Moonlight (2016): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

Moonlight (2016): Review by Your Opinion Sucks

A Blog The Blogs Your Opinion Sucks

First thing’s first:

After long and serious thought, I finally decided I should review Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, a unique story of both race and sexuality, as I feel it somewhat encapsulates the strange coincidences of June 2020: it is both Pride month; and racial injustice has, once again, shown just how fragile our existence as both living things and a functioning society truly is. I took a break from social media this month because, while I do care about the seriousness of the situation at hand, I didn’t want to just post something attuned to the algorithm simply because it is expected.

I did want to say something – but because I actually care, and not because I want other people to see me caring. I even considered not writing a review at all for this month (June), as penning such a thing for mere entertainment seemed trite, irrelevant, callous and indifferent. The world feels so much smaller since the ongoing pandemic gave us a brand new “worst year ever”, so when everyone I know and follow on the web began posting about the ugly nightmare that is 21st century institutional racism, suddenly it didn’t feel like a simple trend or social media morality contest.

It was something that, I too – as an adult now, have a responsibility to acknowledge as more than historical horror stories we learned about in history class. I knew if I wanted to comment upon the murders of innocent people, because of the colour of their skin by thugs in uniform, I would have to be worthwhile and sensical; and I know movie reviews, so why not review a film that feels oddly representative of how current affairs have me thinking. If you’re still not sure of the relevance, read on and hopefully you will soon.

In a nutshell: Moonlight, to me, is a perfect film; I fail to recall one single issue, glaring or petty, that has irritated me at all during the several times I have sat down and observed its excellence. The timing of every cut is exact, no shot is unnecessary or apparently lost in the construction of the juxtaposition, born of one of the most succinct scripts I have ever seen – with a collaboration between cast and director seemingly predetermined by fate; Moonlight is one of my favourite films of the 2010’s. A masterpiece, unsullied by any flaw that is obvious to me and practically tyrannical in its emotional impact and catharsis.

This is a film about culture, how it can shape us as individuals and effect our identity; even stunt our identity and prevent us from growing into the person we are meant to be. The world the characters in Moonlight populate dominates them like parent setting impossible expectations for their children to meet; everyone has succumbed to its demands and seek to spread it like a sickness. This is what lies beneath the surface of the story, a character grows in fear of his own world, one that only relents its torments when he finally folds to its will.

Each act stands alone – the story unfolds as three separate chapters; telling of three important time periods in the life of Chiron. First as a child, then as a teenager, and finally as an adult (each played by a different, perfectly cast actor), Chiron’s story is one of identity and self-acceptance, in a world that ruthlessly berates, scrutinises and devalues such things. This character is introverted to the point of complete silence, sensitive, black and gay – each to be either suppressed into non-existence, or harnessed the way he thinks is expected; all for the sake of finding peace within the harsh society he finds himself born.

Throughout his struggles, the people in his life provide the tools by which his character is shaped; for better or for worse. Naomi Harris is frightening and unrecognisable as his neglectful drug-addicted mother, Mahershala Ali steals the show as her dealer, a well intentioned man of conflicting morals – and father figure to Chiron, and finally a character named Kevin; also played by three different actors across the three chapters. The most important figure of all, Kevin ultimately digs the deepest, breaking through with such heart-stopping emotional intensity; he helps to form one of the most perfectly written, acted and directed finales in movie history.

Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders and Trevante Rhodes are the actors embodying Chiron during the three intervals; it is written that they never met during production, lest they inadvertently influence each other’s performances. I find that quite astonishing, as it takes no effort to believe them each as the same man, simply across different times; further proof as to the talent of director Barry Jenkins. The cinematography is alive, every directorial decision I can see is exactly right, there are too many sequences of particular power to mention here and, as I said before; there is not one single second of this movie I don’t like. Totally deserving of Best Picture, it’s cathartic, agrees with me stylistically; it’s one of the best films I’ve ever seem.

Now that we have the basics of a movie review out of the way, there’s something very specific I want to touch on; the third act incarnation of Chiron – simply nicknamed “Black” (and the reason current Earthly affairs have me thinking about this film). We’ve established that Chiron is quiet, shy, introverted and unassuming, but by the time he becomes an adult he has become the poster-child for externalised masculinity one would expect to find in a poor black neighbourhood laden with drugs. He’s muscular, wears gold jewellery and grills on his teeth, he frightens his underlings and comes to his drug deals armed and ready – this is not whom he truly is; the world’s judgement has made him this way.

Not unlike those rioting in the name of racial equality.

