Movie Discussion

I started this Tumblr page as a guide to a movie project that I was doing back in 2014 for people who wanted to follow along. I was having anxiety issues and couldn’t sleep at night. I needed something to look forward to each night to pull me through. The love of films has kept me from harming myself on some occasions, but they have also sent me into a depression on other occasions.

To continue enjoying movies and not harm myself, I have learned to experience movies on many levels to fit my moods and my interest. I have an INTJ personality type so I can become very analytical and remove myself from the emotion of outside stimulus relatively easily. I am also a psychologist that works in the education field so removing myself has become very handy when dealing with a panicky or frustrated child. One of my parents, who also types as INTJ, was a judge and needed to remove herself from situations emotionally so that she could look at things objectively.

Both my mom and I have used this forced objectivity when watching films so that we can make our movie experience fit our mood but still recognize aspects that would be good or bad for others. We would like to share our vast experience with others by watching films and discussing them on a range of levels (did I enjoy, would I enjoy in a different mood, was the movie technically good, would others enjoy, what is interesting, what is bad, what is boring). She is a fan of dramas and dislikes comedies while am a fan of comedy and am not that impressed with drama. Together, we bring a spectrum of likes and dislikes that would be good for many others.

We learned of our generalizable analytical skill from the reoccurring experience of a room shutting up and asking questions when my mom and I were in a group environment and began talking about movies. Neither she nor I are loud people and we find that the environment will quiet down for us when we talk about movies because it is a flow of good information. 

My mom watches all of the Academy award nominees each year (besides dozens of others) while I watch 100s of movies each year while trying to find something good to cover my insomnia. Between the two of us, we have seen tens of thousands of movies over the years. We have also both taken film courses in college and watched movie reviews over the years. We also have a ridiculous memory for details that seems to be genetic.

Together we will be the INTJ Movie Critics and we will start posting here until we have our own website. If you have interest in what movies we analyze, let us know :) We are taking suggestions right now but we have generally done this with highly acclaimed movies (AFI Top 100 for me and Academy Nominees for her). It doesn’t mean we can’t branch out, though, because I am a big fan of B movies that are so bad they are good. So we are open to any suggestions in the beginning stages of this. So what movies should we review?

The Lego Batman Movie

Starring Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, Jenny Slate, and Ralph Fiennes

Directed by Chris McKay

Batman (Arnett) is used to working alone to save the city from constant threats of danger from his typical myriad of villains. But when the new, beautiful police commissioner Barbara Gordon (Dawson) establishes herself in Gotham, and the Joker (Galifianakis) devises his most deadly scheme yet, Batman is forced to rethink his modus operandi. On top of that, his isolated concept of family surrounded by childhood trauma is brought into question after accidentally adopting the quirky Dick Grayson (Cera). Batman is forced to reconsider his personal values and test his comfort zone in order to save the people of Gotham on a whole new scale.

I would consider this film a successful stream of consciousness piece. It was as though we were sitting in the writer’s room hearing somebody describe the premise or vision behind the film rather than watching a finished product. While this may sound boring or unprofessional (not that professionalism was at all a goal set forth by this movie), it was this rough, unfinished humor that made this film such a hit. Instead of actual sound affects, gunfire made human “pew pew” sounds. The new police commissioner graduated top of her class from “Harvard for police” and cleaned up crime in her last city using “statistics and compassion.“ The dialogue and jokes had this ad-lib feel that made the story far more endearing in a way that can be appreciated by children and adults alike. That is what set the humor in Lego Batman apart from other recent children’s movies in the best possible way.

Like the first Lego Movie, this film was chock-full of pop culture references. It poked fun at the film history of the Batman franchise, referring to our favorite DC hero’s previous hits and misses. Lego Batman was, in its entirety, a satire of Batman rather than a continuation of the canon. Will Arnett’s goofball adaptation of the famous vigilante exaggerated Batman’s intrinsic traits. He was the perfect caricature of the brooding, arrogant, loner billionaire generations have all come to love. But the references didn’t stop there. The movie poked fun at other superhero universes, including hits like Ironman and flops like Suicide Squad. Lego has a sweeping influence of brands franchises, and the film included legendary characters like Voldemort, King Kong, Tardis, and the Wicked Witch. Jokes referenced everything from children’s movies to Pulp Fiction, making the pop culture allusions something all ages can feel included in.

