ABOUT ME
Neurotic Visionary with Delusional Aspirations. 08/20/1995. Male. Canada. Or am I?

#MY FACE

#MY ART

#MY REVIEWS
August 4th 2014 10:27 PM  |  1 note
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When it comes to film, I don’t suppose you can really help what you enjoy and what you don’t. Are we preordained, in that sense?

Not completely, but the reason I bring this up is because I saw Snowpiercer earlier today, and I’m ambivalent about it. The pacing felt slow and the allegory of the whole class system felt overdone and the characters seemed too brooding and contrived; but it picked up nearly an hour later and most of those flaws receded and interesting revelations that were built up came to light. So how does one judge the experience in its entirety? More specifically, where does our opinion fall between the fine line of the cinema as it undergoes analysis, and the cinema as we watch it? I can appreciate the imbued symbolism lying beneath the surface of Snowpiercer’s visual palette (made apparent to me through this video), but it doesn’t change the way I felt while I watched it. How much value should we place on the film’s storytelling vis a vis our visceral reaction, and how much on the realized artistic ingenuity and detail that underlies that story after analysis? 

Of course, it’s up to you. 

Kenneth Turan wrote an interesting op-ed on his own rumination about criticism after he felt underwhelmed by the universally acclaimed Boyhood. I think it’s a misunderstanding to say this is his criticism of the film at all; the film is simply a placeholder for any film that all critics inevitably face—the one that makes them reevaluate why it is we are compelled to share our opinions and critique at all, let alone pursue a profession in it. 

August 3rd 2014 11:04 PM  |  0 notes
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Stranger by the Lake, dir. Alain Guiraudie (2013)
Do audiences really need another generic murder thriller? Where within the first few minutes both the protagonist and the audience are privy to a crime being committed, only to have the protagonist continue to pursue the murderer? Perhaps the answer is no, but when it comes to queer representation, Stranger by the Lake is the understated film that says yes. Its an effortless 100 minutes that subtly builds the audience’s familiarity with its setting—the lake—and the few characters that lay by the tranquil spot. Dissimilarity quickly becomes indicative of red herrings, and while not much is said, but rather much more is seen, by the end, the film evokes a psychological query of lethal lust, and the peculiarities and naivety of trust, particularly within the context of male sexuality and the gay community. With its gratuitous explicit scenes, Stranger by the Lake (and this might sound crass) could simply be reduced to a porn that’s disguised as a provocative french film that’s equal parts erotic sex and suspenseful thriller; but I suppose that description will either titillate you or bore you.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Stranger by the Lake, dir. Alain Guiraudie (2013)

Do audiences really need another generic murder thriller? Where within the first few minutes both the protagonist and the audience are privy to a crime being committed, only to have the protagonist continue to pursue the murderer? Perhaps the answer is no, but when it comes to queer representation, Stranger by the Lake is the understated film that says yes. Its an effortless 100 minutes that subtly builds the audience’s familiarity with its setting—the lake—and the few characters that lay by the tranquil spot. Dissimilarity quickly becomes indicative of red herrings, and while not much is said, but rather much more is seen, by the end, the film evokes a psychological query of lethal lust, and the peculiarities and naivety of trust, particularly within the context of male sexuality and the gay community. With its gratuitous explicit scenes, Stranger by the Lake (and this might sound crass) could simply be reduced to a porn that’s disguised as a provocative french film that’s equal parts erotic sex and suspenseful thriller; but I suppose that description will either titillate you or bore you.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

