Reviews

‘Annihilation’ Review

“A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.”

To quickly sum it up. This movie is Predator on acid. Interpret that however you want.

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(PARAMOUNT)

I’m dead serious when I say that Annihilation, Alex Garland’s latest science-fiction film is an acid trip. Throughout the film I kept asking myself, “man this is going to be really difficult to write about.’ Annihilation is best served in dialogue when discussing the film, because it is such a complex and unique film. This is the definition of heavy science fiction, where it leaves you scratching your head long after the movie is over. I’m still digesting what I saw, because it asks so many questions, and like most great science-fiction movies, it doesn’t always give you the answers you are searching for. Now that can leave the average movie goer with a lot of frustrations because you invest your time and money into the movie, and don’t come away with certain answers to questions that are lingering throughout the entire movie.

I’ll say this first and foremost, this movie is not for everyone. You need to have knowledge in your taste in film going into Annihilation. Because this isn’t some grand science-fiction epic, with a ton of action and explosions. It’s also not a summer blockbuster like Black Panther which dropped last week. This is almost an art-house movie, in the sense that it seems small, but asks MASSIVE questions about biology, evolution and what it means to be human. When Alex Garland came bursting onto the scene in 2015 with Ex-Machina, he instantly became a fan favourite when it came to the science-fiction genre, so when he was attached to direct this movie, based on the best selling novel, people’s ears were perked up to say the least. Add in Natalie Portman as the star of the show, and now people were seriously intrigued. The first trailer dropped and I was instantly hooked and this became my fifth most anticipated movie of 2018. Here’s the thing about building up movies, sometimes they aren’t exactly what you want them to be, or simply don’t meet your expectations. Annihilation just wasn’t what I was expecting, so I can’t say it didn’t live up to what I wanted it to be. It would be unfair of me to criticize a movie just because it wasn’t what I thought it “should be.”

No one is going to go see this movie, not because it’s a bad movie, it’s currently sitting at 89% on Rotten Tomatoes, but because it’s so different. People just want to go into a movie and sometimes not have to think or be told a unique and insanely different kind of story. Comic book movies, sequels, prequels, they all rule the box-office right now, and it’s a shame, because I think if you can, you should head out and see this movie. It’s deep, it’s rich, it’s very thought provoking material, where I’m still not sure what the message or the ending means. When Kane (Oscar Issac) suddenly returns home, his wife Lena (Natalie Portman) is shocked beyond belief. Meeting each other in the military he went on a top secret mission and had now been missing for just over a year. Thinking he was dead, when he resurfaces, he just isn’t the same. Shortly after his return, he needs medical attention and slips into a coma, and that’s when we find out that he had entered the ‘Shimmer.” Lena is now in Area X, located just outside the Shimmer, she intends to find out what happened to her husband and embarks on an expedition inside it, along with 4 other crew members. Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny) and Josie (Tessa Thompson). All these ladies excel in some sort of scientific background and want to know what exactly is at the hear of the Shimmer. This is a female led film, all of them giving great performances, I thought Gina Rodriguez was tremendous, and we should be again celebrating an all female cast, not just for that single reason, but also because it’s a fantastic movie. Everyone pulls their own weight, and Tessa Thompson is a freight train that cannot be stopped right now.

See something three years prior landed on Earth, at a lighthouse, and ever since, the Shimmer has be manifesting and growing. Every team they send in, never make it out alive, until Kane. Things start off normal, but the Shimmer is a myserteous place for a reason, and when they start to realize that the laws of nature do not apply here. They discover a crocodile that has been crossbred with a shark. From the very get-go the team realizes they are most likely on a one way mission, but they want to try to find some sort of answers. The further they get into the Shimmer, the weirder things become. Lena realizes that their own DNA has been compromised. You knew all of that from the trailers, so I won’t go any further into plot points or spoilers, because everyone should really have the opportunity to fully take in this flick. The visuals are simply stunning, with a 50 million dollar budget, the visuals are better than most blockbusters, and Garland really builds a world of his own. This is just a really ambitious movie, with imaginative story-telling. It’s almost the definition of mesmerizing because at times, you aren’t really sure what you are watching, because it’s so vastly different from anything you have ever seen before it. It can be terrifying in moments, fun in others, and all around suspenseful. It’s unsettling, you see things that make you want to look away, but get you so immersed in the movie, because you want to know why these things are going on. You really want to know what the Shimmer is, but it’s not about the end, it’s about the journey.

