RSS feed for Alyssa
  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★★

    Sometimes it's difficult to write a review for a movie that you believe to be absolutely perfect and the definition of pure cinema. It becomes less a review and more of a rave, although reviews in general run the gamut from rant to rave. Celine Sciamma's masterpiece -- a word I use very rarely -- is one such film that deserves all the praise it has been given, and more. I only wish I'd seen it sooner, although I am…

  • The Talented Mr. Ripley

    The Talented Mr. Ripley

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I came across this Oscar-nominated film while browsing Netflix for something intriguing, thriller-like to watch while self-quarantining at home. If you've seen my recent reviews, you've probably noticed that I've been drawn to horror and similar films, perhaps just because I've been in the mood and have a newfound appreciation for them. While Anthony Minghella's star-studded film is more of a mystery/thriller than a horror film, it contains some horrifying and creepy elements that are often found in horror genre…

  • The Cabin in the Woods

    The Cabin in the Woods

    ★★★★

    In case you can't tell from my recent reviews, I've been on a bit of a horror kick lately. Maybe being trapped inside my house has made me want to feel even more uncomfortable? Or maybe it's because I've realized my newfound love for the genre, and not just in recent films. I knew very little about this 2011 film, whose cast includes a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, other than that there was a unique twist (of which I was fortunately…

  • Hereditary

    Hereditary

    ★★★★½

    I'm not sure if it would have made more sense for me to watch Hereditary before writer-director's second [wide-release] film, Midsommar, release about a year apart. I did the opposite. And, if you've seen my review for Midsommar, you know that I appreciated Aster's unique style and the strong performance from Florence Pugh, but I wasn't too keen on the way things played out. Fortunately, Hereditary's narrative progression felt more earned, and even scarier than Midsommar. While Aster's unique aesthetic…

  • Misery

    Misery

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Misery is essentially the first movie I watched during my self-quarantine, and one that is basically perfect viewing for being trapped in your home (unless you're too freaked out by what transpires in the film). I have been wanting to catch up on Oscar-winning performances that I have missed, including this one that features Kathy Bates in her Best Actress-winning role as the kooky, villainous Annie Wilkes. It's really a two-person show, with James Caan giving a career-best performance, too,…

  • Kramer vs. Kramer

    Kramer vs. Kramer

    ★★★★★

    Kramer vs. Kramer is, in a way, the spiritual and thematic successor to Marriage Story. Yet, while the newer film focuses on the rift between the soon-to-be-divorced couple, the former focuses on the impact of the divorce and separation on the couple's young son. And, Kramer vs. Kramer features many more scenes with Dustin Hoffman than with Meryl Streep, who both (deservedly) won their first Oscars for their roles. Hoffman's dad is, at first, a typical workaholic who hasn't really…

  • Onward

    Onward

    ★★★½

    You can never fault Pixar for lack of imagination, and their latest, the fantastical-set Onward, is no different. The film centers on two elf brothers, voiced by Avengers stars Chris Pratt and Tom Holland, living in a world that is very similar to our own, except that it is inhabited by magical creatures (very similar to the Monsters films, in that sense). Even though elves, centaurs, and the like roam the earth, they live almost exactly like we humans do…

  • Midnight Cowboy

    Midnight Cowboy

    ★★★★½

    Lately, in addition to watching newly-released films, I've been attempting to catch up on Oscar winners/nominees of years bast. And I decided to go back over 50 years, to the first and only X-rated film to win Best Picture, Midnight Cowboy. I honestly knew very little about the film, aside from its history-making win and the controversy surrounding its rating. And, now that I've seen it, I can't comprehend the reasoning behind the X-rating, seeing as it is no more…

  • The Invisible Man

    The Invisible Man

    ★★★★½

    I wasn't always a fan of horror films. In fact, until recently-ish, I didn't want to watch them, no matter how strong the reviews. I guess I just didn't want to be scared. I used to feel that way about particularly violent/grotesque films, but now I can watch the bloodiest stuff (sometimes while eating) and be totally okay. Thankfully, with the influx of excellent horror films in the last couple years -- Get Out, A Quiet Place, etc. -- I…

  • The Call of the Wild

    The Call of the Wild

    ★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Let me start off this review by saying that I have not read Jack Lownden's book, Call of the Wild, on which this movie is supposedly based -- this means that I may not have the same issues with the adaptation as fans of the book might. In fact, I had very few issues with this new adaptation, which features a fully-CGI dog (and other animals). Granted, I am a vegan and all-around animal lover who is a sucker for…

  • Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

    ★★★★

    Birds of Prey (or whatever its title is now) is infinitely better [in a number of ways] than the abysmal Suicide Squad -- and, thankfully, that's larger due to part to Birds of Prey focusing on the best thing about that Avengers wannabe: Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn. Harley is a far cry from the perfect goodness of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, star of the DCEU's other female-fronted flick. Robbie's Harley is foul-mouthed, impulsive, wild, and has somehow managed to obtain…

  • Downhill

    Downhill

    ★★★

    I watched Downhill on Valentine's Day, and I can imagine that it's not exactly the best date movie; but fortunately, I went with my mom. Downhill is the American remake of the acclaimed Swedish film, Force Majeure. And, as I have not seen the original, I have nothing against which to compare Downhill. Despite the fairly negative reviews, which claim that this film isn't as impactful and worth watching as is the original (which is usually the case), Downhill was…