Posts Tagged ‘Michael Abels’

CHEVALIER – Kris Bowers and Michael Abels

May 23, 2023 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Think of a classical composer. Any classical composer. What sort of face springs to mind? White. Male. Middle Aged. Some sort of imposing hairdo, probably a beard. Formal clothes. A facial expression that combines seriousness with intelligence. It’s the sort of face we’ve all seen for hundreds of years, from Mozart to Beethoven to Brahms, to Tchaikovsky and beyond. It’s what we’re all accustomed to seeing and thinking of when western classical music is mentioned. However, the truth is that there is, and has always been, more diversity than that, both in terms of gender and race, but most of the music of non-white non-male composers was overlooked and, at times, intentionally suppressed in the past, to the point that today very few of us know, and can name, any composers outside those gender-based and race-based confines. This new movie, Chevalier, attempts to redress some of that a little. Read more…

NOPE – Michael Abels

July 26, 2022 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The third film from writer-director Jordan Peele after Get Out and Us, Nope is an ambitious sci-fi horror saga, and a throwback to the creature-feature adventure movies of the 1980s. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer as brother and sister OJ and Emerald Haywood, who own and train horses for the Hollywood film industry, and are based in an isolated ranch in the mountains of southern California. One day OJ witnesses a terrifying vision in the skies over his property that questions his understanding of reality, and before long he and his family are engaged in a desperate battle of survival against a force that only they, with their history of animal training, may be uniquely equipped to understand. It’s a clever film – funny, scary, exciting, visually compelling – but it’s also much more straightforward than Peele’s other works, aiming more to be a popcorn-munching good time at the movies than an exploration of any deeper underlying social issues. The film co-stars Steven Yeun as the owner of a nearby wild-west themed carnival park, Brandon Perea as a local Fry’s Electronics tech, and the gravel-voiced Michael Wincott as a famous cinematographer who helps them document the phenomenon. Read more…

BAD EDUCATION – Michael Abels

May 6, 2020 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Bad Education is a true-life political drama set in the American school system. Based on the New York magazine article “The Bad Superintendent” by Robert Kolker, it exposes the largest public school embezzlement scam in American history, which occurred in a small town on Long Island, New York, in 2002. The focus is on two individuals – Frank Tassone, the superintendent of the school district, and his assistant, Pam Gluckin – who between them embezzled $7.1 million dollars from the school board finances, until their misdeeds were uncovered by a tenacious high school reporter who found discrepancies in the budget. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney, Ray Romano, and Geraldine Viswanathan, and was a major critical success when it premiered on HBO in the United States in April 2020. The film is directed by Cory Finley, and has a score by composer Michael Abels. Read more…

US – Michael Abels

March 26, 2019 Leave a comment

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Us is the sophomore effort of writer-director Jordan Peele, who took the box office by storm, and won critical praise, for his debut film Get Out in 2017. Both films are nominally horror films, with Us being more traditionally scary than Get Out was, but both films also delve much deeper into a whole host of political and sociological issues that most genre films don’t touch. Us provides scares a-plenty, but also takes its time to offer ruminations on identity, childhood trauma, and the overwhelming fear of ‘outsiders’ that currently permeates contemporary American culture. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyongo stars as Adelaide, who as a child had a horrifying experience in a funhouse by the Santa Cruz seaside boardwalk that left her psychologically scarred; now grown up, she reluctantly returns to the same resort with her husband Gabe (Winston Duke) and pre-teen children Zoe and Jason (Shahadi Wright Joseph and Evan Alex). Adelaide and Gabe are a normal, middle-class, affluent all-American family, and after spending the day on the beach with their friends (Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker), they retire to their beach house. However, that night, they are assailed by four mysterious strangers clad in red jumpsuits, each of whom look like almost perfect mirror images of Adelaide and her family. What these doppelgängers want, who they are, and where they come from, is soon revealed to be literal stuff of nightmares. Read more…

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GET OUT – Michael Abels

March 3, 2017 4 comments

getoutOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Get Out, from writer-director Jordan Peele, is a horror movie with a contemporary twist, providing a different look at the genre while commenting on the all-too-contemporary issues facing young African-American men. The film stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chris, a black man who agrees to spend the weekend visiting the parents of his white girlfriend, Rose (Alison Williams). Upon arriving, he meets his potential in-laws (Bradley Whitford and Catherine Keener), and for a while everything seems normal in their little slice of suburban heaven, but before long Chris starts noticing strange behavior among the guests at a party, and among the hired help, and begins to feel that something is terribly, terribly wrong. The film has been praised both for its subversion of genre clichés, and for its unflinching look at racial and social issues in modern American society, with special acclaim being afforded to Peele, who one critic said has “created a work that addresses the myriad levels of racism, pays homage to some great horror films, carves out its own creative path, has a distinctive visual style – and is flat-out funny as well”. Read more…