This is survival of the fittest, they are battling new elements that the human race has never seen before, but also one another. It leaves you scratching your head at times, because in certain parts they take you one way and you think this is where the movie is going, but then they flip things around, and you want to know why the movie shifted gears so quickly. Don’t worry the climax delivers copious amounts of that blood and gore and a ton of tension, you will get your fill. The landscape is miraculous, it’s a world that wants to shake you up a bit, it’s uneasy for a reason. Some things are better left unsaid, and in some instances unsolved. You don’t get all the answers you are looking for, but going on this acid trip is worth it. Sometimes you need to expand your own horizons, step out of your comfort zone and experience something new. Annihilation is just the thing you are looking for. It’s like creating a new cocktail and Annihilation is part Arrival, part Predator, and part 2001: A Space Odyssey and that is the greatest compliment one can give.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Review – Annihilation = 90/100

 

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‘Black Panther’ Exit Survey.

If you still haven’t seen Black Panther, shame on you.

(MARVEL)

The world has spoken, and it is indeed Wakanda forever! Grossing the 5th highest opening weekend of all-time, everyone is in love with Black Panther. So it only felt right to do a follow-up post about it. I asked fellow blogger Jason Kerin, who you can check out on WordPress at jasonsmovieblog.com. He does fantastic work, so if you’re ever looking for a well-written, insightful movie review, please go give him a follow and read his work! We thought it would be fun to do a little exit survey and ask ourselves a few questions about Black Panther!

Tweet Length Review of Black Panther?

Jason: T’Challa returns home to Wakanda to be crowned King. However, trouble soon begins to brew for the newly crowned King as an old enemy emerges and with it a new challenge that soon becomes clear that could alter Wakanda’s future.

Nathan: A worthy addition to the ever-growing MCU, in which we see the most compelling villain since Loki. Maybe too much Black Panther and not enough Killmonger.

Best Part of The Movie?

Jason: The three well-rounded women that surround T’Challa (Okyoe, Shuri, and Nakia). Loved all three of them. Okyoe was a badass, Nakia brought an interesting point of view to the political drama of the narrative, and Shuri was my personal favorite…. she had the best lines….” What are those!!!!”

Nathan: For me, going into Black Panther I knew Michael B Jordan was going to be great as Killmonger. He’s a terrific actor and seeing him play the villain was a new to everybody. We are custom to seeing him play the good guy (Creed) or the baby face in a rom-com. He exceeded my expectations without doubt, but the best part of the movie was hands down Letitia Wright who played Shuri. T’Challa’s younger sister, and science tech guru, she stole every scene she was in, and this is going to be a breakout role for her.

Worst Part of The Movie?

Jason: Despite having a strong theme and message, the actually narrative beats during the second half of the film were quite predictable as I guessed what would happen before it did.

Nathan: The movie is a smash hit, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Like every comic book movie this movie has some flaws, and for me, the worst part of the movie was the lackluster CGI in certain moments in the movie. Especially during the last action sequence between Black Panther and Killmonger. It at times can take you out of the movie, and for a movie so good, that’s the last thing you want.

Who Wins In A Fight, Batman or Black Panther?

Jason: Definitely Black Panther, especially since he has new suit that could absorb kinetic energy

Nathan: I hate to say this, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s Black Panther. I don’t think Batman would be able doc counter his Vibranium suit; he just wouldn’t have an answer for it. Breaks my heart to say, maybe with a ton of prep time and knowing what he’s getting himself into, but he would be too much for the Dark Knight to handle.

Where does Michael B Jordan stack up in the MCU villain hierarchy?

Jason: Hmmmm…. well, I have mixed thoughts about him. The character of Killmonger was very rounded and the most compelling villain in the MCU, but I just couldn’t buy into him (as an actor). I do like him, but I couldn’t see him as a bad guy. However, I think he’s definitely one of the better MCU villains.

