfect. CODA (child of deaf adults) is a beautiful picture, capturing a feel-good story with a big heart. Emotional, tear-jerking, and, at times, a little predictable — CODA is a sweet movie that offers warmth and affection. This crowd-pleaser offers a simple story that slowly packs a gut punch at the end. You won't know what hit you. We follow a blue-collar family living in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Ruby (a magnificent Emilia Jones) is the only hearing member of her family: her parents Frank and Jackie (a strong Troy Kotsur and Oscar winner Marlee Matlin), and older brother Leo (a wonderful Daniel Durant) are all culturally deaf. Kotsur, Matlin, and Durant are also all deaf actors.
Ruby helps assist with the family fishing business while attending high school. She plans on joining the business full-time once she graduates. However, Ruby also has another passion of hers — singing. She decides to audition for the school choir, run by Mr. Bernardo Villalobos (a great Eugenio Derbez). Mr. V. soon realizes Ruby's natural gifts and raw talent. He encourages Ruby to audition for Berklee College of Music and offers her private lessons to prepare. Ruby accepts Mr. V.'s offer but also has to figure out how to continue assisting/interpreting for her family's fishing business. This also leads Ruby to the confrontation of her parents not understanding why singing is so important to her. Writer-director Sian Heder wonderfully executes this picture — gifting us with a funny, heartwarming, and vivid movie. CODA also represents strong inclusion for the deaf community, allowing their stories to be told.
CODA also fully develops its deaf characters on-screen through interpretations of self-sufficiency and sexual activeness. Past on-screen depictions of deaf characters have shied away from this, not allowing their character(s) to be depicted as fully human. This allowed CODA's actors (Kotsur, Matlin, and Durant) to break out and fully be themselves with their personification of their respected character. CODA had its world premiere last January at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Apple for a whopping $25 million. Apple saw something very special with this film. Consider it a front runner come awards season. CODA is a superb film with a big heart and a lot of love. It truly is one of the best films to come out in 2021. There were several moments during this movie where I found myself wiping away tears. So, bring those tissues because you'll need them.
CODA is rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned) Drug Use | Strong Sexual Content | Language.
Now Streaming on Apple TV+
Directed by Sian Heder
Starring Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Marlee Matlin, Daniel Durant, Eugenio Derbez, Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, and Amy Forsyth.
Review: Vivo and Annette
A Double Feature Review!
Vivo is a bright and color film for the whole family. Beautiful animation (especially the 2D scenes), with irresistible songs from Lin-Manuel Miranda (Hamilton and In the Heights). A love letter to Cuba with great Latinx representation throughout. Plus, ‘The’ Gloria Estefan sings! Music to the ears. Vivo is a welcomed treat from Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda's sweet tale of a singing kinkajou from Cuba was, originally, pitched to Dreamworks Animation back in 2010. However, Miranda's project was officially dropped from Dreamworks in 2015. Sony Pictures Animation decided to pick Vivo up and fast-track the project in 2016. Sony Pictures Animation and Netflix currently have a partnership, which is why Vivo was released on Netflix, along with other 2021 Sony Animated films, including Wish Dragon and The Mitchells vs the Machines.
Our story follows a one-of-kind kinkajou named Vivo (magically voiced by Miranda), who spends his days playing music to the crowds in the plaza with his beloved owner Andrés (perfectly voiced by Juan de Marcos). Vivo and Andrés don't speak the same language, but the music speaks directly to the heart. One day, Andrés receives a letter from the famous Marta Sandoval (voiced by the legendary Gloria Estefan), inviting her old partner to her farewell concert. Marta is an old love of his, but he never told her. Then tragedy strikes, and it's up to Vivo to travel to Miami, giving Marta a love letter/song from Andrés. Vivo gets help from Gabi (voiced by newcomer Ynairaly Simo). Gabi is an energetic teenager who raps and bounces to the beat of her own drum. Vivo is a sweet film for the whole family to watch, featuring 11 new songs from Miranda. Alongside the importance of Latino representation, Vivo will have your heart dancing to the sweet melody of music.
