Back in 2002, Robin Williams lobbed three dark performance hand grenades, the most powerful of which was One Hour Photo. What was so compelling about Photo was not only Williams’ ability to channel a character who was simultaneously repulsive, pitiable, and menacing (Anthony Perkins anyone?), but director Mark Romanek’s stark photography. His shots still remain burned into my cerebral celluloid and his work with Never Let Me Go reveals the same beauty, but doesn’t quite carry the same human vitality. Continue reading
Posted in Reviews
Tagged Andrew Garfield, Carey Mulligan, Drama, Film, Keira Knightley, Mark Romanek, Movie, Never Let me Go, One Hour Photo, Period Piece, Sci-Fi
In Danse Macabre, Stephen King says there are three types of horror: terror, horror, and revulsion/disgust. The first is psychological, the second terrifying based on sight, and the third a horror stemming from a reaction to grotesqueries. With most horror films playing into straight horror (“Look at that freaky monster!”), I thought I’d suggest some stories that fit the “terror”category–things that keep your brain churning as you try to sleep…. Continue reading
The Fountain and Sunshine are two films that tend to receive some of the most vitriolic commentary, eliciting praise or hate. What they also have in common is their mutual exploration of what it means to die: Sunshine, “We’re all stardust” and The Fountain, “Death is the road to awe.” Clint Eastwood isn’t having any of that shit though: in Hereafter, death leads to romantic comedy vapidity. Continue reading
Posted in Reviews
Tagged Afterlife, cliche, Clint Eastwood, Death, Drama, Faith, Hereafter, Matt Damon, Religion, romantic comedy, Sunshine, The Fountain
Much to my dismay, there are people who don’t like Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece Pulp Fiction. Among cinema fans you’d be harder pressed to find such sentiments, but out in the wider world such antipathy is surprisingly common.
When one of my undergrad classes watched the film, about half the class didn’t like it. The most oft-repeated complaints: the copious amounts of swearing and violence. I don’t know the religious affiliations of my disappointed classmates, but several people I’ve been speaking to recently, specifically Christians, have commented along similar lines. The thing that is so mystifying to me is why they would hate a film with such strong Christian themes. Continue reading
Posted in Articles
Tagged analysis, Christianity, Commentary, Drama, Film, Forgiveness, Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino, swearing, Theology, violence
The first films ever made were single reels of a recorded event. A boat rocking in the ocean as the sun set; a baby eating between smiling parents. These were soon followed by the fantastic special effects of the Méliès films and the daring do’s of Buster Keaton. The work of the Jackass team is working within parameters strangely reminiscent of early cinema- but with much more mean spiritedness and fecal matter. Continue reading
There has already been a teaser trailer for 127 Hours, so this is the first full length trailer. I would like to persuade you though: if you’re a die-hard Boyle fan, just wait to see the film. If you’re genuinely curious about the film, go right ahead. I just feel that trailers give too much and there’s something to be said for going into a movie mostly blind. It’ll feel fresher if you haven’t already seen it on a tiny laptop screen a month ago.
Right before It’s Kind of a Funny started, there was a trailer for Meet the Fockers. It struck me that many comedies emulate the same advertising strategy as Fockers and even It’s Kind of a Funny Story. There’s almost a predictable tempo that has evolved, with jokes delivered, pause, reply, cue laughter. Almost as if some of these moments were written for the trailer. The result is like seeing a haggard prostitute begging for clients long after the sex appeal has worn off. Thankfully this labored funniness doesn’t stifle Funny Story. Continue reading
It just so happened today that I watched three coming of age stories: Let the Right One In, The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys, and Kisses. The films made me curious–what elements make a coming of age story?
One of the most common elements is the discovery of sexuality, which is, most of the time, depicted from the male perspective. Oskar from Let the Right One In is in ambiguous territory with his vampire girlfriend Eli; Francis Doyle from Altar Boys fawns over Margie Flynn from on hormonal high; and Dylan in Kisses is too poor to offer anything but a smooch for his dear Kylie.
On a related note, the ways in which girls are handled in each of these films (and other coming of age films), tend to follow some worn paths. Margie Flynn does not receive great development, just like Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot (is it sad or funny I didn’t have to look up her name?). Both are little more than breasted idols to the males who have just discovered the opposite sex. Continue reading
As soon as a re-make of Let the Right One In was announced, film fans around the world let out a collective internet groan. It’s not as if this sentiment is without merit considering the crop of 80’s horror classics that are in the works of being re-made (Fright Night, The Monster Squad), as well as the way foreign films are treated by the Hollywood re-make machine (Eddie Izzard’s commentary on re-makes seem apt [begins at the 1:03 mark]. So just how did Let Me In, the U.S. re-make of Let the Right One In, compare to the original?
Note: to avoid redundancies, let me clarify that Oskar and Eli are the boy and girl from Let the Right One In and Owen and Abby are the boy and girl from Let Me In. Also, this post contains major spoilers for both films.
My wife pointed out that there is a difference between re-making a story and re-telling a story, as we’re always re-telling similar tales with different window dressings. Michael Haneke’s Funny Games is a clear example of a re-make: it was first made in 1997 (Austria) and re-made, shot-for-shot, by Haneke in 2007 (U.S.). Alternatively, something like John Carpenter’s The Thing is a re-telling of The Thing From Another World, which itself was based on the short story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. Let Me In is an example of the latter re-telling, not a mere re-make. Continue reading
Posted in Articles, Filmmaking, News
Tagged bully, eddie izzard, funny games, Horror, let me in, Let the Right One In, Matt Reeves, Sweden, The Thing, the thing from another world, U.S., Vampire, who goes there