Nathan: He’s almost right at the top of the list. If we are talking one-offs here, it’s Killmonger then Loki. But since we’ve seen Loki four times now, he’s grown on us so much, and Tom Hiddleston does such a fantastic job, it’s hard to argue with anyone but him. In terms of impact, Killmonger was just relatable and you almost stood for what he believed in. Like all great villains he pushes the hero to be better and is always flawed in the way he does things. He just wasn’t evil for the sake of being evil, he had a real purpose, and that goes a long way in making a true great villain.

Can you believe Ryan Coogler is only 31 years old? Where does he go from here?

Jason: Damn…. didn’t know that! Wow! With Black Panther deemed a success, much like Fruitvale Station and Creed, I think the skies the limit for Coogler. He certainly does a have promising career as a director and I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Nathan: Without doubt the best young director in Hollywood today. I can’t recall the last time a director this young has had three impactful, meaningful and successful movies to open up his career. He can do anything at this point, I’m sure his phone is ringing off the hook right now with job offers. I wanted him for Creed 2, that’s not happening, I know he will be doing Black Panther 2 soon enough, but I want him to tackle a drama. Something that is Oscar caliber, because he needs to start being recognized, being 31 years old and having the command behind the camera like he does is very inspirational. I look forward growing old and watching Coogler movies, kind of makes the world a better place.

Check ya later.

 

 

 

Reviews

‘Black Panther’ Review

Haven’t seen Black Panther yet? “Wakanda” do about it? You can get your butt to the theatre and enjoy this movie, that’s what!

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(DISNEY)

“T’Challa, the King of Wakanda, rises to the throne in the isolated, technologically advanced African nation, but his claim is challenged by a vengeful outsider who was a childhood victim of T’Challa’s father’s mistake.”

The latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is none other than Black Panther, which was written and directed by Ryan Coogler. It continues the story of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) after the events of Captain America: Civil War, where he is set to become the King of his country Wakanda. After Civil War came out, there were a few standouts of the movie and Boseman and his portrayal of Black Panther was one of them. So when they attached Ryan Coogler to helm his first solo movie, everyone was excited. First things first, the hype surrounding this movie is massive, and I understand that, but this is also a movie, and like every movie, it has flaws. This is important to discuss, because I believe that if people dissect this movie and talk about the good (which there is so much of) but also the flaws, they might fear repercussions. Which isn’t fair, because like most movies, especially comic book movies, they are bound to have flaws in them, it just comes with the territory. So I think it’s best to view the movie as a whole and just enjoy it for what it is. A terrifically directed, well acted Marvel movie, which will please audiences everywhere and make a boatload of money.

What does it take to be King of a nation? What responsibilities comes with it? For T’Challa he is about to find out about all of these things, and what it truly means to be a great ruler and leader of a nation. Going into Black Panther, I knew there would be a strong political message, and strong social commentary, which there was. But Coogler found a way to do it so seamlessly and naturally, that it really tied the movie together. Wakanda is the most technologically advanced country in the world, yet they hide in plain sight. Built on the backbone of Vibranium, they have the means to do so much, but they keep all of these secrets to themselves. They do not help the outside world, and millions of people could use their help. T’Challa is conflicted when he becomes King, because unlike previous rulers, he believes Wakanda can be doing so much more. They have the power and tools to help so many of those that suffer; yet they do nothing, and that starts to eat away at him. This is where Michael B Jordan’s character Killmonger comes into play. You see, he is of Wakandan decent but was raised in America, so he didn’t have all of this technology and a safe space to grow up in. Now an adult, he wonders why they sit back and do nothing, while their kind is struggling in the outside world. So when he challenges T’Challa to the throne, he wants to be King, so he can use their technology to essentially rule the world. Or take back what was rightfully theirs. Michael B Jordan is such a great young talented actor and when he was cast as Killmonger, and I saw he was going to be playing the villain, I knew this had serious potential to be a special performance, it was. He gives a charismatic performance, the best villain since Loki, and the craziest part about Killmonger is, you feel for him. Like I said, he wasn’t raised in the protective bubble that is Wakanda, he was raised in the outside world, and had to deal with all the hardships that come with that. Stuff we know to be true and see everyday on the news, and he is extremely pissed off that they have done nothing about it. So when he shows up in Wakanda and starts asking all of these questions, it makes all the other characters start to question their own beliefs, and that is what makes the movie so damn good. What makes a truly great villain is when he makes the hero question his own belief system and what it means to be a hero, and Killmonger does just that. Because deep down, you kind of believe in what he believes in. Why doesn’t Wakanda help the outside world? Why aren’t they using this incredible technology to help those in need? So you start to see where he’s coming from, but like every great villain, he goes about it the wrong way. He questions the entire existence of Wakanda and what it means to be the world’s most powerful nation, and they start to listen. Michael just gives such a powerful performance, like I knew he would and continues to just knock it out of the park. That brings me to the biggest flaw of the movie, not enough Killmonger. He has such a cool introduction and you are instantly connected to him, then we go about 40 minutes without him. The movie needed more, because whenever he was on screen, you couldn’t look away, and every one of his scenes was intense.

