Month: December 2015
“You can’t really what it is to want things until you’re at least thirty. And then with each passing year, it gets bigger, because the want is more and the possibility is less. Like how each passing year of your life seems faster because it’s a smaller portion of your total life. Like that, but in reverse. Everything becomes pure want.”
Looking in no particular direction, Brooke (Greta Gerwig) says this to Tracy (Lola Kirke) as her life is falling apart. “Everything is pure want.” Maybe that desire, inexplicable and ineffable and uncontrollable, is the biggest running theme in my list, and to get personal, my life. In the films featured on this list and in my personal life, there’s the want for intimacy, to be validated, to be wanted, to be seen and heard, to find stability, to be human, to ache, to feel pleasure, to transcend or eschew convention. It’s full of flaws, complexities, and nuances. And it’s not that those wants or desired be fulfilled that matters: it’s the articulation that might matter more. It’s not only cinematic, it’s human.
The familiarity of franchise films that have established and perpetuated a kind of formula that suits the given series of films is paradoxical: at once, comforting, like settling into the warmth of an old blanket found in the attic, as well as frustrating because that blanket smells like must and of failed college trysts. Call me demanding, but I like new blankets, or blankets with similar patchwork but the kind that’s turned on its head. That Spectre, the twenty-fourth James Bond film diverges so heavily from the established James Bond formula is admirable, enticing. That Star Wars: The Force Awakens adheres so closely to the idea of being “a Star Wars movie”, on the other hand, is irksome. Read the rest of this entry »
Tinged in red – or crimson, shall we say – the Universal Studios and Legendary Pictures logos fly across the screen. Hovering above our heads and in the back of our minds, in a space where sonic beauty and horror will find comfort throughout the duration of the experience, is a lullaby. Floating in and out of the air, only lasting briefly, on settles in for an adult bedtime story, a glorious story woven from things past and present, and spun with excitement and tension by Guillermo del Toro. Read the rest of this entry »
Rather than a necessarily conventional review, I’ve decided to slightly eschew that format for Céline Sciamma’s Girlhood, and instead opt for a specific scene. In this case, it’s arguably the most memorable part of the entire film, and yet encompasses much of the film’s beauty, ideas, and strengths. In a hotel, a band of black girls (as the original French title, Bande de filles, nods to), mess around with pot, eat pizza, hang around. It cuts to the room illuminated in blue, one girl looking straight into the camera, mouthing the words to the song bleeding into the air. Soon, the entire group finds itself dancing, singing, experiencing the song together. Except one. She lays on the bed, watching the proceedings, at first sequestering herself as the newbie, the uninitiated. Marieme (Karidja Touré), or as she is to be known in the gang Vic, looks in awe. And then she joins them. Read the rest of this entry »
To say that Looking takes pride in the quotidian, as it were, is at once a limiting and apt and expansive way to understand the show. Yes, part of Looking’s charm is its “dullness”, as if the queers who liked Queer as Folk are nor just tired as fuck and are ready to settle down for a nice quiet dramedy, but that day to day appreciation of the little moments informs its aesthetic as much as anything. Because what you get in Looking is not merely economical shot/reverse shot compositions and sequences, but the camera hovering and lingering on this group of men. Because, similarly to another comparably cinematic show Mad Men, Looking, its second season now available on Digital HD, is about silences, it’s about touches, and it is, as its title suggests, about gazes. Read the rest of this entry »