Admission (Weitz, 2013) centers on Portia Nathan (Tina Fey), an admissions officer for Princeton, whose life goes into upheaval when she is contacted by John Pressman (Paul Rudd) who runs a new alternative high school in rural New Jersey. During her high school visits, she meets with him and a student he wants her to closely consider for Princeton. Her live-in boyfriend, Mark (Michael Sheen) a Literature professor at Princeton, leaves her for a universally hated Virginia Wolfe scholar who is pregnant with his twins. Of course, she becomes romantically involved with John when he drops a bombshell on her. He knows that she had a child while in college (they went to the same school at the same time and he happened to know her roommate) and she gave the son up for adoption. He thinks her son is Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), the kid he wants to get into Princeton. Well, this complicates her already complicated life and she loses focus at work, and so on.
Browsing: Blu Review
Even Stephenie Meyer’s worst detractors – of which they are legion – would have to begrudgingly admit that the Twilight series struck a chord, however wrong-headed, however, regressive, initially with her YA (young adult) audience and later with women of all ages. At its core, the Twilight series functioned as escapist, romantic fantasy, albeit with a supernatural twist (vampires and werewolves) and a thinly disguised pro-abstinence, reactionary-conservative viewpoint that Meyer’s readers seemed to find either unobjectionable or simply willfully ignored. The Twilight series’ big-screen incarnation, however, ended last November. Luckily for Meyer’s fans (and unluckily for everyone else), Open Road Films snagged the film rights three-and-a-half years ago to Meyer’s first non- Twilight novel, The Host, a sci-fi action-romance that’s almost as insipid, unimaginative, and uninspired as anything in the Twilight series.
In an era where civic duty and personal heroics are often conflated – or, more likely, confused – with clamorous projections of fantastical masculinity, it’s easy to mistake the phallic armory in Delmer Daves’s 3:10 to Yuma as symbols of power, cylindrical totems to androgenic potency that grant their wielders dominance and authority. After all, the film is largely concerned with such dynamics, and especially so with regards to how they fall across gender lines. It doesn’t require particularly strong observational acumen to feel the unease of one particular early scene, in which a gang of men leer explicitly at an insular female presence; the woman, a bartender, nervously pours drinks while the fellas ocularly objectify her, and both the words spoken and smoke exhaled seem to overtake the very nature of the saloon, turning the diorama into a smoldering balancing act of bestial fervor. In this, the threat of sexual violence is one felt as certain and real despite never being directly stated. The male gunslingers hold an implied power over the female barkeep, who has but a small wooden wall and a smidge of social courtesy protecting her; she’s literally in a position of subservience and vulnerability. But what about later – how are we to read an ensuing scene that depicts two men, outlaw Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) and farmer-cum-deputy Dan Evans (Van Heflin), engaged in a sweaty power tussle in a hotel bridal suite? That Ben is ultimately confined to a bed at the behest of Dan’s shotgun is telling, but incomplete – the dynamic present isn’t one of physicality or even metaphorical virility. Ideas of masculine symbolism are quickly nullified by the introduction of an outside agent, one that’s, in the face of archaic male-centric power structures, subversive to primal orders: money, and the tiered socioeconomic systems it abides.
The words “Je ne sais pas” (“I don’t know”) escape the pursed, near quivering lips of Odile (Anna Karina) with such echoic frequency throughout Jean-Luc Godard’s seventh feature, Band of Outsiders, that one may be inclined to agree with petty criminals Franz (Sami Frey) and Arthur (Claude Brasseur) when they openly lament her idiocy. A naiveté with both a penchant for romanticism and farcically simple grasp of intimacy (eyes shut and mouth agape, her tongue stiffly protruding, she once awaits a kiss from Arthur), the primary female representation in the film is a marked reduction of the women in Godard’s previous works, in particular those also played by Karina. But to make the actress – who, at this juncture, was the director’s wife – portray more a bumbling effigy than feminine icon was, of course, a conscious decision on the part of the auteur. Like that of the film, the essence of Odile is one informed by a combination of American pop and archaic cinematic mores.
Back to 1942 is a film that explores the ravages of famine and the responsibilities of a government to the governed It is a large scale humanist epic that attempts to tell a story too big for a single vantage. It follows several groups during the Henan famine (1942-1944) and attempts to recount the events from every direct and peripheral vantage, resulting in a chaotic cacophony of disjointed tragedy, and large scale filmmaking at its most erratic. Emotions are painted in broad strokes and each character acts as an ambassador for their respective socioeconomic class, coming and going with such frequency and rapidity that it is difficult to engage with the emotional core of the film. The ground shifts from under your feet each time you are comfortable in the destitution of a particular set of characters until Tim Robbins inexplicably shows up with a bad Italian (?) accent.
Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Tania Raymonde, Scott Eastwood Director: John Luessenhop Country: USA Genre: Horror |…
Be it calculated or simply fortuitous, the transition from stagey to alfresco scenery near the two-hour mark of Lawrence Olivier’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III comes as an optically welcomed contrast, an abrupt visual decompression of the work’s previously bottled grandeur. Knowing that one mustn’t casually take an oblique, abstruse route in reworking the Bard’s material – or perhaps, due to his roots in theatre, a personal fondness of the arts prevented such a thorough reworking – Olivier employs the fifth-act battle scene as a way to finally sculpt the work cinematic, noticeably straying from his beloved medium shot and capturing the horizon with an opulently wide framing concern. What follows is as novel as it is organic, for it marks film’s first departure from the eloquent constraint of Shakespeare’s prose. What’s finally seen is movement and staging that’s less than exactingly choreographed, as Olivier relents some directorial control in apropos unison with Richard’s (portrayed by the director himself) failing psyche; the mere presence of such broad landscapes are read as lysergic – the gesture a microcosm of the character’s personal narrative.
Embarking on a new relationship is a terrifying prospect each and every time. It represents a collision of idiosyncrasies and insecurities that can either self-annihilate or turn into a beautifully cohesive unit of flaws strengthened through mutual pain and tireless attempts to communicate amidst the minefield of invisible scars that mar our souls and influence the outcomes of our lives in mysterious and unforeseen ways. Upstream Color, amidst its enigmatic imagery, is the story of one such collision as both woman and man strive to overcome their innermost demons and internal damages accrued through the hazy transgressions of yesterday.
The simple ghost story structure has been transformed into a compelling drama with jump scares. Sadly, the resulting film fails in fully satisfying either genre demands. You’ll either get a mediocre horror film or a mediocre dysfunctional family adventure depending on your inclination. It’s the risk one takes in birthing a hybrid. However, regardless of the outcome, the courageous breaking of form can stand alone as something to be commended… or at least a pat on the back is in order.
Those who meet me anew usually come to difficulty in apprehending how I once was no friend to lucidity. Likening perceptive normality to but one of many lenses through which to filter existence – specifically, one that has roots in the survival-driven, neurological evolution of our species – I found sober vantage points too constricting and socially absolute for my comfort, especially when contextualized against the stability of my suburban milieu; threats to my survival, be it on mortal or economic grounds, always seemed like specious, distant thunder. And so I imbibed. There were likely many reasons why I so enjoyed, to put it romantically, distorting the planes of my reality, but the most conceptually fascinating of the lot has to do with metamorphosis– the permutation of one’s mental faculties as a result of consuming something corporeal.