Category: Mark’s Reviews

Moonlight Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 10 out of 10

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With every passing year of film, I look back and divide up which movies go where in my head. These mental compartments have different categories and sub-categories (and, occasionally, some even have colored tags like on a Mac computer), but I won’t get into the nitty-gritty of what goes on in my head (we’ll be here all day). Generally, movies I watch go into one of three categories: Pass (“I’ll never see this again, except when I’m flipping channels and it’s on TNT”), Good (“I’ll go out of my way to watch it.”), and Masterful (“This needs to be shared and put in the Smithsonian, ASAP”). A lot of movies this year fell into that area between good and masterful, including a lot of this year’s Oscar contenders, but for one reason or another I found it hard to label any of them as “masterful.”

When I left the theater after seeing Moonlight, reeling over the experience I just had, it was clear that the only place I could put this film was on the top shelf. Moonlight is, without a doubt, masterful across the board.

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Manchester By The Sea Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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With movies, we’ve been accustomed to it’s structure, plot-beats, monologues and any other device used to keep us in our seats. Whether it’s cheesy dialogue, over-acting, or just defying all dangerous obstacles to save the world, no matter if it’s the bottom of the barrel or an Oscar winner we forgive these movies because, well, they’re movies. They’re not real.

Manchester By The Sea IS real. Yes, this is a movie; It has a beginning, middle and end like every other one out there, but it’s one that hits closer to home than most. It’s a powerful experience, grounded in spectacular realism that can’t be compared to anything else this year.

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The Revenant Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 9.5 out of 10

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After 3 hours of experiencing The Revenant I felt chills the rest of the night, almost as if I were sick. Sure, this could (and probably) was a coincidence, but I couldn’t doubt the power that this movie can bare on one’s being. No one can watch movies like this and not have a little part of them taken away.

I mean, after seeing Leonardo DiCaprio gut a dead horse and crawl inside it for warmth, no one can forget that.

The Revenant is unlike anything you’ve ever seen at the movies in recent years. I knew going in that it was going to be a big film, but I didn’t know I would be short-changing it by just saying “big.” It’s epic, in every sense of the word; In scope, in beauty, in talent, and epically breathtaking.

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Ted 2 Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 7 out of 10

imagesWith Jurassic World still ruling the box office, it feels like every summer released in the past month flew under the radar, even high profile comedy sequels.
The sequel to the 2012 comedy hit, Ted 2 brings back a majority of the original cast and crew, along with the same attitude and humor as its predecessor, which is both good and bad.

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Furious 7 Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Furious7onelastposterbigFrom what started as a street race in Los Angeles to what eventually became a globe-trotting adventure spanning across Rio De Janeiro, Tokyo, and Europe, the Fast & Furious franchise has become a box-office sensation. How the series has grown over the years was beyond anything I could have imagined.

With the tragic passing of series star Paul Walker in late 2013, I also couldn’t imagined how the franchise would end, or if it could. Instead of just pulling out, the cast and crew regrouped, went back to the drawing board and collectively decided to move on and finish the movie.

Furious 7 is the action-packed culmination of their blood, sweat and, unfortunately, tears. While not perfect, it’s still one last great ride for the series, and offers fans a meaningful goodbye for Walker’s character.

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Birdman Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 10 out of 10

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Broadway & theater are two forms of entertainment that are two sides of the same coin. How they’re presented and how they affect the audience can be different, but both can be extraordinary if pushed to their limits. It’s rare to see a film that feels like a play.

Shakespeare once wrote that “All the world’s a stage.” Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance is, quite literally, a grand, magnificent stage filled with some of the best performers working today.

Birdman, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Grams, Babel), is a film that, at its cinematic level, reaches heights that hasn’t been seen before and at the same time, on a theatre level, keeps going and going, firing on all cylinders and keeping you hooked until the very end.

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Gone Girl Review

By: Mark Di Stefano
Rating: 9 out of 10

gone_girl_ver2_xlg“The primal questions of a marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? What have we done to each other?”

Nick Dunne thinks this to himself as he looks at his wife, Amy. Not even 30 seconds into Gone Girl, and already I’m on the edge of my seat in suspense. Everyone in the audience, especially those seeing it with a loved one, are sure in for a wild ride. Looking back at 2014, Gone Girl was probably the most gripping movie I’ve seen in theaters that year.

 

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