Friday, August 28, 2020

Emma (2020)

The story of Jane Austen’s Emma (1815) is clearly targeted at people who spin at a lower RPM than fans of Quentin Tarantino, people who like to let inconsequential character quibbles sink in over a period of hours.

In this critic’s opinion, a film without real conflict is like a bowl of raisin bran without raisins. It’s just bran. In a way, it is refreshingly different from the norm; the film has merits. At the same time, the audience cannot be in an impatient mood when watching. Lots of ancient high-class literature, such as that of Charles Dickens, can be put into this category.

Need I contrast the bombastic explosivity of a Shakespeare play with a book of similar age? Different types of people have always lived on this planet, and with them different types of stories. Though the early 19th century was in many places an era of religious obsession and civil order, at the same time, Napoleon was tearing through much of the old world and there was plenty of spicy conflict elsewhere.

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Monday, August 24, 2020

Barbarella (1968)

Barbarella is an enchanting acid space opera and an icon of the 1960s. In the distant future when spacecraft are so advanced and so personal that they are almost literally powered by love, Jane Fonda saves the universe from Duran Duran’s doomsday machine.

The film was written as a lighthearted romp through space, a satire that never for one moment takes itself seriously. Though not emotionally impactful, watching the film gives a sense that the storytellers of the day were mildly optimistic about the future, with space liberation almost a certainty.

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Monday, July 27, 2020

Funky Forest: The First Contact (2005)

Funky Forest: The First Contact is not an easy film to discuss. While some films are off-color, this film is slightly out of its mind. It is difficult to describe a plot that precisely summarizes any of it, let alone draw conclusions of what the film is “about”.

The charm of Funky Fores is that, in its live-action Japanese multi-director anthology form, there are a lot of things that are hard to fully comprehend. Yet, at the film’s core there is genuine emotion and character. It is something you feel more than understand, at times tasting with your mind rather than seeing with your eyes.

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie (2014)

The title is terrible, and the source material is about as niche as it gets. I won’t deny that I am a fan of the source material, nor will I deny that I volunteered on the film’s massive VFX team. I found that environment overly formal and pretentious, like we were supposed to be making a real movie. I won’t assign blame to the VFX supervisor, who was only doing what he felt was best for his own career and the visual professionalism of the film.

But that’s the problem, isn’t it? AVGN was never Hollywood. It was a postmodernist gross-out series that made juvenile jabs at old video games, and that’s what everybody loved. Try to dress that up in a fresh coat of paint and you get something false.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The King of Comedy (1982)

The film opens with an insane crowd flocking around a Jerry Lewis-like character (played by Jerry Lewis). It’s intentionally nauseating. The movie knows more than the audience at this point, presenting an alien world of televised comedy and the surrounding fandom. This is Scorsese’s world, a world of extreme characters in the American excess of the last century.

Scorsese presents a century unburdened by soulless tech giants, fraud, deception, and insincerity. A century in which you can either talk to Jerry Lewis’s secretary over the telephone or go in person. A wonderful century. The century presented is one in which the protagonist, an aspiring comedian played by Robert De Niro, is free to approach the business however he wants, and he carves his path right through the man who he thinks is his friend.

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