The Lego Batman Movie is a guaranteed pleaser. Although marketed to children, people of all ages and background can find something to love in this action-packed comedy. The star voice acting brings another element of fun and excellence to the movie. The easy-on-the-eyes computer animation gave McKay (dir) lots a free range while still carrying on the lego nostalgia. The off-beat humor is over the top without going too far and makes up for the arguably trite storyline. So while the story behind this movie may be less original than its 2014 predecessor, it is no less fun and can be enjoyed by all!

18/20

Rhetorical Ink Reviews: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!

**NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW**


My Top 10 Thoughts on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


Originally posted by dailyfantasticbeastsgifs

10. Queenie’s character had a Luna Lovegood quality to her that I actually really liked. She seemed aloof but was actually daring, smart, and sweet. I love how Jacob is practically the Mario to her Princess Peach…except she’s the one saving him most of the time. Not that Jacob isn’t brave, though…speaking of which: 

Originally posted by hardyness

9. Jacob. Just…Jacob. I fell in love with his character. He was EXACTLY what this film needed for those watching that haven’t the foggiest about the Harry Potter universe. I love the idea of a “No-Maj” or “Muggle” being introduced to the Wizarding World alongside the audience and Dan Fogler’s performance was just so darn charming and genuine. He goes from the bumbling Kowalski to the brave and endearing Jacob. I just loved his character…honestly, though, his story had a full circle arc, so if we don’t see him in the future films should they occur, I’d be okay with that.

As long as he and Queenie get to be together, dang it.

Originally posted by llkonyvesbolt

8. I love that this movie just jumps right into the wizarding community. It knows that most of its audience have seen Harry Potter and know what Muggles are, how wands and spells work, and about elves and the systematic set up of it all. However, since this is taking place in America, there are some changes to what we already know and the movie does it all in a very easy to follow manner. Which is good; a lot of my audience were small kids, including a cousin of my own who had never seen any of the Harry Potter franchises, and some older women who seemed charmed by the film. 

Originally posted by dailyfantasticbeastsgifs

7. The Fantastic Beasts Themselves. Yes, they were quite obviously CGI….but to be fair, their designs were so out of this world, they were going to stick out. I will easily let the CGI animals pass on their sheer creativity alone. Going along with the movie, I wanted Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (roll credits) to be in my lap where I could read about the creatures as I watched. 

I read one review that seemed to hate that the cast were constantly flitting around looking for these creatures, but I didn’t really think their journey was all that repetitive. The humorous scenes with Jacob and Newt were well done and the jewelry scene with the Niffler was one of my favorites. “They went that way.” 

Originally posted by gold-motel

6. The moment we enter Newt’s “home” or “habitat for fantastic beasts,” I was sold on Eddy Redmayne as Newt Scamander. His whole personality is quirky, sincere, and with a tinge of sadness beneath the surface. He seems bubbly, but we get that idea that he’s had to deal with a lot. It made for a complex character that wasn’t just a Willy Wonka for Wizardry. The passion and love he shows for his beasts was touching; It also made me wish to see more of him in other films. He’s just trying to look after his fantastic beasts and teach others about him….can we see him teach a baby Hagrid? 

ALSO, just a note, but my cousin afterwards commented on how Redmayne’s performance was much like that of Doctor Who in this. I am totally on board with him playing Doctor Who at some point, or perhaps a younger version of the First Doctor if they ever decide to film it. Just saying. 

Originally posted by hardyness

Originally posted by hyoyyeol

5. Speaking of call backs, we get a few in the film; Dumbledore is mentioned, Hogwarts, of course. And Grindelwald more on him later... even a Lestrange! I’m assuming it’s Bellatrix’s ancestor. It was sad to hear him talk about how Ms. Lestrange, who we’re made to understand once shared a relationship with Newt “has changed.” It definitely had the Lilly/Snape vibe, except that Newt is Lilly in this case. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, the callbacks were definitely fun. 

