Ryan Jay

Film Contributor

Ryan Jay is one of Lake Effect's regular film contributors. He's a nationally syndicated radio host and resident reviewer on Channel 4's The Morning Blend and Friday and Saturday News.

Jay is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association which annually awards excellence in film at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards; and the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association which annually hosts The Dorian Awards. Inspired since childhood by his favorite film, The Wizard of Oz, Jay also works as an Oz historian.

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With the pandemic impacting what would have been a season of new thrilling releases, this year is a great time to revisit your favorite Halloween films. From the classics like Hocus Pocus, The Exorcist or the Scream franchise, there are plenty of movies available to stream at home.

Ryan Jay, Lake Effect's film contributor, shares some of his top movie picks to watch this Halloween:

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Last Friday Disney premiered their latest live action remake, Mulan, on their streaming platform Disney+. The 1998 animated film told the story of a heroine who disguises herself as a man to take her ailing father’s place in battle. 

While the animated version came with an array of characters, both human and animal, it’s actually based on a 6th Century poem called “The Ballad of Mulan.” The newest live action remake takes the more serious tone of the ballad and strays away from a shot-by-shot musical replication as Disney’s previous remakes have followed.

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If there was ever a time to be stuck at home, at least it’s during what some call “the golden age of television.” From cable to streaming sites, there's an abundance of content to explore and make the time spent at home pass a little easier.

Whether you’re at home alone or have a family to entertain, our film contributor Ryan Jay has recommendations of great shows and movies to stream for all ages:

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The 92nd Academy Awards takes place this Sunday, celebrating the best films and performances that the past year has had to offer. This year Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, leads with 11 total nominations.

The international feature film Parasite has become an audience favorite, and it competes for best picture top contenders including Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino and 1917 by Sam Mendes.

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Patrick Wilson is the kind of actor you probably recognize but can't name. He started out in musical theater on Broadway before breaking big in movies like Phantom of the Opera, The Conjuring series and Aquaman.

Kimberley French / © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Making fun of Nazis isn't a new trend in film — Charlie Chaplin did it in the 1940 film The Great Dictator, Mel Brooks made The Producers, and Quintin Tarantino made Inglorious Bastards.

The newest Nazi satire film Jojo Rabbit looks at Nazi Germany during World War II through the eyes of Jojo Betzler — a 10-year-old boy with a blind fanaticism for the Third Reich. Taika Waititi directed and wrote the screenplay, which is based off of Christine Leunens' novel Caging Skies.

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The only thing more popular than the song “Over the Rainbow” is the movie it came from.

The Wizard of Oz was released 80 years on Aug. 15, 1939. Fans all over the world are rejoicing, especially in Oconomowoc, where it was reported that The Wizard of Oz had its world premiere at the Strand Theater.

Ryan Jay, film contributor and Oz historian, goes down the yellow brick road offering little known facts and dispelling myths.

Disney Enterprises, Inc.

From Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and The Jungle Book, Disney’s live action platform is on a roll, creating new ways for audiences to experience these stories.

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

There were hundreds of films released in 2018. But with awards season in full swing, it can be hard to remember any of the films that aren’t being talked about in terms of the Oscars. Thankfully, we have film contributors to remind us of some of the highlights from the past year — award-winning or not.

Ryan Jay, nationally syndicated radio host and TMJ4 resident reviewer, and David Luhrssen, of the Shepherd Express, share their top film picks, filmmaking trends, and the increasing competition between television and film:

Disney Movies

Even though the new film Mary Poppins Returns took home no honors at the recent Golden Globe Awards, the film has still been hugely successful at the box office, earning upwards of $100 million since its release in December 2018.

And while audiences doubted whether Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda could fill the original film’s sizable shoes, the sequel has charmed audiences and many critics alike. 

Focus Features

The film Boy Erased tells the story of Jared Eamons, the son of a Baptist preacher who is sent to a church-supported gay conversion program after being outed to his parents his freshman year of college. The film is based on Garrard Conley’s memoir of the same name about his own experience.

Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s not too often that the fourth time is the charm. But actor and first time film director Bradley Cooper hopes his version of the classic movie, “A Star Is Born,” is indeed a charm in its fourth version.

"It’s the Hollywood tale that the business just won’t let die," says film contributor Ryan Jay. "It seems to reinvent itself and whenever there's a leading lady, or in this case an up-and-coming leading lady with Gaga, it's a showcase for that talent. It has chops for your acting and for your singing ability."

Universal Pictures

It’s been 25 years since movie audiences first saw awe-inspiring dinosaurs come to life in Steven Spielberg’s classic film – Jurassic Park. Yet, five films (and possibly counting) later, studios are still making movies about the inevitable bad situations that will happen when large, once extinct dangerous creators are brought back to life.

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This weekend marks the 90th Academy Awards – or what Lake Effect’s Audrey Nowakowski and Milwaukee film critics Ryan Jay and Dave Luhrssen call the Super Bowl of film!

Come Sunday evening, the Motion Picture Academy will announce their verdicts for best film, best actor, best actress, and best director of 2017. Among the top films up for awards are The Shape of Water, Dunkirk, Get Out, and Lady Bird – a testament to how broad the genres and film topics are this year.

Who do you think will win best picture?

Marvel Entertainment

After 24 long years in development, Marvel’s Black Panther has finally come to the big screen. Directed by Ryan Coogler and starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Angela Bassett, and many other veritable who’s who of prominent African American actors, it's is the first superhero film that features a predominantly black cast.

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Summertime is peak season for moviegoers. Studios tend to release blockbusters, and market their films toward the younger audiences who are mostly out of school.

This summer saw the release of movies like Wonder Woman, Valerian, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, and Girls Trip. But as nationally syndicated radio host and resident film review Ryan Jay notes, some films worked better than others:

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Since its release on June 2nd, the new Wonder Woman film has broken records and grossed more than half a billion dollars at the box office worldwide. It is seen as a turning point for DC Comic movies, who audiences have often seen as falling short of their Marvel Universe competition.