Sunday, January 17, 2016


★★★★★ | A Review by Cameron Kanachki

"Our time is limited. We forget that." That is a very inspirational quote from David Thewlis in Anomalisa, which is not only one of the year's best films, but also one of the best animated films of all time, in my opinion. The film is based on the play by the film's writer/producer/director, Charlie Kaufman. Set in 2005, Thewlis plays Michael Stone, a self-help author, best known for his book, "How May I Help You Help Them?", which he is going to promote at a convention for customer service reps in Cincinnati. Michael has been emotionally distant from everyone so much to the point that he hears everyone with the same voice (all voiced by Tom Noonan). After having a drink at a bar with an old ex-girlfriend, he goes back to his room, & takes a shower. After he gets out of the shower, he hears a distinct female voice. The source of the voice is a young woman named Lisa Hesselman (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh). She is very insecure about herself, claiming she isn't smart or pretty. After drinking at the bar, they go up to Michael's room, where they both realize that they have such great feelings for each other, & they now become very intimate with each other, now realizing that they are who they had been looking for all along.

The film is an animation masterpiece. Thewlis, Leigh & Noonan are all excellent, providing some of the best voice acting I've ever seen. The direction from Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson is excellent. The screenplay from Kaufman is excellent, & just as good as his screenplays for 1999's Being John Malkovich, 2002's Adaptation, & 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Overall, this is one of the year's best films, one of the best animated films of all time, & the greatest film involving the human emotion in a while.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


★★★★★ | A Review by Cameron Kanachki

"I never asked for anything! Maybe that's the problem!" That's an amazing quote from Rooney Mara in Carol, one of the year's best films. The film is based on the book The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith. Mara portrays Therese Belivet, a 20-something department store worker in 1950's Manhattan, who notices an older woman in the store. The woman is Carol Aird (played by Cate Blanchett), a glamorous woman in her early 40's. Based on Therese's recommendation, Carol buys a train set as a Christmas present for her daughter, Rindy; however, Carol accidentally leaves her gloves at the counter. Therese takes the gloves home with her & sends them to Carol, using the sales slip to find Carol's address. Therese has a boyfriend named Richard (played by Jake Lacy) who wants to go with her to France so he can marry her, but Therese is ambivalent about their relationship. Their mutual friend, Dannie (played by John Magaro), invites Therese to the offices of The New York Times, where he works, & then kisses her.

Meanwhile, Carol is in the midst of a divorce with her husband, Harge (played by Kyle Chandler), & they are fighting for custody of Rindy. Harge is suspicious of Carol & Therese's relationship, considering that Carol had an affair a while before with her friend, Abby Gerhard (played by Sarah Paulson). Harge then decides to take Rindy with him to Florida for Christmas. After a while, Carol & Therese's friendship strengthens, & they eventually acknowledge their feeling towards one another. However, Carol is now torn, because Harge has now discovered their relationship, & is now going to try to get sole custody of Rindy, unless she ends her relationship with Therese.

The film is excellent. Mara & Blanchett's performances are heart-breakingly beautiful. The direction from Todd Haynes is excellent. The screenplay from Phyllis Nagy is amazing, staying true to the book. The cinematography, film score, costume design & production design are also excellent as well. Overall, this is one of the 10 best films of the year. The fact that this film was not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture is extremely terrible, as it had been considered one of the year's best films. And I think this will go down as one of the biggest snubs in Oscar history.

The Revenant

★★★★★ | A Review by Cameron Kanachki

"I ain't afraid to die anymore. I'd done it already." That's a quote from Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, one of the year's best films. The film is based on the book of the same name by Michael Punke, which (loosely) recounted the story of Hugh Glass, a fur trapper who, in 1823, was left for dead by his companions, & then traveled 200 miles to locate them. DiCaprio portrays Glass, who was part of a group led by Captain Andrew Henry (played by Domhnall Gleeson). Alongside them are John Fitzgerald (played by Tom Hardy), Jim Bridger (played by Will Poulter), & several others. After an ambush by the Arikara tribe, only a third of the hunters survive. Some time later, Glass is brutally mauled by a grizzly bear. Although he nearly dies, he kills the bear with a knife. Since Glass is on a makeshift stretcher with the group, their procession is slowed. Henry then asks 3 people to stay; Fitzgerlad, Bridger, & Glass's half-Pawnee son, Hawk (played by Forrest Goodluck). Fitzgerlad then tries to smother Glass to death; however, Hawk notices & gets in a struggle with Fitzgerald, which eventually leads to Fitzgerald killing him. Fitzgerald tells Bridger that Glass is dead, & they proceed on. Glass eventually manages to regain his strength, & goes to find Fitzgerald & enact his revenge on him.

The film is a flat-out masterpiece. Leonardo DiCaprio's performance is nothing short of extraordinary, & this should finally give him his first Oscar. Tom Hardy's performance is also excellent, portraying one of the best film villains of the decade. The direction from Alejandro G. Iñárritu is spell-binding, proving that he is one of the best directors of the 21st century. The screenplay from Iñárritu & Mark L. Smith is also excellent. But the most excellent thing in this film is definitely the work of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who is definitely one of the best cinematographers in a long time. His camera work is pitch-perfect, filled with amazing, unbroken camera movements. This is definitely one of the year's best films, & if Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't win the Oscar, it will be the worst crime the Academy has ever made. I just hope it doesn't turn out that way.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Hateful Eight

★★★★★ | A Review by Cameron Kanachki

"You're starting to see pictures, ain't you?" That's an excellent quote from Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight, which is one of the best films of the year, & definitely one of Quentin Tarantino's best films. Jackson plays Marquis Warren, a bounty hunter who was a former Union soldier in the Civil War. He is trying to transport 3 corpses to Red Rock, Wyoming, to get a reward. Along the way to Red Rock, he finds a stagecoach driven by O.B. (played by James Parks). Inside the stagecoach are fellow bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth (played by Kurt Russell), & fugitive Daisy Domergue (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh). Warren & Ruth had previously met each other in Chattanooga, Tennessee some months prior. The 3 are now going to travel to Minnie's Haberdashery to take shelter during an upcoming blizzard.

On the way to Minnie's, they encounter the new sheriff of Red Rock, Chris Mannix (played by Walton Goggins), & he comes along with them. Mannix was previously part of a group called the "Mannix Marauders", who terrorized South Carolina during the Civil War. They arrive at Minnie's, eventually finding that it is in the hands of a Mexican named Bob (played by Demián Bichir). The others at Minnie's are: hangman Oswaldo Mobray (played by Tim Roth); cow-puncher Joe Gage (played by Michael Madsen); & former Confederate general Sanford Smithers (played by Bruce Dern). Ruth eventually gets the feeling that one of the people there is trying to free Daisy, & since they will all be stuck at Minnie's for the next couple days due to the blizzard, they all become tense towards one another.

The film was purely excellent. The acting, especially from Jackson, Russell, Leigh & Goggins is excellent. The direction & screenplay from Quentin Tarantino is top-notch, as always. The cinematography from Robert Richardson is excellent, & is really special because of the fact that it was shot on 70mm film (which made the film even better). The score from master Ennio Morricone was amazing. Overall, this is one of the year's best films, & if you do see it, please see it in 70mm. You will not be disappointed.