Michael B Jordan isn’t the only standout in this superb cast. Again this movie is being celebrated because of the massive African American cast, which it should be. The movie is so rich in black culture, but Coogler also uses that to build a culture of his own, which is that of Wakanda. The world building here is incredible, and you leave the theatre wanting to see more and to understand more. They could have just said, look at this magical place we have made up, and not given any insight to their beliefs or culture, but they dive so deep into it, you almost begin to think it’s a real place. That is truly the work of a great director. Letitia Wright who plays Shuri, the little sister to T’Challa was the breakout star of this film. She gives one heck of a performance, where she can be fierce and feisty, yet provides some of the biggest laughs in the entire movie. A star making performance in my mind, and I expect to see her in many things down the line. I can’t wait to see her in upcoming MCU movies, because she was so great. The whole cast is awesome, and I know they all had so much fun making this movie together and knew what it would mean to the world. This really is a special movie, during a time when we need a movie like this. Because the themes and the messages behind it are so relevant today, that it makes it that much more important. Marvel could have just made another stereotypical comic book movie. About a guy in a costume and have a ton of stuff blow up. Yes stuff goes boom and there’s a guy in a costume, but it’s about so much more, and that’s why it’s so important.

In the end I really enjoyed Black Panther, it was a fun ride, with plenty of action, the CGI in some parts was a tad underwhelming, but overall it’s was fine. I prefer a better-told story and a strong message behind something than having incredible CGI. Ryan Coogler is now three for three in directing and he’s only 31 years old. That’s a very inspirational thing, seeing someone so young create such incredible movies. He has such a bright future ahead of him, and personally I can’t wait to continue watching him make movies for decades to come.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Black Panther = 90/10

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‘The Incredibles 2’ Trailer Is Well…..Incredible

The moral of the story is, stay at home Dad’s are the real Super Heroes.

Finally, after teasing us for about a week, Pixar finally released the first real trailer for The Incredibles 2!

Everyone’s favourite Super Hero family is back and they didn’t skip a beat, literally, the movie seems to take place directly after the original and that’s pretty cool. I remember leaving the theatre and wanting to see them throw down with The Underminer and now we get to see that happen.

So this time around Elastigrl is being pushed into the spotlight for a new PR stunt to help rebuild the image of Supers. While she’s having saving the day, Mr. Incredible is at home, tending to the kids, well mostly Jack Jack. He needs to succeed at being a stay at home Dad, so Elastigirl can succeed at being a hero. I don’t mind this angle but it seems to familiar to the first, where the person in charge of the “PR stunt” Winston Deavor voiced by Bob Odenkirk isn’t all he says he is. I expect a double cross at some point. Which if this ends up being true, will kind of be disappointing, because we all saw that coming. I hope there are a few surprises in store for us, which I’m sure there are.

Other than that, the trailer is full of great jokes, laughs and Jack Jack really steals the show. Hope Pixar knows what they are doing and don’t screw this one up!

Check ya later.

Reviews

Dissecting The Cavs’ Trade Deadline Moves…and More!

