‘Titanic’ Makes My Heart Go On

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

When I think of late 90s cinema, there are dozens of movies that come to mind. We have American Beauty (1999), The Sixth Sense (1999), Good Will Hunting (1997), Clueless (1995), and so many others that quickly became classics. For me, however, none touched me quite as much as Titanic (1997).

Titanic is a movie that nearly everyone knows about as most grew up having seen it once or twice. Maybe they’ve even heard about its impressive eleven academy award wins at the 1998 Oscars. No matter how one may have heard of it, it’s a movie that’s touched the hearts and minds of everybody.

Given that everybody knows what the film is about, I’ll keep the summary brief. When poor Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) and recently engaged Rose Bukater (Kate Winslet) meet aboard the RMS Titanic, they find love in one another. They build a relationship beyond anything many have seen, but realize sometimes love doesn’t last as long as you may like it to. In their case, however, it wasn’t a break-up that brought this realization.

The sinking of the RMS Titanic was the climax of this movie, and showed – practically in real time – the sinking of the ship and the drowning of the lives on board. Director James Cameron knew how to capture this emotional tragedy and make it so the audience doesn’t even care about its running time (194 minutes).

Titanic 1
Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Everything about this movie was astonishing to me and millions would agree. Being able to witness such stellar performances by DiCaprio and Winslet (as well as such notable names as Kathy Bates, Billy Zane, and Frances Fisher) under equally beautiful writing makes any moviegoer fill with joyful tears from beginning to end.

It doesn’t happen often in modern cinema that you see a cast of actors and actresses who are all so individually dedicated to their roles. It was obvious that each wanted to portray their characters with the seriousness that those on the real Titanic would’ve maintained.

Much of this is due to the main man himself, James Cameron (Avatar, Aliens). People are no stranger to the work of Cameron, as he had already released Aliens in 1986, eleven years prior to Titanic.

Not everyone was too confident in him for Titanic (given that the budget was incredibly high – the highest of any movie in history at the time – and that most thought it would be “just another romance flick”), and many lost faith before it had even been released. That concept in itself is a marvel to me given its brilliant reception and continued adoration today.

It’s not doing Titanic justice by calling it a brilliant historical adaptation, when it felt like so much more. It was a near spiritual awakening for most who watched it, whether you’ve seen it once, twice, or two dozen times.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.9/4

Story: 3.8/4

Enjoyability: 3.9/4

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‘Tully’: The Truth About Motherhood

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Let me start out by saying that this movie is easily in my top 3 movies this year and deserves an Academy Award nomination. No other movie has felt so real and candid while still being enjoyable and fun.

Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde, Monster) plays Marlo, a mother of three suffering from severe postpartum depression. Her husband (Ron Livingston) doesn’t do much for the kids, except being the homework helper. Marlo’s rich brother (Mark Duplass) sees just how sleep deprived and exhausted his sister is becoming and recommends a night nanny who can take care of the baby at nights so Marlo can sleep.

At first, Marlo is iffy and uncomfortable with the idea. The thought of having some stranger take care of their newborn baby Mia and leave before they even wake up was strange. They decide not to call the night nanny at first, even though Marlo knows she can’t handle it. Eventually this catches up to her and she calls Tully (Mackenzie Davis), the 26 year old “fun facts for fourth graders” night nanny who is ready to not only care for the baby, but to care for Marlo.

That’s the first part of that movie that I find very meaningful. Tully’s overall philosophy is that she is also taking care of the mother if she’s taking care of the baby. This is because, according to Tully, the newborn Mia’s cells will remain in Marlo’s body for years to come. This makes it so they are one whole, therefore another “baby” Tully is here to take care of.

The acting from each of the characters was absolutely phenomenal. First we have Charlize Theron, who is always phenomenal. This movie was different though. It was extremely easy to notice just how much power and dedication she put into this role to give the “postpartum depression” storyline her all, given its sensitive material.