Originally posted by rollingstone

4. The Duels and Stakes. This movie reminds me of The Hobbit in the sense that the stakes “feel” a little less in this film because it’s set before Harry Potter. This movie is also a little slower paced at parts, which I didn’t mind because it meant we could settle into this world we’ve been introduced too, but also it could have also moved a little more briskly. Unlike the Hobbit, though, this film actually improves upon the battle sequences; the wand fights were some of the best I’ve seen in all the Harry Potter films; everything just looked natural

Originally posted by hardyness

3. Ezra Miller played the troubled Credence, whose character was so intriguing and turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the film. There’s such a complicated, painful backstory for his character and the lengths that three characters go to try and reach him is so telling. It becomes a lesson in prejudice and anger and hatred and the effects it has on not only the victim, but those involved, and even those with no connections feeling ramifications. A pretty powerful message in all reality.  The intrigue and mystery surrounding that character and his backstory….very well done! 

Originally posted by hardyness

2. And now onto my favorite and least favorite part of the film: 
Collin Ferrel and Grindelwald. 

Originally posted by dreamofdepp

Now, I absolutely adored Collin Ferrel’s performance as Graves in this. The complex, vague nature of his character, or at least what he was playing. I wanted him to, by the end of the film, leave New York and meet up with Grindelwald in Britain….I thought it would go that way, but alas, it did not. 

Now, I wasn’t bothered by an Older Grindelwald making a cameo; not at all. He’s a big player in this story timeframe. I don’t even mind that Johnny Depp is in the role; My main issue was that we’ve spent a whole movie showing off Collin Ferrel and developing his character…only for it to be revealed that it was Grindelwald and have a different actor take his place? That just seemed like a cop out and a way to rush that you’ve been wanting to make a sequel already and wanted a “baddie” reveal before this film ended. 

It just aggravated me and makes me so sad, because Colin Ferrell OWNED this role. Can he just come back in the future films, please? Have Grindelwald disguise as him again? I simply loved Colin Ferrell in this. 

Originally posted by jvmiefraser

Originally posted by soundsofmyuniverse

Originally posted by duarteartiq

1. All in all, though, the ending with Grindelwald was the only part of the movie that bugged me. Everything else was, well, fantastic. If you love Harry Potter, you’re probably going to love this. Just don’t get attached to Collin Ferrell…. 

I saw Doctor Strange and here are some thoughts:

-I enjoyed it.

-I didn’t mind Blendedoot Cumblesnort as Doctor Strange at all.

-I didn’t mind Tilda Swinton as the Ancient One. I’m aware there was a lot of upset surrounding casting a white person as the Ancient One but I think they were pretty good about not trying to pass her off as appropriating the role of an ancient Chinese master (like they explicitly mentioned her being of Celtic descent etc.) and I don’t think it detracted in any way by not having what has become a trope of the “Ancient Chinese wise master”. (In fact there was one interaction where they tried to dispel that trope which I thought was nice.) 

-From a feminist perspective, I was glad to see the mandatory love interest part of the film handled quite well (i.e. Strange was shown sympathy following his redemption arc but his love interest didn’t drop everything and run back to him, instead forgiving him and still moving on without him.)

-The magic (what I was most interested in tbh) was interesting and had a lot of potential.

-Following on from the last point, I am consistently let down by superhero movies from an artistic perspective because I feel like they’re still all trying to stick to a formula too much that leaves them predictable and not reaching the full potential of the story. I would much prefer to see these stories told in a different medium, such as a TV show, where you have the time to be able to explore every aspect. I’m interested in the world building that the film simply doesn’t have the time to delve into. 

-Despite the above point, as far as superhero movies went it was enjoyable. 

-I think the Tumblr criticism of the film before it was even released is mostly unfair, unwarranted and not well thought out.

-I’m really glad that we are finally seeing some superhero movies that deal more with magic and the supernatural as opposed to super sciency explanations for everything - I just really like the idea of and going into magic and the mystic and stuff.

-I’m excited to see Doctor Strange fitting into the wider Marvel film universe.

PASSENGERS

(2016, Morten Tyldum)

Take two of the biggest movie stars on the planet, make them the leads of a movie directed by someone fresh off his first Oscar nomination for directing an Oscar-winning Best Picture nominee, give them a $110 million budget, and a script that was near the top of Hollywood’s annual Blacklist of the best unproduced scripts on the market, with a premise that sees the two popular, conventionally attractive leads stranded alone together in outer space (a very in vogue concept at the moment after Gravity and The Martian), and have them fall in love. Sounds like the recipe for a major hit, right? Well, what all of these ingredients led to instead was Passengers, one of the worst movies of this or any year. So where did it all go wrong?

You can put some of the blame on the stars, Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, whose wooden, passionless performances make it seem like they’ve never heard of the concept of charisma or screen presence. Some of it can go to director Morten Tyldum, whose knack for creativity, precision and sheer entertainment value in his directing seems to be conversely related to how high his budget goes – the more money put into a film, the less he seems to care. Some of it can even go to the production team, with a bland and unoriginal set design that feels like it was made up of discarded parts left over from other, much better films set in outer space. Ultimately though, the meat of the responsibility for the cataclysmic disaster that is Passengers belongs to the script from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus, Doctor Strange), a new nadir representing how little credibility that annually touted Blacklist actually has. Some of the scripts from the list have led to great films (The Social Network, The Wolf of Wall Street), but Passengers joins the ranks of Red Riding Hood and All About Steve (really) as utterly heinous creations derived from what are supposedly some of the “best” scripts out there. The most insane thing here is that the original script, the one that made it onto the Blacklist, is somehow even worse than the one that they used to shoot the film! Which is saying a lot, because Passengers starts bad and only gets a whole lot worse by the time it reaches its stupefying finale.

Beyond the fact that the script for Passengers is loaded with recycled ideas, very poor backstory (Pratt’s character has literally zero history or inner life, and his only defining trait seems to be that he’s a mechanic, and Lawrence’s doesn’t fare much better), and absolutely no sense of awareness of its own storytelling universe, the movie is doomed from conception by a core idea that makes it one of the most repugnant and irresponsible movies ever made. No spoilers here, but an event at the end of the first act (which the trailers make out to be the BIG REVEAL of the whole movie), paints events in a shockingly loathsome light where it becomes impossible to invest in this story the way that the movie wants you to. Now this didn’t have to entirely derail the film, as they could have gone into a dark, incredibly interesting direction that explored the characters in a far more meaningful way. What they do instead, however, is implausibly pepper over this atrocious development with a lazy and generic third act, which then becomes even worse by not only refusing to condemn the problematic issue, but actively leaning into it and treating this as if it is the grand epic romance of our time. Passengers so transparently wants to be the new Titanic, but with the way this thing is written it’s like if the romantic heroes of Titanic at the end were Kate Winslet and Billy Zane’s characters. Except somehow it’s even worse. This isn’t just a bad movie – it’s morally reprehensible, and deeply troubling that everyone thought that this was an acceptable way to treat this story and sell it to the masses.

F

5

“Peck’s film doesn’t waste time recapitulating Baldwin’s legacy and refuses to turn him into the marble statue that so many heroes become when centralised in fawning nonfiction movies. Instead, Peck and Strauss, through fluid, train-of-thought edits, reawaken Baldwin’s entire mindscape, one brimming with ideas and obliquely attuned to a present that is both changed from and familiar to the past. Wherever his brain wanders, our attention invariably follows. Indeed, I Am Not Your Negro excels precisely because it values Baldwin’s genius above all else. His aching, hard-earned wisdom has wavered in and out of the American consciousness in the decades since his death, but Peck’s film places it at the forefront, which is where it has always and unquestionably belonged.” — Matthew Eng

Read more: James Baldwin reclaims the spotlight in Raoul Peck’s magnificent film essay, I Am Not Your Negro

TLBM did not disappoint

February 11, 2017

This movie was better than I thought!

