Quick-Thoughts: Scream (2022)

Dylan Minnette is forever stuck in high school purgatory. 

What I do like about all the sequels to Scream thus far including 5 now is that each one of them, at least briefly, tackled its own new subject matter for the franchise within the trademark space of its “meta” capabilities. However, my issue with them has always been with how boring the execution of expressing them unfortunately ends up being to me, and the same goes especially for Scream 5… or Scream 2022 or whatever we’ll commonly refer to it prior to release.

Funny enough, this and Wes Craven’s Scream 4 actually have a lot in common. Not only do both stick to the same setting as the 1996 original, but they both operate under one identical gimmick: lead viewers on into believing that this is just a partially uninspired yet serviceable beat by beat remake of its maker until the climax reveals its true colors. And, like Craven’s final contribution to the series, the twist does end up being mildly neat and certainly groundbreaking for the series, but it isn’t powerful or meaty enough to necessarily justify its indulgence in the predictable and all too familiar ride that happened beforehand and even still arguably during, as much as it leans to act self-aware about it. 

Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett are clearly passionate about this franchise, yearning to honor the source material by sticking true to it, and because of that their work genuinely feels like something Craven would make. There are a couple cool bits of meta slasher genre harangues here — some even foreshadowing the big reveal — like, again, all of the other sequels, and one gnarly tension trick, but it isn’t enough to entertain me throughout a nearly two hour runtime personally. For a movie that openly understands it’s looped in a hellhole of obligatory motions to the original, it sure seems a little too comfortable with not wanting to break out of them, as if the point and dignity of the “requel” is to never leave a comfort zone for the sake of the fans, which seems ironic in hindsight of what it’s surface-level social commentary turns out to be. Maybe that’s the point, who knows? All I know is each and every sequel in this franchise has only further fatigued me with its reoccurring formula, and that’s no less true than it is here. 

Also, Tara really said “elevated horror” lol.

Verdict: C-

2022 Ranked

“Scream” is now playing in theaters.

Quick-Thoughts: Adam Curtis’s All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (2011)

Damn, this documentary didn’t have to go so hard by deflating every ounce of optimism you ever had for an ideal humanity, but that’s probably why it’s so good.

Part 1: Love and Power

When it comes down to it, I think the hard lesson here in Love and Power is that as much as we would like technology to rely on fixing us, it is not something that in totality, can control us. It works much more as a temporary convenience to accelerate our ideal altruisms than it does as one that can cure humanity’s obsession with power without fluctuating new issues to replace the old ones for which get resolved or perhaps just repeated. We do not give ourselves to a possible technology’s subjective inputs — and that’s a whole other philosophical headache of an “impossibility” which I don’t want to get into — nearly to the degree of simply letting technology rationalize our own human ideas, which is the only reason why we chose to use the technology in the first place. We are certainly asking for how we can be helped based on said circumstances, but not exactly what is all that should be helped to begin with in the grander scheme of factors we either don’t consider or have no knowledge of, as if we ever could ask something like that though.

I mean, humanity‘s positions for leaderships have become so utterly complex and dynamic beyond the simplicity of submitting under say a straightforward pong game, so how could it possibly replicate it at this point in time?

Plus, even if by some miracle, which is although a miracle that “could” happen in the near future, technology found the solution for devising the epitome of Ayn Rand’s philosophy for what would make the altruistic perfect individual and therefore the perfect society — an instance though that has already been continuously attempted and believed too through economical maneuver by the greatest intellectuals who followed her as seen in this documentary —, humanity, in all its now multi-billion population of politicians, loaners, philosophers, everyday persons, and whatever other declining or rising power source to account for possible interference, would not allow for its scheme to trial even remotely to completion because they are a product of other human customs (like love *aww*) that would need to change, extending beyond just a capitalistic mindset for it to work. And, as far as I’m concerned knowing humans and being a human, I doubt any of us would be willing to let technology have the full grip on our freedom to alter that anytime soon. Therefore, I don’t quite see the “Utopia” happening just yet at least in our lifetime.

