My thoughts on David Lynch’s 1984 film Dune.
Where are my feelings?
Dune is among the worst films I’ve seen. It’s disappointing because it’s written and directed by my favorite director. It doesn’t work on any level, especially when compared to contempary sci-fi films. The story is illogical, the character development is nonexistent, the special effects have aged very poorly, and the dialogue is often laugh out loud cheesy.
Also, Patrick Stewart’s mullet. I can’t even.
Going in without having read the book and hearing pretty divided opinions on the film, I tried to stay open minded. Woof, a bit of a let down.
Honestly, the best part was the pug.
Why Christopher Nolan’s 2017 war thriller didn’t work for me.
I feel like I need a weekend at the spa after seeing Dunkirk. It’s certainly impressive, but it’s too intense for its own good. The nonlinear editing was a strange choice, and the dialogue was mostly impossible for me to understand (bad mix or bad speakers?).
The raw carnage of the events at Dunkirk hit hard, more so than any of the characters the film invents. It’s still difficult to believe that less than a century ago the world was at war for the second time. It, at times, almost feels fictional with the current state of things. The visuals displayed in the film felt real, which is what I find most impressive.
I keep drawing comparisons between Dunkirk and Mad Max: Fury Road. Not because they both feature Tom Hardy not talking much. But because they are both non-stop intense action thrillers. Fury Road, for me, succeeds on a higher artistic level. Even though neither slow down much, Fury Road strikes a better balance for the intensity.
To me, Dunkirk is a lesson in intensity. I appreciate quiet films and the quiet moments in loud films. It’s very hard for me to enjoy a movie where there’s a stopwatch ticking almost the whole time. It felt like I was being manipulated over and over with each scene in a way that was upsetting at a deeper level than most manipulation in film.
I didn’t enjoy Dunkirk, but I appreciate that it exists and that I got to see it in 70mm.
Thoughts on the masterful new film by Edgar Wright.
Baby Driver is the latest film from director Edgar Wright, who is known for Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Shaun of the Dead, and a handful of other movies. The premise is simple: Baby is a getaway driver, but he’s got a hum in his ear that requires him to listen to music to drown it out. The music plays a big role in the film. Baby gets pulled into some messy work, and he eventually tries to break free from it, but isn’t quite so simple.
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Thoughts on Ana Lily Amirpour’s 2017 film The Bad Batch.
I went into The Bad Batch without any prior knowledge of the film or its director, Ana Lily Amirpour. Today was a hot day for Portland, almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and nothing sounded better to me than a dark, cool theater. I browsed the playing movies and whittled out the superhero movies (just not in the mood) and big budget CGI-mess blockbusters like Transformers and The Mummy. Among what was left that I hadn’t seen and looked interested was The Bad Batch. I liked the look of the poster, so I decided to go for it.
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A review of the 4K restoration of Toshio Matsumoto’s masterpiece.
Funeral Parade of Roses is an experimental film that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It tells the tragic tale of Oedipus Rex, but with a twist (I’ll leave that to you to discover).
The movie is funny and touching and difficult and on a level of its own. It portrays trans characters in a way that feels ahead of its time for a film made in 1969. They’re all beautiful and multidimensional characters—they’re humans, not stereotypes. It’s a special thing to see, and I think it’s handled very well. I’m looking forward to reading other takes on it too in order to learn more.
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A review of Andrei Tarkovsky’s restored 1979 slow sci-fi film Stalker.
Stalker is unlike any film I’ve ever seen. It’s what I think of as pure cinema. It’s a difficult film, but one worth watching.
The premise is that something fell to Earth and the area of impact became off limits to civilians. This area is known as the Zone. Only Stalkers can navigate the Zone. Inside of the Zone is a place called the Room, which grants a person their true desire. There is, naturally, a downside to this, but I’ll leave that to you to discover.
Bordering on sci-fi and surrealism, Stalker is a nearly 3-hour art film. It is referred to as a classic, but don’t think of it as a classic sci-fi film like Star Wars or 2001. Stalker is in a league of its own. It doesn’t deal with space, robots, or aliens. It deals with abstractions and humans, two things we are much more familiar with than what most sci-fi covers.
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Thoughts on the latest animated feature film by Makoto Shinkai.
Have you ever wanted to swap bodies with a teenage boy in Tokyo or a high school girl who lives in the Japanese countryside? If so, then your name. is the film for you. your name. is an inventive and poignant take on body swapping that plucks the heart strings in the way only the director, Makoto Shinkai, knows how.
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Brief thoughts on the live-action Ghost in the Shell.
Don’t send a rabbit to kill a fox.
Ghost in the Shell is on the cusp of being a good film, but it misses the mark in almost every way. Nothing feels impactful, from the action scenes to Way the Major struggles with her identity. There’s a lot of technically impressive CG, but it lost the visual aesthetic that makes the manga and anime shine. The story just isn’t that interesting, even though the premise is. It lacks the subtly and intrigue the anime film has.
A Ghost in the Shell live action adaptation has so much potential, but this doesn’t live up to it. Go watch the anime film and SAC series instead.