Is rioting a crime? Well, yes. But these are not criminals, as there is an exception to every rule and nothing is ever ignored more than context, particularly if that context completely justifies a reaction of such ferocity. This is not some example of crime en masse in the US of today; as some have tried to portray it. These people would not be rioting if the world had not forced their hand, this occurred to me, during Moonlight, when we are introduced to “Black”. The camera tracking back from an extreme close-up of the gold in his teeth, the music blaring and his size imposing; all I could think about was a quote from the great James Baldwin. “First the world calls you a n***er, and you begin to call yourself a n***er, you begin to react that way, you begin to confirm the world’s judgement”.

Treat a person cruelly and they will respond in kind, whether simply dressing how you want, speaking how you want or loving how you want; like Chiron. Or seeing no other option than to erupt, when the more peaceful terms are already scoffed into criminality; like those brave souls out in the streets, simply asking that they stop being arbitrarily disposed of as they sleep in their beds. Art reflects reality, any questions about the world can be answered through or by observing art; it can and has changed the world – it is how we refer to history if not for catastrophe and Moonlight poetically represents the difficulties still forced upon black people across the world.

Even as we sit comfortably within the 21st century, prejudice remains a mysteriously enticing mistress to the un-educated and cruel. And yet, all the questions many ignorant people have as to the behaviour of their societal victims (that have divided cultures and races for so long), why they react the way they do, can be answered so briskly if only apathy would cease and those in power would care enough to look. So, stay safe, wear masks, don’t ever watch Fox News, donate to Black Lives Matter; and for heaven’s sake – try loving each other for once.

 

 


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Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 3 (22nd May 2020)

Rewatched: Marvel Films – Part 3 (22nd May 2020)

A Blog The Blogs

With Disney + driving in the UK, Phil has decided to introduce his daughter to the wonderful world of Marvel films.  Mostly in order.  Here are my updated thoughts on each of the MCU films we watch (we may miss out The Incredible Hulk)…

Note scores reflect my updated IMDB ratings.


Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015)

Avengers: Age Of Ultron is darker, less humorous than its predecessor and for sure deserved a lot of its mediocre press when it was released.  That said years on (and only my second watch of the film) it holds up better than I expected.  But Ultron is still the best and worst of Marvel’s MCU in one place – great characters with iconic performances, cutting edge effects and a feel of earn history but a dial it up to 11 mentality that wears you down by the end and effects that at times seem unfinished.  Yup it has great action but probably 20 minutes less would have made it more fun. Still better than I remembered!

 

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy (2014)

Guardians Of The Galaxy remains one of Marvel’s best movies.  It’s not just the amazing casting (although that plays a part) but the story & direction by James Gunn is on point.  The best thing here is that it’s just something totally different from what’s come before – talking Racoons, fighting trees, space battles… it was just so refreshing after a number of Earth bound adventures.

 

Captain America: The Winter Solider  (2014)

Six years later and Winter Solider remains my favourite Marvel film.  It’s action packed with one of Marvel’s best story lines ( a story line that actually mattered in the grand scheme of things), is directed near perfectly AND has Frank Grillo.  What more could you want?

 

Iron man 3 (2013)

Iron man 3 is still one of the best Marvel films.  From Shane Black’s whip smart script and direction to Downey Jnr firing on all cylinders, to a decent villain and THAT twist… it’s a fun ride and often very untypical in it’s approach to what is often a rather stilted genre.

 

Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Considered tone one of the weaker Marvel MCU films, actually Thor: The Dark World is great fun even if it does fall apart a little in the final act.  Again this is Hemsworth and Hiddleston’s film and benefits greatly when they are on screen (and even more so when they are together) but it’s funny, charming and well paced.  Well worth a rewatch.

 

Iron Man 2 (2010)

Iron Man 2 was never my favourite Marvel film and, in fact, may well be the only MCU film i’ve only seen once. Rewatching ten years on a lot of the same issues remain but overall it’s not a terrible film, its just not anywhere near as good as the original Iron Man.  Whiplash is a good enough Villain but the more, bigger, louder motif just honest play off.

 

 

Iron Man (2008)

The Film that started it all… Iron Man is still a rock n roll action movie with an unlikely lead, an even more unlikely director and enough balls out moments to wow.  The oldest MCU film still holds up well and again the casting is spot on.  Yup the end fight could be better but Iron man is top draw cinema.

Thor (2011)

Thor was MUCH better all these years later.  I always thought of it as the weaker origin film but it’s funny, charming and good fun, whilst still carrying a lot of baggage for the wider MCU to come. Hemsworth really was born to play this role.

 

Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) 

Solid, fun and well done, this feels like a film I should like more.  But still all these years on it just seems to drag at times and the action is flat. Captain America: The First Avenger is far from being a bad film but it’s probably the weakest origin film of the initial Avengers.

