Ushering a return towards more experimental films for Marvel, Doctor Strange (Dir. Scott Derrickson) is an commendable attempt to bring the more mystical dimensions of the MCU into the foreground. Much like 2015’s Ant-Man, we see a recycling of the traditional origin story formula for a hero without much stock as a ‘household name,’ and the result is an impressive, if not slightly predictable, venture into the creation of an unlikely hero.
The latest film from Andrea Arnold, American Honey takes the aspects of social realism and absurdity that permeate British cinema and transposes them onto American soil in the form of a hedonistic road movie. With equal parts grit and fantasy, Arnold manages to create a film that dishes out thick layers of realism while simultaneously distancing itself from the real-life with its unrelenting dreaminess.
Despite being Arnold’s first film to be made outside of the UK, there are definite comparable elements with the rest of her filmography, particularly with Fish Tank (2009) and its endeavour to “give a voice” to the youth of Britain. In the same vein—and following the story of Star (Sasha Lane) in her decision to leave her life behind and follow a troupe of travelling magazine salespeople in their drug and alcohol fuelled tour of Midwestern America—American Honey strives towards giving a realistic representation of apathetic teenagers searching for a purpose amidst their marginalisation.
Based on Barry Gilford’s novel (1989) of the same name, Wild At Heart tells the story of Sailor (Nicolas Cage) and Lula (Laura Dern) as they take to the road in order to escape Lula’s deranged mother (Diane Ladd), her private detective lover, and the hit-man she has hired to kill Sailor. As the narrative progresses, their travels are frequently interrupted by encounters with bizarre strangers, outbursts of violence, and explicit sex scenes that take the traditional road-movie and transform it into something undeniably ‘Lynchian’. Continue reading “Wild At Heart (1990) Dir. David Lynch”
As a self-confessed X-Files obsessive, any opportunity to talk/think/write about the show has me standing in an open armed embrace. So, what better time than the 23rd anniversary of its pilot episode?
By any means one of the most recognisable television shows to come from the 1990s, The X-Files began its ascent to cult status on the 10th of September 1993, with the simply titled ‘Pilot’. Combining an ingenious script by Chris Carter and direction by Robert Mandel, the result was an intricate weaving of a paranoid distrust of governmental establishments and authority with supernatural phenomena; tapping into already established preoccupations with conspiracy theories and fascinations with the extraterrestrial (such as Kennedy’s assassination and Roswell) and turning them into deliciously post-modern critiques of pre-millennial society. Continue reading “Celebrating 23 years of the The X-Files”
Unfolding in a seemingly idyllic neighbourhood in upstate New York, Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines follows the story of Luke Glanton (Ryan Gosling), a motorcycle stuntman who resorts to robbery in order to provide for his son and ex-lover Romina (Eva Mendes), with the narrative little by little progressing into an intricate mapping of how Luke’s recklessness, and an altercation with rookie cop Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), affect their own lives and those of their families’.
I’m not going to lie I went into Suicide Squad with quite low expectations and whilst I usually like to go into a film pretty open minded I had sort of began to form a few opinions based on what I had heard about the reshoots and editing process of the film.
My main reservation was that Warner Bros have run into this massive emsemble style film too quickly in order to keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe hype. The problem with this is that they try to introduce too many characters to the DC film universe at the same time causing the film to seem rushed and bitty, and I’m assuming it could be very confusing to someone who hadn’t read any of the comics. As a result of this the film begins to feel like pieces of several different films sewed together none of which really formed…
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I first encountered The Crimson Petal and the White—both the original novel (by Michel Faber, 2002) and the BBC mini-series (Dir. Marc Munden, 2011)—in a university module entitled “Televising the Victorians”. As the name suggests, the module was concerned with how novels from the Victorian era are adapted into period dramas, particularly into the serialised, episodic productions that we’ve all come to know and love.
What initially drew my attention to Munden’s adaptation was its “faux-Victorian” edge; following the footsteps of its source material’s dependence on traditional tropes and narrative aspects of works from the Victorian era, but written with a modern perspective on the century. The result? A deliciously postmodern period drama that strives (and succeeds) to deliver a gritty, unapologetic “realistic” presentation of 19th-century London—particularly in terms of its representation of its female characters. Continue reading “Thoughts on: women in The Crimson Petal and the White (2011) [contains mild spoilers]”
Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster is an unconventional love story, set in the not-so-distant future in an unnamed dystopian city, where all singletons are apprehended and relocated to ‘The Hotel’ in order to find a partner. While at The Hotel, they are obliged to secure a suitable mate—with compatibility being based upon the mutuality of a person’s defining physical characteristics—or else face being transformed into an animal of their choosing, and released into the nearby woods. The only other options? Faking a relationship, or escaping The Hotel and joining ‘The Loners’ who inhabit the forest, and for whom relationships are forbidden.
Marielle Heller’s directorial debut The Diary of a Teenage Girl is not merely a coming-of-age tale, but rather a contemplative and deeply revealing drama concerning a teenage girl’s attempts to make sense of her sexual identity, with only her already complicated notions of love from her mother’s failed marriages and relationships to draw upon.
Set in 1970s San Francisco; the film centres around Minnie (Bel Powley), an aspiring cartoonist, who experiences her sexual awakening after losing her virginity to her mother’s (Kristen Wiig) boyfriend Monroe (Alexander Skarsgård). She then spirals into an all-consuming desire for sexual encounters in lieu of her deeper longings for romantic love and, ultimately, self-acceptance.