Media Matters Archive

Icarus

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March 23, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

When filmmaker and amateur cyclist Bryan Fogel sets out to make his documentary Icarus, his premise is clear: If professionals like Lance Armstrong and other top racers can dope and get away with it (at least for awhile), can an avid yet average cyclist do the same thing? What kind of change will he see in his race times? How much difference does doping really have on an athlete’s performance? It is a whistleblower story, peeling away the grandiose rhetoric of the International Olympic Committee to reveal its rotten underbelly. The trouble is, Fogel needs an expert to teach him […]

Annihilation

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March 16, 2018 Vic Thiessen

The trailers for Annihilation featured vicious mutated animals attacking people in an otherworldly setting in an obvious attempt to entice the large audiences who seem to revel in violent action. For me, the trailers did not make the film look original or exciting, with the action scenes suggesting Annihilation would not be my kind of science fiction film. I had been transported so completely to a different world that it took me hours to find my way back to earth. But Annihilation was written and directed by Alex Garland, whose last film, Ex Machina, is one of the best and […]

The Shape of Water

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March 9, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple

What do you get when you take Beauty and the Beast, take the old artist neighbor from Amelie, bring in a villain worthy of a Bond film, add some Soviet spies, and set it all during the race to space? As the tale unfolds, it begins to question who really is the monster. The Shape of Water. But The Shape of Water, while totally predictable, borrows these cultural references to make a magical fairy tale. What sets apart director Guillermo del Toro’s tale is the way these mutually lonely and misunderstood characters find each other. This is a love story, […]

Preview of Oscars 2018

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March 2, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

My expectations for the Academy Awards this year are low. I always expect—and even enjoy—the campiness. I know I’m going to hear songs that make me cringe. I know there is going to be stilted dialogue. I know host Jimmy Kimmel will make President Trump jokes. I also know that last year is impossible to beat. Last year I predicted Moonlight would win, and after La La Land accidentally won the award, I was ready to retire from predictions forever. I watched last year’s ceremony, but I do not remember anything but the last five minutes. To close out the […]

Black Panther

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February 23, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

Black Panther seems to have exploded across the movie reviewing and analyzing world, captivating critics and audiences alike as the first superhero movie with a black man in the headlining role. While I cannot speak to the emotions many people of color have described upon seeing a big-budget African superhero, I’m delighted to agree the movie is a success. I’m even willing to say director Ryan Coogler has crafted a triumph for women in a genre that is traditionally male-centric fare. This is no cardboard megalomania story or simple quest for world domination. The scars of colonialism still mutilate Africa. […]

Hostiles

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February 16, 2018 Vic Thiessen

The new revisionist western by Scott Cooper hasn’t been wowing either critics or audiences. A glacially paced old-fashioned epic full of predictable violence, Hostiles has been criticized for its failed attempts at political correctness, its poor character development, its melodrama, its inept directing, and its sluggish, funereal pace. Personally, I think it’s one of the best westerns ever made and that the disconnect comes from the film’s unique ability to stir different feelings in each viewer. It’s a hard time and place to build a life, with the potential for violence and death (in various forms) seeming to hide behind […]

The Super Bowl 2018 Ads

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February 9, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple

This past Sunday night brought, once again, the Super Bowl to the screen. This year the game was exciting right up to the last play. I was at a party with a bunch of friends and I asked them for their opinions about the many ads that played throughout the evening. It was funny, it was challenging, it was political, and it made a statement about how religion could be a powerful force rather than being one that separates Not too much has changed over the years, as the series of Tide ads demonstrated with their parodies of many Super […]

I, Tonya

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February 2, 2018 Michelle D. Sinclair

The biopic has developed a certain level of grandeur over the years. Almost always “prestige” pics, such films go straight after the Oscars, with actors bringing their A game and then some to show a person’s life, tragic flaws, heroic triumphs, and everything between. They have one thing in common—a certain reverence for their subject. I, Tonya, is not that biopic. Extraordinary talent and drive brought her to the pinnacle of success, only to lose everything because of the cesspool of her roots and her own poor choices. Yes, the film is more sympathetic to Tonya Harding than public perception […]

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

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January 26, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith

The first time I viewed the trailer for Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri, I felt as if I had pretty much seen the whole movie. The trailer projects the film to be a revenge story of an angry mother looking for justice, featuring a stalwart performance by Frances McDormand that would propel her to her second Oscar win. Frustrated by the lack of progress in the case to find her daughter’s killer, Hayes buys a year’s worth of advertising on three billboards on the outskirts of town. McDormand will win the award again this year—that much is true. If I […]

I Am Not Your Negro

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January 19, 2018 Gordon Houser

On Wednesday, Third Way released the top 10 films of 2017 by three of its reviewers, including me. With each film we chose, we included a brief synopsis and why we chose it for that position. Today, I get to expand on my choice of what I felt was the best film of 2017. I chose it as my no. 1 film of 2017 because it is a must-see documentary for our time. I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary by Raoul Peck that focuses mainly on James Baldwin, the African American writer known particularly for his books Go Tell […]