Vivo is rated PG (Parental Guidance) Mild Action | Some Thematic Elements.
Watch now on Netflix.
Starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ynairaly Simo, Zoe Saldana, Juan de Marcos, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Rooker, Nicole Byer, and Gloria Estefan.
They weren’t lying, Annette is a bizarre rock opera. It's definitely a film that has been growing on me weeks after I have seen it. Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, and Simon Helberg are all wonderful. Leos Carax’s (Holy Motors) dreamy fantasia is ambitious and experimental. Annette won’t be for everyone, but it’s still worth seeing. The audacity of Annette is strong, with batty storytelling and a jukebox musical that will linger on your brain long after the credits roll. With similar tones to musicals like The Phantom of the Opera or Les Misérables — Annette comes out swinging with its opening number ("So May We Start"), sending chills down your spine. The screenplay of Annette was formed by Ron and Russell Mael of Sparks and Carax — crafting an original story, music, and songs by the band. Although the actors of the film are not trained singers — nevertheless — most of them do their own singing throughout. This added a more raw musical layer to the story's already bizarre premise.
The movie follows a couple's walk-in fame and ultimate destruction. Henry (the great Adam Driver) is a stand-up comedian with an intense sense of humor. Think Bo Burnham-like but on steroids. Henry falls in love with Ann (a magnificent Cotillard), a world-renowned opera singer. Under the couple's spotlight, they form a passionate and glamorous physique. Ann is also pregnant and gives birth to their first child, Annette. Carax used the unique and, at times, nightmarish choice to make Annette a wooden marionette puppet. Yes, you heard that correctly. This choice was to symbolize Henry's cynicism towards the world and how he doesn't look at his own child as a real person. Through baby Annette's mystery and gifted talent, she turns their world upside down.
Annette is a lot of things — avant-garde, surreal, weird, melodic, and always beautiful. Annette will not be for everyone, but it's a movie that deserves to be seen. I would even argue the point that it's a movie that deserves multiple viewings. Carax crafts a strange vision of love, passion, and fame. His vision is wrapped behind the musical talent of the Sparks brothers, gifting us with a haunting and beautiful soundtrack. This includes songs like "We Love Each Other So Much," "We’ve Washed Ashore," "Stepping Back in Time," and "Sympathy for the Abyss." One critique about this film I would like to point out was that it's definitely a movie where you could feel its runtime (all 139 minutes). In the end, Carax's film is still a dreamy, musical nightmare that will transport you to another world. So may we start?
Annette is rated R (Restricted) Some Nudity | Sexual Content | Language.
See it in theaters or watch exclusively on Amazon Prime, starting on August 20th.
Directed by Leos Carax
Starring Adam Driver, Marion Cotillard, Simon Helberg, Devyn McDowell, and Angèle.
Review: The Suicide Squad
The Suicide Squad was a blast from start to finish. James Gunn's superhero flick turned the dial up to 11. Through the chaos and anarchy, our Squad was completely self-aware and laughing all the way. Add a dash of politics to this violent extravaganza, and you are in for a show. See it in theaters or watch exclusively on HBO Max.
"Live Fast, Die Clown."
I wasn't expecting much out of The Suicide Squad — considering the awful 2016 Suicide Squad that came out. Yet, this time around, the viewers were gifted with a better director (James Gunn) to bring this wacky vision of anti-heroes to life. The Suicide Squad is technically not a sequel, nor is it really a reboot from 2016's failed performance. However, it is connected to the DCEU and, in reality, another chance for Warner Bros. to get it right with our anti-heroes on the big screen. 2016's version was a mess as far as direction and script go. The actors gave it their all with the material they were given. Some of those same actors (Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, and Jai Courtney) returned to their respected roles from the first time around. We also added new additions to the film, including Idris Elba, John Cena, Sylvester Stallone, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, and Daniela Melchior.