July 19th 2014 11:09 PM  |  9 notes
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Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater (2014)
Much like the essence of life, Boyhood is a sprawling 12 year story full of little moments—and how fitting that for the audience, this film is but a moment of our lives? Nothing short of immaculate and monumental, Boyhood is an intimate portrait of growing up, growing old, and the ebb and flow of change that transforms us into the people we are in this moment, all in relativity to the grand scheme of moments that make up our lives. Linklater’s trademark naturalism and conversational voyeurism is nowhere more consummate and moving than in Boyhood, a film that captures the culture and history that surrounds the recent decade, because it was filmed gradually throughout the 2000s. Hairstyles change, clothing changes, technology advances, music changes, and those seemingly insignificant, fleeting “things” (more or less), become a signifier and reflection of times. They demarcate moments, events, and cultural shifts, in retrospect. 
And that’s only gazing upon the generality of the overall narrative. Boyhood is a cinematic masterpiece (it truly is) that has so many moments, and has so much to say about life. People enter and leave our lives; our simplest of words can change lives; and throughout our lives we learn from an immeasurable number of experiences, and are influenced by countless people. Every family has their own struggle. And every day is a step toward the future, and then we perish. But before we do, each of our lives is filled with moments, whether we acknowledge them as such or not, whether we remember them or not. Watching this family—a boy, his older sister, and their childhood between divorced parents—mature on screen, physically and emotionally, career wise and in all dimensions of their relationships (with teachers, friends, new families, and new romances), is humbling. In just under three hours, it encapsulates the ephemerality of life. Life moves on no matter what. 
Boyhood is a fascinating study of character and identity, family and life, and it’s a cinematic and narrative achievement that will stand as a remarkable film for generations of audiences.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater (2014)

Much like the essence of life, Boyhood is a sprawling 12 year story full of little moments—and how fitting that for the audience, this film is but a moment of our lives? Nothing short of immaculate and monumental, Boyhood is an intimate portrait of growing up, growing old, and the ebb and flow of change that transforms us into the people we are in this moment, all in relativity to the grand scheme of moments that make up our lives. Linklater’s trademark naturalism and conversational voyeurism is nowhere more consummate and moving than in Boyhood, a film that captures the culture and history that surrounds the recent decade, because it was filmed gradually throughout the 2000s. Hairstyles change, clothing changes, technology advances, music changes, and those seemingly insignificant, fleeting “things” (more or less), become a signifier and reflection of times. They demarcate moments, events, and cultural shifts, in retrospect. 

And that’s only gazing upon the generality of the overall narrative. Boyhood is a cinematic masterpiece (it truly is) that has so many moments, and has so much to say about life. People enter and leave our lives; our simplest of words can change lives; and throughout our lives we learn from an immeasurable number of experiences, and are influenced by countless people. Every family has their own struggle. And every day is a step toward the future, and then we perish. But before we do, each of our lives is filled with moments, whether we acknowledge them as such or not, whether we remember them or not. Watching this family—a boy, his older sister, and their childhood between divorced parents—mature on screen, physically and emotionally, career wise and in all dimensions of their relationships (with teachers, friends, new families, and new romances), is humbling. In just under three hours, it encapsulates the ephemerality of life. Life moves on no matter what. 

Boyhood is a fascinating study of character and identity, family and life, and it’s a cinematic and narrative achievement that will stand as a remarkable film for generations of audiences.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

June 2nd 2014 5:51 PM  |  0 notes
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Maleficent, dir. Robert Stromberg (2014)
Despite an indulgent, charismatic performance by Angelina Jolie (I can not stop gushing about how magnificent her performance is—I might even go as far as to say it is one of the best this year so far; and if the Academy wasn’t so biased, even an Oscar worthy performance), the writing of Maleficent failed her in its frustrating simplicity. While the film is innocuously funny and sweet, and fulfills its share of magic and violence quota for its genre, I left the theatre unable to quite pinpoint what was lacking from the film, except that I knew it was too simple of a retelling. But to judge a children’s film on complexity was perhaps unfair, so I tried to recall what made great, classic children’s films so impressive for older audiences. I could only reduce my theory to the assemblage of dynamic characters and perceptible morals of the stories.
I came across a WIRED article this morning that expressed what I had been racking my brain around—nuance. If you haven’t seen the film, this quote doesn’t give away too much, but explains what you might expect:

Rather than defining Maleficent as a flawed and complex character, the movie bestows her with the very qualities the Sleeping Beauty tale once reserved for the Princess Aurora: gorgeous, feminine, pure of heart, and beloved by all. By the movie’s denouement, those flighty emotions that set her on a path to revenge have dissolved, a hindrance to her ultimate redemption.

