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Alan S. Kim in Minari (2020)

Lee Isaac Chung’s American Dream — ★★★★1/2

For anyone who has been keeping tabs on “buzz films”, Minari has been at the top of most lists since Sundance earlier this year. Being released by A24, starring Steven Yeun, who is coming off a string of high profile roles (Sorry to Bother You, Burning, Mayhem, and Okja), and being directed by Lee Isaac Chung (Munyurangabo) with the film being based off of his childhood experiences, this film as a whole has had a lot going for it since it debuted. Having now seen it as part of the Philadelphia Film Festival, I understand why.


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Noémie Merlant in Jumbo (2020)

Beauty and the Carnival Ride — ★★★★

This time last year, I was enjoying the 28th annual Philadelphia Film Festival, taking in screenings for Rian Johnson’s Knives out and Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, Taika Waititi’s wholesome comedy Jojo Rabbit, and award-season darling, Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite. The final film I saw at PFF28 however, was Céline Sciamma’s beautiful love story that was Portrait of a Lady on Fire, starring Adèle Haenel and the star of my first film for this virtual version of the Philly Film Fest, Noémie Merlant. I’d be lying if I said Portrait of a Lady on Fire did not influence my decision to see Jumbo, with Merlant’s performance and my love of that film really encouraging me to try this one out, and so try I did. As per the usual, my rating of this movie is clearly displayed above, so you know already that I thought it was great, and if you choose to click off of this review now, I will totally understand! Be sure to check out Jumbo whenever you get the chance via VOD, Film Festival, or maybe in the distant future when COVID isn’t being mishandled and taken lightly, going to the theater will once again become practical, but until then, be safe and stay home to watch (or attend a drive-in if that is an option). …


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Posters for Bill and Ted Face the Music, Emma, and Hamilton (2020)

Reviews for Hamilton, The Kissing Booth 2, Class Action Park, An American Pickle, Bill and Ted Face the Music, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, and Unpregnant

COVID-19 can really just go ahead and fuck off, as can Trump’s government and any anti-maskers or anti-vaxxers out there. We are still quite literally living through a global pandemic, something that nobody really expected, and yet many people are just content with going back to living life. Whether it is because they are bored, believe that it will not kill them, have become numb to the always-increasing death toll, or just choose not to believe in the virus, all of these are awful reasons and if you are someone who has gone back to living life as if it is normal, you should truly feel bad about yourself. For those who have continued to live life properly by going out for necessities only, keeping your in-person socializing to a minimum with only those closest to you, and always wearing a mask when you go out, good job! With that all being said, how this comes into effect for myself goes back to the week of March 12, my Birthday week, when college came to a screeching halt for myself. We were set to go on Spring Break the following week, but word began spreading that it would be extended to a two-week break with the first cases of COVID-19 hitting the New York/New Jersey area. So, we all went home and college shut down for two weeks. At the time we all thought we’d possibly be back in a few weeks, then it became apparent that we would not, but most were optimistic about the fall. Well, here we are, it is September of 2020, and once again, we are all online now. With theaters shutting down, my drive for writing reviews closed down as well. The last reviews I ended up writing was for Palm Springs in early July, Da 5 Bloods in June, and before that Perfect Blue in April. So yeah… I think it might be time to post again, so what better way than to post some mini-reviews of all of the 2020 films I watched since then?! …


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Andy Samberg Strikes Again, Now Go Watch Popstar! — ★★★★1/2

Truthfully, I have been meaning to get reviews done for a number of reviews since my last one, which was for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods, and still plan on eventually writing something for both The King of Staten Island and Shirley whenever I get around to them. For now though, I am skipping my to-do-list by shooting Palm Springs to the top! Ever since news broke of it selling for $17,500,000.69 at Sundance, with an incredible amount of positive buzz coming out of that same festival, this has been all over my 2020 watchlist. Earlier in quarantine, I finally watched the Lonely Island Netflix special about the Bash Brothers, and all I can say is… yes. I still stand by the idea that Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of the most underrated movies of the 2010’s, and so my expectations for this were quite high. …


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Promotional Artwork for Da 5 Bloods (2020)

Spike Lee Brings the Heat in an poignant, unsurprisingly timely Epic, dealing with racism, war, and Trump’s America — ★★★★★