While Dastmalchian and Melchior both had breakout performances as Polka-Dot Man and Ratcatcher 2. They really became the heart and soul of this film. So, our newest DC Comics movie featuring the team Suicide Squad follows a task force of convicts, who are sent to destroy evidence known as "Project Starfish." Task Force X is deployed to the fictionalized South American island nation of Corto Maltese. Gunn, who is known for his gonzo-stylized filmmaking in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Super, dials the temperature up to 11 in this superhero extravaganza. This latest feature is chop-full of over-the-top action, fast-paced gags, and stylized blood. Similar to 2016's Deadpool, The Suicide Squad takes this type of violent mayhem and runs to the moon and back. There is nothing groundbreaking with Gunn's latest picture, but it is a movie I enjoyed from start to finish.
Robbie also returns as our favorite anti-hero, Harley Quinn. I have enjoyed Robbie's incarnation of Quinn during her time in the DCEU. Just like in 2020's Birds of Prey, Robbie continues to grow in her character, giving another grand performance. Since her character debuted in 2016, Robbie's wardrobe has become less sexualized (male-gazed) and more empowering. Over the years, Robbie has gotten more of a say in how she wants Harley to look and feel, something I appreciate. The Suicide Squad also features one of the coolest action sequences with Robbie, to the tune of "Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody (And Nobody Cares For Me)" [Medley]." Blood will fly, along with an explosion of animated 2D flowers around Harley. Some additional performances I will talk about are Elba's Bloodsport, Cena's Peacemaker, Kinnaman's Rick Flag, Stallone's Nanaue / King Shark, Dastmalchian's Polka-Dot Man, and Melchior's Ratcatcher 2.
Elba's acting chops remain unmatched as he blasts through this movie, one shot at a time. Cena's performance as Peacemaker took me by complete surprise. We had just witnessed a rather wooden performance from Cena in F9. Yet the opposite is to be said about his Peacemaker — an incredibly flawed man who would kill every man, woman, or child to keep the peace. Kinnaman returns as our beloved Rick Flag, elevating his charismatic performance this time around. Stallone provides the voice for Nanaue / King Shark — a man-eating fish-human hybrid. In the end, Nanaue just wants friends and some nom, noms. Dastmalchian's zany performance as the Polka-Dot Man is a standout, while Melchior's performance as Ratcatcher 2 is full of heart. Along with her trustee sidekick, a rat named Sebastian, who is to die for. Together, this group of raggedy anti-heroes will win you over, one explosion at a time.
Want to hear more of my thoughts about this film? I spoke with my good friends, Matt and Ashley, on their podcast, Mashely at the Movies | Listen Here.
The Suicide Squad is rated R (Restricted) Drug Use | Brief Graphic Nudity | Language Throughout | Some Sexual References | Strong Violence and Gore.
See it in theaters or watch it now on HBO Max.
Directed by James Gunn
Starring Margot Robbie, Idris Elba, John Cena, Joel Kinnaman, Sylvester Stallone, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Peter Capaldi, David Dastmalchian, Daniela Melchior, Michael Rooker, Alice Braga, Pete Davidson, Joaquín Cosio, Juan Diego Botto, Storm Reid, Nathan Fillion, Steve Agee, and Sean Gunn as Weasel.
Review: No Sudden Move
No Sudden Move is a solid crime thriller, some of Steven Soderbergh’s best work. This film-noir throwback takes you through all the twists and turns, paired with a superb cast: Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Noah Jupe, Julia Fox, Ray Liotta, and Bill Duke. Wow! Stream it now on HBO Max.
Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move is an excellent crime caper — slow-burning and oozing with tension. Since Soderbergh's return from his brief filmmaking retirement (between 2013's Side Effects to 2017's Logan Lucky); he has made some of his best work upon returning to the director's chair. During this return, we have gotten films like Logan Lucky, Unsane, Let Them All Talk, and now No Sudden Move. Soderbergh, a master of tension, keeps the ball rolling in his latest feature that's currently streaming on HBO Max. This time around, we get an old-fashioned film with a sharp ensemble to back it up. The story takes place in a 1954 Detroit — a rapidly changing city, where the mobsters and auto executives are in an all-out war. We start with a trio of sly criminals under the guidance of the mysterious Jones (the wonderful Fraser). Jones is recruiting criminals who need one final job so they can escape the city for good.
Curt Goynes (a grand Cheadle) has just been released from prison and needs a ticket out due to being in the crosshairs of other mobsters, including an interesting gentleman named Watkins (Duke). Jones pairs Curt with a man named Ronald (a magnificent del Toro), who happens to be having an affair with Vanessa (Fox), the wife of mob boss Frank Capelli (Liotta). Next, Curt and Ronald are partnered with a firecracker named Charley (Culkin), who leads them to the home of a 'cowardly lion' named Matt (a fantastic Harbour). The criminal trio takes Matt and his family hostage in their home. While keeping Matt's wife (Seimetz) and children (including Jupe) hostage, they order Matt to retrieve an item from the safe in his boss's office. Of course, Matt is sleeping with his boss's secretary, so he has no choice but to obey their orders.
As you can guess, nothing ever goes according to plan, and this is where I stop with the plot. A body, a betrayal, and potential chaos begin to pile up on Curt and Ronald. Leading our two main culprits to think on the fly. There will be mistakes, hidden motives, and plenty of skeletons coming out of the closest when this picture is finally over. Soderbergh also chose the brilliant camera technique of using a fish-eye lens to shoot multiple scenes. This gave the viewer an uncomfortable feeling of something bad is lingering just around the corner. A grade-A technique of suspense and tension rattling your bones. No Sudden Move is an excellent movie in direction, acting, and story. Soderbergh knows how to perfectly craft a crime thriller, and he has a superb cast backing him up from start to finish. No Sudden Move is a great cat-and-mouse film that will keep you on your toes and guessing what's hiding from within the shadows.
No Sudden Move is rated R (Restricted) Language Throughout | Some Violence | Sexual References.
Watch now on HBO Max.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Amy Seimetz, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Noah Jupe, Julia Fox, Ray Liotta, and Bill Duke
Pig was a wonderful surprise — dark, poignant, and powerfully acted by Nicolas Cage. A strange odyssey of love and loss. I had lots of feelings after watching this film. Now on VOD if you missed it in theaters.
Part One: Rustic Mushroom Tart
Pig is not the movie I thought it would be, and that's a good thing. This is a film that took me by complete surprise, bringing out feelings that I am still trying to explain. Pig is a beautiful and, at times, heartbreaking film about life. Pig's emotional core is anchored by the great Nic Cage, who has explored a variety of Indie films (Joe, Mandy, and Color Out of Space) in recent years. Cage has given some of his best work in these Indie films, and Pig continues to prove that right. Michael Sarnoski's directorial debut follows a truffle hunter, who lives alone in the Oregon wilderness with his brown foraging pig. Rob (Cage) is greasy, has long hair, a scraggly beard, and worn down clothes. But, Rob is content with his life and his companion — that brown foraging pig. Rob sells his prized truffles to a local supplier (Alex Wolff), who sells them to Portland's high-end restaurants. Yet, everything changes one night when Rob's cabin is broken into, Rob is beaten unconscious, and his pig is stolen.
