Category Archives: Entertainment

FILM REVIEW: Third Star (dir. Hattie Dalton, 2010)

An ultimately beautiful and affecting film, if a bit lacking in places; ultimately, it reduced me to an emotional wreck in quite an impressive way.

I was prepared for this movie to be a downer. It’s about a man dying of cancer, played by one of my new favorite actors (Benedict Cumberbatch!), so I was prepared to be upset by it. And although the script is only intermittently poignant and seems a bit stretched to fill the already-brief runtime, the final impact of this film was absolutely devastating. And that’s not easy to do, either. Having a heavy subject matter isn’t a guarantee of a strong emotional impact; it’s all about the execution, and despite some lackluster scenes, the movie ultimately comes together to be poetically tragic and affecting. And I don’t say that lightly: I can only recommend this movie if you think you’ll be able to take having your heart run over by a steamroller.

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FILM REVIEW: Melancholia (dir. Lars Von Trier, 2011)

Beautifully symbolic, though occasionally incoherent; intellectually dense; emotionally affecting.

At a certain point in Melancholia I actually started feeling the strange hot-cold waves that precede anxiety attacks: that sense of your body trying to expand beyond itself and inevitably becoming pressurized and restrained within your actual form. On paper Melancholia reads like a disaster movie, seeing as the Earth is completely obliterated in the first few minutes of the film; but all that is actually a metaphor, as it turns out, for depression and anxiety, although how the metaphor operates is up to individual interpretation. Melancholia can be a trying experience if you don’t really feel like pulling threads of meaning out of the tangled ball of string that this movie is, but there’s something about the concept of Melancholia that taps into humanity’s irrational, persistent fear of the universe at large.

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Anticipated Upcoming Movies (11/6/2011)

Amusingly, I am not able to endorse any of the movies I’m about to mention without some degree of reservation about their potential quality. However, I am expecting at least one of the following films to pleasantly surprise me with ingenuity and beauty. Let’s hope I’m right!

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FILM REVIEW: The Elephant Man (dir. David Lynch, 1980)

Rating: 8 out of 10

I don’t think I have ever cried so hard over a movie.

I certainly wasn’t expecting this film to be a light-hearted jaunt, to be sure, but I wasn’t expecting the emotional devestation it delivered either. I have been habitually drawn to characters that are primarily defined by some sort of deformity, but they’re usually morally questionable if not downright evil. What makes The Elephant Man, and indeed the story of Joseph Merrick itself, so heartbreaking is that he was a good, kind person, resulting in Bambi-esque degrees of sadness.

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TV REVIEW: American Horror Story (1×01 “Pilot”)

RATING: 7 out of 10

What can definitively be said about this show is that it has atmosphere. This show knows exactly what it wants to be, and save for a few slight mis-steps (mainly overuse of jump-cuts; I still don’t forgive Jean-Luc Godard for that) it knows how to get it. It is easy to imagine people getting turned off by the show’s pure repulsiveness– it’s saturated in fleeting images of deformed, dismembered, ghoulish people– but I enjoyed it despite the fact that horror is my least favorite genre, which I think is a testament to the show’s engaging story and style.

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FILM REVIEW: Drive (2011, dir. Nicolas Winding Refn)

7.5 out of 10

I love pleasant surprises.

Because for some reason, I went into this movie thinking it was going to be a mindless, unsatisfying action flick. That’s what the trailer made it look like! However, Drive is actually a dark, contemplative film, constantly threaded with suspense even in the film’s most langourous moments. The film might be a bit of an uneven experience, but it is never boring, and its stylized atmosphere is noteworthy in and of itself.

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Anticipated Upcoming Movies (8/22/11)

I find it hard to look far into the future when scanning the upcoming movie releases. Like the weather, movies that look promising can suddenly suffer an onslaught of terrible reviews that make you doubt your interest in it, and other films that you stumble upon by accident can be pleasant surprises. Here are three films that I’m looking forward to in the coming weeks that I think deserve more recognition than they’ve been getting so far.

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