Melissa McCarthy has created quite the career niche for herself. From her success with Bridesmaids to her role in The Heat, the actress has played characters that are lost in their own delusions, much to the chagrin of their straight-laced counterparts. She is the wisecracker and the lovable goof, but…
Author Jose Gallegos
There are times when a person can feel selfish for being concerned with his/her own problems. This selfishness can be instilled when a parent tells a child about “starving children in Africa,” or it can be referenced in the often used “#firstworldproblems.” A globalized perspective is necessary to dispel Americentric/Eurocentric ideals and give a …
My queer sensibilities have encountered a range of LGBT films, from the standard “coming out” narratives to the normalized queer experiences. It is the latter category that I love, primarily because it turns sexuality into a character trait rather than a narrative catalyst. This isn’t to say that films about coming out/coming to terms with…
Contemporary horror films have become a dime a dozen. You remember them in the moment, thanks to advertising campaigns and creepy trailers, but you will inevitably forget that they even exist (I had completely forgotten about The Apparition until it recently played on cable). There are standouts amongst the schlock, but for every Insidious, there are twenty more horror films like One Missed Call and The Devil Inside. John Pogue’s The Quiet Ones, which was just released in theaters, is another entry in the slew of throwaway horror films. It is moody and atmospheric, but it relies too heavily on the (extremely loud) bumps in the night.
The film follows Professor Joseph Coupland (Jared Harris) who tries to manifest a spirit/poltergeist/thing (honestly, I’m not even sure how he labels this force) from a tortured young woman, Jane Harper (Olivia Cooke). Joseph enlists the help of his two assistants, Krissi (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne), and a cameraman, Brian (Sam Clafin), to aid and document his sessions with Jane. The film unfolds like any clichéd horror film: the spirit makes noises, skeptics try to rationalize the phenomena, the members of explore dark hallways, and the audience continues screaming, “Don’t go in there! S/He’s gonna die!”
I have a confession to make: I have never seen a Jim Jarmusch film. Many have told me that Jarmusch caters to my cinephilic tastes, yet in spite of these recommendations, I have eluded his entire filmography. I took a small step to rectify this injustice by watching his recent film, Only Lovers Left Alive, which was a bittersweet moment (bitter because I couldn’t believe it took me that long to watch a Jarmusch film, and sweet because the film defied any expectations that I previously constructed).
Have you ever been hit by a bus? No, I can’t say that I have either, but I feel that my experience with Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2: Berandal is similar in many ways. It is a two hour and twenty minute visual attack, one that many of Evans’ masochistic fans (like myself) will thoroughly enjoy (even if you wince a couple of times).
Following the events of The Raid: Redemption, Rama (Iko Uwais) – one of the few survivors from the first film – is forced to go undercover into the Indonesian criminal world in order to protect his wife and child from harm. Unfortunately for Rama, his undercover stint begins with years of daily prison beatings and ends with complete chaos. Along this hyperviolent journey, he meets some of the most iconic assassins you will see, including a brother-sister team who kill their victims with a baseball bat and claw hammers, respectively.
Documentaries attempt to capture reality…or something close to it. These films want to be mirrors that project the flaws and blemishes of its subjects. Instead of constructing hegemonic narratives through fabricated images, documentaries weave stories out of “real” images and create issues that may never be fully solved. Rithy Panh exacerbates the limitations of documentaries through L’image manquante (The Missing Picture), a film that seeks not to create a mirror to reality, but instead tries to reconstruct the images of Panh’s adolescence that were stolen by the Khmer Rouge. It is a harrowing coming of age story that turns us, the on looking viewer, into collaborators in Panh’s cathartic quest to find the voices of a silent generation of deceased Cambodians.
There is something so sublime about subversion. It takes you away from the monotony of the ordinary and forces you to view reality (or whatever you would like to call it) from a different perspective. It forces you to think, to underthink, and to overthink. And it turns absurdity (both the comical and the existential ideas) into commonplace events. Certain filmmakers have a knack for subversion, like David Lynch, Luis Buñuel, and Douglas Sirk. They all possess a fundamental understanding of a universal subversive language, one that doesn’t rely on phonetics or letters, but relies on visuals and experiences. Pier Paolo Pasolini understood that subversive language, which is why Teorema (1968) is such an enjoyable film to watch.
I have two personal problems: I am a masochist when it comes to watching terrible gay movies, and I have a tendency to compare every gay film to Andrew Haigh’s brilliant Weekend (2011). Unfortunately the latter informs the former since I am under the firm belief that no gay film will ever be as perfect as Weekend…but that doesn’t mean that I still won’t endure the tackiness of these films. When I heard that Darren Stein’s G.B.F (2013) was coming to a local theater, I decided to watch it alone (out of embarrassment for watching a film that I openly criticized). After this first viewing (along with multiple subsequent viewings), I found myself enjoying it, much to my own chagrin.
Most of my favorite films are able to explore (and in some cases exacerbate) the confines of cinematic space: Michelangelo Antonioni looked at the bourgeois ennui of L’Avventura (1960) by studying the spatial divisions between his characters; Chantal Akerman used an immobile camera to explore the oppressive spaces of the titular character in Jeanne Dielman (1975); and Alain Resnais repeatedly changed the location of Last Year at Marienbad (1961) in order to reflect the indecipherability of one man’s memory. Watching Hany Abu-Assad’s Omar (2013), I was taken aback by how the space informs much of the plot and narrative, adding another brilliant layer to this already tense thriller.