“Because we are human, because we are bound by gravity and the limitations of our bodies, because we live in a world where the news is often bad and the prospects disturbing, there is a need for another world somewhere, a world where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers live.”
– Roger Ebert
Alfonso Cuarón’s newest film Gravity is a masterpiece. Roger Ebert’s quote above sums up what’s so special about the film, that it’s truly experiential, a piece of cinema that’s meant to be felt. It seems as though the lack of gravity freed Cuarón’s camera from convention. Long, sprawling scenes are paired with impossible shots to create something unlike anything ever before. The film is seen not only from the vantage of a safe, third party viewer, but also from a first person point of view where you feel the tension and the terror of the characters.
This tension ripples throughout the entire film. At one point you can equate space matter to the sense of dread that rises over you in the beginning of Jaws, as the shark slowly begins to tug at the legs of the unsuspecting skinny dipper. The use of sound, or lack thereof, further heightens this tension as you only hear the breathing of the characters or the gasps of your fellow audience members.
Stanley Kubrick may have said it best: “If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.”
Comments Off on Invisible Artists – A Preview of ‘Sign Painters’ readFilm Review, Films
My theory about signage and typography has been proven true countless times. It predicts that no matter how perfect a new business is set-up, if they use a questionable font for their signage, the business will suffer and eventually close within six months. Okay, maybe it can take up to a year, but inevitably it comes true, I swear. Unfortunately, in most cases signage has become a thoughtless second to other branding materials. But artful, hand-painted, hand-crafted signage was once the shining star.
Comments Off on Polygamy Meets God in L.A. – A Film Review of ‘The Source Family’ readFilm Review, Films
Apparently, the Age of Aquarius has been in full swing since 2012, and as you can see, it has had a great effect on all of us. Well, not me. Not even a little bit actually. But I also don’t belong to a family that forces you to ingest the ‘Jewel of Truth’ and the ‘Wisdom of the Ages’. My family are meat and potatoes kind of people, although I can fully accept that family means something different to everyone. Dysfunctional, urban, organized, nuclear, blended – a family becomes exclusive through the bond (whatever that may be) that is shared among its members. For members of The Source Family, subject of the 2013 documentary, that bond is whatever YaHoWha says it is.
Who is YaHoWha? He is the Earthly Spiritual Father, also known as Father Yod, who was, at one time just plain old James Baker.
Comments Off on Isn’t It Femmantic? – A Film Review of ‘Frances Ha’ readFilm Review, Films
I have a problem with the word platonic. It defines something that is way more interesting than what it seems to be. Male friendships have now become widely accepted as a ‘Bromances’, yet the bond between females, equally as deep and meaningful, is stuck being defined by the old lifeless descriptor, platonic. A non-sexual love. Snoozer. I’m hoping Greta Gerwig, the lead in Noah Baumbach’s newest film Frances Ha, will be remembered as the femme that helped shed platonic from its drab and stuffy skin. Be it, ‘Femships’ or ‘Bromances’, Frances Ha, actualizes what every woman feels inside for her best friend, love in its lightest form.
Comments Off on On the Fringe of Genre – A Film Review of ‘Upstream Color’ readFilm Review, Films
Thoughtful filmmakers intent on making engaging experimental films in today’s cinematic climate are fearless. Only a handful of filmmakers, able to uncover the balance between formal abstraction and narrative fluff, succeed in making films that are a cut above the rest. Harmony Korine of course rules this utopia, as does David Lynch, Michel Gondry and to a certain extent Terrance Malick, with his rapturous depiction of regeneration. Hopefully, Shane Carruth, the writer, director and star, of his second film Upstream Color, will become the newest, most promising member of this crew.
Before any discussion of the poster for Funny Games ensues, I must emphasize that the German turned American film, by Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, is without a doubt a terrifying, horror movie. Funny Games is grotesque, actually, with very sinister undertones and a fair bit of gore. In designing a poster for this film, L.A. based creative Akiko Stehrenberger, made a definitive choice. Rather than funnel perception of the film toward a bloody and bone chilling horror mess, Stehrenberger focused the branding toward a clean and minimal approach, one that is rarely seen within the horror genre.
Comments Off on Sociopathic Pop Misfits – A Film Review of ‘Spring Breakers’ readFilm Review, Films
What do you get when you mix teenage starlets and pop sensations with America’s most enigmatic independent filmmaker? The answer is Spring Breakers, the neon-blazing, experiential, psychedelic pastiche that is Harmony Korine’s most commercially successful film yet. Comprised as a symphony of character, narrative, and social-political layers, Spring Breakers is a maze through an ultra-fun then frenzied trip for four freshmen that will stop at nothing to get to Daytona Beach in time for spring break.
Comments Off on ‘Come to Harm’ a new short film by Borkur Sigthorsson readFilm Review
On the other side of the county, in the capital Reykjavik, Icelanders that were affected by the financial crisis came to inspire Come to Harm by director/photographer Borkur Sigthorsson. Come to Harm is Iceland’s version of Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs.
Comments Off on Noi is the Loneliest Number – A Film Review of ‘Nói albinói’ readFilm Review, Films
There are three identities that come to mind when I think of Iceland. One is of the vast and breathtaking landscape, which is so obscenely grand it is almost supernatural. The second is the capital of Reykjavík that carried the country’s dark financial gloom not so long ago. The last, slides far down the scale of grandiose into the quaint peaceful life of the villages that surround the country’s perimeter. This is where Nói albino takes place. Far away from civilization, green grass and warm sun. First released in 2003 by Director Dagur Kari, what Nói albino does, is the incredible job of merging the immense and humbling Icelandic landscape with the day to day life of inhabitants who reside in a small fishing village on the west side of the country.
I first found Fawns while I was busy looking for something else, and it has since proved to be a lesson for me on managing my expectations. Ironically, I had impatiently been waiting for The Fourth Dimension to be released, the collection of short films from different directors curated by Harmony Korine of which Fawns is the last. The longer I waited the taller my expectations on what Korine would deliver grew to mountain heights. To my surprise, when it was released I was disappointed with most of it, until Jan Kwiecinski’s 30-minute adventure Fawns blew me away.