  • The shade thrown at Suicide Squad was solid. I do not recall the exact line but Batman made a comment about villians fighting villians being “a stupid idea!”
  • Alfred listing out every Batman film: 2016, 2012, 2008, 2005, 1997, 1992, 1989 “and that weird one in 1966.” A lego representation of Batman in each film made the line even better, but instead of lego 1966, an actual clip of Adam West was shown.
  • Richard: “My name is Richard Grayson. The other kids call me Dick.” // Bruce: “Well, children can be cruel.”
  • One scene showed a lego version of The Dark Knight’s Joker in the nurse costume. 🙏
  • Adult and child proof humor.
  • The lines were quite brilliant.
  • Common slang and phrases were included such as ‘bro’.
  • Batman’s hatred for Superman was priceless. He claimed him to be a villian - ha ha.
  • Joker referring to himself as The Clown Prince of Crime was nice to hear.
  • Soundtrack was perfect except for two (or three?) songs.
  • Batman narrating the production companies and opening of the film was simply amazing.
  • Computer: “What’s the password?” // Batman: “Iron Man SUCKS!”
  • Other television show characters as legos such the Daleks a.k.a. British Robots.
  • Joker stating he’s been around–known Batman for 78 years.
  • FAMILY! FAMILY! FAMILY!
  • Batman being extremely offended over not being invited to a The Justice League party at Superman’s place. Once again, I forgot what he said (sorry!), but it was along the lines of “You’re having a Justice League party without me?” 
  • Superman blamed technology for not inviting Batman to the J.L. party.
  • Selfies.
  • “DC Comics: the house that Batman built. That’s right, Superman. Come at me bro. I’m your kryptonite.”

This is all I remember and loved the most about the film. I definitely recommend The Lego Batman Movie- it’s great for kids and adults. I might add on to the list if I remember anything else. Well done!

Kids

Starring Chloë Sevigny, Leo Fitzpatrick, and Rosario Dawson

Directed by Larry Clark

Kids follows a group of teenagers in New York City over the course of one day. Telly (Fitzpatrick) and Casper are typical street kids, constantly drinking and sleeping around. Telly has a particular fixation with deflowering virgins, opening the film with an encounter between him and a twelve-year-old. Jennie (Sevigny), one of Telly’s victims, accompanies her friend Ruby (Dawson) on an STD test. Although Jennie only goes to support her friend, she is shockingly diagnosed with HIV. Jennie seeks out Telly, the only boy she’s ever slept with, knowing that he’s likely to spread the virus. However, Telly is too busy drinking, smoking, and chasing after thirteen-year-old Darcy to even notice Jennie.

The irony of the title Kids is that this film is a disturbing perversion of childhood. One way this is communicated is through the frequent mention of teen pregnancy, the ultimate corruption of youth. The twelve-year-old girl Telly deflowers in the opening scene is afraid of having a child. As the boys head inside, we see toddler outside of Paul’s house carrying a babydoll as though it were real, an allusion to teen motherhood. Darcy also tells Telly she’s not allowed to date because her older sister had a baby at age fifteen. Clark (dir) also puts a perverted twist on icons of youth. Casper huff nitrous oxide from balloons, a quintessential element to any childhood. When the group all goes swimming, the image is a bit less wholesome than that of children spending their summer together by the pool. They go skinny dipping, turning a childlike past time into a medium for sexual debauchery. Casper also grows aroused at the sight of Telly’s mom breastfeeding, a natural start to any childhood. Even the name Casper takes a classic, pure image of childhood and adulterates it. The involvement of prepubescent boys in the gang’s exploits also illustrates the perversion of innocence. At Paul’s house, a young boy joins in on the drug usage. At the party, a group of younger kids smoke a joint they took from an older sibling. Disturbingly, following the older brother’s example means going down a path of deviance, highlighting the cyclical nature of corrupted youth.

I see Telly and Jennie as foils. Telly is selfish, caring little for his family. He begs his mother for money, and after he is denied, he steals from her bedroom. Jennie, on the other hand, cries at thought of no longer being able to help her little brother get ready for school after the disease gets the best of her. Telly has no respect for the women he sleeps with, viewing them only as sexual objects. Not only is this visible in the way Telly describes his experiences to Casper, but also masterfully illustrated when Clark overpowers Telly’s sexual partner’s screams of pain with background music, demonstrating how Telly is ignoring them. Whereas Telly is pressuring young girls into sex, Jennie is sexually oblivious. While she has had sex with one person before, she seems completely out of her element when Ruby and her other friends are describing various experiences. Also, the shot of Telly spitting on a man in the park whom he may have just killed cuts directly to a shot of Jennie sitting peacefully in a cab, highlighting the differences in their temperaments. This stark contrast between the two draws attention to Jennie’s sweetness and innocence, exaggerating how unfair it is that she contracted HIV.

