Feb 10, 2019
We’re back with another week worth of reviews, with a few awards nominees, a couple Netflix Originals, and quite possibly the cutest documentary ever made. Our team of reviewers are doing great work, and the response has been amazing!
No new sponsors this week. If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, however, head over to patreon.com/onemoviepunch and sign up at any level. All sponsors are eligible to make yours truly review a film of your choice, with few exceptions. All funds go to offsetting costs, and will help us to grow with our audience.
In the meantime, I’ve dug into the archives for our review last year for “Moonlight” (2016), from Barry Jenkins, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2017, with one of the more unfortunate and controversial blunders in Oscar history, perhaps only to be outdone by this year’s show given all the early commentary. The film currently sits at an impressive 98% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and an equally impressive 99 Must See rating on Metacritic. You can still catch it on Amazon Prime and Kanopy, and rent or purchase it at most digital outlets.
Here we go!
Today’s movie is “Moonlight” (2016), the Oscar winning masterpiece from Barry Jenkins. I don’t know if this podcast is going to be a review so much as an exposition on how much this film impressed me, especially for his second feature-length film, eight years after the ambitious and underrated “Medicine for Melancholy” (2008). Get ready for a love fest.
Everything is built on the story, based on a semi-autobiographical play by Tarell Alvin McCraney, and structured as a triptych of key moments in the life of Chirone, the focus of this character study. Jenkins and McCraney developed an amazing screenplay, striking the right perspective and pacing into each section, with the right elements tying everything together in the end.
An amazing cast brought the screenplay to life, not only for Chirone (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes) or his friend Kevin (Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, and André Holland), but also for persistent characters like Chirone’s biological mother Paula (Naomie Harris) and surrogate mother Teresa (Janelle Monáe), and, of course, the Oscar winning performance of Juan by Mahershala Ali. The cast for Chirone and Kevin in particular make you believe it is the same person at different points in their life, an incredibly difficult feat requiring expert direction and performances.
You can really tell from the set locations that Jenkins and McCraney grew up in Miami, finding just the right angles and filters to capture awesome color patterns, and, of course, excellent use of light and shadow, particularly at night. And finally Joi McMillon and Nat Sanders bring the film together in the editing room with some amazing composition, and excellent music choices and score from Nicholas Britell. A24 picked it up for production, their first. Talk about setting the bar high for the future.
I can’t believe I waited this long to watch the film. It has a balance of strong, unique subject matter and perspective in a realistic representation of their environment. It also makes me excited to see his next film, an adaptation of James Baldwin’s novel “If Beale Street Could Talk”, utilizing most of the same excellent crew from “Moonlight”.