Moonlight: Thumbs Up
Feb. 27 – Mar. 12
Expectations were set high for Barry Jenkins’ “Moonlight” due to its enthusiastic critical reception and numerous award nominations, and the film demonstrates that it is worthy. “Moonlight,” the winner of the 2017 Oscar for best picture, tells the story of Chiron (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes) in a unique coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of drugs and abuse. The film is separated into three acts taking places at different times in Chiron’s life. The first act sees Chiron as a young boy with his single mother, Paula (Naomie Harris), who is emotionally abusive towards him. One day while hiding from his school bullies, Chiron is found by a local Cuban drug dealer named Juan (Mahershala Ali) who takes him in and becomes an unlikely father figure to the boy. This sets Chiron on an incredible journey of self-discovery against adversity and confusion.
The raw and touching performances in Moonlight cement the power of the film. Juan who is depicted by Ali, won the 2017 Oscar for best supporting actor for this role, is especially poignant. The movie’s cinematography is also excellent and captures the tone of the film very well. Moonlight is an important movie that is recommended heavily for people from all walks of life.
Sing: Thumbs Down
Mar. 6 – Mar. 26
“Sing” is another animated feature produced by Illumination Entertainment who are famous (or perhaps infamous) as the company responsible for the proliferation of the “minions” from 2010’s “Despicable Me.” Although the production saw success in their first movies, the latest from the studio falls flat. “Sing” is set in a world in which the inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals. The plot of the film revolves around theater owner Buster Moon’s (Matthew McConaughey) singing competition and various characters that participate in it in hopes of winning the prize money. The characters choose to sing songs from across the canon of popular music such as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Among the entrants are Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and Gunter (Nick Kroll) the pigs, Mike (Seth MacFarlane) the mouse, Johnny (Taron Egerton) the gorilla, Ash (Scarlett Johansson) the porcupine and Meena (Tori Kelly) the elephant. Problems arise when the personal issues of the contestants affect their ability to focus on the competition.
“Sing” is vibrantly animated and its star-studded cast provide stellar voice acting performances. The main issue with this film comes from the derivative plot. “Sing” tells a story that has been told time and time again without any fresh takes on the subject matter. This movie falls firmly under the category of entertainment which, although not a bad thing at times, is something that should be noted before seeing it. Despite this, fans of popular music and singing competitions such as “American Idol” will find some enjoyment in the film.