‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ Review: The Glamour of Embracing True Self in a Wicked Little Town

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For the longest while, I have always known about Hedwig and the Angry Inch as an off-Broadway rock musical that depicted the struggles of gender identity – and the music still holds up more than simply wonderfully. But what made John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s musical carry such an enduring legacy can be felt from far more than simply in how much of a staple it has become in LGBTQ+ culture in America, but also because it’s a film that just perfectly captures how good it feels to be able to break free of the boundaries set in stone by societal expectations. At the time of the film’s release the film failed to break even at the box office but it has only ever developed a more dedicated following since and not without good reason. Yet the film’s wonders don’t stop there, for it perfectly fits the definition of a great parody of a rock musical but it still retains a genuine sense of heart that even makes for an emotionally investing journey from beginning to end. But it also speaks a great deal as a testament towards the work put into making art that people love, no matter what boundaries may be holding it back.

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A Fear of Skin and Desire in Claire Denis’s Trouble Every Day

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There’s a very sort of sensuality that Claire Denis makes you experience from watching her films, but the confrontation is never always the most comfortable. It is this very feeling that is embraced through her vampiric horror film Trouble Every Day and for many reasons more I also consider it to be the best horror film of the 21st century. It is a film that uncomfortably lingers upon the extent of human desire even to that point where the mere confrontation of such would already leave us feeling uneasy on the inside, but as close as we get to these moments they also reveal a whole lot more about human nature in and of itself. Yet there’s only so much that Claire Denis is aware that any of her viewers can manage to take into one watch, and thus it makes the horror even more repulsive as it comes by. As these layers start coming off one by one, so does the making of a great horror film by instinct. Like every one of the best films associated with New French Extremity, calling this refined would not be fitting but it also exemplifies everything that Claire Denis can be like when she is at her absolute best, thus what comes forth is what I believe to be the best horror film of the 21st century.

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A.I. Artificial Intelligence – Review

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Steven Spielberg’s ode to his friend Stanley Kubrick not only is one of his most underappreciated films, but one of his finest achievements as a filmmaker thus far. It took me a long while to come to this conclusion after having a somewhat indifferent reaction to A.I. Artificial Intelligence upon my first viewing but a subsequent rewatch only left more inside my head, because aspects of its own concept quickly had found themselves sticking with me – together with its stylistic approach of two directors trying to reach at one another. The final result almost plays like a modern fairy tale in some sense, yet one that ultimately asks its viewers about humanity within a perspective that only calls oneself closer.

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The Piano Teacher – Review

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I’m not exactly sure how to describe my relationship with Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher because I remember viewing it after I had only been familiar with the title after seeing three other films from his own body of work and having loved each of them: I was unsure what to be prepared for. At first I was only left with a fairly perplexed reaction akin to my first experience watching Caché. Revisits didn’t go the same way they did Caché for at certain points I went to rewatch The Piano Teacher I was almost adoring it only to find myself at another point retracting a bit. Soon only the very best qualities of Haneke’s work had stood out and I was even more enamored by Isabelle Huppert’s leading performance: arguably the finest of her own kind and one of the century’s very best. But this dementedness was something I always knew of a Michael Haneke film and it came out just the way I always would have wanted with The Piano Teacher.

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Mulholland Drive – Review

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Something I’ve always been meaning to write for a long while was about how my own discovery of David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive changed my own life and probably for the better at that. This was actually my second David Lynch film after having fallen in love with The Elephant Man and even at only two films I knew he would already become a favourite of mine. I first saw Mulholland Drive at only fourteen years old and immediately claimed it a favourite yet I could barely even put out a word to describe why I loved it but rather instead I just watched it again and I still couldn’t put as much as a finger on it. I almost wanted to say that David Lynch may have done the impossible but over the years I’m still struggling to capture a clear perspective because I don’t even know if I fully understand what I believe to be the greatest American film of the 21st century and at that, David Lynch’s finest work.

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Waking Life – Review

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One of my favourite versions of filmmaker Richard Linklater other than the naturalistic and ever-growing Before trilogy would be his meandering animated experiment Waking Life. But maybe this meandering is the only way that Waking Life can work as perfectly as it does, and it’s another brand of Richard Linklater that I wish I could see more of. It draws back to what he created in his debut film, Slacker, but something about Waking Life makes it feel like a more fully realized project in itself. But it’s a sort of Richard Linklater that I like atop all the rest because of how it feels just like what its title describes it as: a wake-up call for our lives and our minds, and without a doubt one of Linklater’s very best films.

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Ghost World – Review

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I knew far too many teenage girls like Enid. They were always closeted about their own interests because what we saw on the outside was the fact that they were always so cold and bitter about their place in life. They come from the supposed “ghost world,” and to everyone else they’re just invisible. I read Daniel Clowes’s comic during my own early high school years and something about Enid’s personality struck me as something that rang a tad too familiar. My own high school years have oftentimes left me within a state of disconnect from everything else that was happening around me, because I was always seen as the introverted freak who took no interest in most of what other teens seemed to like. It’s a particularly disturbing feeling that Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff found themselves capturing with such ease it’s uncanny.

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Monsters, Inc. – Review

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One can owe a ton of credit on Pixar’s behalf for keeping childhood happy especially for those born around my time. No matter which of their films it may be, going from the Toy Story series to Finding Nemo or The Incredibles, a part of our childhood comes right out from these films. Yet even for adult viewers their films still carry their appeal, whether it be their inventiveness or their mannerisms of approaching more emotional beats. Although Monsters, Inc. is not my favourite work from the studio (I’m partial to Toy Story 1 and 2) it always remained so dear to my own heart for not only is it a cute-appearing one from the outside but it also carries what truly are some of their most resonant beats to date. I’ve noted already in my review of Who Framed Roger Rabbit that when we still recognize what sort of impact our childhood favourites have had even when watching now, something to treasure is left and Monsters, Inc. is yet another film I owe a lot to.

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Spirited Away – Review

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Define what it is that makes the greatest animated film in your eyes. It can come from anywhere, it can be about anything, or it can just do anything. When I’m faced with this question, three Hayao Miyazaki films come to mind: Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro. But if I had to pick a singular one from all of them, then said film is none other than Spirited Away. For how captivating the beauty of Princess Mononoke can be or how touchingly innocent My Neighbor Totoro is, my heart goes out to Spirited Away – for as cliche an answer it may be when asked about Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest achievement, it is not only my favourite of his films, but to this day it also remains my favourite animated film of all time.

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Angel Eyes – Review

Having the romance genre serve as a backdrop in order to hide the horrid morals presented can feel especially obvious if the tactics to gain an audience’s reaction are so blatant. I knew from this aspect alone, given how Angel Eyes was handled, that I was set to hate the film (and what a surprise, I loathed it). It is so easy to pinpoint where everything in Angel Eyes starts falling apart the moment in which Jim Caviezel stares at Jennifer Lopez while she is pinned to the ground. I never expected something that would nearly be half as trite as what we were offered but Angel Eyes only began to make me madder from there. This is a film where almost everything it has going for it fails down spectacularly – into something deplorable. Continue reading →