‘Logan’: A History of Violence

“There are no more guns in the valley,” Laura says in her eulogy. She and her band of mutants are no longer on the run, but their safety, much like their hopes of a future, come at a cost. The line is a reference to the 1953 Western Shane, a film that operates as key thematic influence in Logan; a film within a film. Logan itself is a film within a larger film universe (and an ever-expanding Marvel brand), which, like it’s overt film referencing, is all but impossible to ignore. Logan stands tall as an outlier, doing away with end-of-the-world plots, superhero team-ups, and allusions to future installments, servicing an even greater payoff that not only honors its comic book origins, but transcends them.  Continue reading

‘Arrival’: The Universal Language of Film

“Language is the cornerstone of civilization,” Dr. Louise Banks writes in her preface. Ian Donnelly, a theoretical physicist, counters that science is the true foundation, completely neglecting the communicative platform that enables him to express this belief. I suppose we all take language for granted. We know how to construct words that form sentences that in turn express thought, but we fail to recognize the system that allows us to frame thought into words. Syntax. Order and meaning; it’s symbiotic but in many ways alien to us, because even the slightest misunderstanding can have dire consequences: “[Language] is the glue that holds people together. It is the first weapon drawn in a conflict.”  Continue reading