 

Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) 

All the groundwork paid off as Marvel delivered it’s first ever super hero team up.  The Hulk was back (and done right this time), Hawkeye and Black Widow joined the team and director Joss Whedon delivered the goods. The Avengers is still a high watermark and reminds you just how well put together Phase 1 really was.

 


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Your Opinion Sucks Life In Movies… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive)

Your Opinion Sucks Life In Movies… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive)

A Blog Best... Other Cr*p Your Opinion Sucks

A look at the BEST films, one from each of my years on this planet…. starting with 1994!

 

The 90’s

1994: Pulp Fiction
1995: Se7en
1996: Breaking The Waves
1997: Jackie Brown
1998: Saving Private Ryan
1999: Fight Club

 

The 2000’s 

2000: Sexy Beast
2001: The Fellowship Of The Ring
2002: The Two Towers
2003: The Return Of The King
2004: Evolution Of A Filipino Family
2005: Earthlings
2006: United 93
2007: There Will Be Blood
2008: The Dark Knight
2009: Antichrist

 

The 10’s 

2010: Les Sept Jours Du Talion
2011: The Tree Of Life
2012: Django Unchained
2013: Captain Phillips
2014: Godzilla
2015: Mad Max Fury Road
2016: I, Olga Hepnarova
2017: Dunkirk
2018: The Miseducation Of Cameron Post
2019: Ad Astra

 

 


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Phil’s Life In Movies… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive): Revisited & Updated

Phil’s Life In Movies… (Best Film from EVERY Year I’ve Been Alive): Revisited & Updated

A Blog Best... Other Cr*p

A look at the BEST films, one from each of my years on this planet…. (Yes ’86 and ’84 was impossible to split!)

… And yes a few do differ from my Annual ‘Film of The Year’.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing!!!

The 70’s

1976 – The Outlaw Josey Wales
1977 – Star Wars
1978 – Dawn Of The Dead
1979 – Alien

 

The 80’s



1980 – Empire Strikes Back
1981 – Raiders Of The Lost Ark
1982 – The Thing
1983 – The Return Of The Jedi
1984 – Ghostbusters/ Gremlins
1985 – The Goonies
1986 – Aliens/ Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/ Top Gun
1987 – The Lost Boys
1988 – Die Hard
1989 – Tango & Cash

 

The 90’s

 

1990 – Goodfellas
1991 – Terminator 2 Judgement Day
1992 – Reservoir Dogs
1993 – The Nightmare Before Christmas
1994 – Pulp Fiction
1995 – Heat
1996 – Trainspotting
1997 – Con Air
1998 – Lock Stock & Two Smoking barells
1999 – Fight Club

 

The 2000’s 

 

2000 – Snatch
2001 – Black Hawk Down
2002 – 28 Days Later
2003 – Love Actually
2004 – Shaun Of The Dead
2005 – Serenity
2006 – Children of Men
2007 – Bourne Ultimatum
2008 – The Dark Knight
2009 – Slumdog Millonaire
2010 – The Social Network

 

The 10’s 

2011 – Hugo
2012 – Skyfall
2013 – Rush
2014 – Wolf Of Wall Street
2015 – Mad Max: Fury Road
2016 – The Nice Guys
2017 – T2: Trainspotting
2018 – Mission Impossible: Fallout
2019 – Joker

 

 


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Straight Outta Compton (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Straight Outta Compton (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Biopics are hard to pull off, especially when the subject (s) are both well known and still living.  But give a good director a good story and an oscar nominated script (criminally the only nominations or this film) and you end up with Straight Outta Compton – a quality look at the rise of N.W.A and rap music in America in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  Dre, Cube, E and Snoop are all represented here and whilst the film has taken some flack for leaving some of the rougher edges out, it’s still pretty hard hitting at times. Racism, AIDS, betrayal, drugs and money – it’s all on display alongside some of the best music of the decade.  A must see.

Best Bit: F–k The Police

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: 8 Mile, Boyz In The Hood, Menace 2 Society

 


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The Secret Life Of Pets (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

The Secret Life Of Pets (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Secret Life of Pet’s is basically Toy Story without Pixar.   That’s not a bad thing of course but it does feel like somewhat of a retread of the much better Pixar classic.  It’s charming, funny and (occasionally) smart.  It’s also not as funny as it should have been, not as clever as you want it to be and not as charming as it thinks it is… which is a shame as the film has bucket loads of potential. Ultimately the kids will love it, adults with find it witty and it will make money.  Hopefully of the sequel they can develop the bits that worked best into a what could be a comedy gem.