Part II: The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts

I’ve always found the concept of “feedback loops” to be special, namely because as someone who is quite stubborn with firmly believing in “truths” regarding the reality of our existence — I think I’m much more of an understander than an accepter —, the ecological term has always just made complete sense to me. Yet, not in the way as the film described its initial presumptions during its discovery to the 70s as an explanation for the “balance of nature”. If our means for harming the environment are precisely the material formulated to cause climate change to happen which can produce an uninhabitable world for humans, it just seems logical. It is like a defense mechanism, but not in any means one capable enough to let itself go back to the start. The word “loop” is a bit misguiding because while it may rightfully assume that the goal usually yearns to remain the same, it forgets that the goal is unattainable at times, and even in many cases requires the goal to alter into a secondary, more experimental solution.

Humanity trying to become nature in order to brace its methodical order for mending is particularly funny to me, because it completely undermines the idea that humanity is already a set of nature; the flawed mechanics of humanity now (the powerful figures, our counteractive living resources, etc.) already is nature, whether green or smoke, at play. Recreating ourselves in hopes of improving ourselves is nothing short of chasing your own tail — and that’s hilarious! If our world really is made of interconnected, programmed reactions to negative actions that are always in favor of fixing said actions to inception, it is not by any means a perfect one. It is just like a computer: it tries its best to reconcile the future, but cannot often make up for it in equilibrium when it is wrong.

Part III: The Monkey in the Machine and the Machine in the Monkey

To think we are simply just a rejuvenated code based on our ancestors, a minute trial of survival theories in our ways of balancing egoism and altruism amongst an accumulation of over more than just the multi-billion population of today because of those who died in history, leaves room for existential chaos. It dominates the idea that we are beings with free-will and that we have the ability to do anything a human could possibly want to accomplish, because we are firstly controlled by genes. When the documentary mentions of George Price’s suicide, it really didn’t surprise me. Imagine discovering that the closest truth regarding our humanity is that it is simply a formula as equally important of to all the other things, living or material, in the world. It completely demeans our often high-thinking idea of who we are on this planet compared to the rest that inhabits it, and really does beg of the human condition to pursue something to dismiss such a thought in order to revert back to our superiority complex. Hence, Price’s turning to Christianity: a belief system that may not be seen as closer to truth then this law of natural selection in the scientific field, but something mentally healthier that supports our ego and reason to live by emphasizing our importance in the larger scheme of things.

The function of genes is eye-opening to me. It is a supposedly consistent existence that understands its necessity to sacrifice itself for other genes for the greater good of what they’re meant to do as a collective. This defines a code, something that knows its duties and does it till interference in its construction. But, it reminds me of Belgium’s liberal yet negative influence on the Hutu and Tutsi population’s relationship in the 1900s, and how all it takes for people to change is by making them aware of their differences; that is the popular interference on humanity’s ideal code of altruism, and possibility for peace. Our freedom to spot polarity, whether falsely misguided or not, between each other is what causes us to act like a nasty variant of code, to put those we are presumably programmed to care for before our own sakes and to put those we figure don’t secondary. And like suicide, we are capable of falling forth to this system of violent nature not for ourselves but because we were possibly born to do such, which is an incredibly frightening thought.

Verdict: B+

My Favorite Documentaries

“All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace” is currently available to stream on thoughtmaybe.

Quick-Thoughts: Terence Davies’ The Long Day Closes (1992)

Wow, clearing all those original song and dialogue bits must’ve been an absolute bitch. 

Somehow even simpler than Terence Davies previous feature-length, and for the most part, that’s actually a good thing; The Long Day Closes feels so much more relaxed and elegant because of it, and the picture almost moves in a way like riding one of those Disneyland dark rides / ghost trains but depicted for a live-action slice of life rather than for some tall tale cartoon. Not to mention, Davies transitioning has somehow gotten BETTER; seriously! Only two movies seen to his name and I’d already consider him a contender for one of the best in that regard! Yet, as it lent itself into minimalistic and “mood-piece” territory even more so than Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988), it caused me to have less to say and ponder contextually about it as Davies’ own work than I had with that previous project. 

