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Archive | July, 2017

Dunkirk Review

23 Jul

Let’s get this out of the way first: Christopher Nolan is a very talented filmmaker. He and his brother have crafted several masterpieces in my eyes, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for his commitment to high(er) concept crowd pleasers. He gets a lot of shit, but his type of filmmaking is desperately needed in an age of mindless entertainment; how many other directors will garner such universal support from the studio, critics, film buffs, and casual moviegoers alike? Yeah, not many.

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War for the Planet of the Apes Review

18 Jul

There’s a tendency these days to qualify any evaluation of a blockbuster film with the word “blockbuster”. “It’s great for a blockbuster.” “It’s a smart blockbuster.” “It’s just a fun summer blockbuster.” This trend does not occurs sans reason: the big, lumbering studios churning out remarkably low quality CGI fare at a record pace, and we the consumers facilitating that by constantly handing over our hard earned money. I don’t want to tell people what they should and shouldn’t enjoy, but people sure do get defensive about others affording their “blockbusters” the same level of respect that arthouse fare should receive, i.e. the critical evaluation of a film on its own merits without any sort of preconceived bias toward the style of film. By shielding certain filmmaking from criticism because it’s “just a blockbuster”, you are in fact denigrating it as a film and denigrating the blockbuster as a valuable art form. What I therefore want to make very clear is that this apes trilogy isn’t just a good blockbuster trilogy; it’s damn good filmmaking overall and one of the most impressive feats in recent film history.

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A Ghost Story Review

12 Jul

It’s easy to scoff at the central image of the film: an extremely rudimentary construction of a ghost via a white sheet and eyeholes. However, considering the weighty themes it stands in for–time, legacy, life, death, and love–it’s kind of appropriate how absurd of an image it is. There’s never going to be a perfect symbol that encapsulates all the messy beauty of life and the profound nothingness of death, the confusion and the fleeting joy and the sense that nothing matters and that everything matters. There’s never going to be a more fitting representation of complexity than this type of simplicity, and David Lowery shows us throughout the film that he understands that. There’s a humorous, self-aware bent to the whole situation. There are ghost subtitles. We actually watch paint dry. Rooney Mara eats a pie.

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Okja Review

7 Jul

This film has no business working as well as it does. It’s quite the mess on first appearance, lacking the kinetic, hard-hitting forward movement of Snowpiercer and veering between vastly different tones and frameworks. It’s a corporate satire that hits the meatpacking industry and its attendant political and definitional manipulations, a wacky action-adventure film that features bizarre characters doing bizarre things, and a heartwarming yet heartbreaking story about the bond shared between a young girl and her animal friend. Bong Joon-ho and d.p. Darius Khondji (responsible for one of the greatest shots in recent memory in The Immigrant) demonstrate a wonderful ability to transition between the lush nature shots of the first half to the clinical horrors of the second, and the tonal shift that accompanies it works surprisingly well.

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