The Midnight Sky
Synopsis: A crew of astronauts is coming back home to apocalyptic earth, and an arctic scientist is on a mission to contact them, hoping to accomplish his dying deed.
Review/thoughts: The midnight sky successfully captures the emptiness the characters are forced to face in this sci-fi/drama movie. The editors focused on the sound effects to create a deafening silence that crept in at every scene. They magnified the minuscule sounds of pill bottles opening and the light touch of footsteps. They eliminated most of the background noise during conversations, which created a focal point on the characters rather than the mission. And at times, the film prolonged the calming stillness to build up the anxiety. The execution of the space scenes created the zero-gravity effect mentally for the audience; the camera never staying in one place, flowing elegantly with the characters’ airy movements. I felt the barrenness of this near-future world, just as the editors intended. To create this atmosphere while still engaging the audience in the storyline is difficult to achieve, yet it was done with simplicity and a touch of grace.
Oscars category: Best Film Editing
Where to Watch: Netflix
Synopsis: A man is tasked with preventing World War III with a mysterious organization called Tenet. Traveling through time, he finds out the true nature of what their purpose is in history.
Review/Thoughts: This movie was filled with headaches and complex thinking. You are left with a rollercoaster of emotions that don’t sit right for a couple of days after. Despite all this, you eventually earn the relief of finally understanding it all. The storyline ties the end with a ribbon on top, putting together all the pieces of everything that happened in the past, present, and future. With the sly remarks, the foreshadowing of certain events, and the cunning future shaping the past, what seems like a complicated timeline is just a straight path of certainty. The story being more than what it seemed like was a cinematic masterpiece directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie, while seeming like a single page of a story, was a whole collection of chapters.
Oscars category: Best Original Screenplay
Where to Watch: Youtube/Vudu/AmazonPrime/GooglePlayMovies&TV’s
Synopsis: A jazz teacher in New York City named Joe finally gets his dream gig, until he passes away from falling down a manhole. Joe learns about the meaning of life and what makes you, YOU.
Review/thoughts: Soul journeys around the big question of your purpose in life. It leaves you wondering how you can experience life to the fullest before you pass on. The ending message in Soul is that life isn’t about getting your biggest dreams achieved, but about enjoying experiences instead. Joe realizes this after his experience because despite getting his dream gig, he didn’t feel it was a great accomplishment afterward. Rather, walking around New York City, conversing with your family, and even eating the best pizza, brings the best feeling far greater than any accomplishment. This movie was enjoyable to watch; it grounded me on what’s important, and taking in every breath is already living life to the fullest. Soul brings this complex question with its answers through Disney’s childlike wonder.
Oscars category: Best Animated Film
Where to Watch: Disney+
Over the Moon
Synopsis: Fei Fei is a young girl still grieving over the death of her mother. Unable to see her father move on, she decides to build a rocket to the moon to meet the mythical moon goddess, Chang’e, who her mother used to tell stories about.
Review/thoughts: Throughout the movie, it showed the lengths one goes to when in grief. But in the end, both Fei Fei and Chang’e realize that the way to overcome a loss is to let love go. The finale sang by Chang’e that represented her sadness from losing her soulmate depicts this message poetically. It touched my heart with its warm embrace and provided solace. The transition from grief to acceptance was shown through the development of each character. Each character’s emotion was well-depicted, beginning to end, leaving me comforted just as Fei Fei was.
Oscars category: Best Original Song
Where to Watch: Netflix
Da 5 Bloods
Synopsis: Directed by Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods follows the adventures of four Vietnam War veterans to find some gold hidden in Vietnam that their old squad leader helped them hide before his death.
Review/Thoughts: This action-packed movie left me in absolute awe, with the grandeur of a classic Hollywood adventure, but bumping into reality more than a few times. It depicts the historical injustice African Americans faced during the Vietnam War and the consequences they still face. Each character has a unique background and personality that makes them stand out from the rest, like the PTSD-stricken Paul, played by Delroy Lindo. Paul is the hot-headed complex leader who deals with the struggles of PTSD every day. Lindo eerily yet beautifully presents Paul’s character of a broken man pushed to his final breaking point; I could feel the intensity of it through the screen. Showcasing a broken veteran so realistically makes you feel as though the movie was filming a real Paul.
Oscars category: Best Actor-Delroy Lindo
Where to Watch: Netflix