I think the reason why I liked this more than I may have otherwise though, besides obviously from how clean it is on a technical level, is because of just how relatable and almost therapeutic it was. The world and struggles of Bud are depicted in such a cinematic manner seemingly though through his own perspective of the ordeals, and it quite reminded me of when I was his age, often perceiving many of my in-the-moment experiences as if they were all happening cinematically, which has evidently led to why I’ve continued to see film as such a crucial part of my character and existence, and even as my escape of innocence. But maybe rationalizing even further than just that, it could be because of how the movie also comes off like a shifting memory bubble such as Distant Voices, Still Lives, where occasionally shots will show us a memory involving Bud, but then linger off our subject for a while scouting out the environment. This is also relatable since I too can rarely remember that many very specific snippets or “scenes” that occurred during my childhood, yearning to play them out longer than I usually can by exercising my brain into remembering all the specific details about the exterior atmosphere that it had occurred in to possibly trigger something of content. 

Verdict: B

“The Long Day Closes” is now available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

Quick-Thoughts: Terence Davies’ Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

Tall woman + small man supremacy movie. 

Distant Voices doesn’t come off that much as say a visual representation of fondly flipping through a family photo album so much as it does as just an honest piece of memory interpreted by how those moments make us indecisively feel. Through careful craftsmanship, Terence Davies lets certain shots linger on beautifully in movement, usually through many moments of singing to foreground the echo fragments that provoke the imaginary rememberer the most, while timelines are neatly scrambled and intertwined by matching fades or seamless trucking / pedestaling. Something also graceful about his work in this first part is how he seems to expound nostalgia not as a glorification of childhoods, but rather one that reminisces it yet through understanding its complications. Clearly focused particularly on an abusive father and his sort of stubborn love’s affect on both his children and his wife, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of suggestive wrath set out towards these misfortunes and more so a sense of aimless pondering on the very reality of their immutable existence, which challenges the cliché of nostalgia.

Still Lives though, like Distant Voices, is fitting for its title. A bit more repetitive in its plot, this second portion of the film really hammers in the previously established misogynistic lifestyle of marriages through the eyes of Tony’s sisters. The final shot where we see him saddened though, presumably in the role of Davies himself, now just getting married while others have been living these sort of ordinary frozen lives for ironically quite some time, he seems set-back with not being able to sincerely live the normal of the time period’s patriarchal heterosexual relationships with at least a middling sense of peace for it like his siblings have. Instead, that still life is forever lost in his continuous confusion of expressing love, both in the psychological aspect of how he can interpret what his father’s meant, and in perhaps the undisclosed case of his sexuality.

Seeing the before and after in two distinct parts makes me wonder, as long as this really is autobiographical, if Davies was ever that happy with how he went about his life, maybe wishing he could go back not to experience the nostalgic joys of childhood and young adulthood again, but to try to be on a more intimate wavelength with his family. That is why we remember sometimes, isn’t it? 

Verdict: B

“Distant Voices, Still Lives” is now available to stream on Tubi.

Quick-Thoughts: Park Chan-wook’s Lady Vengeance (2005)

Damn, that was easily the cutest pair of cameos I’ve ever seen. 

Honestly? Surprisingly meh. I dig a lot of ideas going on here — the process of revenge is prone to counteract the revenge of another but seen in a rather “motherly” circumstance, sadism as the human rationale’s closest yet overtly hopeful solution to justice for monsters and themselves, Lee Geum-ja’s Lady Vengeance living forever in the existential purgatory of being entirely defined by a single goal that can’t possibly make up for the latter parts once accomplished — but it never felt as if they came forth into any interesting conclusions like the trilogy’s predecessors, nor do they really feel that expanded on even in consideration of how expositional the film is. 