On the way to find Telly, a cab driver tells Jennie that “if you want to be happy, don’t think.” While Jennie dismisses the driver, his statement proves true throughout the film. Telly and his friends are living proof of “ignorance is bliss.” They drink and get high to distance themselves from their harrowing reality. Telly also finds his life’s joy in his sexual escapades, completely unaware of how they’re killing him (and how he’s killing others). He shares in his final soliloquy that sexual intercourse gives his life a sense of purpose. If Telly finds out he’s HIV positive, his world will come crashing down. Jennie, on the other hand, is troubled by how grounded in reality she is. Her diagnosis moves her immediately to tears as she accepts the painful road ahead. As she seeks out Telly and eventually realizes he will offer no consolation, Jennie breaks down once again. Jennie is the most emotionally distraught character because she doesn’t distance herself from or ignore her problems. Casper interestingly seems to crossover on this matter at the end of the film. Initially, his self-awareness is on par with his friends’, indulging in even more drugs than Telly. However in the last line of the film he asks himself after raping Jennie, unknowingly exposing himself to HIV, “Jesus Christ, what happened?” Now conscious of the implications of his actions, Casper is no longer the same carefree kid.

This film was met with a lot of criticism. Some even likened it to child pornography in its depiction of teenage debauchery. While I respect this film and its artistic integrity, I see where these critics are coming from and advise discretion. This is not a film for everybody; some may find its disturbing elements overpower its art and message.

15/20

This brings me to the terrific performance from Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, the new Dark Lord with a terrible secret. He is gorgeously cruel, spiteful and capricious – and unlike the Vader of old, he is given to petulant temper tantrums, with his lightsaber drawn, when uniformed subordinates have the unwelcome task of telling him of some new, temporary victory for the Resistance. Driver’s almost unreadably droll facial expression is very suited to Kylo Ren’s fastidious and amused contempt for his enemies’ weakness and compassion.
—  Peter Bradshaw swooning over Adam Driver in prose
Marie Antoinette

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Jamie Dornan, and Rose Byrne

Directed by Sofia Coppola

This film follows the life of Marie Antoinette (Dunst), the Queen of France leading up to the French Revolution. Born and raised in the Austrian Empire, Antoinette is married off to Louis Auguste (Schwartzman), Dauphin of France. A confused foreigner, she is completely unaccustomed to the strange, ritualistic culture of Versailles. Eventually, Antoinette and her husband ascend to the thrown, but she is far from the wholesome image of royalty. Colorful characters like the Duchess of Polignac (Byrne) and Count Axel von Fersen (Dornan) pull Antoinette into a life of apparent decadence and debauchery. However, with the impending French Revolution, Antoinette must grow up fast.

Coppola (dir) made this film less in the style of a traditional biopic and more like a teen dramedy. There are a few historical discrepancies that make this film more like a modern coming of age story (and more like the rest of Coppola’s filmography). The soundtrack is almost entirely classic rock and alternative pop. The opening scene is a classic teen movie trope; Antoinette is begrudgingly woken up, fully decked out with bedhead. The shot in which she and her friends are giggling excitedly at Louis’ likeness before meeting him in person is straight out of any high school flick. Antoinette even asks her carriage driver, “Are we there yet?” At Versailles, the nature of her petty rivalries with other women at court is comparable to that of Cady Heron and Regina George in Mean Girls. Her authority figures are always butting in, telling her she’s hanging out with the wrong crowd, a common teen film trope. The several scenes of her trying on clothes, gossiping, and sneaking out with her gal pals could be found in any high school coming of age movie. There’s even a shot of Antoinette trying on shoes in which a pair of blue converse can be seen in the background, an obvious allusion to the contemporary teen. Coppola is putting a historical narrative about a French queen’s strife around 150 years ago in terms of a modern, high school struggle for popularity. She makes the story relatable, so the viewer can better understand the historical sequence of events.

