93rd Academy Awards - Press Room

Daniel Kaluuya, winner of the award for best actor in a supporting role for "Judas and the Black Messiah," poses in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Sometimes it’s hard as a film buff to find time during the school year to indulge in my habit.

Most movies fall around the two-hour time range, give or take a little bit, which isn’t ideal for someone like me who prefers to watch a movie in one sitting as opposed to having to take breaks.

However, over spring break, I was able to finally quench my thirst for new movies adequately, given the fact I didn’t have school or my other time commitments filling up my schedule.

So today, I’m going to talk about some of the movies I watched and do a rapid fire review of each of them. 


This one was a long time coming. For the longest time, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this film. 

It took me a while to finally get around to watching it for some reason, and for the most part, it didn’t disappoint.

Was it incredible? I don’t think so. Was it great? Yes.

Based upon the rave reviews and how much everyone I've talked to about it loves it, I definitely expected a little bit more.

Given Denis Villenueve’s repertoire, my expectations were extremely high, which probably made it harder for me to enjoy it as much.

The acting was fantastic, as was the writing. Villenueve also has a real knack for crafting suspenseful movies.

In movies where the tension is so potent and real, it’s extremely difficult not to be invested.

Another shining example of this in my mind is “Sicario” — particularly the highway standoff scene.

I will say I think the characters in “Prisoners” were a bit hard to get invested in with regards to their development.

But besides that, this movie was one of the best thrillers I've seen in recent memory.

“Judas and the Black Messiah”

The biopic genre as a whole is somewhat oversaturated with mediocre movies — movies that tell the story of its subject in an unflattering or just simply bland way.

It’s difficult to make an amazing biopic these days, given the fact it's so hard to distinguish your film from the typical biopic formula.

So going into viewing this one, I was somewhat skeptical. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with what I ended up watching.

First and foremost, the acting was out of this world. Daniel Kaluuya even won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Fred Hampton. 

But I honestly think LaKeith Stanfield was the highlight of the film for me. As William O’Neal, he gave a performance for the ages, and he completely disappeared into his character wholeheartedly.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” achieves a level of emotional compellingness that really is something to behold.

The way that it’s able to illustrate its sad and horrific story without feeling the least bit exploitative was incredible.

The filmmakers don’t really take sides either and are simply telling the unfortunate tale of two of history's more overlooked figures, which I have the utmost appreciation for.

Fantastic Planet

This is definitely a more random film, as well as a lesser-known one.

“Fantastic Planet” is a French animated film following the fictional “Oms” and their relationship to their “Traag” masters on an alien planet.

I didn’t really know all that much about this movie before watching it, but in an effort to expand my taste, I decided to give it a watch.

And it certainly wasn’t bad at all. The animation and art style was great for 1973.

I also enjoyed just the philosophical side the movie had and its parallels to the world we live in.

It was quite innovative for its time, too, especially when looking at the development of animated movies with adult themes.

It was movies like this or “Fritz the Cat” that paved the way for pieces of media such as “South Park” or “Invincible.”

“Never Die Alone”

Now this one was disappointing. I was hoping this would be a hidden gem, but I was sorely mistaken.

I’m overall a huge DMX fan, especially when it comes to his music. 

I’m also a megafan of 1998’s “Belly,” starring him and Nas, which is an extremely underrated film I loved.

I was hoping “Never Die Alone” would surprise me similarly, but boy, was I wrong.

Its main problem is really that it just suffers from a bad plot. It’s cliche, boring and features absolutely no character development.

The acting is awful; every single person in it is unlikeable, and by the end, I was pretty annoyed I wasted an hour and a half watching it.

I found it hilarious that for some reason, Roger Ebert gave it three and a half stars. Reading his review of it made absolutely no sense to me either.

There was nothing introspective or ambitious or even remotely impressive about it. 

So do yourself a favor and use your time more wisely than I did — skip “Never Die Alone.”


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