I finally got round to watching Whiplash. It’s a great film about a drummer, Andrew in a prestigious school who wants to be the best jazz drummer that ever existed. He’s shooting for genius, nothing less. He manages to draw the attention of the best music teacher in the school, Fletcher. Only problem is, Fletcher is a bully and his methods are abusive and dangerous. Continue reading
I spent a highly enjoyable few months last year watching Twin Peaks, both the original seasons and the revival. Even now, twenty-seven years after the original series debuted, it remains a strange mix of police procedural and occult mysticism. The revival plunges even further into the mysticism and dream elements of the show. It’s not always entirely clear what the story is, but as an experience it is incomparable. Many parts of the show work on a dream logic, with images and moments that only seem to make sense in a subconscious way. The last episode, in particular, is terrifying, even though I could not fully articulate why. Continue reading
Ben is a dropout from society, obsessed with Noam Chomsky. He has removed his children from society and taken them deep into the woods. There, he raises his children on a steady diet of exercise and books, forcing them to think deeply and analyse what they read. He is anti-society and anti- establishment and forces these views on his children.
Last week, I binge-watched Stranger Things on Netflix. It’s been awhile since I mainlined a tv show like that, but Stranger Things is worth it.
The plot involves a boy going missing in a small Indiana town, a mysterious government facility and a girl with telekinetic powers. There’s teenage parties and a monster that stalks the town. Basically, it’s a combination of many different eighties movies and books, most notably Poltergeist, ET and Stephen King books. Look at the main logo for example, a pitch perfect recreation of eighties horror titles. It’s also brilliant. A gripping mystery that builds to a fantastic climax, with unique, interesting characters.
Ponyo is the story of a fish who is swept ashore and rescued by a human boy, Sōsuke. She refuses to return to the sea and wants to be human, which throws the whole balance of nature off kilter. The only way she can survive is to have a true kiss with Sōsuke and then become fully human, or else become sea foam.
Riggan: How about Jeremy Renner?
Riggan: Jeremy Renner. He was nominated. He was the Hurt Locker guy.
Jake: Oh, okay. He’s an Avenger.
Riggan: Fuck, they put him in a cape too?
One of the best and most inspired films I’ve seen recently is Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), a fantastic multi-layered meta commentary on hollywood and the creation of art. It features Michael Keaton as an middle-aged actor struggling to make what he sees as ‘real art’, after playing a superhero called ‘Birdman’ twenty years ago. This superhero, or possibly his diseased mind, torments him throughout the film. It taunts him about his perceived lack of talent and asking why he’s bothering to attempt a serious play on Broadway. Near the film’s climax, the Birdman appears and directly taunts the audience, showing them explosions and fast action, before turning directly into the camera and saying:
High Rise looks like his most conventional film yet, given its slick advertising and Hollywood stars like Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller. However, it manages to be much more shocking and unconventional.