It’s December, which means we’re deep into award season–where the standard offerings might include family dramas you’ve seen before, but with a slight new flavor (Lady Bird) or the period drama your grandparents will rave about (Darkest Hour). None of these films will do anything inventive with the form because they’re like pizza – not fine dining, but you know what to expect regardless of where it comes from.
The Florida Project is the kid that steals that proverbial pizza, throws it on the ground, and asks if you want to go spit on cars.
mother! is a scathing critique of patriarchal gender roles and a deformed, Cronenberg-esque literalization of the horrors of celebrity, all wrapped in a theological metaphor that paints God as a cosmic asshole we’d all be better off without. No wonder people are pissed about it.
There are a handful of franchises that have pulled off successful trilogies. Back to the Future. Indiana Jones. Star Wars (IV, V, VI). Then you have the failed trilogies: Alien, Terminator, The Godfather. For whatever reason, the third film often seems to find consistent quality elusive. The one franchise that looked to define a generation of filmgoers outside of wizards and Hobbiton was Christopher Nolan’s Batman. Despite a powerful filmography of solid films, from Nolan’s debut black and white thriller Following to 2010’s Inception, The Dark Knight Rises disappointingly stands as his worst film.
Over the last decade Hollywood has made it easy to be cynical of sequels, prequels, re-makes…we even got an adaptation of a board game. Worse, studios keep converting films to 3D in order to make up for lackluster ticket sales, and the rush to convert to digital projectors in order to screen said films has come at the cost of visual quality (anyone else sick of the image smear when a camera pans too quickly for these “state of the art” technologies?).
So there’s a lot wrong with movie going these days, but there’s a lot right with The Amazing Spider-Man, even if it is a naked attempt at your wallet. This is why you should see it….
When I tell people I’m into watching and making horror films, some try to shrivel into themselves like a turtle – with others, you practically hear the eyes rolling in their heads. They seem to chalk the entire genre up to consisting merely of the ghoulish or the cheap trick, whereas, I’ve found the horror genre to be fertile ground for exploring human tragedies (The Descent) or tinkering with our own mythologies (zombies, vampires, etc.).
Horror films to me aren’t scary; there remains a distance. It’s always a guy in a rubber mask, the knife is fake, and the dark is nothing to be afraid of. There are always cinematic artifices that maintain the boundaries between reality and fiction: a film’s score, the editing, or the spectacle of special effects. Even as a child I don’t know if I’ve ever been truly disturbed, unsettled at my core, by a horror film
Until now. Continue reading
Whenever we as human beings are privy to something truly extraordinary, something that ignites an emotional power we usually only get glimmers of, we effusively try to convey the minutiae of that moment to others. 21 Jump Street is just such an occasion. With every new scene, every new cut, something hilariously brilliant and unexpected is lurking around the frame. Your throat’s going to go raw from cheering and your hands sore from clapping. This is what re-make dreams are made of.
Posted in Filmsmith Faves, Reviews
Tagged 21 Jump Street, Action, Channing Tatum, Chris Miller, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Comedy, Jonah Hill, Michael Baccal, Phil Lord, scott pilgrim
Unlike my experience with The Artist, I did not walk into a full theatre either time I saw Steve McQueen’s new film, Shame. It was rather like a men’s restroom or a public bus with few passengers: everyone silently agreed not to sit near anyone else. We were all watching the film together, but each of us watching it alone. The physical setup of the cinema space proved to be perfect for the film, whose protagonist Brandon (Michael Fassbender) wakes up to find himself utterly alone in the most populous city in the world. Continue reading