Hello, everyone! Having just seen The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola’s latest film for which she won Best Director at Cannes, I’m left feeling confused. To say the film is good or bad oversimplifies the matter; it simply feels half baked. Coppola’s take on author Thomas Cullinan’s novel is lush, beautiful to behold, and potent with tension, but it’s held back by flawed pacing. Coppola is skilled at crafting slow, atmospheric movies like Lost in Translation, but while that film’s anti-climactic ending was a perfect period to its meandering plot, The Beguiled has an explosion of climax with too much rising action and almost no resolution balance to it out. Whether the fault in pacing is due to the source material (I’ve never read the book so I can’t comment) or due to Coppola’s own directorial choices remains to be seen, but the result is a film that feels as incomplete as General McBurney’s amputated leg.
Hello, everyone! I recently finished Emma Cline’s debut novel The Girls, a tale of one girl’s summer in a Manson-inspired cult which apparently sold for a cool $2 million advance. I gave up on reading books about bored, apathetic teenage girls around 9th grade, but I was suckered in by the punchy, cool-girl cover design. Readers, don’t be fooled. The Girls is a trashy teen lit book dressed up as a sophisticated thriller, mired with angst, female self-hatred, dangerously sexy older girls, and men so uniformly despicable that they belong in a treatise on misandry. The prose is entertaining, but overworked. Worst of all, the whole thing is tiresome. Everything from the plot to the characters to Evie’s individual thoughts have been done before. But Cline’s fatal flaw is in her protagonist: Evie is a Nick Carraway with no Gatsby to make up for it.
Hello, everyone! I’ve written before in my posts about how I think Marvel movies have all become formulaic, heartless, soul-sucking cash grabs, so I guess it’s no surprise that the Guardians franchise has succumbed to that paint-by-numbers scheme too. The first film was surprisingly witty and heartfelt, and managed to make the origin story of a group of unfamiliar, oddball assholes endearing. Not to mention, the soundtrack was fantastic. Vol.2 also has a killer soundtrack, but the wit and heart are harder to find. There’s a great movie in here somewhere, but it’s lost amidst $200 million worth of special effects and a plot so familiar that even the journey isn’t very fun.
Hello, everyone! I watched two horror movies this week, one that was surprisingly awesome, and one that was not-surprisingly un-awesome. Since I watched the un-awesome one tonight, I’ll review that one first. Here’s the lesson I learned from watching Creep: if you think Mark Duplass would make a bad horror movie, trust your gut. Don’t listen to Reddit. Even they have bad taste.
Hello, everyone! I watched Nerve yesterday and all my expectations were positively surpassed. A teenage movie that is witty, pretty, realistic, techy, and full of social commentary is like a hidden gem these days. Nerve is a movie that simultaneously defines a generation while also warning that generation to abandon its destructive tendencies.
Hello, all! I haven’t watched a new horror movie in a while, so yesterday I decided to watch The Amityville Horror. The movie was mediocre, but I came away with two thoughts: 1) The reason America is falling apart is because Ryan Reynolds has starred in too many bad movies and 2) People wouldn’t have to deal with ghosts if they bought houses that they could afford.
Hello, all! Just some technical stuff: the blog has a new look, but it’s still the same blog, just prettier. I’d love your opinions on the change. Do you like it? Does it look more readable, less readable, etc? I’ve been wanting a change for a few months now, and I think this theme is more visually appealing and more accessible than Eighties Theme I was using. Onto more interesting things: I watched The Witch on opening night. It was a perfect storm of disturbing imagery, chilling music, bleak atmospherics, and bold directing.
Hello, all! I just finished the 2005 horror movie The Descent, directed by Neil Marshall. I’m the type of person who thinks that activities which create unnecessary danger, such as cave diving, deep-sea diving, skydiving, any type of diving, etc, are stupid. The Descent is a film about smart women who stupidly decide to go cave diving. Chaos, death, and betrayal ensues. And through it all I kept thinking:
Hello, all! It’s been a good week all around and the icing on the cake is that I got to watch Sicario, a movie I’ve been looking forward to viewing since its release in October. This movie did not disappoint. I was expecting gritty, bleak, and violent, and I got gritty, bleak, and violent, with a layer of beastly cello music to further darken the atmosphere. After Enemy and Prisoners, I get the feeling that Denis Villeneuve isn’t trying to make a happy movie.
Hello, all! Sorry I’ve been so lax on posting lately, but now that my school is on break, I’ll try to post at least every other day. Lately my pop culture diet has consisted of items I’ve already read, seen, or listened to. You know the deal when you’re too tired to put the emotional energy into watching a new movie or opening a new book? That’s been me for the past month. But now I’m ready to spend the next two weeks taking in every new thing I possibly can. I’m reading Middlemarch, gonna go see Macbeth on Monday, and today I watched something completely new for me: a found footage horror movie I actually…(wait for it) liked.