Peter Saraf

Peter Saraf

Peter Saraf Quick Links

Film RSS

Loving Review

Excellent

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America, it's also a remarkably involving true story about a couple tenaciously holding on to each other in the middle of a storm of oppression. By taking such a personal approach, writer-director Jeff Nichols grounds the movie in authenticity, eliciting fine performances from the entire cast, with especially notable turns from Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton.

It's 1958, and cross-racial marriage is illegal in Virginia. So Richard Loving (Edgerton) takes his pregnant black girlfriend Mildred (Negga) across the state line to Washington D.C. to get married. When they return to the family farm, they're immediately arrested and exiled to Washington, where they start a family. But Mildred longs to raise their three children back in their rural hometown, with their extended families around them. When Richard consults a civil-liberties lawyer (Nick Kroll), he finds that there may be some legal hope for them if they are willing to take on the system. This requires the help of a constitutional expert (Jon Bass) and the tenacity to stand up to a century of ingrained prejudice.

The film is written and directed with a sharp attention to detail, which means including some facts that are rather messy. This sometimes leaves scenes feeling unfinished, but the point is that real life isn't as tidy as it is in the movies. This also means that the film never tries to build a melodramatic sense of momentum, remaining intimate and somewhat reticent, echoing Richard and Mildred's personalities. Many of the biggest scenes take place off camera, while we are instead watching these steely, softspoken people who changed American law by quietly remaining true to their love for each other. Both Negga and Edgerton deliver subtle, wrenching performances as everyday people who express their strong views mainly in telling glances and touches that say more than words ever could.

Continue reading: Loving Review

The Kings Of Summer Review


Excellent

This is the kind of American independent comedy-drama that restores our faith in the cinema, combining a talented cast, witty direction and a razor-sharp script to reboot the coming-of-age genre. It's an original approach that completely wins us over; even the film's slightly too-wacky touches are genuinely hilarious. And it's all grounded in realistic characters we can identify with, especially when they're in amusingly awkward situations.

The story centres on Joe (Robinson), a teen who is fed up with the way his widowed father Frank (Offerman) takes out his grief on anyone at hand. Joe's sister (Brie) has already escaped, moving in with her goofy boyfriend (Cordero), and now that school has let out for the summer, Joe decides to build a bolt-hole in the woods. He finds a collaborator in his best pal Patrick (Basso), whose inane parents (Mullally and Jackson) are so annoying that he has broken out in hives. Then Biaggio (Arias), a strange kid no one really knows, joins them to build a secret cabin where no one can find them. And they love this independent lifestyle so much that they never want summer to end.

Along the way, the film takes a wonderfully honest look at the horrors of adolescence. Joe's and Patrick's parents always say the most embarrassing things imaginable, so getting away from them is like a blast of freedom. And there's a very strong female lead in Kelly (Moriarty), the girl Joe fantasises about even though she has eyes for other boys. Robinson and Basso are excellent in the lead roles, playing characters we can easily identify with and root for. Arias is hilarious as the rather ridiculous Biaggio, making the most of a role that's perhaps the film's only false note: he's just too nutty to be believable.

Continue reading: The Kings Of Summer Review

Safety Not Guaranteed Review


Essential

With a low budget but a lot of imagination and talent, director Trevorrow and writer Connolly create a deceptively simple comedy that's one of the most entertaining films of the year. It's so cleverly written that every moment of the film is hugely engaging, and it's so perfectly played by its cast that we can't help but fall for the likeable, flawed characters.

Set in Washington state, the story centres on Darius (Plaza), a sardonic Seattle magazine intern whose life derailed when she was 14, after her mother's death. So her interest is piqued when she hears about a classified ad asking for an assistant on a time travel mission ("Bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed"). She accompanies arrogant journalist Jeff (Johnson) and fellow intern Arnau (Soni) to a seaside town to write up the story for the magazine, but once they track down the ad's author Kenneth (Duplass), nothing goes as expected.

Each of these three magazine reporters has a full-bodied story, expertly set within the larger investigation of whether Kenneth is nuts or not. All of these characters are caught between their past and the present, exploring who they once were, who they are and who they want to be, which makes them easy to identify with even as they do some amusingly silly things. And the filmmakers cleverly refuse to play into our expectations, keeping us guessing about where the movie is heading. So each scene bristles with possibility, and each twist and turn of the plot and side-plots is both thrilling and hilarious. 

Continue reading: Safety Not Guaranteed Review

Peter Saraf

Peter Saraf Quick Links

Film RSS
Advertisement

Occupation

Actor


Suggested

Seven greatest movie soundtracks of the 90s

Seven greatest movie soundtracks of the 90s

The 90s was the greatest decade for movie soundtracks. Change our minds.

Taylor Swift - Cardigan Video

Taylor Swift - Cardigan Video

Taylor Swift goes from lively pop to a more dreamy vibe with her newly released album 'Folklore', and she has unveiled an appropriate video for her...

Does One Direction still have a place in a DIY decade of music? [Opinion]

Does One Direction still have a place in a DIY decade of music? [Opinion]

Would a permanent hiatus be the best choice for the much-loved boyband?

Advertisement
Album of the Week: Paolo Nutini takes us back to 'These Streets'

Album of the Week: Paolo Nutini takes us back to 'These Streets'

'These Streets' was released on this day (July 17th) in 2006.

Jessie Ware - The Kill Video

Jessie Ware - The Kill Video

Following the release of her critically-acclaimed fourth album 'What's Your Pleasure?', Jessie Ware drops a dramatic video for her song 'The Kill'.

10 black female artists who shaped pop music

10 black female artists who shaped pop music

Just a fraction of the black women who have paved the way for pop artists.

Lizzo x Queer Eye - Soulmate Lyric Video

Lizzo x Queer Eye - Soulmate Lyric Video

Lizzo has teamed up with Queer Eye's Fab Five for the lyric video release of her song 'Soulmate', which featured on her critically acclaimed album...

Advertisement

Peter Saraf Movies

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

The Kings of Summer Movie Review

The Kings of Summer Movie Review

This is the kind of American independent comedy-drama that restores our faith in the cinema,...

Safety Not Guaranteed Movie Review

Safety Not Guaranteed Movie Review

With a low budget but a lot of imagination and talent, director Trevorrow and writer...

Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews