Category Archives: Film

Awesome #WonderWoman @GalGadot One-Liners #3

#3 (Wonder Woman asks: What is a secretary? The response to this is: I go where he tells me to go, and I do what he tells me to do.)

Well, where I’m from that’s called slavery.

Click the images to view Wonder Woman (2017) trailer via YouTube.


Awesome #Wonder Woman @GalGadot One-Liners #2

#2 (When told: I can’t let you do this.)

What I do is not up to you.

Click the images to view Wonder Woman (2017) trailer via YouTube.


Awesome #WonderWoman @GalGadot One-Liners #1

#1 (In response to the question: Have you never met a man before, but what about your father?)

I had no father, I was brought to life by Zeus.

 

(Followed by the response: Well, that’s neat.)

Click the images to view Wonder Woman (2017) trailer via YouTube.


Citizen Four versus Snowden – Who Wins?

It seems like yet another disappointing blow for counter cultural forces, if that’s even a term that applies here, when we learn that a feature film is coming out of Hollywood to fill us in on the “truth” behind the Edward Snowden whistle-blowing episode of recent times. What, and this really is a pressing question, is so wrong with Citizen Four that a Snowden even has to be made? Depending on how you like your conspiracy theory kind of stuff, it’s easy to imagine that O. Stone has done all manner of freaky stuff to ramp up the tension between the NSA and Snowden himself, and then presumably also the Kremlin, given Russia’s role in housing Snowden.

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But what is the overall effect of such profiteering meddling? Will we learn anything more from Stone’s film? Citizen Four seemed a pretty good effort at uncovering, potentially, a whole hornet’s nest of deception and lies and darn right Machiavellian plotting on the part of the NSA and GCHQ, so where does Snowden come in in all of this? If, yet again, we end up with a dumbed-down approach to something that, if true (Snowden’s accusations that the NSA (and GCHQ) has the ability to spy on ALL its citizens), should be investigated by all manner of responsible bodies (but not really sure who or what might fulfill such a role, given the state of governments these days). Perhaps the money that went into making and distributing Snowden may have been better spent spreading the word, and distribution, of Citizen Four. But then again, who’d have made serious money from that? Not Gordon-Levitt, nor Stone, nor Woodley, nor the countless studios involved in production, and on and on and on…


Suffragette

Like a host of other ‘historical’ films detailing periods of injustice (Selma, 12 Years a Slave, etc.) Suffragette hits the mark when it comes to pricking one’s consciousness and making one think twice about what it must have been like to live at a certain point in history. But is that really enough – what happens after the film finishes? Do we talk about the issues for a bit before moving on? Just how effective are big movie productions at stirring the public to action – or is it all just about how great Mulligan/Streep/Bonham-Carter/Duff’s performances are (and they’re all pretty good)?

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The reason for such questions stems from the whole experience of being at the cinema, waiting for the film to start, watching the adverts/trailers that precede the film. Never one to turn up dead on time because of the tardiness of film showings, the screen is in darkness with an advert running that speaks of strangers coming up to you, stroking you (uninvited) and stuff, and then the hashtag #gropefreenights appears. Then an advert about broadband speed and inspirational women, with an Alicia Keys song (an inspirational one) playing in the background. Then, a trailer for a Tom Hanks film. Then, a trailer for a Maggie Smith film. Then, the trailer for He Named Me Malala (#henamedmemalala). Then, an advert with Jack Whitehall struggling to come to terms with tackling a ‘lady’ rugby player – both humorous and subversive, potentially.

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So, in an age where it seems men have to be actively persuaded to stop groping women whilst drunk (the men being drunk), and where we have a case in the not too distant past of a young girl being shot in the head in order to make the point that girls should not receive an education, will Suffragette prick the consciousness of those whose consciousness needs pricking, or do we find ourselves in a hundred years’ time looking back at Malala’s story, ooh-ing and aah-ing, whilst ignoring real and present concerns – whatever they may be in a century’s time? Perhaps it is not the place of big movie productions to stir such emotion, but if that were the case you’d have to ask yourself if there is indeed any point making such a film in the first instance. The time is now – but when is that?

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Some CHAPPiE Inspired Thoughts

Recollected conversation with a significant other following the watching, for the first time, of CHAPPiE (on DVD):

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“What if that [the thing that happens in the film] were the ultimate goal in human evolution – that we eventually manage to leave our bodies and exist only in consciousness, free of human form?”

“But would you be happy in such a form? How would humans continue to exist? There would be no children.”

“But what if the point of humans breeding is only to enable them to arrive at a place whereby breeding is no longer needed – where human evolution takes us away from certain death?”

“What about the children?”

“There would no longer be a need for children.”

“So you’d be happy being immortal? It wouldn’t bother you that there would be no more children being born?”

“What I’m saying is that the very idea of leaving the human body gives rise to the possibility that consciousness can continue to expand beyond its traditional limit, where it is always confined within a decaying body that will die within a set period of time, and thus (thus was probably not actually used but it fits well here) is free to explore farther and longer and in greater detail. Can you imagine that?”

“But what about the children?”

“Think about the possibilities instead. Journeying outside of our universe would actually become a possibility. That can never happen in our current form.”

“Humans need to breed. That’s what we’re made for. Humans crave children.”

