at the movies with fygc

My Best Friend’s Wedding is arguable one of the best romantic comedies of all time and I’ll tell you why:

  • It hits all the classic romantic comedy cues (the misunderstanding, wacky supporting characters, a wedding at the end, chase scene, etc) without feeling stale
  • The main character is a successful but incredibly flawed (without being fucking clumsy) female anti-hero
  • She does terrible things but recognizes that and learns from her mistakes
  • And in the end, instead of breaking up her friend’s wedding and making a mess of her entire life, she realizes that some things are more important than romantic love, sometimes you don’t always win but you can still be happy with your friends and family!!!
  • How many movies, let alone romantic comedies, end with the female protagonist getting her heart broken but realizing that it’s for the best and that maybe she DOESN’T need a man after all?
  • Not to mention it has countless perfect set ups and executions

Which is why if you haven’t been watching this over and over since 1997 you’re just plain wrong!

The Neon Demon

Nicholas Winding Refn’s most recent project is the definition of “not for everyone”. At my screening (the red carpet premiere at Cannes), there were walkouts, gasps of disgust, and a whole lot of laughter. There was also a ten minute standing ovation, delivered by a crowd that would spill out onto the Croisette, tripping on their formalwear and ready to talk shit.

Neon Demon is the film I wanted Only God Forgives to be. I’m biased, of course. I love fashion, I love the cast, I love movies with a teenage female protagonist discovering something about herself. This film doesn’t have the strong arc of Drive, but it has the stylistic approach of Only God Forgives in a setting that I find fascinating. Add to that a sense of uncomfortable humour and indulgent delight that constantly makes you ask, “am I allowed to laugh at that?” pulled from Black Swan, and you’ve got Neon Demon.

This whole film is an indulgent romp through the fashion industry, pulling very real tropes and placing them in surreal version of Los Angeles. It’s a neon nightmare. I woke up the next day with the strange sensation of having a bad dream that involved Keanu Reeves and a cougar.

The cast does an amazing job. Elle Fanning is sugary sweet with unfathomable skin, and Jena Malone shines in a way I’ve never seen her before. Bella Heathcoate has some amazing deadpan comedic timing. The soundtrack moves perfectly with every image, punctuated by an amazing “Waving Goodbye” by Sia that I plan on listening to every day for the rest of the summer. And then Keanu Reeves shows up for a minute and confuses the hell out of everyone in the room with a cameo that (as much as I adore that man) is not truly successful.

Is it a good film? I don’t know. I heard a friend criticize it by calling it empty and vacuous, but so what? Very rarely do I get to sit in a theatre and think, “hey, a movie made for me!”. It’s disgusting, uncomfortable, and so much fun. Go see it! You might hate it but at least you’ll have an informed opinion.

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Beyond Clueless is less a documentary and more a tone poem or a visual essay. There are no interviews, no behind-the-scenes footage or stories to be found. Instead, we get ninety blissful minutes of in-depth analysis of my personal favourite genre of film: teen movies. It’s amazingly well edited and scored, and the director fantastically repurposed clips from over 200 different teen films between the mid 90s and 2000s. As someone who has seen at least 80 percent of the films discussed and shown in the doc, I can say it never felt boring. Check it out when it comes near you.

I finally watched this after having it on my list for a really long time, and it took me by surprise. It’s a vicious coming of age story about a character that I struggled to like, but also struggled to hate in equal measure. I’ve always liked Kristen Bell but she really went for it here in a way I haven’t seen her before. Though it appears to be on the lighter side of the dark comedy spectrum (based on the very sunny poster you see above), the film actually skews to the other end.

It’s a shame they only put Kristen Bell’s name and picture on the poster as well, considering how much they focus on her small-town friends. It’s very rare to find a movie that actually fleshes out side characters, but this one does it beautifully. Mamie Gummer is especially fantastic and deserves more credit than she gets, while Martin Starr’s extremely subdued performance surprised me.

There’s a lot of really fucked up shit in this movie, but it’s definitely worth a watch if you have the time. It’s on Netflix!

Spring Breakers is a magical odyssey of excess and over-indulgence. It is incredibly rich in its hollowness. A friend of mine described it as “an art film about something that is not artistic”, which I think pretty much covers it. There were a few walkouts at my screening, and a whole lot of, “What the fuck is this shit?”

There’s nothing specific that pops out about this movie. None of the performances are great, the characters aren’t exceptional, and there isn’t much in the way of plot. But you don’t notice these things if you just give in and let it ~wash over you~, if you know what I mean. The whole thing is like a theme park ride, more of an experience than a film. If you really want to look at the nuts and bolts of it, you probably won’t enjoy yourself.

Already one of my favorite movies of the year, guaranteed. Anything that can incorporate that much Britney Spears so flawlessly wins in my book. Guys, I liked it so much that I’m listening to the soundtrack constantly. I’m listening to dubstep. 

I considered seeing this movie again today, as it is cheap tuesday at Cineplex and I wanted to avoid working on the million assignments I have due this week. I saw it for the first time last Saturday and it slayed me.

It’s about love, but not really. It’s mostly a coming-of-age story about a young woman named Adele, which is why I think the french title is more fitting (La Vie D'Adele). If you’re nervous about planting your ass in a seat for three hours and reading subtitles, don’t be. The time flies by, and I can honestly say there were things I wished had been elaborated on. I considered the sex scenes to be gratuitous, but I didn’t let it ruin the film for me. It’s wonderful and heartbreaking. Heartbreaking in the sense that, after the film was over, I felt like I had lost something because I wouldn’t get to see those characters anymore. I miss Adele and Emma, which is a very strange feeling. I guess when you spend three uninterrupted hours with incredibly well written/acted characters, you’re bound to establish some kind of connection. 

Hollie and I had the opportunity to see Boyhood last week and it was really lovely. It grew on me after I watched it. I keep finding myself connecting moments from my own childhood to that of the main characters’, which might be difficult at first, but that’s only because Richard Linklater takes such a different approach to coming of age.

Most directors tend to go for the showier moments of childhood (parents fighting, first kiss, first car, etc etc) but Linklater forgoes that route entirely. You learn about these moments as the film progresses, but it focuses on the smaller things. We don’t see Mason learn to drive, but we see his father breaking yet another promise to him. We don’t see his first kiss, but we see the aftermath of a broken heart. In this way, Linklater completely sidesteps what initially feels like “the action”, but by doing so reaches a whole different level of capturing childhood. It’s a true collection of small, important moments. I don’t know about you guys, but though I barely remember my high school graduation, I can’t forget the feeling of skipping a class and grabbing a sandwich. That’s what this film feels like.

I had a special connection to this film, considering the age of the main character matches up perfectly with mine (and his mother is the same age as mine). I don’t think that’s necessary though. You’ll probably cry anyway.

Sunday (okay, technically Monday) Movie Recommendation: Sleeping Beauty

This movie is not for everyone. Actually, it’s incredibly polarizing, you’ll either love it or loathe it. I loved it. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I loved it, but I guess I’ll list the things I was fond of.

First of all, aesthetically speaking, it’s almost perfect. One of the prettiest movies I’ve ever seen. Every shot looks like a photograph. Emily Browning was stunning. It was just visually fantastic. Performance wise, I was impressed with everyone in the movie. Obviously, Emily was the focal point of the whole film, and she didn’t disappoint. She did some brave things in this movie, and I was thoroughly impressed. The rest of the cast was good as well, specifically the first man she “sleeps” with (technically). He had a really amazing monologue that came out of nowhere and knocked me off my feet. You don’t really expect to feel any sort of sympathy or connection with someone who pays for the company of an unconscious young girl, but he really excelled in his scenes.

This movie is not moved by action, or music, or even dialogue. It moves forward through the slow but steady build of energy bubbling under Emily’s character. The driving force of the film is never told, just shown, which might make some viewers wonder, what exactly is the point here? Why watch some girl degrade herself more and more until she cracks?

No one is going to tell you what the point is. There’s no neat and tidy resolution, no redemption. It’s simply the study of a girl, no explanation needed. This movie doesn’t coddle or spell anything out, which made it even more fascinating, in my opinion.

TIFF Review: Under the Skin

I almost didn’t get a ticket for this. When I was picking movies to see at TIFF, this was near the bottom of my list. Seeing that the premiere was still available, I pretty much just said, “Fuck it, the movie might be cool, and I’ll get to stare at Scarlett Johansson.” Yeah, I made the right choice.

Under The Skin is an immediately arresting, divisive film. Listening to the reactions of the people around me, it seemed like it didn’t click for the whole audience. It’s an intensely atmospheric, dreamy, visual film. It was until half an hour into the film that I realized I hadn’t moved an inch since it had started. I was literally crouched over, gaping at the screen.

The music, like the rest of the film, feels both classic and completely fresh at the same time. Scarlett Johansson has never been better, she’s in nearly every frame of the film and just kills it. The visuals Jonathan Glazer creates are like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There’s a whole lot of nudity, but it’s equally dispersed between Scarlett Johansson and her, um, targets, which I found incredibly refreshing. 

This is the type of film that makes me wish it was in theatres everywhere so I could have someone to discuss it with, man. 

Such a cute little refreshing movie. I wasn’t a fan of the pacing, it made the film a very slow build. However, once it gets going, you’re pretty invested. Keira Knightley is really starting to show her range as an actress, she does such a great job (and she’s not a bad singer, either). If you’re looking for a cheerful, surprising and sweet Sunday afternoon movie, this is your best bet. 

So, here’s the deal: I heard about The To Do List years ago and thought the premise sounded interesting. Fast forward a few years, the trailer came out, I wasn’t all that interested anymore. But it turns out that my initial excitement was well deserved, because I really fucking liked this movie.

A movie about a young woman taking control of her sexuality? Without regret? Without after school special consequences? While still maintaining a strong relationship with her female friends? Am I dreaming?

It’s insanely raunchy and surprisingly hilarious without losing heart. There’s a killer early 90’s soundtrack. It was WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY A WOMAN!!! These are all the things I need right now in this testosterone saturated summer, and you need them too. So go see it. Please? If only to see Audrey Plaza spit jizz out of her mouth?