Review: FORD V. FERRARI

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Director James Mangold, the filmmaker behind Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma (2007), and Logan, takes on one of the greater moments in sports and car manufacturing history and makes a triumphant cinematic entry. To help matters, Mangold and his casting director have cast talents Matt Damon and Christian Bale in the lead roles. The result is a thoroughly exciting, andrenaline-fueled character study of winning personalities faced with formidable challenges. On the surface, this movie might seem like a typical underdog story, but the writing, direction, and history dictate otherwise.

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Review: THE GOOD LIAR

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Based on the novel of the same title by Nicholas Searle, screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher and director Bill Condon craft a genuinely enthralling cinematic thriller which can boast superb performances by lead actors Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren. As the movie progresses, a certain amount of transparency does develop, but the storytellers still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Though this film probably won’t earn any awards next year, The Good Liar still offers audiences a twisty and delectable serving of thrills and awe.

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Review: THE REPORT

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Post-911, the C.I.A. with the permission of some key government leaders adopted an investigative strategy that involved the torture of potential witnesses and prisoners who may have had knowledge about the real villains behind the attacks. Though initially lauded for some progress, these methods became highly questionable and eventually derided for their lack of genuine results. This led to a difficult, tiresome, and lengthy investigation by the U.S. Senate. Writer/director Scott Z. Burns has adapted this true story for a mostly riveting and disturbing film titled The Report.

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Review: CHARLIE’S ANGELS

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

In our modern age of entertainment where audiences demand more substance and less objectification of female characters, it might seem like a tricky feat to pull of leading women that are smart, badass and sexy. However, a female filmmaker can almost certainly know how to achieve this balancing act. Enter actress and filmmaker Elizabeth Banks. Banks, who has already shown some great skills with her Pitch Perfect trilogy, has agreed to tackle an entry in an entertainment franchise that has previously come across as the antithesis of this new progression.

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Review: FRANKIE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)

From French New Wave to “Mumblercore” there have been some great films that beautifully create and capture candid slice of life moments while seemingly effortlessly developing characters and putting forth some powerful narratives. Unfortunately, Frankie is not one of those movies. Writer/director Ira Sachs makes a failed attempt at delivering a moving and compelling portrait of a family through conversations and feigned personal moments among the characters. Though the talented cast members act their hearts out, Sach’s film just doesn’t give audiences any real reasons for caring about them.

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