Hal Ashby’s Shampoo and the Blissful Ignorance of Sexual Politics: Review

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There was never a more perfect time for Shampoo to come out than the end of Richard Nixon’s time in America. But the dangers in what was set to come were a warning that Hal Ashby may have also tried to say we were also too late to listen to. This is a film all about how America was set to change as the times were moving forward, but we don’t exactly know if it’s the case that they would end up turning out for the better. But it’s weird enough how this film seems to have gone from being one of the hottest films of its own era to fading from that glory, which is a shame because like the rest of Ashby’s 1970’s oeuvre, it’s never anything less than impressive. It’s the sort of film that I’m amazed was even made in its own era, especially right after Richard Nixon’s era had ended in America, when people were unaware or outright unready for what was set to come in the years under his ruling. It’s a film that mixes together that raunchiness with scathing political commentary, and it’s rather stunning how much it still manages to bite after so long. If there’s anything that really does need to be said, you can watch a film like this as being proof that it’s the sort of film that only Hal Ashby could have made – and it sums up everything that made his films so wonderful.

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Jaws and the Escape from American Paranoia: A Review

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At the age of 29, what director Steven Spielberg created with Jaws was not just one of the most recognized blockbusters of its era, but he also changed American cinema the way that we all knew it to be. But amidst the many monster movies that have followed ever since Jaws, it has still managed to stay afloat (pun intended) for not only is Jaws significant for having established the birth of a new movement in cinema but also because it has only aged like fine wine all these years. You can go ahead and say what you will about the shark looking fake (years of rewatching Jaws may have made that clear for me) but in the end, does it really matter? The very least of what makes Jaws such a successful piece of work is whether or not that shark looks real or not but rather how perfectly it all builds itself up to become; and on that count it quite truly is the quintessential blockbuster.

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Barry Lyndon Review: Stanley Kubrick’s Magnum Opus Still Reigns Supreme

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Trying to determine a favourite Stanley Kubrick film is hard enough when you already know that no matter where you look, you’re bound to find something absolutely impressive along the ride. Yet for myself, I always turn back to Barry Lyndon whenever someone asks me, “What’s your favourite Kubrick movie?” Sure, it’s easy enough to point to 2001 or Dr. Strangelove for what they managed to accomplish for the time, but I always find myself in the most awe of Barry Lyndon, which always gets me unusual looks among my peers. For as easy as it may be to be afraid of approaching Barry Lyndon because of its length and the subject matter, I find that it also takes those fears and transforms them into a whole other world – one that places it leagues above any other period piece.

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One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Review

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I don’t really know how to put into words the sort of impact that this movie had on me the first time I saw it, and still carries on me now. But I figured that maybe it may be the perfect time in order to talk about what it is that this film means to a person like myself. It’s the sort of experience that almost feels very vindicating for myself, because I always have that very fear of being stigmatized by people around me for my own mental health. I’ve lived within a sheltered life for most of high school and when I watch this movie, I always find myself feeling like there will be people out there that see in the sort of person that I am, I’m capable of being far more than what I may seem like. For helping shape the way that I view cinema as a whole, and to have made a film that reminds me that there are still good people in this world who see us as being far more than what others would see, I don’t know if I can be grateful enough that this film exists.

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Manila in the Claws of Light – Review

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I have to admit something rather embarrassing on my end being Filipino by roots: I haven’t seen much Filipino cinema, and even more embarrassing is that I’ve only rushed out for Lav Diaz films. That’s not to say Diaz is a bad filmmaker but from the many Filipino filmmakers working today he was the only one I ever found myself familiar with and he was the only priority I had from then. Although recently, I came back from a three-week vacation in the Philippines which soon got me to thinking that I should change my own viewing habits in the meantime. I was recommended Lino Brocka’s Manila in the Claws of Light for quite some time already and after hearing praises of it supposedly being the greatest Filipino film ever made, me having finally seen it now only has excitement fueled for what more there is to explore.

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Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles – Review

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With the many magnificent films that I have been able to experience within the short amount of time that I have spent living, there are some that evoke too powerful of a response on the spot on the first go it is hard enough to piece together what they leave upon oneself. When I first watched Chantal Akerman’s second feature, Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, I knew on the spot that it was just something that I would never forget in the slightest. And to think, there was a point to which I had been putting it off in fear I would find myself bored by the way it sounded, and when I leave Jeanne Dielman to sink inside my head, my initial expectations are only proven wrong all the more as a specific thought just continues running through my mind. And in the most unexpected way, just like the life depicted here, it just grabs out of nowhere. Continue reading →

Picnic at Hanging Rock – Review

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Watching Picnic at Hanging Rock gives off the same experience as living through a dream, but not so much a pleasant one. Peter Weir’s film isn’t so much a fully cohesive one, but that’s what helps in creating the very dreamlike atmosphere which it establishes and that’s why it’s so haunting from beginning to end. It’s almost as if in a way, you can see something almost David Lynch-esque emerging from the very vibe it gives away despite it coming out before Lynch even started out his career as a filmmaker. The experience always feels new within each watch and it continues lingering in my head, and I only grow to love it more. It’s the sort of nightmare that carries a great sense of beauty to it, captivating at every frame. Continue reading →