Elle Fanning Embodies Pure ‘Teen Spirit’ in Teen Spirit: TIFF Review

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I think that a film about a rising teen pop star already finds itself with a very fitting start after it plays a Grimes song during the opening credits. Something that would be rather easy for me to say, because I am a huge fan of Grimes’s music, but how exactly it fits into the context of Max Minghella’s own directorial debut – that’s another story being told. It’s a film that encapsulates what  builds up “teen spirit” in that very sense, of course with being set in the world of music as a perfect support system. Yet there’s something about Teen Spirit that still carries an endearing enough quality, even beyond how much fun writer-director Max Minghella is having with the music scene. But sometimes I wonder if being fond of the music in itself would be critical to one’s own enjoyment of the film, because I already know that sitting there watching Teen Spirit and even wanting to hum to the tunes to I recognized well enough while I was in the theater made me feel like I was really in that moment.

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Super 8 – Review

✯✯✯½

J. J. Abrams’s Super 8 feels like a film that was made during the 1980’s, effectively evoking the mood of nostalgia that other films that came out during said era would have left on viewers since. It’s a film that is proud in itself of the era in which its storyteller had grown up within, where the films of Steven Spielberg (who also served as producer), Richard Donner, Robert Zemeckis, and John Carpenter among the lot would have become prominent and proven influential on many generations that have followed – and eager to show what it had learned. This habit of Abrams’s doesn’t come without any faults, but there’s a clear sense of passion coming out from the eyes in which it is being told from and it proves itself to be the most important factor as to why Super 8 works as is.

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2017: A Year in Review

Another year is complete, but not without having talked about the wonderful experiences we’ve had at the cinemas. Together with the not-so-wonderful films. But alas, this has been an extraordinary year for films for the highlights still managed to stick their landing inside of our minds – and the inevitable “what about such and such?” will come but I will remind you that it would have been outright impossible for me to have been able to catch virtually every movie that had come out the previous year to make sure I wouldn’t forget other highlights that may not have made it.
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The Beguiled (2017) – Review

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Unlike many other people who’ve also seen the original film directed by Don Siegel I’m not going to spend so much of the review drawing comparisons between said film and this new version as told by Sofia Coppola considering how they’re telling the same story with completely different intentions behind them. It’s easy to admire how Sofia Coppola drastically changes the pace of her own works so that she can set herself out to be a harder filmmaker to pinpoint stylistically, but this isn’t the first time she’s made a period piece – although there’s a certain playfulness that can be detected from her own experiments that allows her to remain distinctive. And although I haven’t consistently loved her work (Lost in Translation still remains the pinnacle of her own directorial efforts to myself), it was easy enough for me to recognize she’s a talented filmmaker to keep my eyes peeled for.

 

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The Neon Demon – Review

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Forethought has never been a good friend to some of my opinions on certain movies after a first impression and when I wish to talk about my thoughts on The Neon Demon, it probably is only fitting I admit that I have a particularly conflicted relationship with the films of Nicolas Winding Refn. I’ve fallen head over heels for Drive with the fact it turns its own visual style into a new form of storytelling and while I’ve liked many of his other works, something about his work felt missing and it was evident from a path he took starting with Only God Forgives and now The Neon Demon. Both films have understandably polarized audiences, but Refn purists got what they wanted and then some. For every intriguing moment that The Neon Demon presents also comes a fairly self-indulgent one that drives upon his own influences – among many of his tendencies that always struck me.

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Somewhere – Review

✯✯✯✯½

At times I feel bad I don’t enjoy Sofia Coppola as much as I wish because I find it rather easy to recognize the sort of energy she puts into her work because talent is oozing on every frame, but at the same time some of her films are a struggle for me to find complete investment in. While the notable exception of Lost in Translation stands out as her strongest film (considering the fact that it also happens to be one of my own all-time favourite films), the closest that she has ever managed to come to topping what she presented in said film is within 2011’s Somewhere. But I look at how Sofia Coppola handles similar subject matter and it all makes sense on the spot, but maybe it could be in her approach to these topics where I find her at some of her most fascinating.

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2016: The Standouts

It’s inevitable that after a passing year one must go about with talking upon what they’ve witnessed while time had gone on and with 2016 gone, a great year of cinema has indeed passed upon us and we’re only hoping for even more with a new one. In this blog entry, what I wish to cover are some of the best and worst films that I caught all throughout 2016 as of February 25, 2017. Continue reading →

20th Century Women – Review

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In my good friend Cole Klima’s review of the film, he cites understanding as a concept that drives us as human beings and a fundamental to which Mike Mills explores in 20th Century Women. The concept of understanding is ultimately what connects us as people, but in a 21st century it seems to be a faded concept. We live in a world where people seem more accepting of one another regarding where they have come from but there’s an evident divide that we can bring ourselves to. We never know it on the spot but it’s felt: our beliefs and our generations and our grasps on reality divide us in some way or another and that concept feels captured too perfectly in 20th Century Women.

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My Neighbor Totoro – Review

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There’s a unique simplicity to the early works of Hayao Miyazaki that always goes ahead to strike a viewer like myself every time I sit through something as wonderful as My Neighbor Totoro, it’s the simplicity that pulls one into a state of serenity. For this reason alone, there’s so much to dig into with a film like My Neighbor Totoro, for it may be Hayao Miyazaki at his best. Adorable can be one word to describe what one will witness, but calling it a simple “kid’s film” completely ignores its purpose. It strikes nostalgia, yet it’s not the kind that forces it down your throat. It’s the kind of nostalgia that goes to remind us of a simpler time in our life, and for that reason, My Neighbor Totoro truly is wonderful in all its glory. Continue reading →