Valerian – The Most Dazzling Film Since Avatar

alien-752x440

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a visual delight held back by a needlessly convoluted plot and periodic lapses in internal logic. The sheer volume of creativity on display in this film makes me desperately want to forgive its narrative shortcomings. After all, plenty of creatively bankrupt films get made every year and still earn tons of money. Why should I needlessly condemn Valerian when the film, flaws and all, is consistently fun and entertaining? Valerian is a film where I was acutely aware of its issues while I was watching it, but discovered, to my amused delight, that I didn’t particularly care. I was having a good time.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Dunkirk – Austere and Intense

fb-og

Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors. I love the way his films are never straight-forward narratives. He writes puzzles that slowly solve themselves before your eyes, allowing you to wonder how the pieces fit together as he guides you towards epiphany. When he announced his last film, Interstellar, I was tremendously excited because his approach seemed like an ideal fit for a sci-fi space epic. But when Dunkirk, a historical war film, was announced, I wasn’t so much excited as I was intrigued. This did not seem like an ideal fit. How can the film be a puzzle with complex narrative structures if it must be bound by factual events? Can Nolan bring his signature style to this subject matter? Read on to find out.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Marvel at Their Best

spider-man-homecoming-logo-pic

There’s something to be said for the experience of a Thursday night screening. There’s the last minute scramble to get decent seats and the delicious sense of breaking the rules that comes with getting to see something before it technically comes out. But the best part is the theater being packed with fans. Sharing that instant sense of community with a group of total strangers is part of the magic of the cinema. You are among your tribe – people who understand the film they’re about to see, it’s source material, and the industry that surrounds it. The greatest moment of my theater going experience came when Sony’s logo appeared on screen and was loudly booed by someone a few rows behind me. The whole theater burst out laughing. We, the fans, like the titular hero, have all of us come home to Marvel.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wonder Woman – Entertaining, but Forgettable

4c2c8f991702f0b149f207e894f618a7

I’m starting to think that DC’s business model this entire time was just to churn out enough duds that we’d be happy when they finally made something mediocre. Now the rest of the franchise can just maintain the same baseline level of acceptability and we’ll all say, “Well, at least it isn’t Suicide Squad.” For all the talk about smashing boundaries and box office records, Wonder Woman is a solid B grade at best. This is the standard superhero origin story that we’ve seen time and again. Though it is competently made and lacks the structural and tonal issues of its predecessors, it suffers from a deficit of creativity that makes the film feel tired and familiar.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raw – A Feminist Slant on Body Horror

rawrashbttm

Raw is a 2016 French-Belgian body horror film which tells a coming of age story about sexual discovery through cannibalism. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. This is a film about sex and eating people. It is blatantly weird, unabashedly gross, and undeniably creative. This is far outside the normal spectrum of what I usually watch, but every now and then it can be fun to push one’s boundaries. In this case, I’m glad I did. Raw certainly is not for everyone, but those willing to take a chance will discover a surprising degree of substance beneath the bloody imagery.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – Everything You Loved About The First One

cogdmurw8aq8yq4

There are a lot of big budget blockbusters on the horizon this year, but I doubt any of them are as highly anticipated as Guardians Vol. 2. The first Guardians is arguably the best film in the MCU and it is the film that redefined Marvel’s overall tone. Each film they’ve made since has slowly shifted the franchise closer to the lighthearted, irreverent feel of Guardians. Ant Man was a straight up comedy, Dr. Strange was surprisingly joke dense, and if the latest trailer is anything to judge by, even the Thor franchise seems to have adopted the Guardians approach, what with its use of classic rock music and well placed humor. So with the rest of the franchise chasing Guardians’ coattails, how does the actual sequel measure up? Does it recapture that spark, or does it fall a little flat? The answer to both is yes.

Continue reading

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Defense of The Matrix Trilogy – Why Warner Bros.’ Intended Reboot is an Insult to a Masterpiece

the-matrix

In the wake of Warner Bros.’ recent announcement that they intend to reboot The Matrix I have been encountering a lot of the same anti Matrix sequel rhetoric that has been floating around the Internet for years. While the general reaction to the prospect of a reboot has been (thankfully) negative, some people are saying that the inevitable reboot can’t be worse than the terrible sequels. I am acutely aware that most people view the first movie as incredible and its two sequels as colossal screw ups that squandered the potential of a great series. That mentality could not be further from the truth. The sequels are an integral part of a cinematic whole that, taken together, is a masterpiece of science fiction. The Matrix Trilogy is a synthesis of philosophy, mythology, and religious symbolism. It is a work of astonishing thematic depth and complexity, and I do not believe for a moment that Warner Bros. will be able to recapture that spark, no matter who they attach to the project. So today I am going to affirm the value of the two Matrix sequels by exploring their themes and symbolism while hopefully clearing up some of the more common misconceptions about these films.

Continue reading

Posted in Opinion Pieces | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment