All posts by Tarek Fayoumi amateur film critic in Chicago!
I am someone who strives to become a professional critic. I watch and review many movies. I view the eyes of movies as something as an art form. I have followed many critics over the years, but once I was thirteen I knew writing film reviews was going to be my passion. I learned from watching multiple episodes of Ebert And Roeper in my teen years, and then in middle school I began writing film reviews for a newspaper club. I am also an avid fan of the arts of Chicago including Theatre, Comedy, and music. Films, however, are my primary focus.
Films on sports or competition have always appealed to me, because there have been many times in my life where I’ve wanted my talents to stand out. In The Novice, actor Isabelle Fuhrman plays an obsessed college student athlete who doesn’t just stand out, but pushes herself to dangerous levels.
One of Isabelle Furhman’s notable previous performances was as an evil adopted daughter in Orphan (2009). In The Novice she plays Alex Dall, a college freshman who joins the school rowing team. Dall has a mind like a sponge, and she succeeds academically, but what she really wants is to excel on the rowing team and make the varsity squad. She puts in extreme extra effort by working out before practices and getting advice on how best to train. But her obsession leads to alienation with her fellow teammates, classmates, and the faculty at her college.
The editing in The Novice really blew me away. The film is crisp, fast, and sharp, often with a focus on Furhman’s impressive athleticism, including some great closeups. I also enjoyed the film’s focus on academic politics and favoritism on college athletics, a problem that is undoubtedly very prevalent in that arena.
The Novice is an excellent film on a subject matter that is genuine. I also loved Fuhrman’s performance. Her character is fierce, with seemingly nothing to lose. The film has some disturbing moments, but it is a solid work of art. Three and a half stars for The Novice.
I’m a sucker for films that are set in the Hollywood golden age. I’m also a die-hard fan of the works of Director Aaron Sorkin. In Being the Ricardos, Sorkin directs a film with interesting chemistry between its characters, but the film’s pacing is off, it is sometimes out of focus, and it just really seems to miss the mark.
Being the Ricardos is about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, and their ambitious careers. Lucille is played by Nicole Kidman and Desi is played by Javier Bardem. The film centers on their fame and tension in the production of the hit TV series I Love Lucy. The other main characters are William Frawley, played by J.K. Simmons, and Vivian Vance, played by Nina Arianda. The big focus, though, is the tension between Lucille and Desi. Their personalities clash, secrets are hidden, and the tension between them is evident throughout the film.
The performances of Kidman and Bardem is where Being the Ricardos shines. They do fit the roles of Luci and Desi well. But the film is hit or miss otherwise, it just seems off track much of the time, and it can be hard to follow.
Trying to remain positive here, but it is not coming easy. In my view Being the Ricardos is just fine to experience on Amazon Prime, if people choose to see it. I’m sure many will watch it simply because of Kidman and Bardem, or if they are fans of Director Aaron Sorkin. But I found the film to be just average, and it was probably a one-time watch for me. Just two stars for Being the Ricardos.
Eighteen years after The Matrix Revolutions (2003) blew us away, fans are brought back to the Matrix saga with The Matrix Resurrections, the fourth installment in the franchise. Director Lana Wachowski still has the visual and audio brilliance in the film’s technical elements. Audiences will feel the sound and the visuals, and they will be in tune with all the action throughout this rollercoaster of a film.
Keanu Reeves is once again Neo, and he is back with a mission and a vengeance. Carrie-Anne Moss is back as Trinity with lots of unanswered questions. The dark enemy, Agent Smith is back, but this time he is played by Jonathan Groff, the detective we know as Holden Ford from Netflix’s Mindhunter. Yahya Abdul-Mateen II plays a classy Morpheus, and Neil Patrick Harris is the two-faced Analyst.
The plot of The Matrix Resurrections focuses in the life and mind of Neo. He believes that the digital dystopian world of the Matrix is behind him. He tries to live a normal life and work a normal job, but with many unanswered questions from his past he must go back to the world he was a part of. With Smith being in the way, and Trinity being in danger, Neo must put together the pieces between past and present to establish the universe around him. The film’s cinematography leads to many fascinating and oblique angles with multiple slow-motion effects to the extreme. The task for Neo may be impossible, but the challenge of it all is where Matrix fans will be wowed.
I have been a fan of The Matrix films since the onset, and The Matrix Resurrections is another crazy ride. Some may feel the film is redundant, but Lana Wachowski’s directing brings us to a whole new level of intriguing visuals and a continued and structured storyline. The film blew my mind in many ways. It is in both theaters and on HBO MAX, but the IMAX experience is definitely the way to go. The world of Neo still lives, and it is not to be missed. Three and a half stars for The Matrix Resurrections.