“Okja” on Netflix is Life Changing

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After watching the Netflix original movie Okja, I’m an emotional wreck and looking at food in a whole new light.

In 2007, Lucy Mirando became CEO of the Mirando Corporation where she announced that her organization had been breeding a special kind of superpig. Twenty-six of the best pigs would be sent to locations around the world, and ten years later, one will be crowned the winner.

In 2017 in South Korea, a young girl named Mija risks everything to save her best friend – one of the genetic superpigs named Okja – from the multi-national Mirando Corporation who have captured Okja to bring to New York City for the Best SuperPig Festival.  Along her quest, Mija encounters a group from the Animal Liberation Front who join her to save Okja from slaughter.

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Top 10 Movies of the 90’s

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Welcome to the second act of my three part decades series – the top 10 movies of the 90’s.

The 90’s had many classics that have come to define the landscape of film history.  With the success of the newly-founded summer blockbuster, studio executives began to invest more and more into mega-budget films. The average cost was now roughly 53 million dollars contrasting from the 18 million dollar budget average of the decade prior.

Addressing this matter Tim Dirks of FilmSite.org hits the nail on the head:  “There still existed an imbalanced emphasis on the opening weekend, with incessant reports of weekly box-office returns, and puffed-up reviews and critics’ ratings. The belief was sustained that expensive, high-budget films with expensive special effects (including shoot ’em-ups, stereotypical chase scenes, and graphic orchestrated violence) meant quality. However, the independently-distributed film movement was also proving that it could compete (both commercially and critically) with Hollywood’s costly output.”

With this rise of studios like Miramax erupted production and distribution of some of the most remembered and influential films of all time sparking the birth of the indie film movement. For those of us that were children in this decade, we were blessed with the continuing nostalgia factor of 80’s film-making, but the rise of future of visual effects, CGI and the beauty & grit of Guerilla film-making became more prominent.

So without futher ado here is my list of my 10 favorite films of the 90’s.

***Forest Gump will not be on this list.  I hate Forest Gump.  Sorry in advance.***

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Oscars 2017 Recap

2017 Oscar Winners

Although the top four acting categories garnered predictable winners, what no one predicted at the 2017 Oscars were the infamous hashtags known as #Envelopegate and #Oscarfail.

When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway went to present the Oscar to best picture, Beatty had been handed the wrong envelope by the accountants. Confused and apprehensive once he looked at the envelope (which read Best Actress Winner Emma Stone from La La Land), Beatty attempted to show Dunaway the mistake before she immediately blurted out: LA LA LAND!

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What a total F up. It’s one of the most surprising reversals in Oscar history.

As Trevor Dueck writes, Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel steered us through an overall entertaining show with Trump jokes and on ongoing feud with Matt Damon. Don’t forget about the bus-load of tourists who got the surprise of their lives when they were brought into the Dolby Theatre and got to meet some of Hollywood’s biggest names.

Here’s a recap of the 2017 Academy Awards.

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Top 10 Movies of 2016

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The 2017 Academy Awards are finally upon us, and this year we can safely praise the industry for not imitating #OscarsSoWhite. The hashtag heard round the world last year explained the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations, but not this year.

The Academy has nominated four Best Picture movies about people of color (Fences, Hidden Figures, Lion and Moonlight), seven acting nods for performances of color as well as nominations in categories such as directing, screenplay and cinematography.

This year it really comes down to two movies. One focuses on black America and personal diversity while the other is about following your dreams. Moonlight and La La Land are undoubtedly the two movies to beat.

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While I’m fearful that the overrated La La Land will sweep the Oscars, Trevor Dueck argues that “two white tarts dancing and singing in Hollywood might have come out a year too late.” I’m not so sure about that though.

As the director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins explains, “They could not be more different films. I don’t think a love for one has to be to the rejection of the other. I can only speak to the film I made, which was made in the service of shining a light on a character who is often marginalized. Where that falls in the context of the awards season, I can’t say. But I love that regardless of where we are right now, a year and a half ago, we sat down to make this thing, and that’s exactly how I felt and it’s how I feel now.”

Everyone knows my stance on the undeserving Goliath that is La La Land (see here), but this feel-good musical has earned a whopping 14 nominations, a record only shared with All About Eve and Titanic. WTF, right? Even the LA Times asks who will survive the onslaught of La La Land? After sweeping the Golden Globes, it’s proven to be an unbeatable force.

But there were more great movies this year than those two. Many of those movies were ignored by the Academy entirely but were some of my favorites of the year.

Here are my top 10 personal favorite movies of 2016!

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How Many Oscars Can La La Land Lose?

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Okay, so these are not predictions, not me trying to be clever…just merely an attempt to throw a huge “what if” out there regarding how many of the 14 Oscar nominations La La Land is going to come away with in two weeks. With the voting now live, and the question of “how many” seemingly everywhere, I thought I would get thoughts spinning, and tongues wagging, by attempting to put forward some basic arguments as to how La La Land could lose each category (not necessarily in the same reality) come Oscar night.

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Coming of Age: The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen movie poster3star“And I say to myself, ‘Everyone is as miserable as I am. They’re just better at pretending.'”

The Edge of Seventeen is being called a “teen-angst masterpiece,” but this darkly comical coming-of-age portrait of youth is a walk in the park in comparison to my teenage years.

What immediately captured my attention was this movie’s masterful marketing: “In the tradition of classics like Clueless, Mean Girls and Juno…” and “This film captures the essence of what made John Hughes movies so special.”

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Classic and timeless are being tossed around by many critics describing this movie. I don’t want to start this review on the wrong foot, because I enjoyed the film, but I missed the masterpiece that everyone else is experiencing. This glimpse into a suburban teenager’s world is as average as it is predictable. If you want to see something you haven’t seen before, you won’t find it here.

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7 Great Actress Roles Oscars Forgot

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Welcome to 7 more gloriously under-looked excuses to have a good old moan. This time the ladies. The years and years of the Academy’s illustrious history in rewarding great work in cinema has generally been very kind. But boy do they forget about a lot of terrific performances. And I am talking every single year. Below are 7 performances I am particularly fond of, and I know I am not alone here. These are not necessarily my all-time favorites, but they are certainly plucked from the very best that missed out on Oscar nominations. I know, three of the actresses derive from France – what can I say, I am something of a French cinema fanboy. It could easily have been all 7. Hell, 100. For now, get acquainted with these Oscars-neglected, but extremely talented women. Enchanté.

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7 Great Actor Roles Oscars Forgot

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As we hurtle towards the film industry’s awards season beyond the festival circuit, I tend to fall deep into the heartbreak of those that don’t make it to the Oscar nominations. I know, the Academy Awards are miles away, but those in the field of reporting and predicting the Oscars are already talking about it. Not all can make the final cut of course amidst the politics of preferences, and I am never short of choices that didn’t receive AMPAS recognition. It’s impossible to choose set favorites, but I picked 7 actresses and 7 actors from the array of many that the Oscars seem to have forgot. Let’s save the dominant of the species til last and start with the men.

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7 LGBT Films You Haven’t Seen… But Will!

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I’m spreading the word about the LGBT film experience, and I’ve picked 7 little wonders of the film world that delve into transsexual lifestyle, forbidden love, secret affections, identity crises , homophobia, etc. Spanning the corners of the world, from Canada, France, and England, to Sweden and Greece, then Iran and over to Cuba. The stories told here on celluloid are great ones, enlightening reflections on the human spirit and depictions of romantic, sensual bonds. So dig out your watch-lists and make room for the following seven:

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