a Simple tWist of tAte: Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

Picture yourself transported back to 1969, maybe you weren't even a thought or maybe your were a just a tot. The Summer of '69 and its verge into a new, unforeseen decade, seems as delicately infamous as any other season or year in the history books, knowing the fragility America was in at that moment, what it had been through (assassinations, moon landings, wars and uproars) and a nation teetering on the edge, cultures clashing, ideologies at odds. A young Quentin Tarantino was merely 6, watching Batman *boom bang pow!* on the tube.

Now, fifty years later, a true Hollywood player, a grown ass man, takes our eyeballs and glues them onto the rear-view mirror of his celluloid DeLorean for a trip down memory lane where objects play out differently on screen. Tarantino gives us a buddy-pairing for the ages, a Clint Eastwood/Burt Reynolds dynamite duo of the modern cinematic gods in Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. The storefronts and streets of Los Angeles are rewound back to the…

2019 Oscar Predictions

Oh, boy. Here we go. No host. Another bloated 4 hour telecast. No Best Director nod for Bradley "Handsome Man" Cooper. What a time to be alive.

Here are my picks (in bold):

Best Picture:
Black Panther BlacKkKlansman Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Green Book Roma A Star Is Born Vice
Okay. Here's the deal. The Favourite is a masterpiece and by a country mile the best film nominated of the bunch (sorry, ROMA). It is also a film that "empowers" women and has, to my knowledge, no "problems" or "controversies" attached to it like some other nominees. It's also the culmination of some brilliant work by Yorgos Lanthimos in his last few features. The Favourite is hilarious and riveting throughout, a lit lesbian Barry Lyndon for the ages.
Best Actor: Christian Bale, Vice Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody Viggo Mortensen, Green Book
This one is hard. Dafoe could be the dark horse. Bale probab…

Jussie Smollet burns down his own Empire

Is Jussie Smollett even really gay?

I think that's a fair statement and one that I've been wondering in my head ever since the details of him faking his gay-bashing became breaking news in the last 48 hours. It also seemed that this plot could've been ripped from one of the episodes of Empire, the hit show where Smollett plays Jamal Lyon, a talented singer-songwriter who has issues coming to terms with his homosexuality, partly due to the bigotry of the family patriarch roughneck Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard). Jamal is accidentally shot in the Season 2 finale of Empire and I wonder if that storyline eventually influenced his idea. If you weren't aware by now, Smollett paid (with a check no less) two extras from Empire to act out the bashing. I read a New York Times article with the headline "Who is Jussie Smollett.." -- but in my head, I was thinking "Yeah, who is Jussie Smollet, really?" All actors are chameleons to a certain degree, but I fear S…

Twenty Favorite Films of 2018

 Isle of Dogs Burning Bad Times at the El Royale Vice  Unsane If Beale Street Could Talk Crazy Rich Asians  First Man Roma Sicario: Day of the Soldado

 First Reformed Blindspotting A Quiet Place The Last Movie Star Annihilation  Widows  Mission: Impossible - Fallout   A Star is Born Searching Ready Player One

Some movies I didn't get to watch yet but want to:
The Favourite
Green Book
A Private War

Favorite Tracks of 2018 Playlist

From Post Malone to Morrissey, there were blazing hot tracks released this year. Enjoy!

Last Seen: Aneesh Chaganty's "Searching" and other missing persons cases, real life and on-screen

Daily life is mundane until someone is murdered or goes missing around midnight. This is when habits and errands, downloads and web browsing history can point to intrigue. Searching streams the mouse clicks, window sweeps and video chats of David Kim (John Cho), as he sleuths the internet for clues to locate his missing teenage daughter. A recently widowed father, Kim discovers a disconnect between the teenager he thought he knew and the life she was living online. Suddenly, every Instagram heart, online banking transaction and video feed leads Kim down a dizzying rabbit hole.

Searching was picked up by Sony Pictures at Sundance for $5 million and is the feature film debut of Aneesh Chaganty, who left Google a few years prior to pursue a career in Hollywood making movies. The irony of someone who worked at a FAANG company directing a film about the invasive nature of technology and social media isolation shouldn't be lost on viewers, it would've only been more ridiculous had …

The Dream is Always the Same: From Tom Cruise in "Risky Business" to Timothee Chalamet in "Call Me by Your Name"

Tangerine Dream's sultry synths pulse in the background as the camera zooms out from twinky Tom Cruise's wayfarers, a slim cigarette dangling from his lips as he flashes back to a reoccurring dream of sneaking into the neighbor's house and stumbling upon a beautiful girl showering, she invites him to wash her back, but the steam obscures his reach for her until he finds himself transported to a classroom, three hours late for the college entrance exams.

With the aforementioned opening scene following the moody neon pastel credits as a night train rolls through a gritty Chicago twilight, we are introduced to Joel Goodson and for the most part, Tom Cruise, in Paul Brickman's 1983 classic Risky Business. The film was a breakout for Cruise, who some 35 years later has both delivered and disappointed on the potential of his brilliant performance in this early movie. Cruise can act and when he truly slips into character, as he did when portraying the innocent "Good so…