Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekly Quick Notes: Two-Lane Blacktop, The Warriors

Brief blurbs for each movie I watched last week, favorites first.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Story of Film: An Odyssey & Subjective vs. Objective

The Story of Film is a fifteen hour documentary series about the history of world cinema which is thorough, informative, knowledgable, and just about everything you could want from a fifteen hour documentary series about the history of world cinema. If you're interested in film studies or in learning about the backstory of a medium we all know and love then this is a great resource which supplies a solid chunk of film school knowledge.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Visual Storytelling & Interrogating Revenge in Blue Ruin

Families, houses, cars, and guns. Blue Ruin could almost be reworked as a dark, brooding soap opera crossed with Game of Thrones: two families can’t get along—which, in this case, means occasionally killing each other.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Host: South Korea's Crisis of National Identity

(No explicit spoilers, but spoiler-sensitive readers should watch the movie first and come back later.)

A monstrous crisis in South Korean national identity.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Jurassic World & The Extinction of the Power of Spectacle

Overworked parents send their two bratty kids on vacation to be taken care of by their inattentive aunt on an island where greedy executives, violent politicians, and mad scientists breed prehistoric killing machines. Chris Pratt tries to save the park, the world, and the movie from self-destruction.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Unpacking Jodorowsky's Climb Up The Holy Mountain

"The skill of the spectator determines the machine's ability to reach a climax."

The Holy Mountain is truly unlike anything I've ever seen. It asks a lot of the audience both in terms of doing their own interpretative work and putting up with a lot of grotesque imagery in hopes of a payoff that may never come. That said, it's clear Jodorowsky put more work into it than most viewers ever will: every scene is meticulously constructed on a massive scale.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tomorrowland & the Importance of Perspective

It's important to keep something in mind when it comes to Tomorrowland: this movie was originally created by Disney to shamelessly promote its own theme park, and as such it never really had any business being a good movie. But when Brad Bird signed on, we all (myself included) immediately began setting ourselves up for disappointment. It's almost as if The Lego Movie, the best 90-minute commercial not just for Legos but for anything ever, has prepared us to expect art from this sort corporate pandering. Tomorrowland is not a great movie, but then again we never really should have expected it to be one anyway.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me & David Lynch's Duality

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a a David Lynch-directed John Hughes high school teen comedy which oscillates seamlessly between Buñuel's surreal psychological horror and Sirk's smart suburban melodrama.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blackhat: Michael Mann's Ethics in the Digital World

At a time when every new movie seems flooded with fear of what will happen when the machines take over, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that an older director is the one to take the long view and realize that before we start worrying about the dangers of technology in itself we have to first examine our own ethics of how it ought to be used.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

On the Beach & Historical Science Fiction Dystopias

When you make dystopian sci-fi today, you expect it to come out as some sort of action movie; when you made it in the 1950's, it came out as a melodrama. A complete tonal opposite to the recent Mad Max: Fury Road, On the Beach has all the social commentary and suicidal nihilism, but instead of the colorful visuals and explosive thrills it plays more like an existential soap opera. That's probably a turn-off for many people (and it seems a bit unappealing after the madness of Fury Road), but for what it's trying to do it delivers quite successfully.