Best Bit: When the owners leave…

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Toy Story, Despicable Me 2, Toy Story 3

 


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Eddie The Eagle (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Eddie The Eagle (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Starring the guy from Kingsman, alongside Wolverine and Christopher Walken, directed by the bloke from Press Gang in a story about a British downhill skier form the 80’s. Well that’s a pitch meeting I’d like to have been at!  Joking aside what a lovely, charming and sweet film it ended up.  Egerton is perfect as the hapless ‘Eagle’, able backed up in film and on screen by a Hugh Jackman playing very much against type.  Sure it may be a little too saccharin for some and there is only so many times you can see someone skiing down hill, but Eddie The Eagle gets it spot on for the most part. Much like the man himself.

Best Bit: “Right Time of the 40 meter”

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Buy

If You Liked this Try: Billy Elliot, Full Monty, Brassed Off

 


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London Has Fallen (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

London Has Fallen (2016) – A Revisited Quick Capsule Review

Quick Review

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review:
Where as ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ was a fun if silly action film, London Has Fallen ejects all that was pleasurable about the original and replaces it with poor cgi, a terrible over ernest script and Gerard Butler pissing away any last resemblance of talent he had left.  A dirty, violent and nasty film with pretty dubious ethics at it’s heart. Yet there were was some quite enjoyable moments and for all the things it does bad, the moments it get’s right are well handled.  And if nothing else you an laugh at Butler delivering some of the worst lines ever committed to an action film… it’s all pretty pointless but there are worse films out there.

Best Bit: The final assault

Buy, Stream, Avoid: Stream

If You Liked this Try: Olympus Has Fallen, White House Down, Die Hard 4.0

 


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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review & Friends ESSENTIAL LIST For Decade (2010-2019) Part 1: Avengers Assemble, Avengers: End Game, Kings Of Summer, Kubo and the Two Strings, Operation Red Sea, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review & Friends ESSENTIAL LIST For Decade (2010-2019) Part 1: Avengers Assemble, Avengers: End Game, Kings Of Summer, Kubo and the Two Strings, Operation Red Sea, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Quick Review Year In Review

The votes are in.  The Long List been reduced to just 13… and here they are, the Phil’s Quick Capsule Review & Guests list of the FILMS TO WATCH for previous decade (2010-2019).  In no particular order:

 

 

#1: Avengers Assemble (2012)
Earth’s mightiest heroes must come together and learn to fight as a team if they are going to stop the mischievous Loki and his alien army from enslaving humanity.

 

 


 

#2: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers assemble once more in order to reverse Thanos’ actions and restore balance to the universe.

 

 


 

#3: The Kings Of Summer (2013)

Three teenage friends, in the ultimate act of independence, decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.

 

 


 

#4: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

 

 

 


 

#5: Operation Red Sea (2018)

PLA Navy Marine Corps launch a hostage rescue operation in the fictional Republic of Ihwea and undergo a fierce battle with rebellions and terrorism.

 

 

 

 


 

#6: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Teen Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man of his reality, crossing his path with five counterparts from other dimensions to stop a threat for all realities.

 

 

 

Next Time: The final 7 Films To Watch for the Decade. 

 


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Phil’s Quick Capsule Review & Friends: The 36 Must See Films Of The Decade (2010-2019)

Phil’s Quick Capsule Review & Friends: The 36 Must See Films Of The Decade (2010-2019)

2019: In Review Other Cr*p Quick Review Year In Review

So this is it: Phil’s Quick Capsule Review & Guests (including podcasters Mike Parkin & Josh Morris, Filmmaker Ross Boyask and Phil’s Quick Capsule Review writers Will Strong & Matt Duddy) LONG list of the 36 must see films of the Decade (2010-2019)

This list will also form the basis of our vote for the Essential Films of the Decade (2010-2019)

So how many have YOU seen?

Avengers Assemble
Avengers Endgame
Avengers Infinity War
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: Winter Soilder
Deadpool
Ex Machina
Green Room
Happy Death Day
How To Train Yoru Dragon 
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
Inception
John Wick
Kings Of Summer
Kubo and the Two Strings
Mad Max Fury Road
Mission Impossible Rogue Nation
Misson Impossible: Fall Out
Nightshooters
Operation Red Sea
Pitch Perfect
Skyfall
Social Network
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Star Wars: Rogue One
Super 8
T2 Trainspotting
The Greatest Showman
The Signal
The Way Way Back
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Toy Story 3
Warrior
What We Do in the Shadows
Whiplash
Guardians of the Galaxy

 

Check back in the next few days for our final list or take the QUIZ HERE  to see how many you have seen!