Blindspotting (2018)

Director: Carlos Lopez Estrada

Writer: Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs (Screenplay)

Starring: Daveed Diggs, Rafael Casal, Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, Tish Campbell-Martin

 

Plot: While on probation, a man begins to re-evaluate his relationship with his volatile best friend.


Tagline – Change The Way You See.

Runtime: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fantastic

 

Story: Blindspotting starts ass Collin (Diggs) is released from prison, going on his one-year probation, everything has gone smoothly and with 3 days to go, he has big plans, with his best friend Miles (Casal), on his trip home to make curfew, Collin witnesses Officer Molina (Embry) gun down an unarmed black man.

Collin is torn with what to do about the shooting knowing his background isn’t going to help his case, while Miles keeps getting himself into trouble with his wheeling and dealing ways, his future I put at risk with the final two days of his probation.

 

Thoughts on Blindspotting

 

Characters – Collin has just served a 2-month sentence now on a one-year probation, which has gone well for 362 days, he has a job and has kept his head down avoiding any criminal activity or clashes with the law. He has a plan for his time once his probation is over, which get put up in the air when he sees a police shooting in his neighbourhood, knowing that could bring down a dirty cop, he is torn between coming forward or keeping his head down. Collin represents the black man that has committed a small crime, doing his time and being written off by society even if he wants to turn his life around after learning from his mistake. Miles is the best friend of Collin’s that could easily still get him in trouble for everything he does, he represents the life that a white man doesn’t get treated the same as a black man for the same crimes, in the same neighbourhood. Val is the ex-girlfriend of Collin’s that is his boss, she didn’t support him when he was in prison even though she still sees good in hi, she is waiting for him to make the change. Ashely is Miles’s girlfriend that has put raising their child first, until he does do something wrong putting their child before their relationship.

PerformancesDaveed Diggs is truly brilliant in the leading role, we see how he is making his character be so conflicted with what he witnesses, he has the fear of being put into a bracket of a criminal, with the sequence in the basement being one of the stand out scenes and performances of the year. Rafael Casal is equally as top level here, where he shows and reflects the life that Collin could have still been living after never taking punishment for action. When it comes to the supporting cast everybody is great letting the two leads shine on the levels required.

StoryThe story here follows an ex-con needing to survive his probation, which becomes more difficult after he witnesses a police shooting and his best friend keeps getting him into trouble. The idea of following somebody going clean after prison is one that we have seen many times, around the troublesome neighbourhood or the one thought to be troublesome. Watching how he negotiates himself through his final couple of days shows just how difficult this can be in the wrong neighbourhood being black, because people will automatically see you as a generic criminal. We get plenty of social commentary on how image can place people into brackets, no matter what they are like, with the idea that both the black and white man were involved in the crime and only the black man gets punished. The reflection of the two lives, one which has done crime, one that has gotten away with one shows, how prison can help people learn to live better lives. We get to see how difficult it would be to be a witness to a crime by the law, how somebody can live in fear for just being black. This shows use just how big the problem between races is and just how people can’t learn to get on without judging people on their skin colour.

Comedy/CrimeThe comedy in this film comes for looking at the new crazes in health that are outside the normal persons finances and Collin trying to keep his head down. The crime side of the film come from the world that Collin and Miles are living in, which is filled with wheelers and dealers who could put Collin on the wrong side of the law while trying to go straight.

SettingsThe film is set in Oakland which shows us just how the neighbourhood operates, we see most of the people there are poorer, we have racial groups that are together, while the police judge on skin colour, we also see how the richer people see it as being cool to move into the neighbourhood too.


Scene of the Movie –
Basement confrontation.

That Moment That Annoyed Me Hard to find anything here.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily on of the best movies of 2018, the commentary on life in the poorer neighbourhoods and the racial divide comes through strong here showing just how the world is difficult if you are from the wrong neighbourhood.

 

Overall: Essential viewing of 2018.

Rating

 

 

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Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

Director: Dan Gilroy

Writer: Dan Gilroy (Screenplay)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Billy Magnussen, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, Natalia Dyer, Rene Russo, Daveed Diggs, Zawa Ashton

 

Plot: After a series of paintings by an unknown artist are discovered, a supernatural force enacts revenge on those who have allowed their greed to get in the way of art.

 

Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: First Great Horror of 2019

 

Story: Velvet Buzzsaw starts by taking us into the art world with critic Morf Vandewalt (Gyllenhaal) being the man that can make or break an artist career, Rhodora Haze (Russo) runs the gallery with aspiring artists Josephina (Ashton), Coco (Dyer) and Bryson (Magnussen) working for her.

When one of Josephina’s neighbours dies suddenly, she learns of the number of breath-taking pieces of art, that soon gets the art world going into a frenzy, with Gretchen (Collette) the newly appointed consulate for the rich wanting to get the some of the work. This is only the beginning as the art work seems to have a supernatural force behind it that wants to consume the greed in the art world.

 

Thoughts on Velvet Buzzsaw

 

Characters – Morf Vandewalt is the biggest and most well-respect art critic in the business, he can make or break a career, which has given him enemies along the way. His friendship with Rhodora helps her collect and profit from the most amounts of work, he sees the brilliance in the new artwork, though he questions certain background towards them. Rhodora is the one of the most popular art curators, her gallery gives young artists a chance, while she knows which clients to accept or not, she wants this new work and makes a deal to make sure she makes the most money she can out of them. Josephina is the aspiring curator, she is learning of Rhodora and she is the one that finds the artwork, this gives her all the leverage required to finally make her name in the industry. Gretchen works in a gallery until she gets a job acquiring work for her clients, this shows us just how one person can go from small time to big time, while changing along the way. Jon Dondon is another curator, one that has become a rival to Rhodora, he clearly doesn’t understand the art world on the same level as her though, only requiring money to keep him happy. Piers is the famous artist that has been struggling with his latest work after giving up his addiction, he sees the brilliance, but is also scared of the work of the new artist.

PerformancesJake Gyllenhaal is just as fantastic as we would expect, he plays the over the top figure that strangely feels grounded too. Rene Russo shines as the cut throat art curator that will put anybody who crosses her in their place. Toni Collette turns out an almost opposite performance to Hereditary, which see her become an ambitious lady that knows how to deal. It is Zawa Ashton that becomes a more influential performer in this film than you would expect, which surprises with the cast we have, she is equally as strong as the rest of the cast too.

StoryThe story takes us into the art world, we have the pivotal characters to make us complete accept being part of this world, as a new unknown artist gets discovered, only his work has a much more sinister side to it. The scale of the world created here is wonderful because within five minutes of the film, we are completely embraced into this world. The darker side of the film shows us just how easily people can become consumed by greed. This will leave you shocked with the events of the film and will leave you never wanting to be part of the art world.

HorrorThe horror comes from the sinister nature behind the art work, going hand in hand with just how Morf is slowly starting to lose his mind as the work is become bigger.

SettingsThe film keeps us in the art world for the settings, this shows us how the members of the art world will do whatever they want to become the biggest name in the industry.

Special EffectsThe effects used in the film are wonderful they play in with artistic world when it comes to the body count, we get to see.


Scene of the Movie –
The sinister side of the artwork.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The trailer gives too much away.

Final ThoughtsThis is a beautiful horror film that will fully engross us into the artworld with the characters and gives us the twisted look at just what could happen when a spirit can spread so easily.

 

Overall: Visually beautiful horror film.

Rating