The entire movie, with all of Park Chan-wook’s usual extroverted stylizations and choppy chronology, felt like it was banking on letting the insanity of its constantly (and occasionally too constantly to the point of plausible doubt) moving plot and loudly worded out twists to just naturally create the pathos for the audience, given how dreadfully tragic they usually were. Especially when we get to that ending, where Chan-wook seems to be desperately trying to drench every last drop of emotion out of us by showing an in-detail and intentionally silent aftermath, felt so blatantly contrived in how prolonged it was that it kind of left me off with a bad taste in my mouth. 

I was really engaged with the psychologically complex character of Lee Geum-ja, but I felt as if the story surrounding her should’ve been more devoted to expressing what the significance of those many stages she suffered through were in light of this construct of “revenge” it deals with that really does feel left thin at this point after having already two installments which explored it. That second half, as potential-filled as it was in its own right from it’s construct of group-oriented retribution, felt as if it was meandering away from a leading female character’s exclusive themes that could’ve made for a more focused and fresh inclusion to the trilogy.

Who knows? Maybe I’m just dumb and subconsciously attributed a majority of what I saw in Lady Vengeance as just messier retreads of Mr. Vengeance (2002) and Oldboy (2004). Either way, I still really hate having to explain why I don’t like a movie! 

Verdict: C+

Park Chan-wook Ranked

“Lady Vengeance” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

Quick-Thoughts: Park Chan-wook’s Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

If you thought your week was going bad…

Park Chan-wook gives you a lot of reasons to pity people who end up committing terrible things. Every so often we’ll see main characters (usually our Misters) commit acts of kindness and suffer under excruciatingly unfair conditions due to the rules of their social classes, but doesn’t everybody do so from time to time, even the monsters of our world? The apparatus of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is in its intricately plausible yet convoluted example of how people are capable of driving their ego farther for vengeance even in spite of who they act as commonly, often leading their pursuits into hesitant, regrettable decision-making. I can’t help but feel too that Chan-wook is hammering in the idea that all of us instinctively treat revenge as some necessary obligation, some overruling of the social order we’ve been conditioned to and ultimately a release of the animalistic rituals that we can make them out to be. This opens up a debate for how large exactly has the extent of social damage stemmed from humanity’s ordinary response to betrayal in its ability to drastically change our goodwill towards others. Maybe counting the dead is really the closest we’ll ever get to a clean answer for that.

I also respect how reserved and tempered this feels in hindsight of its dark subject matter as opposed to Chan-wook’s other, more eccentric work; it fits the themes of the film well. 

Verdict: B

Park Chan-wook Ranked

“Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

Quick-Thoughts: Charles Burnett’s Killer of Sheep (1978)

Killer of Sheep strongly recreates the awkward and seemingly never-ending tension between everyday social run-ins, managing to fondly neutralize the many emotions that they’re capable of activating in us within the convincing bubble of its dominantly gloomy yet comical neorealism. Charles Burnett’s soundtrack inserts are also just outright ideal, vividly summating both the rough and lovely sides of the Los Angeles urban family lifestyle during the 70s as we subjectively pursue the quiet voice behind the scenes he constantly yearns to linger onto. Innocence just authentically blisters the screen because of this freedom to wonder, even in sight of the firmly defined hardships of reality that he makes clear, similar though to the way in which we instinctively force our own selves to interpret the outside pieces of those mundane daily encounters so long as we’re stuck in their moment.

Verdict: B+

“Killer of Sheep” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

Quick-Thoughts: Marcel Carné’s Port of Shadows (1938)

I will never fully recover from this.

Love is all we have to live for, and when we do not have it through mutual sides, we become that very reason for why anything outside of its peripherals cannot possibly be something worth living for. With the sort of early stage “multiple distressed and fragile lovers intersecting for inevitable cause + effect tragedies” crux of Iñárritu’s Amores Perros (2000) but rather registered in classical melodrama, and the working ground pieces for the taboo lineage concerns of Polanski’s Chinatown (1974) that pensively leaks the youth’s often confused readings of positive and negative masculinity based on their morally ambiguous real-life outcomes, disclosed this time through the eyes of 17-year-old Nelly as she falls for an exotic runaway soldier in the midst of her other affairs, it’s no wonder that Port of Shadows was initially banned back in 1939 due to accusations of it being too bleak for the new generation, cause just look at me right now! My young heart is a wreck! 