Kenny is out and Jack is in. The Toronto Raptors sit atop the Eastern Conference, yet they get no love. Jack and Nate break down why the Raptors hate is unwarranted and how the Eastern Conference playoff picture is slowly coming together (00:00-10:00). Breaking down everything that the Cavs’ did at the deadline and how it affects them going forward (10:00-17:45). Where is LeBron most likely going next year, which destination makes the most sense? (17:45-21:55). Why LaVar Ball is ruining his son’s careers and why Lonzo needs to man up and say something (21:55-30:00). Thoughts and prayers to Bruno Caboclo who was sadly traded away from our Toronto Raptors (30:00-33:50). We welcome the newest Raptor Malachi Richardson, and why Sacramento is the darkest pit of the NBA. (33:50-38:20). Gordon Hayward vs. Donovan Mitchell. We debate who you would rather have going forward and who the rookie of the year is. (38:20-47:47). Should the Raptors use all this hate and shade as motivation or no? (47:47-52:45). Finish off with discussing a possible new playoff format, Dwayne Wade’s farewell tour, the Warriors new coaching scheme and we give our All-Star Weekend picks! (52:45-1:05:20)

Reviews

New ‘Rampage’ Trailer Kicks Butt

Animal on animal crime.

“Based on the classic 1980s video game featuring apes and monsters destroying cities”

“Of course the wolf flies.” When I heard Dwayne Johnson utter those words in this trailer, it was in that moment I was all in. The second trailer for Rampage has dropped and it’s more of the same – complete and spectacular awesomeness. I get it, giant monsters destroying cities. We have seen this a million times before, but none of these had Dwayne Johnson teaming up with a giant ape now did they? Dwayne hasn’t had this big of a tag team partner since the Big Show.

The trailer didn’t show us too much more new footage, but they don’t need to at this point. Either your sold or you’re not, and new footage probably isn’t going to change your mind. They didn’t tease that George the giant ape and Dwayne will actually work together in the end to stop the other monsters. I feel like Rampage will be this years Kong: Skull Island – a big dumb fun monster movie that you will enjoy much more if you see it on the big screen. Can’t wait!

Check ya later.

Reviews

‘Call Me By Your Name’ Review

“Remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. Before you know it, your heart is worn out. And as for your body, there comes a point where no one looks at it. Much less wants to come near it.”

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(Frenzy Films)

Do you remember the first time you fell in love? Do you remember what it felt like? Maybe your first crush? Your life changes when you meet that person, or you have certain feelings for the very first time in your life. It’s a special moment in every person’s life because well love is suppose to make you fell something, it’s suppose to make you feel complete. Call Me By Your Name is just that, a love story. Just so happens it has to be a gay love story, which occurs in the summer of 1983 in a villa in Italy. Honestly who wouldn’t want to fall in love in such a place? Italy is such a beautiful country, filled with beautiful people and in the summer of 1983 it saw a romance form like no other.

Elio (Timothee Chalamet) is a 17 year old boy who in the summer lives in a villa in Italy with his parents Mr. Perlmen (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Annella (Amira Casar). His father, an archaeologist who studies sculptures, brings in a grad student every summer to help him with his work. Elio rarely thinks anything of these students, as they come and go every year, and he never seems to be able to form any sort of bond or friendship with them. When Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives, well everything changes. Hammer, has a statuesque stature himself. From the very get-go you notice the size difference between Oliver and Elio. The Perlman’s are as the world would put it today “boujee,” they are fluent in multiple languages, well read and educated and appear to have an incredible amount of wealth. When Oliver first arrives, Eilo gets a sense of entitlement and cockiness, and is immediately fascinated by him. He gives off an “American” vibe, for instance, whenever he leaves, he declares “Later!” Elio is thrown off by his behaviour, but the two form a bond right away.

Most days for Elio are spent riding his bike, reading pool side in his swim trunks and flirting with the local girls. Oliver joins in with all of these activities, and when they start to bond and begin a friendship, Elio doesn’t know how to react. He isn’t sure if this is a real friendship or if Oliver is just being nice and Elio is merely the professors kid. Elio is a 17 year old kid, he’s going through what any 17 year old goes through. An insane rush of emotions and hormones. Elio is so intwined with Oliver, he cares so much about how he views him and what he thinks of him. The movie doesn’t give us any back story to Elio’s character, so we don’t know if he has had feelings like this before, but once Oliver arrives, it awakens something in him, he begins to finally see the light.

