Movie theatre marquee advertising The Hateful Eight

Mass Infantilization Plaguing Movies #TBT

A. O. Scott, the venerable, initialed movie reviewer and societal critic for the New York Times, wrote an article a few years ago on a disease he saw plaguing movies entitled “Open Wide: Spoon-fed Cinema.” Scott’s diagnosis: “Forty is the new dead” for cinema as mass infantilization engenders profit at the box office, while stealing profit from culture and the soul. I have thought a lot about this article off and on since its 2009 printing. Initially, I agreed Scott’s diagnosis was a chronic condition of Hollywood. Now I believe it to be a seasonal affliction. […]

Image of the movie posters for The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hell or High Water superimposed on each other.

Reel Comparison: The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hell or High Water

I recently watched two movies within the span of a week I had never seen before. Taken jointly, they articulate the economic anxiety many currently feel in society. They are the psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) and the modern day western Hell or High Water. The movies are critically acclaimed and have strong ensemble casts. I hated Ripley. I loved Hell.

In a three reel comparison, the economic arguments of The Talented Mr. Ripley and Hell or High Water.
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Spilt picture. On the left, Tom Cruise Musicals Phantom of the Opera Logo on the right.

Tom Cruise Musicals

No Apologies Advocate and I saw “Phantom of the Opera” recently. After the show, amongst discussing the darker tone of Cameron Mackintosh’s national tour, the sumptuous sets, and the crowd-pleasing chandelier, we did a little research on Andrew Lloyd Webber. Amongst the standard biographical information came this revelation: Sir Lloyd-Webber has created a sequel to Phantom entitled “Love Never Dies.” […]

Banner stating "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

Rogue One: The Light and The Dark

The quality of the Star Wars movies has reflected the struggle of the Light Side and the Dark Side. The Original Trilogy and Episode VII dwell on the Light Side as quality films with minor quibbles. The prequel Episodes I-III inhabit the Dark Side as flawed films with minor moments of logic and excitement.

The family saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Christmas Day and enjoyed ourselves. At dinner we had a discussion where we each stated one “Light Side” thing we loved about the movie and one “Dark Side” thing we wish the movie had done differently. Quickly it became apparent that while the Light Side things caused great smiles they were fleeting. What we discussed most were the Dark Side flaws in the movie. Mutually agreed upon flaws that fed on each other.

Rogue One is a Star Wars movie. But judging the quality of Rogue One necessitates embracing both the Light and Dark sides. Rogue One is an enjoyable, flawed film.

***SPOILERS WARNING*** […]

The painting The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to be Broken Up, 1838 by J. M. W. Turner. The painting depicts an idealized white galley ship being pulled from the right side of the painting by a dark tugboat. On the left of the painting is a red and yellow sunset.

Skyfall as Art #TBT

Skyfall, the 23rd official Bond Film, has opened to the typical Bond fanfare, but also continues the attempt of the Daniel Craig era to create serious film-as-art. While Skyfall’s predecessors Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace took the serious rather than campy route as well, Skyfall surpasses them as art.  This is largely because of of an Academy Award winning Director – Sam Mendes – and another star laden cast, but mostly Skyfall achieves this status because it prominently features and uses artwork to advance the plot. Paintings, the oldest visual medium, are used to heroic effect in Skyfall and frame Skyfall AS art. […]