Part Two: Mom's French Toast & Deconstructed Scallops
This leads Cage on the move to track down who stole his beloved pig. Amir (Wolff) becomes his ride into Portland and this broken odyssey. Along the way, Rob is beaten and bloodied. But Rob has a mission, making his way up to the top of the underbelly restaurant network. Pig is a slow-burning film, slowly building up emotions inside you that you did not realize you had. This is about as far as I'll go for the plot, keeping the spoilers secret and your viewing experience pure. For being a directorial debut, Sarnoski's craft is impeccable and resonating this Americana fable with a moral compass. Pig is a perfectly crafted picture with vivid cinematography. A tender film of food and the human connection — leaving one with a bittersweet feeling by the end. This cynical world of culinary Portland tries to swallow up Rob and his past regrets. But, Rob keeps his eyes focused and his soul wondering for his brown furry friend.
Part Three: A Bird, a Bottle, & a Baguette
Pig was definitely a film that snuck up on me. By the time the credits rolled, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I had just watched a picture so beautiful and so heartbreaking at the same time. I have collected my thoughts over this experience, trying to put it into words. Sarnoski's craftsmanship of gentle storytelling is a power unlike anything I've seen this year. I didn't have much thought about Pig, going into the film, yet I came away with an experience unlike any other. Cage's performance of a man's traumatized soul, is one of the actor's finest works. To put it mildly, Cage is magnificent. Pig is a portrait of many themes — leaving the viewer with several emotions to deconstruct all at once. Good pig.
Pig is rated R (Restricted) For Language and Some Violence.
See Pig in Select Theaters or Rent on VOD.
Directed by Michael Sarnoski
Starring Nicolas Cage, Alex Wolff, and Adam Arkin.
Review: Are You Alright?
Are You Alright? is a 15-minute Short film that tackles America's work-related trauma and the mental health crisis confining many people to a new stressful reality.
Writer-director Alessio Summerfield's Are You Alright? will grapple ahold of your psyche, sending your emotions to claustrophobic territories. The premise of this Short is structured as just "another day in the office," but soon we realize that our main protagonist, Wallace (a strong Jaan Marion), is trapped in a paranoia world trying to balance his work-life. Wallace seems to be stuck in dream-like sequences torturing his soul. These sequences are fueled with suspense and claustrophobia — we see hundreds of old telephone lines and wires begin to strangle Wallace in an open green field, giving off Lynchian vibes. There are surreal and sinister forces that parallel throughout this Short, thanks to Summerfield's vivid direction.
There are many scenes where there is the numbing sound of a telephone ringing constantly in Wallace's head, slowly making waves into the viewer's subconscious. As the memos, agreements, and reports begin to pile up, suffocating Wallace, he starts to have a mental breakdown. Slowly, we see Wallace lose sight of what's real and what's in his head. This is where Summerfield succeeds, tackling the mental health crisis that is currently grappling our country. A crisis that feels all too real since we are still in the middle of a pandemic with no light at the end of the tunnel. During the last year, new fears and anxieties have run rapidly through individuals, myself included. Summerfield originally started to explore this concept of anger and frustration.
Summerfield's concept began to form through the physical and mental toll that the workplace puts on its employees. The cast and crew of Are You Alright? also helped collaborate with their own stories of stressful workplaces. Some of them even sought out therapy for work-related trauma. We see Wallace go through similar therapy sessions during this Short, trying to heal his broken state of mind. This contemporary Short of trauma comes across all too familiar for many Americans currently struggling in today's capitalistic force. Are You Alright? is smart in balancing both reality and paranoia. The toll of the never-ending workday can sometimes feel both mentally draining and suffocating. Are You Alright? hits the nail on the head with its topic and theme. It's worth your time.
Are You Alright? is Not Rated (NR).
Directed by Alessio Summerfield
Starring Jaan Marion, Ashley Santana, Cliff Mirabella, and Richard Ulrich.
Are You Alright? is available to watch on: https://www.alessiosummerfield.com/current-project
For Your Consideration:
Cup Of Soul Show
In Their Own League
Mashley at the Movies
Mike, Mike, and Oscar
The Movie Oracle
Next Best Picture
Reos Positive POV
The SoBros Network
Untitled Cinema Gals Project