Coppola not only makes the situation relatable, but she is very successful in humanizing the queen herself. Marie Antoinette is traditionally seen as a cold and cruel historical figure. The famous “let them eat cake” line attributed to her plants the queen as the last straw of the French Revolution. However, Coppola transforms Antoinette into just another immature teenager, somebody we can all identify with. Scenes of her playing with her puppy or drawing with condensation on a window show a playful side the viewer relates to. The film also succeeds in separating her from the France’s financial problems. It is clear that Versailles was already absurdly opulent when she gets there. The gratuitous decadency of French court even shocks Antoinette when she first arrives. She opts to wear a plain white dress instead of the rococo fashions at her humbler chateau. The film depicts France’s assistance in the American Revolution as the catalyst of financial crisis. Antoinette, on the other hand, reads enlightenment literature by Rousseau and tells the court jeweler to stop sending diamonds when she hears about the common man’s struggle. The film shows how Antoinette is singled out by the people as the cause of their poverty, but dismisses these claims as erroneous. Coppola directly counters the idea that Marie Antoinette singlehandedly and carelessly drove France to bankruptcy.

Marie Antoinette does a great job of illustrating the pressure she was under. When Antoinette’s mother tells her she will be marrying the dauphin, she warns her daughter that “all eyes will be on you.” Her mother’s premonition proves true. When Antoinette first meets Louis, his large retinue is present, staring and whispering. As she first ascends the steps of Versailles, she must walk through a herd of her new subjects, scrutinizing their new dauphine. The film is packed with scenes like these in which the audio is overridden by the rude whispers from Antoinette’s spectators, visibly bothering the new queen. She is also taken from her home and placed in an unfamiliar land with unfamiliar customs. When Antoinette first arrives on French soil, she is immediately branded an outsider after hugging a countess out of turn. She is then told that she “must bid farewell to [her] party and leave all of Austria behind;” they even take her puppy away. After being stripped of anything farmiliar, Antoinette is mocked rather than embraced. Two women whisper “I hope you like apple strudel,” mocking Antoinette’s nationality. After her family conflicts with French interests, she asks herself, “Am I to be Austrian or the dauphine of France?” Antoinette must consider how much of herself she is willing to leave behind. She is also under great pressure to have an heir.  She is told, “You represent the future… everything is on the wife.” It is constantly made clear to Antoinette that her position is still unsure if she doesn’t have a child with Louis. She is made to believe Louis’ sexual incompetence is her own fault, even though it is clear to the viewer that this isn’t the case. We are able sympathize with the great stress Antoinette is under.

More so than any of the film I have written on so far, Marie Antoinette was met with mixed reviews. Many critics took issue to the light frivolity of the film that came with Coppola’s “teen movie” approach as well as the historical inaccuracies that resulted. I, however, am appreciative of Coppola’s success in making a hated historical figure understandably human. This, along with the stunning visuals, is why I love this movie so much.

18/20

Adam Driver’s Paterson is robust, candid, ingenuous – “without side”, as the English say. Or, as American soldiers say: he is squared away. That equine, distinguished face is far from the villainy of the new Star Wars movies. He sometimes looks as if he could be any age from 27 down to 17; it is an open and generous face, clouding heartbreakingly at the moment of loss, clearing wonderfully at a final, mysterious, serendipitous encounter. He has never been more beguiling as an actor.
—  Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw swooning over Adam Driver’s performance in Paterson
MOONLIGHT

(2016, Barry Jenkins)

Two years ago, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood was one of the major talking points of the year in film – a breathtaking journey that showed the coming of age of its main character over the course of 12 years. It was easy to see why it drew the acclaim that it did, yet at the same time centering a story around the experience of growing up as a straight white male in America gave off a slight whiff of been there done that. The technique was impressive, but we’ve seen that story told time and again over the decades in film. Something that we haven’t seen nearly as frequently, if at all really, is an equally affecting and intimate portrait of the existence of a gay black man portrayed on screen. Barry Jenkins is here to start to redress that balance with Moonlight, his first film in eight years, after his debut feature Medicine for Melancholy. Chronicling the transition from adolescent to teenager to adulthood, Jenkins casts three different actors (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) to depict Chiron, a man who spends his whole life struggling to find acceptance as he grows up in a rough neighborhood in Miami.

