JOKER: A Black Hole Comedy to Ruffle the Masses

The most disturbing moment in Joker for me by far, is the scene that follows the subway murders. Arthur locks himself in a public bathroom, looks at both himself and what he’s done in the mirror then starts to… dance. Violence brings Arthur such unspeakable power (perhaps even joy) and the only way he can express that release of emotion is by waltzing with himself like one would in, say, a vaudeville musical. It’s a disturbing portrait of nihilism, narcissism, and psychopathy that I couldn’t stomach. Continue reading

Blade Runner 2049: A Real Human Being

Do androids dream of electric sheep? Perhaps androids could if they actually slept. There’s not a single scene in Blade Runner 2049 where a character, human or replicant, is seen dozing off. Considering the experience of the film, that might precisely be the point. Each scene is so beautifully and evocatively rendered that it feels as though we’re in a dream, which goes on to complicate what’s “real.” Blade Runner may have asked what it means to be human, but 2049 forces us to reconsider the validity of emotions and memories and whether they’re exclusive to the human experience. Because if the human experience can be manufactured, what does that make humanity other than a baseline for something better?  Continue reading

On Sexism, Misogyny, and Self-Congratulatory Back-Patting

James Cameron made the headlines last week. He began production on 4 Avatar movies with a combined budget of $1 billion – a budget that could very well balloon to twice that or more in time. Perhaps we’ll talk about ridiculously supplying films that have little to no demand anymore (we may have been eager for an Avatar follow-up years ago, but my God we didn’t ask for FOUR), because in other news, James Cameron has decided to double down on his comments about Wonder WomanContinue reading

Nobody Puts ‘Baby Driver’ in a Corner

When Baby and Debora first meet, they fret about who’s got more songs based off their name. “You’ve got us beat,” Debora remarks of Baby. “You’re in all the songs!” She’s not wrong. Baby Driver takes its name from a Simon & Garfunkel song, while Debora, referencing a 90’s Beck song, notes that the track isn’t even about her, but a sister named Jenny, the lead singer wanting to get with the two of them. Neither Baby nor Debora need to spin themselves in circles about their namesake because writer-director Edgar Wright spins an ode to genre cinema and jukebox nostalgia, one so rhythmic and catchy that we’ll be singing to the tune of Baby and Debora while gleefully soaring down the highway. At a reasonable speed, of course.  Continue reading

‘La La Land’: Someone In The Crowd

One of the most iconic shots in La La Land (and there are plenty of them) comes early on during Mia’s melancholy walk home. A walk of shame. Her car’s been towed, she’s living in the city of her dreams, a city that shuns her all the same, and she finds herself wondering if she’s good enough. It’s an all-too-familiar road, one she embarks on after each failed audition. On this particular stroll, she finds music that suits her mood, and follows the bread crumbs of the melody to find Sebastian.  Continue reading