“But…”


Mr. Holmes and the Inclusion of an Iconic, if Horrific, 20th Century Event

Sir Ian McKellen‘s (@IanMckellen) newest film, Mr. Holmes (@MrHolmesMovie), is an interesting take on the all too familiar Sherlock Holmes tradition of super-sleuth-doing-super-sleuthing kind of stuff, albeit as he’s nearing the end of his life and suffering the effects of old age. However, having just watched the film, I’m left somewhat perplexed at the inclusion of a direct reference to the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I’m perplexed because I guess I’m meant to be. What I mean by this is that the film-makers obviously meant this aspect of the film to have such an effect, because it jars one’s sensibilities at the point of reference, causing one to perform a kind of cinematic double-take, where you’re sitting in your comfy cinema chair, feeling all caught up in the scenes of England-of-yesteryear, what with steam trains and old cars and men in hats and women in gloves and apiaries and stuff, and then you catch a glimpse of a Japanese woman with horrific scarring to her face, just before you see the sign for Hiroshima Station and the scorched landscape beyond.

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And I guess my problem with feeling perplexed about this is that it’s just way too oblique as a reference, and as such can be readily disposed of before we set our minds to work on the purpose of its inclusion, and believe you me, there is a purpose to its inclusion, it’s just that it’s way too disjointed from the rest of the film to make itself known readily or to haunt us in the way that such an event should haunt us. Whilst still in the midst of my perplexity, I feel it’s a little too soon to come to any sort of conclusion (so watch this space), but wanted to give mention to a Hiroshima reference that works exactly as intended in describing the sense of horror that accompanies the senseless use of an horrific weapon on hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The reference to which I allude is Georges Bataille’s “Concerning the Accounts Given by Residents of Hiroshima” (1947), trans. Alan Keenan, in Trauma: Explorations in Memory, ed. Cathy Caruth (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 221-235. Perhaps the film-makers should read it, then reflect on their use of such an event?


“On TV it looks so real” @SeeNIGHTCRAWLER #2

After having slept since yesterday’s post and not really paying it any more heed, I happen to be reading a selection of abstracts for a conference taking place next week, and what would you know, there happens to be a fellow presenter giving a paper in the same panel as me, and her paper is using Jean Baudrillard’s hyperrealism as a lens to discuss a particular text.

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Now, it seems that Baudrillard’s theory of hyperrealism fits perfectly with what Lou experiences on the set of the TV station. And this gets me to thinking more about it, what with Lou having access to the set, and therefore being able to see that ‘on TV it [the backdrop of L.A.’s skyline] looks so real,’ and so I wonder, does this allow Lou to occupy a space between reality and the hyperreal, in that he now realises that the picture of L.A. is indeed less ‘real’ than he previously thought (whilst seeing it as the news room backdrop via his television), and so he actually occupies a privileged position, and from this vantage point is then able to manipulate any future footage to best reflect the demands of the news station, which in turn feed the cravings of a public somehow attuned to want and need ever more shocking images to go along with the storylines the news station creates?

Or is it just way simpler than that?


“On TV it looks so real” @SeeNIGHTCRAWLER

The quote above comes from Lou Bloom as he crosses a TV news station set and sees the backdrop used in TV news shows – a panoramic view of the city of Los Angeles.

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The viewer, should s/he so choose, gets to ponder this observation as Lou inserts himself into the scene, and as the camera pans back, we not only see Lou via the screen we are watching, we also see him through the camera used to film the newsreaders. So, is it the distancing that makes it ‘look so real,’ and if so, how are we to qualify our own feelings on reality, and by extension, artifice? Is L.A. made more ‘real’ by the sheer volume of filmic representations, and is our interaction with screened images more real than our unmediated experiences? And how does that leave us all feeling about our lives in the ‘real’ world? Are we more inclined to live vicariously, if that offers us something more real than the kind of humdrum life that is not subjected to production, direction, wardrobe, and make-up, etc? Nightcrawler offers some difficult questions, to which it does not attempt to force-feed us the answers.


What to do with a Tris doll, or a Four doll for that matter?

Well, just what do you do with a doll type figurine thing that depicts a film’s protagonist? And given that the dolls are part of ‘The Barbie Collection,’ how easy is it to distinguish that of a Tris/Four and that of a traditional(?) Barbie/Ken? Insurgent Tris makes this a tad easier because of the short hair, but what about Divergent Tris and Four?

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And if you can distinguish between the two, what purpose do they serve? Are they played with, or kept in the box for a later date ($$$)? And why does Divergent Tris have cooler boots than Insurgent Tris?


Jake Gyllenhaal #EnemyMovie

Being busy, and stuff, it’s usual that I don’t comment on films as they’re released. I tend to wait for them to come out on DVD or until I can stream them. The Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, is one such film. It’s been sitting on a shelf for over a month and I finally got round to watching it, and have not been able to stop thinking about it since, which I’m taking as a good thing.

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Ever conscious not to include spoilers, this post is a reflection on a couple of aspects of the film that have pre-occupied my mind. The first is the spider motif that runs throughout the film, and that owes a huge nod to Louise Bourgeois’ Maman. There is a great discussion about the film, and about the film’s fixation with spiders, on the following Reddit subreddit: r/movies (but be aware, this has plenty of spoilers, so maybe go there after you’ve watched the film). Spiders have long been associated with the female form, think of Ariadne and also Arachne as two ancient examples of this, and this film appears to tap into the unconscious fears associated with spiders that many humans buy into, but most interesting is the way the film also challenges this view by presenting spiders as fearful and/or subject to human cruelty – and so we are talking metaphors here that require some unpacking, not literal stuff.

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The second aspect is more a concern with the film’s aesthetics. From the off, the panorama views let you know that you can only be watching a film filmed in Canada, but the quality of the film, the filters, the camera angles (combined with the eerie soundtrack), and the angsty, not-in-too-much-of-a-hurry-to-move-the-plot-along-or-explain-everything-for-the-viewer feel of the film speaks very heavily of its European influence, and thank goodness for it. The film is challenging, slow in its pace, and offers more questions than answers, but it does make you think – and that’s a good thing, right?


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