Ultimately, in the kid’s film market, saturated by the likes of brilliant storytelling from Miyazaki and Pixar, Maleficent merely flips an old formula without doing much else to garner praise. However, Jolie’s electrifying performance is enough for me to recommend anyone who’s eager to see the film to view it anyway—Maleficent is still an entertaining movie nonetheless.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Maleficent, dir. Robert Stromberg (2014)

Despite an indulgent, charismatic performance by Angelina Jolie (I can not stop gushing about how magnificent her performance is—I might even go as far as to say it is one of the best this year so far; and if the Academy wasn’t so biased, even an Oscar worthy performance), the writing of Maleficent failed her in its frustrating simplicity. While the film is innocuously funny and sweet, and fulfills its share of magic and violence quota for its genre, I left the theatre unable to quite pinpoint what was lacking from the film, except that I knew it was too simple of a retelling. But to judge a children’s film on complexity was perhaps unfair, so I tried to recall what made great, classic children’s films so impressive for older audiences. I could only reduce my theory to the assemblage of dynamic characters and perceptible morals of the stories.

I came across a WIRED article this morning that expressed what I had been racking my brain around—nuance. If you haven’t seen the film, this quote doesn’t give away too much, but explains what you might expect:

Rather than defining Maleficent as a flawed and complex character, the movie bestows her with the very qualities the Sleeping Beauty tale once reserved for the Princess Aurora: gorgeous, feminine, pure of heart, and beloved by all. By the movie’s denouement, those flighty emotions that set her on a path to revenge have dissolved, a hindrance to her ultimate redemption.

Ultimately, in the kid’s film market, saturated by the likes of brilliant storytelling from Miyazaki and Pixar, Maleficent merely flips an old formula without doing much else to garner praise. However, Jolie’s electrifying performance is enough for me to recommend anyone who’s eager to see the film to view it anyway—Maleficent is still an entertaining movie nonetheless.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

May 9th 2014 9:10 PM  |  2 notes
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FILMS IN 2014

25. The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)

A timely introduction to the quiet influence of a precocious young boy, who grew up to be a maverick of the computer hacktivist movement. As the politics of the internet seek urgent remediation, the resonance of his work is felt ever more after his death. 

26. Ai Weiwei The Fake Case (2014)

Johnsen meanders on the everyday actualites of Weiwei’s restricted life, bordering on voyeuristic, and spends less time on the power of the political, subversive statements underlying his art. 

27. Leon: The Professional (1996)

Incendiary and mature performance by a young Natalie Portman, supported by wonderfully stylized acting all around. An unconventional love story that works due to an undramatic script that makes way for the performance between reserved hitman and feisty New York girl.

28. The Kings of Summer (2013)

Its contrived and cliche script and the multiple montages, The Kings of Summer plays out more like an overdrawn commercial or a nostalgic boy band music video. It’s harmless, but also quite thoughtless. 

April 29th 2014 5:37 PM  |  2 notes
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FILMS IN 2014

17. Orlando (1993)

Tilda Swinton gives a stunning performance as the gender bending Orlando, in a magnificent study of gender relations through time and society. FULL REVIEW

18. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

An imaginative caper, rat and cat chase with a hefty, star studded cast of characters, set in a perilous era, that only Anderson could render adorably romantic. FULL REVIEW

19. Magnolia (1999)

A sprawling poetic story of connectedness, paternity, loneliness, loss, and absence. Whether destined, karmic, or purely coincidence, the ending is tremendous. 

20. Doubt (2008)

Brief and ambiguous, Doubt is very much in the nature of the live play it was adapted from—with its engaging dialogue and minimal sets, the performances thrive, but the story leaves a bit more to be desired.

21. This Is The End (2013)

A celebrity satire that isn’t as quick witted or full out crazy as it purports to be.

22. Babel (2006)

Wonderfully told story of families, spanning across the globe, affected by a single shot fired.

23. The Departed (2006)

Intense crime thriller that grips you by the throat through jaw dropping turns until the very satisfying conclusion.

24. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Moving, haunting performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o. The opening scene brilliantly captures the essence of the mental and psychological story untold, then ventures fearlessly into the unfathomable brutality that humanity inflicted upon each other.

