High Flying Bird — Review

High Flying Bird.jpg

André Holland in a scene from Steven Soderbergh’s High Flying Bird


“A movie about sports that doesn’t need to showcase a frame from an actual game to keep the viewer’s attention.”

Continue reading


BLOG: Fyre Sale

Fyre Fraud.jpg

by Ken Bakely

It seems like some kind of bizarrely fitting joke – the kind of of-course onslaught that seemed to mirror the source material’s surreal slew of events – that two documentaries about the ill-fated Fyre Festival would premiere the same week. Watched in tandem, the collective surrealism of their anecdotes presents a distorted, funhouse mirror effect of the combined input of social media advertising, a voyeuristic pleasure that many took in watching the affluent-millennial-aimed music festival crash and burn, and the  delusions of grandeur that were behind the scheme in the first place. Both Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason’s Fyre Fraud, and Chris Smith’s Fyre, rightly paint the festival’s creator – venture capitalist Billy McFarland – as a con artist, but his actions are viewed differently in a broader spectrum, thus creating interesting fodder for how even the slightest changes in filmmaking approaches and access create radically different narratives. They present fascinatingly mounted investigations, but neither comes close to the sweeping conclusions that they aim for – though that’s not to say that they don’t each have their share of evocative achievements as they pursue their own ideologies, and have an odd synergy when taken together.

Continue reading

BLOG: 2019 Oscar Nomination Predictions

oscars statues

by Ken Bakely

Another year, another awards season. And this one has been particularly chaotic: from upset wins to wide arrays of controversies, it’s impossible to tell exactly who or what is in the lead for many of the big prizes in this year’s Oscar race. But tomorrow, the nominees will be announced and we’ll know who our finalists are. As with every year, I’ve compiled some predictions for the top categories. They’re ranked by my estimated likelihood of nomination. Listed are my predicted five (or ten for Best Picture), plus one possible contender that could upset (or two for Best Picture).

Without further ado, let’s get started.

UPDATE (January 23): Like last year, I have added my accuracy score and initial thoughts on the final nominees to each category. Continue reading

The Year in Review – 2018


by Ken Bakely

You can’t say that 2018 was a particularly relaxing year. But looking at the year’s pop culture, it was certainly one that showed how better representation can wield positive results that have clear social value and make a strong mark on the cultural discussion, as movies like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians proved. Female directors and/or directors of color were at the helm for many of 2018’s most acclaimed features: from films as varied from If Beale Street Could Talk to Sorry to Bother You, and Shirkers to Madeline’s Madeline, this year took big steps in employing a wide diversity of voices and perspectives in filmmaking. Certainly more work is needed on this front, but it will be exciting to see what more progress can be made in the years to come. As Hollywood Reporter writer Rebecca Sun pointed out, diversity isn’t a passing trend or buzzword: it’s a reality that has simply been ignored for too long. And even though this year has dealt its share of dismaying setbacks for all the leaps forward made, I thought I would use this post as an opportunity to celebrate what has been accomplished on film, and what gives me hope for a brighter future.

Continue reading

BLOG: For Your Consideration – 5 Underseen Movies from 2018

by Ken Bakely

As the end of 2018 draws near, critics everywhere are drawing up lists and countdowns to commemorate the year in movies. While I plan to compile a traditional top 10 list,  I still have a few 2018 releases to catch up on, and so I’m not ready to debut it just yet. However, I would like to take this opportunity to share capsule reviews on five movies from the past year that I didn’t have the chance to write full reviews for, but would strongly recommend seeking out before you fill out your own retrospectives for the year. They’re listed in alphabetical order.

Continue reading