Monthly Archives: December 2019

Ben’s Column: Uncut Gems (2019) Movie Review

Uncut Gems (2019)

Premise: A charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score, makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.

Meet Howard Ratner. He’s Jewish, in his 40s, married with three kids but is in the midst of divorcing his wife. He runs a successful* jewelry business to the stars in Manhattan, and has what can laconically be described as a gambling addiction. Almost everyone is tired of Howard’s shtick as soon as they come into contact with him, including his wife and daughter. The only people he has genuine connections with are his teenage son and his girlfriend Julia (Julia Fox, a breakout star in the making). Physiologically speaking, he has to sleep at some point, but there is no evidence to suggest he does. His mind is constantly racing, moving from one deal to the next, trying to get ahead and hit the jackpot. He’s a machete juggler where all of the machetes are on fire, and he’s prone to dropping them a little too frequently. Continue reading

The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 305 – Cats (Non-Spoiler) & Parasite – Don’t Think Twice, Acting in Independent Films, and Improv Comedy (Featuring: Kyrsten Lyster)

RIGHT CLICK IMAGE, SAVE LINK AS TO DOWNLOAD THE EPISODE…

OV305 – Cats (Non-Spoiler) & Parasite – Don’t Think Twice, Acting in Independent Films, and Improv Comedy (Featuring: Kyrsten Lyster)

 

Merry Christmas! In this episode, Kyrsten and I review Tom Hooper’s abysmal adaptation of Cats in a non-spoiler review. Then we cover Bong Joon-ho’s incredible Parasite in a full review. We also discuss Mike Birbiglia’s 2016 film Don’t Think Twice and have our usual nonsense.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 056 – OV B-Roll – “Please Don’t Tweet Me” – Kyrsten’s 30th Birthday, Ninja Disappeared, Comedic Ignorance, and Cat Fostering – December 21, 2019

Runtime: 1:10:46 Continue reading

Ben’s Column: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) Movie Review (Non-Spoiler)

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

Premise: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

In The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren tells Rey “Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to.” The line, along with many other plot developments, was read as director Rian Johnson’s overt message to fans to let go of any preconceived notions of what a Star Wars movie should be. It was a bold move, considering fans have done nothing but look to the original films, hoping to reclaim the glory and joy that they felt when Star Wars was at its peak. Continue reading

The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 304 – IFJA 2019 Award Winners & Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Non-Spoiler) – Guest: Evan Dossey from MidwestFilmJournal.com

RIGHT CLICK IMAGE, SAVE LINK AS TO DOWNLOAD THE EPISODE…

OV304 – IFJA 2019 Award Winners & Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Non-Spoiler) – Guest: Evan Dossey from MidwestFilmJournal.com

In this week’s episode, Evan Dossey from MidwestFilmJournal.com and the IFJA joins me to talk about the Indiana Film Journalists Association award winners for 2019. We also touch on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, my disconnect with the franchise, and its connection to The Last Jedi.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 055 – OV B-Roll – “Status of Our Top Ten Lists” – Ben Fell Asleep in Knives Out, Screener Season, Frozen 2, and Plans for the Rest of the Year – December 10, 2019

Runtime: 1:14:17 Continue reading

Movie Review: Cats (2019)

Cats (2019)

Premise: A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.

When the trailer for Cats was released earlier this year, it became ensnared in a viral bloodbath of ridicule on social media. Of course, it’s a film adaptation of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about cats holding a talent show to gain entry into cat heaven in a seemingly deserted city. It stands to reason that any version of it would look bizarre and invite ridicule. However, being a cat owner myself, I felt obligated to give Cats a whirl.

2019 Indiana Film Journalists Association Award Winners

Earlier this year I was accepted into the Indiana Film Journalists Association. It has given me an opportunity to see more movies, take part in lively discussions within the group, and inspired me to stretch my film criticism more than usual. Most notably, I’ve been writing more reviews for the website this year than usual.

At the end of each year, the IFJA meets to hash out the award winners in various categories. We met Saturday and spent several hours discussing films and selecting winners. It was my first year as a voting member of the group and I am very pleased with what we awarded and the films and talented individuals we recognized.

Below you’ll find the press release with all the winners and runner-ups. This has been a strong year for movies and I am already looking forward to next year with the IFJA. Continue reading

The Obsessive Viewer Podcast – Ep 303 – The Report & Marriage Story – Dickinson, Servant, Truth Be Told, Unbelievable, and Little Women (Guest: Ben Sears)

RIGHT CLICK IMAGE, SAVE LINK AS TO DOWNLOAD THE EPISODE…

OV303 – The Report & Marriage Story – Dickinson, Servant, Truth Be Told, Unbelievable, and Little Women (Guest: Ben Sears)

 

In this week’s episode, we welcome back our friend and OV contributor Ben Sears to help Tiny and I with double Adam Driver review of Amazon Studios’ The Report and Netflix’s Marriage Story. We also lightly touch on the Golden Globe nominations and the trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Then, in Potpourri, we talk about Little Women, Netflix’s Unbelievable, Dickinson, Servant, and Truth Be Told.

This week’s stinger comes from our Patreon-exclusive recording: 055 – OV B-Roll – “Status of Our Top Ten Lists” – Ben Fell Asleep in Knives Out, Screener Season, Frozen 2, and Plans for the Rest of the Year – December 10, 2019

Runtime: 1:59:03 Continue reading

Movie Review: The Beach Bum (2019)

Premise: A rebellious stoner named Moondog lives life by his own rules.

The Beach Bum is my second outing with a Harmony Korine film after watching Spring Breakers on a whim back in January. Even though I didn’t like Spring Breakers, I enjoyed the abstract editing and overall strange and indistinct tone of that movie. It was as though Korine was making a statement about debauchery and youth in revolt flirting with crime. Continue reading