Mackenzie Davis, who has previously been in Black Mirror, gives us a brilliant portrayal of a “light at the end of the tunnel” type of character that everyone absolutely loves. Neither of these characters (Tully and Marlo) would be quite as appealing if the actresses behind them didn’t know what they were doing.

This was a movie where I didn’t have even the slightest interest to check the time on my phone, or question how long it’s been going. I was genuinely interested in Marlo and Tully’s entire story, beginning to end, and you will too.

Tully teaches love, care, neglect, nourishment, and how it is for some people entering motherhood for their first, second, third, or fourth time. It shows that even already having two kids and another on the way doesn’t mean it needs to be easy, persay. Postpartum can come from any child, and it’s important to have either the husband or somebody caring for you when you’re going through that. Nobody should have to go through that alone.


My Rating: 96%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

‘The Endless’ Journey of Trying to Understand This Movie

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

I really didn’t think I’d run into more of a mind twisting movie than Annihilation so soon into the year, but I was truly proven wrong with Snowfort Pictures’ The Endless.

In the most simple explanation, it’s about two brothers who escaped a UFO Death Cult when they were younger. Now that they are cleaners and living an unsatisfied life, one brother, Aaron (Aaron Moorhead) wants a change.

He decides that he wasn’t happy with the lack of closure from the cult and wants to go back. Other brother Justin (Justin Benson) is very reluctant, but for some reason gives in.

As the movie progresses, it gets ridiculously strange and confusing. The audience is left questioning whether or not this strange group of people is actually a cult or not. All we really know is that it’s an otherworldly situation with people who know that life does not stop at just them.

Some of the cult crew included leader Hal (Tate Ellington), Anna (Callie Hernandez), and Tim (Lew Temple). They all presented strange and unique personalities, but they all added something to the development of the plot – even if it wasn’t very much.

Although this movie is about aliens, don’t expect to see any… because you won’t. The aliens are always seen in the darkness or underwater, but what can you expect? It’s yet another question that leaves you frustrated. Were they even aliens?

Regardless, I do have to applaud Justin Benson for not only starring as one of the brothers, but also co-directing (alongside Aaron Moorhead, the other brother), creating the story, and writing the story. Not many people in the industry can do that nowadays.

The acting wasn’t spectacular from anyone, to be honest. At the same time, I don’t think that was the point. The point was to deliver an interesting story that unintentionally ended up more confusing and mind twisting than “interesting”.
The Endless was a very forgettable movie. It was good, but forgettable. But, before I forget it altogether, I’ll say good job to the cast and crew for developing a movie about a cult that isn’t actually about the cult itself but actually about the cult that came after the cult and a force field and… okay, I’m done.


My Rating: 79%

Acting: 2.9/4

Cinematography: 3.2/4

Story: 3.3/4

Enjoyability: 3.2/4

‘Dude’: Netflix Is Killing It

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

Netflix has returned with Dude, a movie about drugs, prom, high school, death, and everything else involving the teen lifestyle. Don’t be afraid though! This movie is far from stereotypical. It’s a completely unique blend of acting and a story worth paying attention to.

Lucy Hale (Pretty Little Liars, Truth or Dare) stars as Lily, the Student Council President who is just trying to get through her life with her three best friends, Chloe (Kathryn Prescott, Finding Carter), Amelia (Alexandra Shipp, Love, Simon), and Rebecca (Awkwafina, Ocean’s 8). On top of that, she finds the rest of life’s pleasures in prom planning and PCP.

Hale is not new to the four best friends whole shebang as she became very experienced in Pretty Little Liars. Even being a huge fan of that show myself, I confidently believe that she plays the best friend role at her best in Dude.

Along that, she gets to stand aside such outstanding actresses who all know what they are doing. Seeing Shipp play such a badass teen character (which is nothing new, she did the same thing in Love, Simon) was so much fun and just added to the performances of everyone else. Prescott and Awkwafina also did this well, providing to the environment and story as a whole.