Call Me By Your Name isn’t so much about “doing it,” but rather wanting to “do it.” It’s about discovering your true sexual orientation and being comfortable in your own skin. For the most part, our two leads are wearing no shirts and just swim trunks, it’s summer, it’s Italy and it kind of sets the stage for some early physical contact, when Oliver offers to help Elio with his injured shoulder. The word “gay” is uttered once throughout the whole movie, which you might find strange in a movie about a gay romance. The one time it is said isn’t even directed at either one of our leads but rather a person in passing. The conversations about that subject between Elio and Oliver often happen off screen and I found this quite fascinating. This all happens naturally because director Luca Guadagnino allows it to, he sets the stage early on, and we watch as this progresses. Remember Oliver is only here for the summer, so this ends up being a painful summer romance, and when they finally figure out what they share together it is simply too late. The problem lies within Elio where he at one point asks Oliver if he is sick. Oliver simply replies “I wish everyone was as sick as you.” You almost wish these two would have had more time together, because they ultimately wish the same thing.

From the very start you knew these two would get along, Elio and his self confidence and intelligence meshed well with Oliver’s sometimes arrogance and often at times bro-ish behaviour. They are attractive to each others intelligence first, then it becomes more physical. They seem perfect for one another, but all good things must come to an end, and when the summer ends, so does this romance. It’s a coming of age kind of summer for Elio as cliche as that sounds. By the end of the summer, he is now who he was meant to be, and he is heartbroken.

The two leads give inspiring performances, and have incredible chemistry. It’s a testament to both actors. And they seemed to form a great bond in real life as well. Timothée has such a bright future in acting and seeing this side of Armie Hammer made me respect him even more as an actor.

This is 1983, the world was a different place and this kind of relationship wouldn’t have been accepted. So when Oliver arrives to work for Elio’s father, the two become close. He becomes part of the family. They have an incredible close knit family, that is very tight. So as this is going on, you are unaware of how the parents are viewing this and if they know what is even going on. Throughout the movie, glances are shared between the Perlman’s, that gives you the idea that they know something is going on. Nothing is ever said between the pair or to their son. They are being so supportive of their son, and they don’t even have to say a word. They are generous people, the kind of parents you want to grow up with. As one would put it, they are reading between the lines of this friendship forming before their eyes. They notice the changes in their son. They are allowing their son to become something, that as it’s put in the movie, most parents would not allow to happen. Allowing their son to grow into the person he is meant to become is your job as a parent. You know the saying – you don’t know what you got till it’s gone? That’s pretty much what Call Me By Your Name is about. Oliver and Elio sit outside well into the night and talk about how much wasted time they had this summer. That most things in life come and go so quickly that before you realize it, that thing you are experiencing is already a memory. Some of the greatest things in life are ephemeral, and for Elio and Oliver, their love is the greatest example.

The movie ends with a beautifully haunting speech by Michael Stulhbarg when he sits in his office with Elio and tells him about love. About what he experienced with Oliver is the type of love that people will search for their entire lives. That he wishes he found what they had this past summer. He envies what he had with Oliver, and that most parents wish and pray their son would land on his feet – he’s no such parent. It touches on everything you just felt watching Call Me By Your Name, all the themes and messages the film was trying to convey. “We rip out so much of ourselves, to be cured of things faster. That we are bankrupt by the age of 30, and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.” This final interaction between father and son is so powerful and emotional, that I feel like it’s a scene that will almost live on forever. When you are unsure about something in life, maybe love, go watch that scene and be reminded it’s okay to be different and that love is such a powerful thing. Don’t let the world change who you are, and be who you are meant to be. I am shocked Stulhbarg wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for this performance. The more I sit with this movie, the more I think I enjoyed it.

I will also never look at a peach the same way again.

Check ya later

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Call Me By Your Name = 84/100