April 4, 2023

Today we’re going to do something a little different and venture more into something a little more avant-garde than the films we usually talk about. Don’t get scared. This is actually where most of the really fun film discussion is. Richard Linklater’s Waking Life invites the viewer to explore the boundary between reality and human perception. The film follows an unnamed protagonist as he wanders through various dreamlike scenes in search of truth. The entire film is rendered through animation,... Read more

March 7, 2023

A year or two back, a film review channel I follow made a point in one of their videos that the romantic break-up is a mainstay of pop culture (Rachel and Ross can break up or just evade reconciliation a good six or seven times over the run of FRIENDS) while there isn’t really a cultural touchstone for processing the dissolution of a friendship. And now I wonder if Martin McDonagh also follows this channel because his recent film (and... Read more

February 28, 2023

A couple weeks back we discussed From Here to Eternity and doing the right thing even under pressure, and I’d like to use this space here to follow up on some of those same discussions. For this installment, we turn our attention to Cameron Crowe’s 1996 film, Jerry Maguire. Our titular sports agent begins the film with a one-track mind that values visible signifiers of success at all costs. This makes him both a servant of a cynical system that... Read more

February 21, 2023

Lately I’ve been very invested in the works of director Jon M. Chu. He was the man behind the camera for In the Heights, my favorite movie of 2021, and he’s also helming the upcoming Wicked movies for Universal. While I know Crazy Rich Asians wasn’t his first film (or even his first Hollywood film), it was the movie that brought him to my attention as a filmmaker. This romantic-comedy follows Rachel Chu, a Chinse-American professor dating the dashing and... Read more

February 15, 2023

And now we turn our attention to that most enticing and elusive of experiences in these modern days: peace. Moreover, I’d like to do so through the lens of one of one of my favorite films. John Ford’s 1952 film, The Quiet Man, is a special sort of film that extracts a lot of drama from a fairly intimate, self-contained story, and all without coming off as melodramatic or self-indulgent. This is also one of the most visually beautiful films... Read more

February 7, 2023

Telling a story through any medium is an innately personal endeavor, but the process can still be especially vulnerable for specific stories. Alfonso Cuaron, for example, has shared that about 90 percent of the scenes in his 2018 film, Roma, came straight from his own memory. The film follows the lives of an upper-middle class family living in Mexico in the 1970s. The story is seen primarily through the eyes of one of the family’s live-in maids, Cleo, as she is... Read more

January 31, 2023

The appeal of Michel Gondry’s 2004 romance, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, rests on a simple premise: what if you could erase from your mind all the memories of someone who brought you pain? This is a possibility posed to Joel Barrish and Clementine Kruczynski, who undergo such a procedure after a long romance and a brutal break-up. We experience this film primarily through the eyes of Joel, who wants the procedure done after finding that Clementine has already... Read more

January 24, 2023

Like many of the films we discuss here, Steven Spielberg’s 2002 film, Minority Report, makes some overt references to religion and spirituality. There’s an early conversation where John’s coworkers speculate on the deific nature of the precognitives, whose prophetic abilities allow them to stop murders before they happen: “The way we work, changing destiny and all, we’re more like clergy than cops.” This makes our protagonist, John Anderton, uncomfortable, and he shuts the conversation down. What happens when technology effectively... Read more

January 17, 2023

I enjoy a wide variety of films, but there are a select few that genuinely altered the way I interact with the medium. After my first viewing of Fred Zinneman’s 1953 Best Picture winning film, From Here to Eternity, I remembered having the unique experience of feeling deep emotion but recognizing that I lacked the vocabulary to accurately describe why. This was no doubt one of the many compounding factors that compelled me to begin my formal academic study of... Read more

January 10, 2023

As a film enthusiast, there’s a little game I like to play called “which movies really hit different after spending a year in quarantine?” Among the frequent contenders is a relatively forgotten star vehicle for Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt called Passengers from 2016. The story is set on an interstellar cruise ship–the Starship Avalon–carrying 5,000 passengers from Earth to a new planet. The voyage takes 120 years, and so everyone on board is kept in suspended hibernation for the... Read more

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