SXSW 2019 Review: THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

This is a movie that truly captivated me and made me laugh at the same time. I definitely have a penchant for dark, twisted and quirky conedies that provoke their audiences, and this film certainly fits the bill. Not really a crowd-pleaser, The Art of Self-Defense is a piece that charms and entertains, but turns pitch black at the flip of a switch. That change is a rather risky one to attempt, but writer/director Riley Stearns manages to pull it off well.

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Review: STUBER

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Considering that I saw a work-in-progress version of the film at this year’s SXSW, I held back from writing a review until I saw the actual theatrical version. Well, as it turns out, both versions are pretty much identical. And that’s a good thing too because Stuber is definitely one of the funnier movies of the year so far. With a mix of uproarious comedy and awesome action, writer Tripper Clancy, director Michael Dowse and stars Dave Bautista and Kumail Nanjiani bring back the buddy comedy in great way.

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Review: MIDSOMMAR

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)

After writer/director Ari Aster made a huge breakthrough last year with his near-perfect feature film debut, Hereditary, the talented horror auteur is back. Though strikingly different from his previous movie, Midsommar shows the filmmaker’s talents beautifully and is arguably one of the best horror films in years. There really is only so much I can say about this outstanding movie, but to say any more would give too much away. Let me just say that Midsommar is a movie I could watch multiple times to bask in its aesthetic beauty, and marvel at its unflinching audacity and its layers of artistry.

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Review: SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

In just four MCU films, Peter Parker/Spider-Man has been through a lot. That is a bit of an understatement, considering that the hero’s ages in this movie’s universe has ranged between fifteen and sixteen. Queen’s beloved wall crawler just wants to go home and enjoy some downtime, but as we all know, this luxury is an impossibility when the world will always need gifted heroes. This has been a continuous theme for the character.

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Review: YESTERDAY

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

“All you need is love. Love is all you need.” Simply, but beautifully put, these lyrics from one of The Beatles’ more beloved songs may as well have been the legendary band’s credo. It is most definitely the key theme of this film which delivers a charming love story, but also serves as a lovely tribute to the power and impact of what is arguably the world’s most influential musical group. Director Danny Boyle wears his heart on his sleeve for his latest movie and the results are absolutely irresistible. Yesterday may not be the greatest love story ever told, but it might be the greatest Beatles homage ever made.

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