September 27, 2023

Stylistically Stellar “Wonderful World of Henry Sugar” Lacks Substance (Review)

You’d think that the quirk of Wes Anderson and Roald Dahl would be a match made in heaven, meshing perfectly and complementing each artist in turn, and yet it still feels like both refuse to compromise and let the other dominate the project — an odd thing, considering Dahl has been dead for over thirty years. I think that speaks to the testament of his writing and how unique his style actually is.

Image courtesy of Netflix

The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar
is the first of a series of short films that Anderson had adapted from Dahl’s stories that will be released on Netflix this week. This particular short follows the eponymous Henry Sugar (Benedict Cumberbatch, who seems right at home in the signature Wes Anderson style), a rich man who learns about a guru (Ben Kingsley) who can see without using his eyes. Sugar sets out to teach himself the skill in order to cheat at gambling.

September 25, 2023

“Dumb Money” is a New Take on the GameStop Revolution (Review)

I should have expected it — after all, the world has been crazy enough these last few years — but it’s still surreal to see major studio releases about events that happened not only within my lifetime, but during a time when I was actively paying attention to the news. The pandemic has ensured that this has increased over the last few years, but no new release feels more familiar than Dumb Money.

Dumb Money tells the story of a group of amateur investors who were able to put a short squeeze — look it up — on two hedge funds that bet on video game retail company GameStop to fail. The effort was led by YouTuber and financial analyst Keith Gill (played in the film by Paul Dano), a financial broker from Massachusetts who led a ragtag campaign to invest in GameStop to ensure the hedge funds would not succeed in profiting from the company’s demise. The movement led to an SEC investigation and a Congressional hearing, all of which is depicted in the film.

September 16, 2023

Nostalgia Crossing and Horror Cinematic Universes: Revisiting My Unabashed Love of “The Nun”

It’s not an exaggeration to say that movies we watch as children define us and stick with us in ways that are impossible to replicate. There are others that I wish I had seen earlier, but in the end, it’s the childhood favorites that remain among my favorites to this day, oftentimes due to the nostalgia factor…more on that in a moment.

For what felt like years, I bugged my parents for years about letting me watch R-rated movies, until I had to take my fate into my own hands and find my own way to see what I wanted to see. When I hit high school, I was finally allowed to go to the theater alone and watch whatever I wanted, and I took full advantage of that. One of those films that I saw early on in high school was The Nun.

Despite my best efforts, nobody wanted to see it with me, and I don’t blame them. It was a horror movie, for starters, and connected to a cinematic universe that not many people my age (and certainly not my friends) had any interest in seeing. So I sat in an empty theater on September 7, 2018 — I still have the movie ticket — and found myself cowering behind my own hands as I sat through 97 minutes of gothic terror. And I loved every second of it.