Verdict: B+

“Port of Shadows” is now available to stream on Kanopy.

THE BEST MOVIES OF 2021

It feels good to be back making end of the year lists again after the dreadful gap of 2020! In celebration of a return to form for cinema, I have picked out 20 movies that I believe are the best of the year from what I have seen. Unlike 2019, however, I’ve decided I won’t be ranking my choices, besides my top 3 favorites of 2021. Each selection will feature a trailer for it, a quote from my original review of the film, and the link to that article. The picks are only shown in order of when I saw them, from oldest to latest viewing. Before we get onto the list though, here are eight honorable mentions I have that still deserve a shoutout regardless of not receiving a spot…

Honorable Mentions:

  • Nomadland (Chloé Zhao)
  • The Suicide Squad (James Gunn)
  • Annette (Leos Carax)
  • Mass (Fran Kranz)
  • Lamb (Valdimar Jóhannsson)
  • The Last Duel (Ridley Scott)
  • The Hand of God (Paolo Sorrentino)
  • The Lost Daughter (Maggie Gyllenhaal)

…and now with that out of the way, here are THE BEST MOVIES OF 2021:

Judas and the Black Messiah

Assiduously directed, compositionally sound, and intimidating as hell, Judas and the Black Messiah almost articulates like a reverse BlacKkKlansman, setting the true-story straight regarding a young black man who’s used by the FBI to go undercover as a member of the Black Panther Party, and ultimately sabotage its chairman Fred Hampton and his revolution. What Shaka King has done here is quite formidable, stressing the guilt of a man who put his livelihood over everything else, and the agencies of vice (this notoriously fowl FBI organization) that pressured him into this greed.

Minari

Minari introduces us to a Korean American family arriving at their new home set a bit remote from the city-life society. In terms of how Lee Isaac Chung embodies culture shock in its pros and cons, the stereotype arc of family vs. work which arrives with the logical progression of the two’s mixture, and even an existentialist grime into what assimilation burdens yet eventually blesses its subjects with, he does it at least “above” the average of most filmmakers out there with his candidly poetic plot and emotionally comprehensible execution.

The Father

Zeller has taken the clichés of the elderly parent with dementia and the exhausted offspring dynamic, and reworked them into a more understanding, secondary outlook we don’t see too often through the eyes of the ill, making its familiar story beats seem less sappy than what they could’ve felt. As compensation, we are instead thrown directly into the eternal confusion of the victim, experiencing all his emotional agony but simultaneously interpreting the pain of others who witness his actions through our own conceptions rather than his. 

Shiva Baby

Emma Seligman’s directorial debut has the After Hours dream-state of insane coincidences, the modern family claustrophobia of Krisha, and the industrious escalation of mother!. Most importantly though, it’s a total laugh-a-thon crowd-pleaser, and the bottleneck time restriction of 78 minutes saves it from possibly reaching into pretentious or repetitive territory. 

All Light, Everywhere (My Favorite Movie of 2021)

…that’s the beauty, curse, and purpose of humanity’s yearn for technological experimentation: as we become more aware of our limitations to understand what we live in, we then become more doubtful of our actions, fostering ourselves to do something about it whether or not it services our experience of moral justice or perhaps simply over-bloats it. Director Theo Anthony has taken us from rich, variant points in history to very present human curiosities in order to reinforce his respectably neutral-minded investigation on the matter, honored by his execution’s appropriate and even occasionally anesthetic b-roll footage that either foreshadows or frustrates history’s trials and failures of discovery primarily through narrated scientific observations or by delving into modern police technology for which we find ourselves controversially dealing with today. 

