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 – and finds herself doubting whether 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

‘Beauty and the Beast’: If It’s Not Baroque, Don’t Fix It

What is it about love stories that endure? Romeo and Juliet. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Beauty and the Beast. Stories we keep coming back to. Tales as old as time. Just as these classical pairings of characters fall for each other, we, in turn, fall for them. They become emblematic of love. A portrait. A song and dance. Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast may not change anything we know and love about the original, but the film reminds us why classical tales of woe are not only timeless, but enrapturing.  Continue reading

‘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

‘La La Land’: A Bit of Madness is Key

What is it about dreams that make them so unbearably cinematic? Perhaps it’s the chase, the song and dance of it. The grandiosity, vividness. Or its proximity. How close it seems once we’ve projected the idealized versions of ourselves in the cinema of our subconscious. I suppose the real question is what makes us want to chase our dreams when the world tells us otherwise. When we’ve faced rejection, tasted failure. How long do we go on chasing something until we realize we’re just making a fool of ourselves?  Continue reading