April 22nd 2014 8:14 PM  |  19 notes  |  Via
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cinematicshadows:

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a tremendous achievement in filmmaking, one of the most intimate studies of childhood I’ve seen. The film, shot since 2002, centers on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a 5-year old boy at the beginning of the film who ages over the years to be an 18-year old adult by the film’s conclusion. Chronicling his trouble in a divorced home, he lives with his mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), as the former attempts to find a stable home for her children without a father. Their birth father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), is a fun-loving man who cannot take responsibility for his actions; the details that emerge near the film’s end about the pregnancy that led to the children is natural and believable. These are flawed human beings that grow over the feature, both literally and characteristically, and each are deserving of their own narratives. Yet they all occupy Linklater’s 165-minute film. 
Linklater remains one of the great humanistic voices in modern film, having tackled the greatest romance in the history of the movies with the Before trilogy and mixing independent and mainstream films with ease. What he’s able to do here and done before is address the most relatable issues in life as if they are new and perfectly adjusted to the characters. He has Mason deal with peer pressure and bullying with single scenes, Olivia handle the struggle of children growing up in a broken home along with spouses and their drinking problems, and Mason Sr. with children that he rarely sees and an immaturity that constantly nags at him. The film progresses methodically and at its own whim, and the performances are stellar. Hawke and Arquette look young and vibrant in the beginning and matured and stable by the conclusion. And Coltrane is an astute actor that feels like he sincerely grew up on screen. The film also works as a terrific time capsule of the 2000s, with a soundtrack that hits the right notes of the decade. Boyhood works for me because I feel like I watched some of myself grow up on screen, and it’s a great depiction of maturation.
Grade: ★★★★½ (out of 5)
See my full video review right HERE.

Its limited release is planned for July 11th, so fingers crossed that it’ll play in a theatre near me!

cinematicshadows:

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood is a tremendous achievement in filmmaking, one of the most intimate studies of childhood I’ve seen. The film, shot since 2002, centers on Mason (Ellar Coltrane), a 5-year old boy at the beginning of the film who ages over the years to be an 18-year old adult by the film’s conclusion. Chronicling his trouble in a divorced home, he lives with his mother, Olivia (Patricia Arquette), and sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater), as the former attempts to find a stable home for her children without a father. Their birth father, Mason Sr. (Ethan Hawke), is a fun-loving man who cannot take responsibility for his actions; the details that emerge near the film’s end about the pregnancy that led to the children is natural and believable. These are flawed human beings that grow over the feature, both literally and characteristically, and each are deserving of their own narratives. Yet they all occupy Linklater’s 165-minute film. 

Linklater remains one of the great humanistic voices in modern film, having tackled the greatest romance in the history of the movies with the Before trilogy and mixing independent and mainstream films with ease. What he’s able to do here and done before is address the most relatable issues in life as if they are new and perfectly adjusted to the characters. He has Mason deal with peer pressure and bullying with single scenes, Olivia handle the struggle of children growing up in a broken home along with spouses and their drinking problems, and Mason Sr. with children that he rarely sees and an immaturity that constantly nags at him. The film progresses methodically and at its own whim, and the performances are stellar. Hawke and Arquette look young and vibrant in the beginning and matured and stable by the conclusion. And Coltrane is an astute actor that feels like he sincerely grew up on screen. The film also works as a terrific time capsule of the 2000s, with a soundtrack that hits the right notes of the decade. Boyhood works for me because I feel like I watched some of myself grow up on screen, and it’s a great depiction of maturation.

Grade: ★★★½ (out of 5)

See my full video review right HERE.

Its limited release is planned for July 11th, so fingers crossed that it’ll play in a theatre near me!

March 19th 2014 9:51 PM  |  19 notes  |  Via
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filmhabits:

Peanuts - Teaser Trailer

In theaters November 6, 2015 (US)

On a happier note, this teaser trailer for a far off Peanuts film is absolutely adorable :)