Zola

Somehow laid-back with a cynical tang of carelessness to a grave conundrum yet aggressive with its depictions of eerily hardheaded perpetrators and even more eerily dilapidated victims, Janicza Bravo has converted 148 tweets into 86 minutes of partially fun and hopefully sarcastic nudging that amounts to a somewhat operative commentary on covering-up complication through social media-like habits. The quirky style that’s always spacing out as if it’s on the verge of erupting and the loud, extravagant performance comedy seems to at least bring Zola to a sound place in mind anyhow.

Riders of Justice

Blatantly reeking of an intense obsession for the butterfly/chaos theory whether it’s between an almost fated dynamic of parent and spouse, tiny events to their rather catastrophic repercussions, and statistical inquiries made by characters faced then to a revealing yet fittingly sporadic plot structure, Riders of Justice is unique in concerns of how it reviews its subject matter to say the least. This is a film assembled under unusually adverse characters, ones for which we may not have full backstories of but certainly enough downcasted specter to suggest their need and desires for a union. Their journey of being hunted by notorious terrorists ironically becomes a hardy series of therapy sessions to them, divulging possibly the real internal reasons for why people band together to fight justice in the first place.

Pig

Surprisingly refined in execution, natural and comfortable in its relaxing 3 chapter structure — yeah, it’s just a fancy rewording of the model act structure — Michael Sarnoski smartly does enough with not too much of a reliance on exaggerated thrills but with modest revelations. As if the film didn’t feel any more relevant than it does today with characters who are secretly under the pressure of validation at the expectations of thousands of faces, we discover where the breaking point of burden and ambition usually is: when tragedy strikes, awakening rediscovery.

The Green Knight

In countless tales of legends often disclosed at campfires or bedsides of younglings inspired to become these fables’ leads, maybe the more truthful ones about those who grow into heroes for themselves are the stories most inspiring rather than the ones based on those gifted with innate righteousness for all others. Maybe an ego-change could be the true savior of a celebrated story. Knowing of a future destiny is one thing, but to be convinced by the self that that destiny is completed with honor seems to be one of the important lessons in The Green Knight, to not let just the view of others be the only thing that convinces you of your character but to respect the accuracy of said depicted character. 

Titane (My 2nd Favorite Movie of 2021)

Titane is defined by its unusual beauty for using false premises, caused by our main characters’ discomforts for their modern isolations, to push these said artificial circumstances into dynamics of unconditional love that are so intentionally taboo and desperate, giving us the full effect of what the characters at hand are willing to face to heal the almost irredeemable tragedies that have paved the majority of their past lives. 

The French Dispatch

No Wes Anderson film to this day throws as much quirky s**t at you (whether its paper shots, tiny subtitles, big actor appearances, timeline changes, filter changes, general… changes, holy f**k I can’t keep track, etc.) than his latest The French Dispatch does. Yet, it all just feels right to me, and as per usual, I don’t mind the mindlessness in his comedic attention to detail. If we can enjoy the same superhero formula flick every once in a while, we can sure as hell do the same with an Anderson.

Spencer

Royalty not as a luxury, but as a prison. Spencer is (kind of?) Pablo Larraín’s Cleo from 5 to 7 led though by a more Kristen Stewart-esc character than we may have presumed who has enough goading manner to put you so outstandingly into the mentally ill mind of Princess Diana that it literally made the stakes of her being late for dinner seem as demanding as life or death itself; to make this easier to understand, it’s really f**king difficult to make Christmas (the days for which this movie takes place) seem like the very embodiment of Hell on Earth to me, and this movie did that as if it were nothing. 

Licorice Pizza

For every awfully painful to watch Minnie and Moskowitz or every aggressively despairing There Will Be Blood that can be found in the cinematic discussion of platonic yet competitive relationships, maybe we need something as sweet and sincere as Licorice Pizza to follow them up and even out the playing field. Paul Thomas Anderson has made once again another episodic rhythm of supposedly random moments and claimed it as a narrative, with each affair on screen however silently insinuating and revealing a wholesome or tragic reality in PTA’s classic two-on-two dynamical exploration.

