Mikey and Nicky Review: Elaine May Breaks Down Masculinity to its Core

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Although Mike Nichols had already been established as a well-regarded auteur (and not without good reason), his comedy partner Elaine May was robbed of having the same legendary status after her third film. Which is utterly baffling to me, because there’s a particularly unflinching angle in Mikey and Nicky that many crime dramas of the time period had never captured, and it’s also what made this film so terrifying on the inside. But to think that this was the sort of film that Elaine May, whose best-known works have often come by in the comedy genre, makes it even more astounding because it’s clear enough that this film was made with a skilled eye that already would be placing her among many of the all-time greats, had her career really taken off to the degree that it absolutely deserved to. Like many great artists who get their start in the comedy genre, Elaine May sought to branch out even further with Mikey and Nicky but for many more reasons I also consider this to be her best film yet. And to me, there’s nothing more shameful than the fact we never got to see Elaine May create more films of this sort.

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Canoa: A Shameful Memory – Review

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It’s hard enough for me to try and comment on Felipe Cazals’s Canoa: A Shameful Memory from its own sociopolitical context because of a fairly limited knowledge I carry about the background it is set within, but nevertheless I was taken away from the viciousness on display. Often considered as one of the most representative figures from his own generation in Latin American filmmaking, Mexican director Felipe Cazals has only brought out one of the finest films to have come out of the period. But as I was watching Canoa: A Shameful Memory a chord that almost struck me was one that brought Medium Cool back into my mind, although I feel safe in saying this has succeeded far more in itself. As anger consumes the world at one point in time, the title alone would already foresee a specific feeling coming afterwards, one of great shame – hitting oneself like a trauma.

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Taxi Driver – Review

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A voice crying for help inside of a city falling upon the ruins of itself. Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver gives that voice a perspective and just plays out as a perfect lash against the society occupying one’s mind. Quite arguably Martin Scorsese’s finest achievement as a filmmaker, Taxi Driver defines a generation so perfectly and in the years to come, it has still continued to shake viewers of all sorts – especially when there’s a specific illusion the world around oneself is creating that only greatness comes about. But maybe there was something more than Martin Scorsese and Paul Schrader had attempted to reach, which allowed Taxi Driver to remain as strong, perhaps even grow stronger within years to come. That having been said, its reputation as one of the greatest American pictures of the 1970’s, even all time for the matter, has remained without any challenge in its way.

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In the Realm of the Senses – Review

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When a film depicts sex for the mere sake of it, that’s where I believe it can be deemed pornography. In the case of In the Realm of the Senses, as explicit as the sex may be, I don’t at all see it as pornography – it nearly borders on that but to me, it wouldn’t seem fair especially when what we have is a story being told, one especially that shocked Japan during its time. But out of everyone they got to direct it, it was a man who wanted to push beyond the limits, none other than Nagisa Oshima. It’s interesting how others can read into this, but I find it extremely masterful and at that, it is an unsettling picture of the lower depths in society. For how Nagisa Oshima uses explicit sexuality in order to let his own social commentary allow itself to run free on the screen, something overlooked and to some extent, unfairly maligned is indeed what is being witnessed through In the Realm of the Senses. Continue reading →

Network – Review

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Sidney Lumet’s Network is mad as hell and it won’t take it anymore. The mainstream media is set to do anything in order to boost their ratings, and that’s where Network still runs perfectly true even today. We already recognized the anger within Network‘s satire back when it came out and to this day, it remains one of the most vicious satires ever made, because today, the content which it shows is indeed still as shocking as it was back in 1976. The best way one can imagine a film like Network is to think of it as Sidney Lumet’s equivalent to Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, and instead of the Cold War, place it within the context of television news networks, suddenly you’ll get the brooding cynicism that was presented here. Continue reading →