Forging a relationship with local drug dealer Juan (Mahershala Ali), who becomes a father figure to make up for the absence of one, and his affectionate partner Teresa (Janelle Monae) isn’t enough to save Chiron from the beatings at school that he receives for being different, the difficulty reconciling why it’s so hard for him to fit in, or the troubles he faces at home with his unstable addict mother Paula (Naomie Harris). It’s a very specific story, beautifully told with a style from Jenkins that resembles a form of meditative cinematic poetry, yet the greatest strength of Moonlight is that it never feels like a film that shuts off those outside of this particular experience. Rather, Jenkins builds a bridge of understanding that draws natural empathy for the struggles that someone living this life endures while also bringing forth universal themes that we can all relate to. I’m certainly not someone who has had to live with the difficulties that Chiron faces, but I was constantly finding moments and ideas throughout the film that spoke to my own experience, from the themes of loneliness and feeling like you don’t belong, to the ease with which you can slip back into the comfort of an old relationship, even after all of the terrible things that happened to drive you apart from that person.

For Chiron, that person is Kevin, a close friend who is also played by three different actors (Jaden Piner, Jharrel Jerome, Andre Holland) through each of the different time periods that Moonlight traces. Every actor excels in this remarkable ensemble, to a point where it’s almost disingenuous to really point to anyone as being the standout of the cast, but the film really hits its high point in the final section, almost exclusively devoted to one night between the two men years after they had gone off their own ways. Seeing them come back together, after so long apart with such different experiences, speaks tremendously to the power of what Jenkins gets across in his film, and the chemistry between Rhodes and Holland is positively electric. As is the case with the rest of Moonlight, there’s no pomp to Jenkins’ portrayal of this encounter, none of the exploitative poverty porn that can seep into films rooted in these kind of communities, nor any showboating from the director or his cast that would feel disingenuous in a film as quiet and unassuming as this. Jenkins simply lets this story exist in a way that feels organic, never drawing attention to itself, but always feeling potent and made from a place of deep understanding. It’s wonderful to see a film depicting this kind of experience being embraced as wholly as Moonlight has been, and one can only hope that it will open doors for opportunities to see a wider range of experiences portrayed in film moving forward.

B

7

So, I watched “Rogue One” and liked it so much that I went straight to Walmart and picked up the best character of the movie: K-2SO (god, I love this sassy robot).

Check out my buddy Andy and I as we talk movies and review this exciting film on YouTube. We are “Randy At The Movies”

https://youtu.be/jMP2fO2jc3U

Ballerina

So I just saw the new animated film Ballerina and I’m shook.

It’s a rated U, animated film for little kids so the only reason I went to see it was because of the dance aspect and for Maddie Ziegler and Dane DaHaan but I actually left the cinema quite emotional…

  • I cried
  • It made me cry 
  • Multiple times
  • wtf
  • the story and plot was actually really inspiring
  • as a ballerina myself i related a bit 
  • i think one reason i cried is cuz it made me realise why I’ve been dancing for the past 12 years and why I’m currently studying dance at college
  • it made me remember my love for dance
  • also kinda made me feel a bit shit cuz after 12 years of ballet i can’t lift my leg higher than 90 degrees and I’ve only recently started pointe
  • whilst Félicie could do all that stuff after like a week of training
  • some of it was inaccurate: 
  • Félicie wouldn’t go en pointe when she first learns to train that would be incredibly risky and harmful
  • plus she went en pointe in shoes other than pointe shoes
  • thats impressive 
  • but i ship her victor so much
  • i also loved the character development for maddie’s character
  • like you think she’s a horrible brat but it turns out her mother has raised her like it and Camille just wants some love very much like Draco Malfoy my poor lil slytherin
  • I really want to find out about Odette and the stage fire
  • was kinda hoping for a flashback 
  • the plot was very clearly inspired by Annie
  • there were a lot of parallels:
  • Félicie being an orphan
  • leaving the orphanage finding someone to live with who becomes parental figure
  • evil lady chasing her trying to kill her
  • even Félicie climbing up the ladder just like in Annie 
  • but the message of the film was beautiful
  • I really hope it inspires children to take up ballet 
  • and i hope it helps inspire ballerinas who lack motivation just like it did with me
  • overall an amazing film