March 14th 2014 11:47 PM  |  20 notes
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The Grand Budapest Hotel, dir. Wes Anderson (2014)
Wes Anderson’s singular vision and stylistic form is in full force and arguably at its best in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Brimming with whimsy and drama, this is no less of a trademark Anderson full-length feature film. A young woman reads the novel of The Grand Budapest Hotel at the foot of the author’s gravestone, and it is the Young Writer (perhaps from beyond the grave) who narrates his encounter with Zero Moustafa, whom consequently retells his young life as lobby boy for the legendary Monsieur Gustave—who leads him on an adventure on the run, testing their loyalty, or more accurately, rather proving their indomitable loyalty.
Amongst this quirky chase is a backdrop of war tensions and immigration policies, but with such an enormous all-star cast and plenty of eccentric characters, the stories of the characters seem to waver, never quite developing strongly, in the midst of the high energy, seemingly endless, criminal pursuit—that is no doubt filled with peculiar Andersonian humour. 
So while The Grand Budapest is visually stunning, cinematically impeccable, and one of Anderson’s more suspense driven films (crime! murder! decapitation! high-speed chases!), it can’t entirely make up for the lack of nuance and emotional sentiment. It is, otherwise, utterly fun and compelling narration on the part of Anderson’s exceptional directorial artistry.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them! 

The Grand Budapest Hotel, dir. Wes Anderson (2014)

Wes Anderson’s singular vision and stylistic form is in full force and arguably at its best in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Brimming with whimsy and drama, this is no less of a trademark Anderson full-length feature film. A young woman reads the novel of The Grand Budapest Hotel at the foot of the author’s gravestone, and it is the Young Writer (perhaps from beyond the grave) who narrates his encounter with Zero Moustafa, whom consequently retells his young life as lobby boy for the legendary Monsieur Gustave—who leads him on an adventure on the run, testing their loyalty, or more accurately, rather proving their indomitable loyalty.

Amongst this quirky chase is a backdrop of war tensions and immigration policies, but with such an enormous all-star cast and plenty of eccentric characters, the stories of the characters seem to waver, never quite developing strongly, in the midst of the high energy, seemingly endless, criminal pursuit—that is no doubt filled with peculiar Andersonian humour. 

So while The Grand Budapest is visually stunning, cinematically impeccable, and one of Anderson’s more suspense driven films (crime! murder! decapitation! high-speed chases!), it can’t entirely make up for the lack of nuance and emotional sentiment. It is, otherwise, utterly fun and compelling narration on the part of Anderson’s exceptional directorial artistry.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them! 

March 14th 2014 11:03 PM  |  4 notes
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Orlando, dir. Sally Potter (1992)
“Same person. No difference at all… just a different sex.”
Swinton’s soft spoken, assured deliverance defines a graceful and one-of-a-kind androgynous performance that accentuates the versatility of a truly powerful actress. Orlando is a succinct, beautifully told story, perhaps a quiet epic, of a man who lives for four hundred years, and somewhere along the way, becomes a woman. There are no convoluted technicalities or biological accuracies to scrutinize; Potter’s Orlando is a soulful story that is merely human in nature and peeks through the political, social, and emotional, stained glass of womanhood, and the ways in which society prejudices and distinguishes the sexes. 
Orlando is, at a visceral level, a simple narrative—as well as being aesthetically outstanding, in its ornate costuming and lavish sets—and may seem facile or reductive, but within the parallels lies the complexity and constructed dichotomy of gender in history and today. Potter’s lens is completely unpretentious, and also undoubtedly feminist. Orlando is an understated study of sex and gender.
FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!

Orlando, dir. Sally Potter (1992)

Same person. No difference at all… just a different sex.”

Swinton’s soft spoken, assured deliverance defines a graceful and one-of-a-kind androgynous performance that accentuates the versatility of a truly powerful actress. Orlando is a succinct, beautifully told story, perhaps a quiet epic, of a man who lives for four hundred years, and somewhere along the way, becomes a woman. There are no convoluted technicalities or biological accuracies to scrutinize; Potter’s Orlando is a soulful story that is merely human in nature and peeks through the political, social, and emotional, stained glass of womanhood, and the ways in which society prejudices and distinguishes the sexes. 

Orlando is, at a visceral level, a simple narrative—as well as being aesthetically outstanding, in its ornate costuming and lavish sets—and may seem facile or reductive, but within the parallels lies the complexity and constructed dichotomy of gender in history and today. Potter’s lens is completely unpretentious, and also undoubtedly feminist. Orlando is an understated study of sex and gender.

FILMS IN 2014 for quick reviews and ratings of films, as I watch them!