True Detective Season 2 – Crime and the Rotting City

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Mar 082016


While I expected to enjoy the second season of True Detective, considering the crime procedural is one of my favourite genres and despite hostile negative reactions, I was not prepared for just how excellent it was. I was taken, especially, with how essential the passing of time is to the narrative, and how it is as much as study of a crime-infested city as the human characters themselves. I thought I would explore this idea and discuss where True Detective Season 2 succeeds, and highlight two feature films – Zodiac and Marshland – that also make the location a core character.  Continue reading »

Revisiting Mission Impossible I-III

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May 042015


Mission Impossible – films that felt so familiar, but films it turns out, I hardly remembered them at all. I’ve watched the first three films in the series at least twice each, and yet I couldn’t recall with detail, the plot of any of them if you asked. I think it’s the genre elements which are easy to latch onto, but the specifics of theses films, not so much. For the first time in at least 8 years, I rewatched the first 3 films in the series. Thoughts and **spoilers** after the jump.

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While We’re Young

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Apr 172015


Just a few days ago I was discussing, with associates of mine, the possible correlation of maturity levels and fashionable hat wearing. Not in an abstract way, but in relation to the hat-wearing (and discarding) of friends and associates. In Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, the fashionable hat becomes one of many symbols relating to life decisions and one’s relationship to the Self. It was a little bit spooky. For a great many people the film will be filled with such astonishingly direct reflections of their own lives. Perhaps it is only astonishing because Western commercial cinema so rarely bothers or dares to come down to the streets and hang with the ‘real’ world. But While We’re Young stretches beyond the confines of both the rom-com and the mid-life crisis film, refusing to merely be enjoyable and relatable (that newly toxic term). It is hilarious, engaging and an absolute pleasure to watch, but it is far more than that. Writer/director Noah Baumbach beautifully weaves the everyday lives of his characters into a complicated and engaging contemplation of what constitutes truth, reality and experience that can easily be described as academic, for those so inclined. Please forget old prejudices against such a term, for critical theory is rarely utilised with such delicate aplomb, fused to the organic development of characters so that all of its parts feel necessary and absolutely right.

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A Character Everyone Loves to Hate – Margot (Take This Waltz)

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Mar 032015



Thanks to Ella Donald for this piece. You can read more of Ella’s writing here [Ed].
On March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day celebrating women and calling for change in areas where women still face challenges. This post is apart of the Women’s Appreciation series, where I take a look at influential and important women in film, whether the characters or the actors who bring them to life on-screen. It is based on this prompt.

In September 2006, veteran Canadian actor Sarah Polley would première her directorial and writing début at the Toronto Film Festival. The film was Away From Her, an adaptation of the Alice Munro short story ‘The Bear Came Over the Mountain’, and it would be nearly universally acclaimed, receiving rave reviews that were shocked at how Polley had managed to create such a mature, insightful portrait of fidelity and forgiveness at such a young age.

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Lucky Bastard

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Sep 172014


Before we begin, please take a minute to read Lukas Kendall’s article, What Happens When You Make An NC-17 Film.

Film is a powerfully subversive format. It climbs into your soft tissues, stirring hormones and ideas. Amos Vogel, writing in the 1974 classic Film As A Subversive Art, wrote that “short of closing one’s eyes – in cinema, a difficult and unprecedented act – there is no defence against it”. However, as noted by Kendall, closing one’s eyes in the cinema isn’t the problem; simply getting it in front of your eyes at all is the greater difficulty. Lucky Bastard has engaged itself in a cultural war, one with a frontline that is mired in the sucking mud of ‘rules of art’, ‘good taste’ and ‘acceptable content’.

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Pain, gain and the world’s end: A douchebag complex

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Aug 212013

This is a conjoined review of both Pain & Gain and The World’s End

Two films that amalgamate genres and are headlined by what could be some of the biggest douchebags ever to grace characterisation and narrative. Only one gets it right.

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The Forgotten: Neo-realism and The Gospel According To St. Matthew

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Aug 132013


In this edition of the forgotten, Andrew Buckle (The Film Emporium, Graffiti with Punctuation) explains why The Gospel According to St. Matthew  (Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1964) is one of greatest biblical epics he has have ever seen. Thanks for sharing this film with us Andrew.[Ed]
Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew is one of the finest biblical epics I have ever seen, and while the Marxist, atheist, homosexual auteur had no religious affiliations, he channels his unlikely concoction of ideologies into this undeniable masterpiece. Having first watched this film when I was studying at university, as a companion piece to Pasolini’s Accatone, which was part of the subject, I revisited it again recently in preparation for this article.
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Pacific Rim mon Amour

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Jul 162013


The greatest error made by the creators of Pacific Rim is to allow the spoken word into play. The pivot point of the film is almost without dialogue; it communicates the absolute terror and hysterical desolation that elevates Pacific Rim – giving it a greater weight than most ‘oh, the world is in danger’ films – and with which we are mightily overburdened at the moment. The question ‘what is with all these apocalypse/super-hero films’ has an obvious answer: fear on a level we may never have experience before as a species. Pacific Rim has been attacked as a clichéd work, its plot points rickety with age and echoing a hundred different films. This is partly true, but missing the point. All great myths build on the foundations of older myths. Stories become mythic when the resonance hits that sweet spot and rings through our collective unconscious for generations. Realism and originality are great, but it’s not a positive/negative dichotomy – the opposite is not automatically to be derided and negated. There is an oddly unmentioned film in its DNA, one that allows an intriguing, altered perspective. This article is brief, I’m just tossing ideas around, but these thoughts are what has kept me thinking about the film when the spectacle no longer persists in my vision.

[Warning: potential spoilers ahead]

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