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The Sweet, Swedish Smell of Fear: Border

By Elias Savada. Scandinavian folklore is home to dozens of curious creatures. Trolls, dwarves, and elves might be the ones most of us on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean recall on a regular basis. It’s a natural progression that movies and television have appropriated these supernatural beings, particularly in their homelands. I suspect the […]

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A Formidable Pairing: Green Book

By Elias Savada. The exceptionally crisp performances by Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen are but two of the great things about Green Book, a very solid contender for Best Picture accolades, and much more. This heartwarming, soul searching inspired-by-a-true-story features well-educated virtuoso pianist Don Shirley (Ali) and his Italian-American chauffeur-protector-confidant Tony Villelonga (Mortensen) as they road trip […]

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Pork Pie Hats Off to The Great Buster: A Celebration

By Elias Savada. The breakneck parade of Hollywood celebrities seems endless in Peter Bogdonavich’s love letter to silent film comedian Buster Keaton. It feels like Friends, Romans, and Countrymen are marching before the camera to recount the influences galore that the great actor and filmmaker has had on their lives. Keaton, star of such silent […]

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Pushing Life to the Edge: Free Solo

By Elias Savada. Alex Honnold dreams the impossible dream, and he climbs where the brave dare not go. Unlike Don Quixote, he defies death by climbing mountains of sheer granite. Without a rope. Free solo climbing is a solitary affair that is exhilarating to the extreme. A single misstep generally proves fatal. Like the annual award […]

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The Sublime Art of Ashby: Hal

By Elias Savada. Hal (no relation to the sentient computer in Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey), is a reflective meditation on the (high) life and (best) films of Hal Ashby, a director of note during the 1970s, when he churned out award-worthy films that now shape this debut documentary from Los Angeles-based editor Amy […]

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Mommy Noir: A Simple Favor

By Elias Savada. The crazy wait-who-did-what? mystery that is A Simple Favor offers up a pair of smooth, subversive, suburban housewives that spin some sparkling dialogue off each other and their communal parental units. Mystery loves the company of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively in Paul Feig’s head-spinning, twisty-turvy tale of fremily intrigue. Equal parts secrets, […]

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Beyond Geekdom: Science Fair

By Elias Savada. Science Fair, the new National Geographic documentary, follows the audience-pleasing formula easily recognizable in its predecessors. There are many fans of Spellbound (2002), an enlightening race to the top of the Scripps National Spelling Bee; Mad Hot Ballroom (2005), which chronicled schoolkids in New York City vying for a chance for the brass ring […]

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A True Beauty: Chained for Life

By Elias Savada. A piece of the infamous “Gooble Gobble” carnival communal wedding chant from Tod Browning’s Freaks (1932) isn’t the only ditty from that horror classic paid homage to in Aaron Schimberg’s wicked movie-within-a-horror-movie, social satire Chained for Life, which world premiered recently at BAMcinemaFest. In fact, performers emit the standalone line “One of Us” […]

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Weird Science: Three Identical Strangers

By Elias Savada. I’ve been told, at rare moments throughout my life, that I look just like someone else, other than my dad or a close cousin, of course. Usually, if shown a photograph of the other person, I would not see a resemblance at all. For Robert Shafran, Edward Galland, and David Kellman, there was […]

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Not Playing Smart: The Catcher Was a Spy

By Elias Savada. There’s an unsettling blandness flowing through The Catcher Was a Spy, a well photographed and impressively designed film about a fascinating character who made a mark in two wildly divergent professions. It’s a fictionalized account of Major League Baseball player Morris “Moe” Berg, as based on Nicholas Dawidoff’s 1994 bestselling biography The Catcher […]

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