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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The Great Beauty

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Jan 302014


In Paolo Sorrentino’s previous film, This Must Be The Place, God is described as stillness, as the snow that rests. This is peace, the snowflake’s journey is never over as it prepares to alter form, but in its stillness lies the art of a calmness that transcends all other states of being. Without spoiling the film, Sorrentino’s first international success, The Consequences of Love, concludes with a moment of total immobility. It is not stillness, it is the total loss of movement, and it is a rare moment of hopeless loss in oeuvre. The gliding, throbbing, endlessly propulsive movement of life is the dominant motif that unifies Sorrentino’s diverse filmography. It is easily noted in the pounding mixture of sound and movement that rushes the audience off their feet, so to speak, in the truly ecstatic birthday party that stands as the first chapter. It is impossible to read a review of a Sorrentino film without it being mentioned that he has a hell of a way with cinematic movement. But this movement is not only for the eye; his characters are constantly engaged in a desire or failure to move forward. Through his engagement with their quests, Sorrentino demonstrates himself as one of the great multimedia philosophers of 21st century life. Unlike many of his fellows, his films refuse the brick wall of nihilism, nimbling capering over or around them with a sense of hope, dignity and respect that electrifies. The Great Beauty is no exception.

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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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