C’mon C’mon

Like the saying “no one is ever ready to have kids” augmented into a movie. Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon is a commercially likable peer at adults learning to channel the childhood experience, and while it never seems to lead its protagonists towards a whole lot of answers, Mills assures you that that’s perfectly okay.

Red Rocket (My 3rd Favorite Movie of 2021)

Like the title suggests, Mikey is virtually all bodily pleasures, say for a little wit, but no heart. In no better way of describing my unforgettable experience with Red Rocket, it was really like watching Animal Planet, pertaining though to witnessing an exclusive two-hour-long episode of it that dials in on this human leech in his natural yet temporary habitat, sure to return to and plumage from it time and time again nonetheless as he always has and ends up continuing to do even by the credits. Cringe, harrow, but laugh hysterically at one of mankind’s most dangerous and pathetic influencers living in just a small town of Texas who barely walks the fine line between legal and illegal actions.

Drive My Car

Drive My Car is defined by so much that it’d probably take rewatches upon rewatches to jot it all down, but to at least my knowledge, it gripped me most whenever it proved how letting someone flawed pave the rest of our lives, even after they have left, requires an extensive journey ahead but one that uniquely states the longer it is, the better. It presents understanding as a manipulative sequence of regrets for not letting the mystery unravel slower so that you can ultimately allow yourself to be metaphysically stuck hand in hand back into the life with the one you dearly miss.

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog is one of those movies that really makes you appreciate how intellectually loving and twisted people are towards each other, the kind of subtle grime in all of us that can see manipulation as an expression of tending for others, silent backstabbing as a wholesome compromise, and slight yet mean-spirited actions as a right of self-justice. It’s a film where people get to live beautiful lies for catastrophic exterior reasons, but man oh man do they seem so damn truthful towards the reality of life never being paved from simply discovering objective answers, but rather from accepting our ideal hopes as surface-level truths then and again till the end.

Quo vadis, Aida?

Zeroing in on one family or person, fictional or not and even in the hell of a genocidal background, has always been the easiest method to get an audience to connect with a real life historical calamity on a deeper level, but one thing is for sure: usually it at least works like it does in Jasmila’s Žbanić’s Quo vadis, Aida? Witness 90 harrowing minutes of attempt after attempt to avoid the inevitable through innocent hope and admirable persistence as a mother begs at the toes of the UN, an organization that in this event continuously make clear of their submissive, cowardly indulgence in the lies of Bosnia’s enemy.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth is wickedly a near clear-cut emulation of its source material, literally using the same complex and difficult to understand language of Shakespeare in each phrase of its dialogue, mandatorily requiring its viewers to read subtitles. What may be the strongest point though of Joel’s cinematic telling of the acclaimed classic, is how he’s able to bring what essentially is an enhanced “play stage” to life with Stefan Dechant’s surreal production design and Bruno Delbonnel’s concentrated cinematography. Macbeth, in all it’s straightforward drama that’s otherwise heavied by Shakespeare’s classic use of dissecting every minute feeling felt in every minute character presumption, is breathed of new life in how Coen works the collaboration of cinematic range and freedom with the visual tropes of a theater show. 

Flee

Maybe the most unique and beneficial aspect of Flee is how it’s able to decently reflect both coming of age to its subject’s past and relativity to his modern stage, all while simultaneously spieling out the central intense and grueling childhood experience he went through as an Afghan immigrant.

Quick-Thoughts: Flee (2021)

Maybe the most unique and beneficial aspect of Flee is how it’s able to decently reflect both coming of age to its subject’s past and relativity to his modern stage, all while simultaneously spieling out the central intense and grueling childhood experience he went through as an Afghan immigrant. Yet another movie that effectively reminds us how good we born-Americans have it. Animation slaps too! 

Verdict: B-

2021 Ranked

“Flee” is now playing in select theaters.