drama

Retro Made: The Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things

Posted on

stranger-things-730x365In Provincetown, MA last Thursday, the street of the quasi-Queer Mecca was lined with many a Madonna, pantless Tom Cruise, and Tina Turner. It was Back to the ’80s for Carnival. But were you to find an Eleven in the parade, donning a hospital gown and little hair, right next to the Gremlin-turned-femme fatale, they would have fit right in with the vibe.  Read the rest of this entry »

Looking Good, Looking Great: Clothing, Power, and Identity in “The Last Laugh” and “The Marriage of Maria Braun”

Posted on Updated on

 

the-marriage-of-maria-braun

(Author’s Note: This was originally written for my German Cinema class.)

In response to a rather myopic comment about a purse, Doug (Rich Sommer) shoots back, “Fashion is not about utility. An accessory is merely a piece of iconography used to express individual identity.” Much about this costuming and construction of identity is discussed in the 2006 adaptation of The Devil Wears Prada, but this idea of creating one’s own form of iconography through accessories is exemplary in FW Murnau’s The Last Laugh – where the clothes seem to literally make the man – and in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s The Marriage of Maria Braun – where, in spite of economic strife, the lead exerts her power through clothing. Read the rest of this entry »

Jason Lives: Stephen Winter’s “Jason and Shirley”

Posted on Updated on

jason and shirleyWhat can I say? The relationship between the viewer and Shirley Clarke’s Portrait of Jason, between Jason and Shirley themselves – and, in turn, what they may or maynot represent – is of the sadomasochistic sort. Pauline Kael called the film “naïve and sadistic”. The latter is true, but sadistic to whom? And masochistic for whom? That’s part of the great game, the urgent imperative of Stephen Winter’s Jason and Shirley. Read the rest of this entry »

Suffer the Little Children: Sebastian Silva’s “Nasty Baby”

Posted on Updated on

nasty-baby_convertedWritten on the surface of Sebastian Silva’s Nasty Baby is a bunch of tenuously cohesive themes and ideas – the fear of fatherhood, the adolescence of adulthood, the struggles of being an artist, gentrification – that are smudged around with red ink thrown on them for good measure to a point where those things are barely discernible at all. To some degree, there’s an admiration to be had for its audacity inasmuch as a drastic tonal shift, but its main selling point and shock value feels rather unearned at the end of the day. Read the rest of this entry »

True Detective: Mr. Holmes

Posted on Updated on

Sherlock Holmes is not, for all intents and purposes, a sensitive person. His creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, wrote him deftly as more of a fastidious automaton – quick with wit and lesson, humorous, but overtly dispassionate – and the subsequent iterations of the character have toyed with his unfeeling attitude. For drama in Basil Rathbone, Christopher Lee, and Jeremy Brett; for humor in Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Nicholas Rowe; and, in what Bill Condon’s Mr. Holmes asserts itself as a cinematic equivalence of His Last Bow, for pathos in Ian McKellen. Read the rest of this entry »