‘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

‘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

‘Children of Men’: The Political Allegory of the Moment

Films set in the future have a tendency to feel dated. After all, how can a movie accurately depict the future without sorely reflecting the era in which they were made? The most astonishing thing about Children of Men is how it hasn’t aged a day since its release in 2006. Considering today’s geopolitical climate of building walls, sealing borders, and banning refugees, perhaps the film is more relevant than ever.  Continue reading