Having recently watched Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing for the first time (Fantastic by the way, though most of you reading this probably know that already), and then moving onto the episode of the Unspooled podcast covering the film, as well as featuring some insight from the acclaimed director himself, the build-up to the release of Da 5 Bloods has been one of the highlights for my life lately. The world is currently going to shit, with a pandemic still quite a threat here in the United States, racial and political tensions being at a boiling point after another unarmed Black man, George Floyd, was murdered by the police, setting off protests not just withing the country, but worldwide, as well as the continual existence of the Failure in Chief himself, Donald Trump, or “President Fake Bone Spurs” as Spike Lee so graciously refers to him within this film. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the militarized police force in America is using tear gas, rubber bullets, flashbangs on American citizens, as well as committing mass arrests and beatings of peaceful protesters who are standing up for the systematic racism that has been so ingrained in this country since its founding. I could keep adding things onto this list, but for the sake of time and mental health, I’m just going to end it there. …


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Still from Perfect Blue (1997)

A Viewing of Satoshi Kon’s Animated Psycho-Thriller Masterpiece in 2020

It has been quite a while since I’ve written one of these A Look Back pieces, and to be quite honest, it’s been a little while since I’ve written anything non-education related. Personally, this time off from writing has me feeling a bit refreshed and with a bit of new life for this all. Just some background information on where I’m at currently; the last film I wrote a review for was Sonic the Hedgehog in February (also my last time at a movie theater), was preparing for Spring Break in the beginning of March, was sent home early from College as my University shutdown a few days before our break was scheduled to start, turned 21 a day after moving back home, and have since been engaging in social distancing, and in the process, have been watching a ton of films. March was hectic to say the least, but April, has been a bit better. …


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Promotional Banner for Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)

It Didn’t Go Fast — ★★1/2

This review is going to be on the shorter end of the spectrum as I really don’t have a whole lot to say about this movie. I grew up playing Sonic games on Gameboy, and a few on the Xbox 360, as well as a few of the cartoons, but aside from that, I do not have this overly important connection to the character that some people have. Would I have liked for this movie to be great? Absolutely! I don’t go into new releases hoping for them to be bad (with a recent exception being Cats), and this could have had some awesome potential to be a family friendly video game flick, with enough for adults to enjoy, but instead, we got a poorly written, mess of kids movie with a decent amount of poop and fart jokes, bad dialogue, and just no real standout moments aside from a sequence in a bar and the climatic final battle. …


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Promotional Poster for Birds of Prey (2020)

The Fantabulous Return of Harley Quinn — ★★★★1/2

This time last year it was Alita: Battle Angel, and now, it is Birds of Prey. Both being female-led comic book (or manga in the former’s case) adaptations, dropped in the very beginning of the new year, seemingly to little fanfare in terms of the box office. The difference here is that Birds of Prey has immense critical backing in terms of its receptions, as well as from the audience, while also being a DC Comics movie, lead by Margot Robbie. Following 2016’s Suicide Squad, the seeming lack of interest from the general public isn’t that shocking, though at the time many considered Robbie’s portrayal of Harley Quinn to be one of the few bright spots of the film. Serving as a passion project for Robbie, this film has been in some from of production for the past 5 years. …


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Taylor Swift in Miss Americana (2020)

A Deeply Personal Look Into the Life of America’s Biggest Popstar — ★★★★☆

One goal I’ve set for myself in 2020 is to watch more documentaries, meaning I’ll have to actually watch some, as I believe I only watched ONE in 2019 (I know, bad). Doing some research before I came back to writing this past week, I now have a pretty varied menagerie of documentaries for the coming year, including (note: click the name of the movie to be linked to their respective IMDb pages for more info):


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Promotional Poster for The Gentlemen (2020)

Guy Ritchie’s Glorious Return to Gangster’s Paradise — ★★★★☆

Right so, it’s been a bit since my last review after taking the winter off from writing, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t see any movies since then! The two most notable being the back-2-back combo of 1917 and Cats. If I didn’t appreciate Sam Mendes’ film and directing after first viewing (I did, but still), I certainly did after engrossing myself in Tom Hooper’s Broadway fever dream that is still stuck in my head. Genuinely, that was the most terrifying non-horror film I have ever seen, and all I got from it was a few things:

  1. Never let Tom Hooper direct a musical again. …

About

Patrick Coyle - Simmons

Entertainment Based Writer || Film, TV, Music Follow me on Twitter @PatCoyleSimmons Follow me on Letterboxd - https://boxd.it/NnJR

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