Aside from that, shoutout to Alex Wolff who gave an incredibly good performance as Hale’s almost counterpart, Noah.

The acting was obviously one of my favorite parts of this movie, but it wasn’t the only good thing.

The preppy school girl with her friends taking several types of extreme drugs was another interesting plot point to look at. The girls made their way through tons of PCP and several Donkey Bongs full of weed. Not every class president you see in a movie is going to be that wild, so it’s important to give movies like these a chance. Several of the characters in the movie were dealing with the death of another character at the beginning of the movie, and it gives an underlying tone to the message at the end of the movie.

Regardless, all of that returns to the cliché high school movie where everyone has to decide what they want to do after high school. What college to go to, what boys to go off to college with, but most of all; who are your true friends?
Dude was my favorite Netflix movie of the year so far. There’s tons of lessons that you can pick and choose, whether it’s about what you want to do after high school or just how many drugs you should – or should not – do by the time of your senior prom.


My Rating: 92%

Acting: 3.8/4

Cinematography: 3.4/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.8/4

‘Mute’: Potentially Awful

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

In the relatively new Netflix film Mute, we see another representation of just how far a movie can go to alter what we know.

Mute follows muted man Leo (Alexander Skarsgard) as he tries to find his missing girlfriend Naadirah (Seyneb Saleh) in a very high-tech, scientific Germany that seems impossible to navigate. When the characters try to make their way around the city, they even look nearly confused as to what they’re doing.

The movie also follows a very aggressive and terrifying Cactus (Paul Rudd) and his best friend Duck (Justin Theroux) as they make their way through a very strange – and confusing – surgical operation in Germany. Cactus also has a daughter, but doesn’t have a wife anymore. His creepy best friend Duck seems to have a sexual fascination with his young daughter as well as anyone else under the age of 16. They make that very clear as he tries to hook up with anyone who even looks like a minor.

The whole movie is very messy and very sloppily tries to connect all plots at the end of the movie. Up until the last 30 minutes, you would think that these were two entirely separate stories. I won’t spoil exactly how they are connected, but I will say that it’s one of the laziest storyline twists I’ve ever seen a movie put together.

A movie with tons of potential, but little of that is acted on.

The acting was probably the best part of the movie. All of the high profile actors (Rudd, Skarsgard, Theroux) all bring very solid performances to the table. They each develop their characters in entirely unique ways and did the best with what they had to work with. They knew how to evoke emotion in the audience and played upon that perfectly.
Mute is ultimately not a very good movie. It has insane potential but fails to bring that potential to life. It attempts to show emotion, which it only completes through the acting rather than the messy story. It uses a plot twist that has only one purpose; to shock the audience. There was no meaning to it whatsoever.


My Rating: 66%

Acting: 3.5/4

Cinematography: 2.7/4

Story: 2.1/4

Enjoyability: 2.2/4

‘Veronica’: The Scariest Exorcism You’ll Ever See

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Julia Wilson

If you’re like me, you may not watch very many foreign horror films or have any interest to, either. Most people don’t watch horror films too often nowadays to begin with (with the obvious exception of Get Out (2017) and A Quiet Place (2018)), much less any foreign ones.

Stumbling across Veronica on Netflix at 1:30 AM was probably the worst decision I’ve ever made. Not because it was bad (it was quite the opposite), but because it was the best scary movie I’ve experienced in years.

15 year old Veronica (played by Sandra Escacena, whose most notable role is now this one) is a typical teenage girl who babysits her younger siblings while mom is at work, has constant teen drama, and wants nothing more than to use a Ouija board during an eclipse with her friends in the basement of her school.

Things escalate from there, as Veronica is possessed by a spirit from the game. Don’t judge a movie by its premise though. Veronica leads you through the events leading up to the allegedly true disaster that happened in one apartment building in Madrid in June of 1991.

Veronica is based on an actual police report about Veronica and her situation which, if you ask me, makes it a million times scarier.

This movie does what most horror movies fail to do. It uses relatively new – but ridiculously talented – actors and actresses, meaningful color schemes, minimal jump scares, and consistent building anxiety to make you cover your eyes out of fear every few minutes.

Maybe you’re the type of person who is in a very “been there, done that” type of mood after seeing so many exorcism movies. There was The Exorcist (1973), The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Last Exorcism (2010), and oh so many more. Seriously, you can find about 100 movies just about exorcisms, it’s completely unnecessary. If you’re one of these people, I highly recommend giving Veronica a shot. It isn’t the same old exorcist movie you’ve seen two dozen times. It’s a fresh take on a genre that was holding onto its last breath.

Veronica scares you so much that you want to watch it twice.

With a certified fresh standing on Rotten Tomatoes, Veronica is quickly proving to be a movie that is altering the horror genre. This new genre doesn’t need to have jump scares every few seconds, gallons of blood, and cheap screams. Veronica shows just how genuine a story can be told while still leaving you sleepless.


My Rating: 93%

Acting: 3.9/4

Cinematography: 3.7/4

Story: 3.7/4

Enjoyability: 3.6/4

Confidence is Sexy in ‘I Feel Pretty’

By Julia Wilson, Edited by Anthony Peyton

Amy Schumer, the comedian we all know and hate, has made another movie. Except this time, instead of trying to get by on outrageous jokes that no one’s laughing at, this film has a message. The message that anyone can be beautiful if they could just see themselves as so.

I Feel Pretty follows Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer), your typical girl who lacks confidence and compares herself to everyone around her. Renee’s lack of confidence in her appearance affects every aspect of her life, including holding her back from her dream job and having any kind of love life. That is until she falls off her bike at SoulCycle, hits her head, and then magically sees herself as the most beautiful girl in the world, even though her appearance hasn’t changed a bit.

I actually don’t hate Amy Schumer as much as everyone else (despite my opening line) and went into this movie really wanting to love it. I did love the message and what they were going for with this one, but it just fell short on execution.

Although there were some pretty funny parts of this movie, I didn’t really find myself dying from laughter like I was during other comedies that have come out this year like Blockers and Game Night. I think the premise of this movie was a lot funnier than the actual lines and comedic timing of the actors.

Also, the story lagged a little bit. There were just points where it got a little too absurd for me. There was also a weird 15 minutes of the movie where Renee started acting very rude to all of her friends and almost cheated on her lovable boyfriend Ethan (Rory Scovel) because she was so full of herself. This just seemed counterintuitive to the message they were trying to send with the film.

Speaking of the message of the film, that was my favorite part of it. The whole idea that all you need to be beautiful is to have confidence in yourself is a very important message to be sending to girls of all ages. I also noticed that unlike pretty much every other thing Schumer has done, there was no vulgarity or nudity in this film giving it a PG-13 rating. I loved this because that meant that girls of all ages could go see this film.

The other thing I loved about this film was the satirical element of it. It uses the classic story of a girl with no confidence who magically becomes beautiful, loses that magic and returns to her old self, but then realizes she can have a great life no matter what she looks like. Except in this film Schumer’s character’s appearance does not change and it’s all in her head. This relays a message not that your life can be great even if you’re ugly, but instead that you have control over how you perceive yourself and your own personal beauty.

The satire is also very well played out in Schumer’s acting where she is clearly intentionally trying to be over the top to show how ridiculous of a notion it is that you can magically become beautiful and all your problems will be solved. This shows that it takes self reflection and acceptance to improve issues related to your self esteem.

This film supplies women with a very powerful message that shows that you are in control of your beauty and your own self perception. I just wish it was executed a little bit better.


My Rating: 72%

Acting: 2.8/4

Cinematography: 2.5/4

Story: 2.9/4

Enjoyability: 3.3/4